Build Your Own Silverado SS? The Low-Buck Way to Spec a New Chevy Truck for Street Performance
The Silverado has long been one of the most popular options for street truck enthusiasts thanks to its stout V8 engine and vast aftermarket support, but does the current generation Silverado continue this tradition? And how does it compare to the pickups from Ford and Ram? Let’s dig in.
Working Class Performance Truck
For the 2022 model year, Chevy actually sells two different versions of the Silverado: the "LTD" model and the updated model. Mechanically and exterior-wise there aren’t many differences between the two versions, with most of the differentiation coming in trim levels, interior design and tech.
Typically, if you are buying a pickup as a performance platform you’ll want the lightest, smallest version possible and that means a single cab, standard bed.
The updated '22 model is actually the first time the single cab, short box combo has been available on the current-gen Silverado. And at the moment that configuration is only available in the base grade “WT” trim.
Interestingly, this bare-bones Silverado isn’t available with a V8 engine. Instead, at the moment the 2.7 liter turbocharged four-cylinder is the only engine option for the single cab, short bed model.
Don’t overlook the four-banger though. It’s a 310 horsepower rating is rather modest for a full-size truck, but it’s 430-pound feet of torque is actually better than most current half-ton truck V8 engines. It comes mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
And while it may not have the classic sound or the legendary aftermarket of a GM V8 engine, the 2.7L, like most modern turbo engines, has plenty of potential for unlocking extra power through simple upgrades.
Along with the lower weight and smaller size, the '22 Silverado WT can also be had rather cheap. With a locking rear diff as the only option, a base version can be had with an MSRP as low as $33,000.
If you are a set on a V8 engine, you can still get one in a lower trim Silverado, but you have to opt for the long bed. Doing so opens the option box for the 5.3 liter EcoTec III V8 engine.
At 355 horsepower, the V8 makes a fair bit more horsepower than the 2.7, but its 383-pound feet of torque is actually almost 50 foot-pounds lower than the turbo engine. With an MSRP of just over $36,000 it will also cost about $3,000 more.
Chevy also offers the powerful 6.2L V8 in the Silverado, but for that, you'll have to step into a much more expensive crew cab truck with four-wheel drive.
Needless to say, it would be awesome to see Chevy eventually offer the 6.2L in the single cab, short box model as bonafide performance model. But until that day, Chevy truck buyers looking for a rear-drive, affordable pickup with decent performance will have to make do with one of these "repurposed" work trucks.
And that's not such a bad alternative.
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