What This Country Needs Is A Good $40,000 Pickup Truck: The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Custom

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom.
You may have noticed some feature stories of late in the mainstream media about how pickup trucks are big sellers.  And not just pickup trucks, but expensive pickup trucks. Seems you can't load them enough, can't run the sticker up high enough.  50 grand?  You're barely trying.  The top-of-the-line fullsize trucks from Ford, GM and RAM break that before you get into options.

But what of those of us who'd like a nice truck but don't have gigabucks to spend?  It appears the folks at Chevrolet have been thinking about us.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom rear 7/8 view
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom.
Behold the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom.  It's a double cab, not the full crew cab.  It has Chevy's 4.3-liter Vortec V6 rather than a V8.  And it's a prettied-up Chevy Work Truck rather than a decontented LS.  Compromises abound.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom interior.
A base price of $35,985 buys you a pickup truck with cloth seats and rubberized vinyl floors.  You adjust the seat manually. Yes, the radio's that small.  No, it doesn't have satnav.  Yes, it's that black and that plastic.

And the stuff that makes it a Custom (20-inch painted aluminum wheels, chrome door handles and mirror caps and a body-color bumper pad)?  That's $1,290 extra.  So the price of getting one that looks like what you see here is $37,275. Add the destination charge of $1,125 and you're up over 38 large.

Press fleet folks rarely can let a crack at the option sheet go by, so they added a few things that were game-changers.  Our tester was upgraded to the 5.3-liter V8 (EPA estimate 16 city/22 highway).  $475 went for a spray-on bedliner.  $770 was spent on trailering equipment. And the tester was treated to color-keyed carpet for another $100 (kinda too bad...I can't remember the last time I was in a machine with hose-it-out floors).

All that would have pushed the bottom line over the $40,000 mark, but Chevy's offering a discount when you go for the Custom package and the V8 engine...taking $1,700 off your combined $2,385 upgrades. With that discount, our tester slid in under the $40K mark at $39,210.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't need to be spoiled in a truck.  I'm fine with manual seats and tiny radios and even rubber floors instead of carpet.  And the Silverado 1500 Custom in Victory Red sure is pretty.  If it cost $34,999 as equipped, I'd be heralding the return of the sensible, affordable, full-size truck.  Instead, I'm shaking my head at how little you can get for 40 grand these days.