The 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 kicks off the fourth generation of this iconic pickup truck that debuted back in 1999. Now is the perfect time to look forward to what Chevy will roll out next, but also look back at this storied past. Because there are plenty of used Chevy Silverado 1500s on the market, and you might just find yourself floored by how much you can save on a great truck by buying used. In this used truck guide, we'll show you what you're getting from a used Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
First Generation (1999-2007)
The very first Silverados, named after a trim level of their Chevy C/K predecessor, came out in 1999. That model year has only two-door and a three-door-extended-cab configurations. You have your pick between a V6 or two different V8 engines, the stronger one putting out 270 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. A driver's side option became available in 2000, and a crew-cab configuration in 2004.
The first generation ran for a long time, but not without change. There were significant facelifts in 2003 and 2006. With each facelift, the Chevy Silverado 1500 looks more and more like its Heavy Duty siblings. There were very few service complaints in the first few model years of the Silverado, but we'd probably steer clear of the 2004 for its faulty instrument panel and the 2007 for its excessive oil consumption.
Second Generation (2007-2014)
The next generation debuted in 2007, even while the last of the first generation was still selling. Chevy rolled out a more aerodynamic and sturdier truck, with all-new suspension and frame. Chevy really got some attention, and top-ticket awards started pouring in. That first year has a 5.3-liter V8 engine that delivers 315 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque.
All these rapid strides corrected some long-standing issues with the first-generation Silverados. Happily, the number of reported service complaints plummeted to record lows, though a few owners still reported excessive oil consumption. It's probably safe to say that you're much better off in second-, rather than a first-generation, Silverado 1500.
Third Generation (2014-2019)
The third generation runs through to today, but is on its way out as the fourth generation debuts in 2020. The trucks came out in 2014 and then had a facelift almost right away in 2016 with new front fascia, grille, and headlights. The best engine throughout the lifetime of the third generation is the 6.2-liter V8, good for 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Also, the tech is nothing to scoff at. Air conditioning and a CD player were luxury in the early days, but now the tech can include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity and trailering tech like the auxiliary trailer camera.
Very few complaints are logged about the Silverado these days, and the most common ones are relatively inexpensive to fix. Perhaps it's needless to say, but the Chevy Silverado 1500 has only gotten better with age in terms of engine output, tech options, and reliability. Our recommendation is to get a third-generation Silverado 1500, the more recent the better.