Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 is shown parked in the mountains.

Third-Generation Silverados: What Makes Them Good Used?

When shopping for a truck, everyone wishes they could drive a shiny brand-new model off their local dealer’s lot. Buying a new truck takes the guesswork out of assessing the condition and quality of the vehicle. After all, if anything happens, it’ll be covered by a warranty. The sad reality, however, is that a new truck isn’t always within everyone’s budget. Used trucks, while much more affordable, can be a bit more difficult to gauge. Ultimately, nobody wants to pay for a lemon or an overpriced hunk of metal.

The safest way to avoid that is to buy a proven model from a reputable brand. When it comes to building trucks that you can count on, even when shopping used, nobody does it better than Chevy. There is a reason Chevy trucks are highly regarded when it comes to automotive enthusiasts and average truckers alike, and there are plenty of reasons to seek out a used Chevy Silverado near you. These dependable trucks are one of the few products that are just as reliable whether you buy them at a dealership or secondhand.

Why the Third Generation?

Your best bet when shopping for a used Silverado is the third generation because it offers the best mix of performance and price. However, the second-generation Chevy Silverado (2007-2013) deserves an honorable mention for a couple reasons. Despite being an older vehicle, it is incredibly dependable, and its performance isn’t too far behind the newer models. In fact, a used 2013 Silverado 1500 can offer over 400 hp from an available 6.2L V8 engine and can tow up to 10,700 lbs. Not bad for a decade-old truck.

Still, the third-generation Chevy Silverado (2014-2018) is the generation that should be considered when looking for a used truck. What better way to start getting into what makes a used vehicle a good buy than by examining its price? After all, for many people, the price point of a used truck is a make-or-break consideration. The good news is that you can find a used third-generation Silverado 1500 with a clean title and less than 100,000 miles on the clock for under $20,000. Since a brand-new 2023 Silverado 1500 starts at $35,600, that is a lot of money you can save by buying used. With such a good starting price, there is going to be plenty of room for affordable upgrades. For example, you could hunt down a used model with a crew cab, four-wheel drive, and a bigger engine while remaining under budget.

A black 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 High Country is shown towing a trailer.

A Solid Truck for Work or Play

Part of what makes a used truck a good buy is that the vehicle itself is good before anything else. The third-generation Silverado has some pretty good specs that make it reliable and blends a combination of both old and new. It takes what made the previous two generations amazing products and builds upon them. Prior to the third generation of the Silverado, the interiors were a bit on the simple side. However, the third generation introduced plenty of extra comforts that have enhanced the user driving and owning experience.

The rear cab was given extra legroom, and the interior materials are higher quality. These changes also resulted in a quieter ride. If you want a useful rear seat but don’t need a crew cab truck, then the third-generation Silverado marks the switch from an extended cab with impractical coach doors to a double cab with conventional rear doors. Additionally, the exterior received a few touch-ups as well. There’s a corner step bumper, and the pickup box is built from tougher roll-formed steel. All of these details in the redesign go a long way in enhancing the feel of the vehicle.

One of the biggest fears when buying a used vehicle is the concern of buying a money pit or a lemon. Nobody wants to buy a truck that will cost you an arm and a leg to maintain. This is actually a strong suit of the Silverado and what makes a used example such a great bargain. Combined with the third generation’s superb reliability rating, the yearly cost of maintenance on the Silverado is quite low. Not only this, but the EcoTec3 engine options are as sturdy as they can get. Whether you choose the base V6 or an optional V8, they aren’t known for any major issues. These engines are very reliable, and it is not uncommon to see them with over 200,000 miles and still purring like the day they were assembled.

Powerful Engine Options

While still on the topic of engines, it’s as good a time as any to discuss specs. There are three available engine options for the third-generation Silverado 1500. Starting things off is a 4.3L V6 EcoTec3, which is standard for lower Silverado trims. It produces 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, the V6 can tow up to 7,600 lbs in the 2018 model. For a general-purpose pickup truck, the power inside this engine is more than enough to fulfill the daily tasks that might be required of a Silverado.

Probably the most notable feature is the V6’s ability to function as a great daily driver thanks to its high fuel efficiency. For the 2018 Silverado 1500, the V6 provides a fuel economy of 18 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. Larger vehicles aren’t really known for being good on gas, so this is a very valuable quality to have in a pickup truck. With the way gas prices currently are, saving every penny on transportation is a necessity!

The second engine option is a 5.3L V8 with 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. In simplest terms, this is an enlarged version of the V6. With a maximum towing capacity of 11,100 lbs in the 2018 model and a fuel economy of 16 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway, it trades a bit of fuel efficiency for a massive upgrade in power. For those who want an in-between engine that can act as both a daily driver and a towing rig, this is the engine of choice.

Lastly, there is a monstrous 6.2L V8. With 420 hp under the hood and 460 lb-ft of torque, this is by far the strongest engine option. With up to 12,500 lbs of towing capability, it’s possible to do some serious hauling. It can carry industrial-sized equipment or large camper trailers. Unfortunately, with such strength comes the lowest fuel efficiency. The 6.2 V8 is rated for 16 MPG in the city and 21 MPG on the highway in the 2018 Silverado 1500.

A popular used Chevy Silverado near you, a black 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500, is shown driving through a field.

The Safety and Versatility You Need

As far as safety rating goes, you’ll have a hard time finding another pickup truck with the same numbers as the third generation of Silverados. The 2018 model scored a Five Star Overall Safety Rating in NHTSA crash testing, including five-star ratings in frontal and side crashes. While nobody wants to think about accidents, it will be reassuring to know that your used Chevy Silverado will do its best to ensure you and your passengers will come out of an accident in one piece.

To sum everything up, the third-generation Chevy Silverado makes for an incredibly used truck. Its price point is quite affordable compared to newer models. Its engine options are powerful and have few reported issues. They have even been known to run past that 200,000-mile mark many vehicles struggle to reach. This ensures that your Silverado will keep running for thousands of miles to come! The low cost of annual maintenance also saves a few bucks and headaches. Additionally, its safety ratings are some of the highest for its segment. If you’re thinking about buying a used Chevy Silverado, the third-generation models are the place to start!