Chevy’s Silverado Rally Should Have Been GM’s Answer to the Raptor

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While Ford (NYSE:F) fans have been able to enjoy the F-150 SVT Raptor for some time now, there hasn’t been a factory-tuned, off-road inspired competitor that can at least try to take the Raptor to task. And there still isn’t, really — at least pending the arrival of the Toyota TRD Pro series Tundra. We can be pretty confident that there won’t be an immediate answer from General Motors (NYSE:GM), though. At least for now.

On the surface, the Chevrolet Silverado Rally Edition looks like it plays the part; there are some muscular and aggressive looking racing stripes up the hood, and the blacked-out rims and Chevy bow-tie look like they mean business. On the higher special edition trim, there are the black sidesteps too. But closer inspection indicates that despite the added aesthetic flare, the Rally Editions essentially amount to putting a work horse on the race track. 

There haven’t been any improvements made to the suspension, and the tires illustrated don’t indicate that they’re up for some serious off-roading trials. The powertrain choices are the same as the conventional non-Rally spec’d trucks, with buyers given the choice of Chevy’s 285 horsepower, 305 pound-foot 4.3 liter V6, or upgrade to the 5.3 liter V8 that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque.

Included in the Rally 2 trim (there’s a Rally 1 also — in the picture, Rally 1 is on the left and 2 is on the right) is a hitch and automatic locking rear differential, a 10-way power driver seat, dual-zone climate control, remote start, backup camera and rear defroster. It’s a nice package, but outside of the added blacked-out bits, there’s little exclusive content that buyers can’t already add on to one of the non-special edition trucks.

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While it might look menacing and all, here’s what Ford’s SVT Raptor is bringing to the table: 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque, courtesy of its 6.2 liter V8 which is bored out to 4.02 inches. It’s fitted with 11.2 inches of suspension travel in the front, and 12.1 inches in the rear. It has upgraded aluminum control arms, Hill Descent Control, a 4.10 Torsen front differential, and the list goes on. In other words, it has the chops to back up its appearance.

The Silverado Rally is what GM’s Raptor fighter should look like. If outfitted with GM’s own 6.2 liter V8 (which produces 420 horsepower), larger shocks with more travel, legitimate off-roading tires and similar reinforced components, the Silverado Rally would actually be an exceptionally competitive sporty truck that offers more than a new suit. The aesthetic additions look the part (though we’d make those headlight bezels the same black if it were up to us), but by not reinforcing them with a larger engine and real hardcore off-roading capabilities, it’s essentially a more expensive Silverado that’s afraid to get dirty.

The Rally package was intended to be an appearance adjustment from the get-go, presumably more for those who use their trucks as daily drivers and therefore take more pride in the appearance of the truck versus its capabilities. Word’s not out yet on the pricing of the new Rally series, but it’s likely to fall in the range of the high-$30,000s to low-$40,000s given its availability for the LS and LT trims only (the latter starts at nearly $37,000 for 2WD). Given where the Raptor is priced (at just under $45,000), that’ll make the Silverado a harder sell when cross-shopped with Ford’s off-roading behemoth.

Chevy has been on fire in the performance realm for a while, with the new Corvette, the Camaro Z/28, and the Corvette Z06. It’s about time it applied a similar engineering strategy to its pickup line.

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