We're 12 months into this long-term loan, and it seems like everyone around here knows that our time with the Silverado is growing short. The truck has been in higher-than-usual demand for towing and hauling duty. Production Manager Kirill Ougarov recently used the Chevy to tow his "race car" to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca racetrack in Northern California. Perhaps putting race car in quotes is a little harsh, but it's a Daihatsu Charade, and it's not in great condition.

This meant that he was in the truck for long stretches of road, experiencing both wide-open highway and narrower thoroughfares that had some twists and turns. On his 1500-mile journey, Kirill had both good and bad things to say about the truck. Good: "Our loaded long-termer has luxurious and comfortable seats -- in fact, the interior as a whole is well appointed and well built, even though the design is dated. The suspension tolerates freeway hop really well and provides a smooth ride on most kinds of pavement. Last but not least, the Duramax/Allison combination is as capable and durable as can be." He also pointed out that the diesel engine has plenty of torque and that the Silverado's fuel economy is reasonable for a vehicle with this level of capability.

Bad: Even though he liked the truck's engine brake, he would've preferred a light for it in the gauge cluster, and/or a brighter indicator on the engine brake's button at the bottom of the center stack. But his biggest concern was with the truck's steering. He felt it was too loose and light. As he noted, "Of all the issues I mentioned, this is the one that I most hope GM addresses when it begins rolling out its next-generation trucks sometime in 2013 as 2014 models, since the current setup can be quite hairy at highway speed. That said, there are advantages to having loose and light steering in certain situations, such as slow-speed and heavy towing, so perhaps some sort of variable-assist steering is the answer? If the rumors of the next-generation Silverado and Sierra having electric power steering are true, it would certainly be easy to implement."

The truck returned from Laguna Seca, no worse for wear, and within a week, it was back to work yet again. I used it this time, to haul a variety of old, heavy gear (also known as "stuff that was cluttering up the garage") to a couple of donation centers. The heaviest single item in the collection was an old TV, which I'm sure weighed a few hundred pounds; it and other old electronics went to an electronic-specific recycling center, and the rest went to charity. Again, it wasn't even close to a challenge for the Silverado, but it was great to have a truck that size, making it easy to get it all done in a single trip with two stops.

As you read this, the Silverado is on the job again, this time towing a trailer full of equipment to New Mexico. Even though the weather is cold and snowy in that part of the country, we expect the Chevy is doing just fine on its latest road trip. We wonder how many more trips it'll get to take before we have to say goodbye to the truck 3/4-ton.


Our Car
Service life 12 months/21,318 miles
Average fuel economy 14.7 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.51 lb/mi
Energy consumption 229 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $396.11 (2 x oil change, tire rotation, inspection; 1 x replace trans filter, air filter)
Normal-wear cost $19.98 (DEF refill)