2016 Chevrolet Silverado gets LED headlamps, new front end design, plus a new 8-speed trans

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71

A mid-cycle refresh gives the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck a pretty new face, or at least one that will be easy to differentiate from the 2015 model, with new headlights and dramatic and extensive use of LED accent lights to take on Ford’s all-new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup. And yeah, a rationalization for hyping “time-tested high-strength steel” against Ford’s “military grade” aluminum body.

Chevrolet designers have come up with a distinctive pattern for LEDs—is there a registry where vehicle stylists can lay claim to a particular layout for the lights?—with two parallel bands that flare up and down for the upper and lower band respectively, and blend into a new grille with greater horizontal elements. Turn signals and brake lamps wrap around the corners of the truck for what Chevy calls a more streamlined look.showing

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 shows off its all-LED illumination. (click to enlarge)

Chevrolet will also use the new design to give increase differentiation between the various trim levels of the Chevy Silverado. The Silverado WT—the “work truck” version with a lower price and plainer interior has chrome horizontal grille elements, black grille inserts, and compact HID headlamps. The Silverados LT and LTZ include chrome grille elements and bumpers, with Z71 models are set apart with a body-color monochrome treatment. The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado High Country will have body-color bumpers with chrome horizontal bars and special grille inserts to mark it as the more upscale model. All trim lines include a hood that’s higher in the middle.

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country with trailer

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country with a few extra horse than usual. (click to enlarge)

Not long ago limited to ultra-high end luxury cars, light-up-the-night LED headlamps will come on all LTZ, LTZ/Z71 and High Country models, with LED lighting used for all other exterior illumination, including daytime running lights, fog lights, park/turn signal lamps, and taillamps.

In addition to the new look, the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado gets a new eight-speed transmission. Announced in July as standard equipment with all pickups with the 6.2-liter V-8, Chevy announced that the Hydra-Matic 8L90 transmission will also come on all LTZ, LTZ/Z71 and High Country Silverados with the 5.3-liter V-8. The eight-speed, with a numerically higher first gear ratio, makes it easier to move off form a start with a heavy load or trailer, and a wider overall gear ratio spread also gives lower engine rpm on the highway with numerically lower rear axle ratios for reduced fuel consumption, noise and wear.

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country LED taillamp

The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country has all-LED external illumination.

Also new for 2016 is support for Apple CarPlay, which projects select iPhone features (iPhone 5 and later) on the available MyLink display.

Chevy elected to introduce the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado at the Texas State Fair in Dallas, putting the new look in front of show goers in pickup truck-loving Texans. The venue also takes the intro away from the traditional debut at auto shows where new models can get lost in the hubbub of other introductions. You won’t have to look very hard for the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado on the street, however. There will be a lot of them around soon.

All photos copyright GM.