Chevy’s New Special Silverado Looks Fancy, Is Still Not a Raptor Rival
If you feel that your spartan work truck is simply too plebeian for your tastes, Chevrolet has heard the dozen or so of you who are looking for a heavy-duty pickup with more chrome, nicer appointments, and “a sophisticated monochromatic look” for what is undoubtedly your farm- or construction-based workhorse.
The Custom Sport is available for the 2500 and 3500 HD models, and adds body-colored front and rear bumpers, a body-colored grille with chrome-accent bars, chrome door handles and body-side moldings, and chrome-accented trailering mirrors, Chevrolet said. The Silverado 2500 Custom Sports get a set of 20-inch polished aluminum wheels all around, while the 3500 Custom Sports are equipped with 18-inch polished aluminum wheels on single-rear-wheel models, and 17-inch wheels on duallys. The trucks are either white or black, and package prices will vary from $700 to $1,695, depending on the model.
With all the technical stuff out of the way, let’s discuss why this is a frustrating letdown. It won’t take long, and can actually be summed up by one sentence: The world doesn’t need more aesthetic-only truck packages. It does need more trucks that will push the boundaries of what trucks are meant to do — tackle rougher terrain with gusto, haul loads too heavy, dirty, or potentially damaging to a lesser vehicle, and offer a satisfactory daily driving experience when off the clock. Ford’s F-150-based Raptor is all of these things, and despite its success, Chevy doesn’t seem interested in following suit.
We’ve lamented this situation before, when Chevrolet released the sport-inspired Rally trim to lukewarm reception. Like the Custom Sport, the Rally trim added some go-fast paint schemes, fancy wheels, and little else — notably, nothing in the actual performance department. While Ford’s current Raptor manages 411 horsepower (the new one will put out roughly 450), Chevrolet doesn’t appear to believe in creating a designated truck specifically for off-road, inspired driving. There are aftermarket options, but no complete factory package.
Then again, Chevy may be onto something. Increasingly, the MSRP of new trucks is creeping into luxury car territory. In fact, based on MSRPs of over $50,000, the Ford F-150 is considered to be the country’s best-selling luxury vehicle — thanks to trims like the King Ranch and Platinum, which can haul in $48,885 and $51,350 at base, respectively. This trend implies that trucks are becoming more commuter-friendly and losing their workhorse identity, as buyers spring for Mercedes-priced pickups that they have little intent of slogging down a logging trail or hauling manure with.
While these trucks look pretty, they don’t help evolve the market in any meaningful way. Trucks, almost by definition, are meant to be rugged, long-lasting, dependable, and muscular. While there’s a stock Chevy Silverado HD under there, the gussied-up exterior is moving the segment in a counter-intuitive direction that’s making Silverado more of a luxury nameplate than one that will be known for its prowess on the worksite.
At this point, though, Chevrolet is quickly becoming an outlier — and not necessarily in a positive way. Ram and Toyota have joined Ford with beefed-up performance truck options of their own, in the shape of the Ram Rebel and Toyota TRD Pro-edition Tundra. Nissan’s out with a new Titan, but it might be a while before we get a good idea of what the company’s off-road ambitions are, if there will be any.
In the meantime, we’ll have to be content by GM’s affinity for putting chrome on everything, and the public’s apparent appetite for limousine-caliber pickups. So while Chevy may not have an answer for your dune-cruising desires, rest-assured it has your back for hauling 10,000 pounds of stuff and looking damn fine while doing so.