Even as our country remains in the grips of a pandemic, the full-sized pickup market continues to outperform just about every other segment, and that means that the competition has not cooled off. The big news for GM in 2020 was the new Duramax diesel, finally getting GM in the light-duty diesel truck game, and with quite the entry. If diesel isn’t on your radar though, GM has the largest list of available gas engines in the segment, including a turbo-four, a basic workhorse six-cylinder and two proven, powerful and efficient V8s. We spent a week in a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 RST Rally Edition.
Every year or two Chevy offers up a handful of uniquely themed special editions, like this RST Rally Edition. The packages usually include a strong list of popular options combined with the themed appearance details. The RST model trucks feature a monochromatic paint scheme with body colored bumpers, handles and gloss black accents along with LED lighting. In addition to the standard RST appearance stuff, the Rally Edition gets gorgeous gloss black 22-inch rims that resemble those found on the Corvette, matte black racing stripes and black badging.
Paired with the Red Hot paintwork on our tester, it’s a pretty bold look and definitely caught a lot of attention. Personally, I prefer the chromed-out look on these latest generation GM trucks, but I have to admit that the designers really looked after the details here and the Silverado has a very purposeful and cohesive look.
In addition to the extra appearance goodies, the $10,465 Rally Edition package includes a lot of the must haves on a truck like this including a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated leather wrapped steering wheel, locking rear differential, hidden storage in the rear seats, trailering package, step-bars and more. Five-figure packages are a little hard to swallow, but the majority of these options are things most buyers would be looking for anyway, and would take advantage of the bundling and save a bit.
Inside, not a lot has changed for 2021. The crew cab feels huge and the space is very well utilized with function taking precedent over form. It has deep door pockets, a well arranged center console with huge cup holders and plenty of handy storage bins through out the cab. Interior styling is very much toned down, with lots of matte soft-touch plastics, satin silver accents and a sprinkling of faux wood trim. Our tester falls into a mid-range trim, but the cloth buckets are very comfortable and heated, as is the steering wheel, and all the basic modern necessities are here to keep all passengers in comfort.
As far as technology goes, it’s all here including an eight-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Our tester came with an optional ($1,325) power sunroof, and enough USB charge ports and power outlets to run a small office. Everything is laid out very logically inside and includes real knobs and buttons for the most common functions such as volume, tuner, and heated seat and steering wheel controls.
As mentioned, our tester came equipped with the optional top of the line 6.2-liter V8 making 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque. The 6.2L comes mated to the 10-speed automatic to help maximize economy and unlocks the Silverado 1500’s maximum towing capacity of 13,300 pounds. The engine is far from new to, but it’s constantly updated with the latest advancements and remains one of the most reliable, efficient and compact V8 on the market. Having driven a both a diesel example and a lesser 5.3-liter recently, I can say that the extra power from the 6.2-liter really wakes up the truck.
The Silverado is brisk off the line and highly responsive all the way through the power band. It’ll easily break the rear tires free on command, and comes with that glorious small-block V8 growl through this truck’s dual exhaust when you exercise it a bit. This is the fun engine to have in the full-size pickup market, rivaled only by the Ram 1500’s 5.7-liter HEMI in terms of seat-of-the-pants feels and sound.
Being the big powerful gas engine that it is, there is a penalty to pay at the pumps compared to the other engine choices, but after a winter week of mixed driver my average sat at 14.8L/100km, which is fair for a truck of this size. Driving conditions and style really do seem to have a big impact on how this powertrain sips fuel. The week prior I drove a 2021 Escalade with the same powertrain and despite the extra weight, I saw significantly better results. I can only chalk this up to a the fact that the Silverado saw more city mileage while the Escalade spent a fair bit of time on back roads.
The Silverado drives exactly like a full-size pickup should. It’s responsive, quiet and comfortable and is surprisingly nimble in the city unlike its Ford rival. The Silverado does not ride as smoothly as the Ram 1500 with its rear coils and air ride, but the Silverado rides with more confidence on the road as it retains a feeling of direct connection to the road through the steering wheel. While the infamous frame shake on sharp bumps is still present, it’s toned down enough that it’s not a distraction from the overall pleasant driving experience.
Price-wise, I think we all know that pickup trucks are not cheap anymore, and this one is no exception, but there is value here. The starting price for a basic 2020 Silverado RST, which comes standard with the 2.7L turbocharged four-cylinder, is $50,798. From there, our tester got the aforementioned $10,465 Rally Edition package, along with a big upgrade to the 6.2-liter V8 ($3,135). In addition to that, ours got the Convenience II package ($1,895) adding the Bose sound system with subwoofer, the larger touchscreen, power sliding window, 120V outlets on the dash and in the bed, and more.
Finally, the power sunroof ($1,325) and the Advanced Safety Package ($1,095) which adds park assist, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert, pushed the total as tested price to $68,773. That’s honestly one of the cheaper full-sized pickups we’ve reviewed in the last couple of years, and the only thing I really miss would be leather. Otherwise, this is a pretty well-optioned truck with more than enough toys to keep you comfortable and entertained. Not to mention, the big-dog 6.2L under the hood.
The bottom line here is that special editions like this 2021 Chevrolet Silverado RST Rally Edition, not only offer up some unique style, but also deliver value that can be hard to find in a segment where prices only ever seem to go up. Not only that, but the 6.2-liter still reins king of the light-duty truck V8s. A Silverado like this here could be a really good long-term workhorse, with all the important features and comforts, without going overboard on luxuries that you’re going to be afraid to get dirty.