General Motors unveiled the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado pickup Thursday, showing off a truck that has undergone a significant improvement to its interior, gained a bigger touchscreen and multiple engine upgrades.
The Detroit automaker also plans to tap into the growing market for off-road vehicles by offering the Silverado ZR2, which it labeled Chevy’s new flagship off-road truck.
Most of the changes start at the LT trim level, bypassing the more basic commercial versions of the truck.
By improving the cabin, General Motors is addressing one of the criticisms of the existing model.
The redesigned interior for the LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, ZR2, LTZ and High Country trim levels focuses on a sweeping horizontal instrument panel and a new center console. GM upgraded the materials and stitching patterns. The improvements give the cabin a more spacious and open feel. The comfort remains the same as the previous truck.
“It’s a more contemporary, refined design that elevates the premium nature of the interior,” said Alexandre Scartezini, Chevrolet Truck lead interior designer. “It’s also a more driver-oriented space.”
Another interior change includes equipping the 2022 Silverado with a 13.4-inch diagonal touchscreen standard on LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, ZR2, LTZ and High Country trims. A new 12.3-inch-diagonal configurable digital instrument cluster also becomes standard equipment at those trim levels.
On the exterior, all configurations of the Silverado get a new front fascia and grille design that lowers the headlamps.
Starting at the LT trim level, the Silverado is equipped with Google built-in compatibility. Drivers can conduct some vehicle functions, such as changing the interior temperature, by saying ‘Hey Google’ or pressing the ‘push to talk’ button on the steering wheel.
Chevrolet will make GM’s automated Super Cruise driving system an option on the High Country trim of the 2022 Silverado. It allows for hands and feet free driving on most major U.S. roads and highways. Cameras monitor to ensure that the driver is still watching the road.
Super Cruise can be used when trailering with the Silverado, with specific calibrations designed to account for the additional drag and increased braking distance that comes with trailering, the automaker said.
The engine improvements for the new model year start with Chevrolet’s four-cylinder, 2.7-liter turbocharged engine. Engineers added a new, more rigid cylinder block casting and a 30-percent-stiffer crankshaft. That allowed engineers to reduce noise and tune the engine for greater torque production. The maximum torque is now a GM-estimated at 420 pound-feet. That is a 20 percent increase over the current engine.
GM also moved to address consumer complaints about the automatic transmission mated to the engine. GM made shift scheduling revisions in the eight-speed automatic transmission to offer smoother shifting along with quicker downshifts.
“The goal with the 2.7-liter turbo was to put the customer first and change perceptions of what this engine could do. We started with looking at the strength and sound – key attributes truck buyers told us were important,” said Kevin Luchansky, one of the engineers who worked on the engine.
He said Chevy customers will notice the gains in passing and merging.
The company also made chassis changes to the Silverado that comes equipped with the 3-liter Duramax diesel engine. That jumped the maximum tow rating to 13,300 pounds in a two-wheel-drive configuration. That is a 4,000-pound improvement over the current model.
While Chevrolet has offered an off-road enhanced ZR2 version of its smaller Colorado pickup, it’s now bringing that configuration to its full-size truck.
Chevrolet is equipping the ZR2 with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. It will have Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers that help smooth the off-road-tuned suspension for everyday driving. The truck will have front and rear e-lockers and specific off-road chassis and suspension calibrations. It also will have 33-inch tires and an extensive skid plate package for rough terrain.
“Chevy off-road trucks are popular. Currently, Chevrolet offers two factory-lifted trucks – the Custom Trail Boss and the LT Trail Boss – which make up almost 30 percent of our sales mix,” said Jaclyn McQuaid, executive chief engineer for full-size trucks and SUVs.