Chevrolet has an unusually long list of updates coming with the launch of the 2022 Silverado that only starts with tweaks to the pickup’s interior and exterior design.
The early mid-cycle refresh will bring new technology, including new digital gauge and infotainment displays, a boost in power and towing capacity, depending on powertrain, and the addition of the new off-road-oriented ZR2 line. The 2022 pickup also will get a version of General Motors’ hands-free Super Cruise system modified to permit trailering.
“We’ve enhanced the Silverado lineup to build on its success, giving customers more choice, a refined design and new technology options,” said Kelly MacDonald, the director of Chevrolet Truck Marketing.
The extensive list of enhancements also are meant to address the criticism the fourth-generation Chevy truck received when it was launched just three years ago as a 2019 model. Much of that was focused on the truck’s design, inside and out, reviewers suggesting it didn’t match the looks of the latest full-size models from Ford and Ram.
Buyers seemed to agree, at least if the sales numbers are any indication. Silverado sales slipped in 2019 to 575,569. That knocked it into third place on the U.S. sales charts, behind the well-received Ram, which counted 633,694 sales that year. Chevy bounced back in pandemic-plagued 2020, but just barely, regaining the second spot by a mere 30,000 trucks.
It’s fallen behind Ram yet again this year—though automotive bookkeepers will likely put an asterisk on the numbers as the market has been hammered by the shortage of semiconductors disrupting production and leaving dealer inventories bare. Even so, Chevy officials have clearly recognized they’ve got a tough fight on their hands and needed to deliver potential buyers good reason to return to bow-tie showrooms.
2022 Silverado Design Tweaks
From a design perspective, Chevy stylists revised the peculiar side vents that made the outgoing pickup look like it had sideburns. As has become the norm in the full-size pickup segment, each trim level gets a unique grille design, the ZR2, for example, integrating its new skid plate. But they all feature lower headlights that give the truck a broader and more planted appearance.
A key goal was to give the 2022 Silverado “a more premium look,” said exterior design chief Ben Wilkins during an online media backgrounder. That was particularly true inside, added Chris Hilts, the program’s interior design director.
From that perspective, however, the new year sees Chevy bifurcate the Silverado into two different classes, if you will. “Work truck” trims remain largely the same inside. It’s with the LT series and above that buyers will see some significant improvements.
That starts with switching to a 12.3-inch, reconfigurable gauge cluster complementing the new, 13.4-inch, landscape-oriented touchscreen. Drivers will notice the new digital technology immediately upon entering their Silverado as it fires up an animated greeting on the two screens. The gauge cluster can be revised depending on how the truck is being used. The touchscreen can handle the normal infotainment functions and also display a variety of different views from the optional camera packages offered on the truck.
A head-up display and a rearview camera mirror also are on the option checklist.
Silverado Super Cruise
One of the most significant technological updates for 2022 comes with the launch of Super Cruise on the Silverado High Country trim. The system allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel when motoring down 200,000 miles of limited-access U.S. roadways. It also lets a driver make a pass simply by tapping the turn signal. The auto-pass feature is disabled when trailering, but Silverados now can display the safe zone to change lanes while pulling a trailer in their camera displays.
A closer look at pickup sales, in general, reveals that buyers have been moving up-market in recent years. Chevy is responding to that trend by upgrading the interior with nicer fabrics and trim materials. The top-line High Country model offers double-stitching on the seats, for example, as well as open-pore wood trim on the console, glove box and doors. In addition, all models equipped with bucket seats now get an upgraded center console with an electronic shifter that frees up space for storage.
“What we’re seeing in this market is more luxury,” said Hilts. Buyers, he added, “are looking to drive these vehicles upscale.”
Upgraded Powertrains And Towing
But, even for urban cowboys, pickups still have to handle some serious challenges, whether for work or play. And Chevy is upgrading two key powertrain packages for 2022. The Turbocharged 2.7-liter High-Output option gets a 20% bump in torque at 420 pound-feet. However, the engine retains the prior 310 horsepower rating.
The 2.7-liter Turbo now can haul up to a 9,600-pound trailer. For those who still need more capacity, the rating on the 3.0-liter Duramax Diesel jumps to 13.300 pounds in two-wheel-drive configuration, a full 4,000-pound increase thanks to upgrades in cooling, a revised gear set and other changes.
Silverado ZR2 Joins the Team
The U.S. market has seen a massive shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs, crossovers and pickups over the past decade. Another trend has been the rising demand for off-road-capable vehicles, noted Chevy marketing chief MacDonald. Fully 60% of the 2022 Silverado models will fall into that category with the addition of the third “lifted” model, the new ZR2.
That package boasts numerous exterior revisions, starting with the requisite skid plate package. Add Multimatic 40mm DSSV spool-valve dampers, uniquely tuned springs, front and rear e-lockers and other features designed to attack the roughest and rockiest of trails. The ZR2 is powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 making 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
The extent of the updates Chevy is making to the 2022 Silverado is notable for how quickly it comes – the gen-four truck launching just three years ago. But that likely shouldn’t be a surprise in today’s increasingly competitive truck market. The bow-tie brand feels Ram breathing down its corporate neck and intends to retain its position as number two in the pickup hierarchy.