The full-size pickup market has something for everybody: The Dodge Ram has the macho, big-rig look, a monster 8.0-liter V10 and an earth-moving Cummins turbodiesel. The Ford F-Series has aerodynamic styling, modern, overhead-cam engines and a big diesel. The Chevrolet and GMC pickups offer traditional styling and traditional, powerful V8 engines. This is enough variety to bridge the gap from Montana to Hollywood.
The Chevy C/K and GMC Sierra trucks are mechanically identical. They differ only in badging, trim and minor details. Both offer every imaginable combination of cab size, bed length, powerplant or drivetrain your heart desires.
Selecting one, therefore, often requires spending some time poring over product brochures and talking to the local Chevy or GMC dealer. We drove a Chevrolet C1500 Silverado, but nearly everything here also applies to the equivalent GMC model.
With a major redesign coming next year, little is new for 1998. An anti-theft system, called PassLock, is now available. Three new colors are offered. And GM has refined the already proven mechanicals: automatic transmissions have some durability enhancements, half-shafts on 4WD models have improved serviceability, tires on the 1500 models have been selected for improved fuel economy. Walkaround
Chevrolet's C/K pickups are available in three sizes, or duty ranges: 1500, 2500 and 3500. Regular cabs and extended cabs are available in all three ranges, but the four-door crew cab is offered only in the 3500 size. Extended cab trucks can be ordered with a third door, which opens on the passenger side and allows easier access to the rear seat. There are two cargo bed lengths, 6.5 and 8.0 feet. The shorter length is available in Chevy's stylish Sportside body with a narrower bed flanked by protruding fenders and steps.