Overall, however, we were impressed with the ride and handling of Chevy's new 1/2-ton Crew Cab pickup. On smooth roads, it corners and rides nearly as well as the shorter-wheelbase versions, and, in fact, stops better. The longer wheelbase offers advantages in ride, particularly over freeway expansion chamber chop. On our test-loop, with severe chop, the Crew's ride quality was equal to the Toyota double cab. The Toyota had one of the best rides in our Sport Truck of the Year competition and excelled in the area.

The new Crew Cab comes with a 5.3L V-8 that produces nearly 300 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. For most, those should be adequate power levels, though we'd like to have the option of selecting the 6.0L. Still, the 5.3L's power is reasonable, getting the truck to 60 mph in 8.54 seconds. That's not as quick as some, but of all the new crew cabs we tested in the Sport Truck of the Year competition, the only naturally aspirated vehicle quicker to 60 mph was the 5.6L Nissan Titan.

But the real selling point of the truck is that the spacious Crew Cab is loaded with a good mix of conveniences and entertainment. The seats in this truck are super-comfortable. The DVD system's a must-have, as is the XM satellite radio, and the Bose-tuned audio system sounds and plays great. Our opinion is that the sound system is more than adequate for most and is a good base from which to tune - perhaps adding a subwoofer or upgrading the stock speakers.

Our bottom line on the new '04 Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab is that it's a pickup that really fills a need and it should do well with suburban buyers looking for a manly alternative to minivans. It also seems to us a solid base on which to build a custom sport truck. Its long, lean limo shape would look great laid out or lifted. We can also see it pro-streeted or in dualie trim.

Reaction Time
Likes:
comfortable seats; roomy, well-designed and -styled interior; Bose DVD/XM satellite entertainment system; good handling; wonderful ride

Dislikes: rough-road frame shake degraded handling and braking; lack of 6.0L engine option

Stats:
Year/Make/Model:
'04 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab Fleetside

Base price: $34,173 (not including DFC of $850); price as tested: $36,593

Vehicle type: fullsize 4-door pickup; front-engine; rear-drive; 2WD and 4WD available

Construction: body on frame

Engine: 5.3L Vortec V-8; fuel-injected, 325-cid; cast-iron block; aluminum heads; OHV; 2 valves/cyl.

Horsepower: 295 @ 5,200

Torque: 330 @ 4,000

Fuel: 87 octane

Transmission: Hydra-Matic 4L60-E 4-speed automatic

Suspension: 2WD: F: coil springs; 36mm high-pressure gas-charged monotube shocks; 32mm stabilizer bar. 4WD: F: independent w/ torsion bars; 30mm stabilizer bar. R: solid axle with semi-elliptic, variable-rate, two-stage multileaf springs; gas-pressurized shocks

Traction Control: std. 2WD

Wheel: 2WD: F&R: std. 16-inch painted cast aluminum. 4WD (including Z71): std. 17-inch polished cast aluminum

Tire: 2WD: P255/70R-16 all-season radials. 4WD: P265/70R-17 on-/off-road radials

Brakes: F&R: vacuum booster; four-wheel disc; four-wheel ABS; dynamic rear proportioning (DRP)

Wheelbase (in): 143.5

Length/Width/Height (in): 225.9/78.5/72.6

Track (in): F: 65; R: 66

Turning Circle (curb to curb, in ft): 2WD: 46.6; 4WD: 47.3

Curb Weight (LBS): 4,866; 4WD: 5,175 (Wt. Dist: 2WD: 57/43; 4WD: 60/40)

Tow Rating (LBS): 2WD: 7,800; 4WD: 8,500

EPA City/HWY/Combined mpg: 2WD: 16/19/17; 4WD: 15/18/16

Fuel-Tank Capacity/range (Est.): 26 gal/2WD: 442 mi; 4WD: 416 mi

Acceleration 0-60: 8.54 secs.

Braking 60-0: 130 ft