Chevrolet Silverado

Big behemoth: The enormous right-hook tested on NZ roads

Okay, let’s get all the “size” stuff out the way first. The Chevy Silverado is massive. But then, you knew that going in, right? If you feel claustrophobic in a Holden Colorado, then this kind of truck — and it really is a truck — isn’t for you.

The only way you could make the big, boxy Silverado look any more American would be to wrap it in matte Stars and Stripes decals and affix a silver bald eagle statuette to the roof. And possibly a gun rack.

The interesting thing about Kiwi market Silverados though, is that they’re surprisingly Antipodean in nature. A full re-engineering to OEM standards is completed at Holden Special Vehicles in Aussie before our Silverados arrive here to ensure they meet Ancap safety rules as newly born right-hand-drive trucks.

There are 500 new parts in each one and, rather than the straight steering wheel swap you’re probably expecting, the entire interior is pulled out and refettled to HSV’s liking.

The trucks get speedos in kilometres per hour before they leave North America, although HSV utilises the skills and supply chains of a host of Australian component suppliers to ensure our Silverados look and feel exactly like their ’Murican cousins. HSV even remembers to put a footrest on the right-hand side of the transmission tunnel. Praise the Lord.

Unless your daily routine takes you down skinny central-city side streets, it’s a lot of fun driving a big rig like this.

The cabin space is huge, there is a heap of room in the tray. (It probably doesn’t need to be underlined, but this thing is a good nose longer than the Colorado and that’s mainly down to extended tray space.) And though some of the controls don’t exactly feel refined, they do what’s expected of them.

You’re not lacking for anything either; the Kiwi range is completely tricked out.

The local line-up (available through HSV) is powered by GM’s 6.6-litre Duramax turbo-diesel V8, which offers up 332kW peak power and a massive 1234Nm of torque. If the Silverado can’t tow it, then it should probably be left where it is, in other words.

An Allison 1000 six-speed heavy-duty automatic transmission is standard, as are four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and a heavy-duty locking rear differential.

There’s plenty of chrome-wrap covering the exterior, not least what must be one of the largest grille pieces in all of motordom. Integrated rear bumper corner steps and chrome “assist steps” up into the cab top off the shiny stuff. There are Goodyear Wrangler SR-A LT265/70 R18E all-terrain tyres at each corner, hugging glossy 18in wheels.

The Silverado looks ... well, like a Silverado.

Colour choice aside, there isn’t any extra you’d need to add; potentially a difficult fact to grapple with if you’re stepping into a Silverado from an accessory-laden “compact” ute.

The other potentially difficult fact to grapple with will be the price.

The $134,990 2500 HD WT (work truck) represents a heck of a lot of truck for the money, but it’ll be the grades above — especially the twinned $163,990 Midnight and Custom Sport editions — that most people opt for.

But then, anyone who’s buying one will want it irrespective of the sticker on the window.

After all, the Silverado will look damn good parked next to that Chevy Camaro on the other side of your (large) garage.