Which is the better purchase? Silverado 1500 or 2500

Oct 21, 2021
Hello, I am looking to get opinions on a used pick up truck purchase.

I recently moved out to a rural part of the county. I need a pick up truck for general tasks that include hauling firewood, drywall/lumber runs from the home improvement store, towing a 6x12 trailer with ATV’s on it, etc. I will not be snow plowing, hauling larger trailers or heavy items, or doing true “heavy duty” type work with the truck. I just need something that will last another 100k miles with no major problems or failures. I am the type of owner that is strict on maintenance, so I do not anticipate surprises, but you all might know certain issues for the model years.

Is a ½ ton or ¾ ton truck better suited for me?

The trucks I am looking at are the 3rd generation Silverado. A 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 and a 2016 Chevy Silverado 2500HD to be specific. Along with the tasks I mentioned above, this truck will also be my daily driver. My daily commute to work is a 60 mile round trip, 5 days per week. The breakdown is 30 miles city driving and 30 miles interstate.

Fuel economy is one of more important things to me. I know with these trucks I won’t be seeing outstanding fuel economy numbers, but as $4/gal + gasoline prices are on the way, it’s hard for me to totally look beyond my annual fuel cost. Fuelly.com shows the average 2018 1500 MPG at 16.3 average 2016 2500HD MPG at 13.6. A friend of mine has a 2016 1500 and does a lot of highway traveling and claims to get 22 MPG since the motor deactivates 4 cylinders when cruising.

Here are the specifics of each truck. I am hoping for information about whether the engines, transmissions, other driveline components, odd annoying things, etc. will happen given the specific model years.

Which truck would provide a longer life?

2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 (4X4 Z71) - 75,000 miles

Engine: Vortec 5.3L (ECOTEC3) with Active Fuel Management 355 HP, 383 LB-FT torque

Transmission: Hydra-Matic 8L90 (8 speed)

Gearing Ratio: 3.42

Towing Capacity: 9,000 – 10,000 lbs

GVWR: 7,200 LBS

Payload: 2,000 LBS (approximately)

Fuel tank: 26 gal

2016 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (4X4 Z71) – 110,000 miles

Engine: Vortec 6.0L V-8 (L96 / LC8) 360 HP, 380 LB-FT torque

Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L90 (6 speed)

Gear Ratio: 4.10

Towing Capacity: 13,000 LBS

GVWR: 9,500 LBS

Payload: 3,000 LBS (approximately)

Fuel tank: 36 gal
Get the 1500. If you aren't happy with the way it pulls with the 3.42, then swap it for a 3.73.... and you'll still be ahead over the 6.0 with the 4.10, on mileage.
I'd go for the 1500 as well - fuel use with that should be notably better, though still not ideal for 1200 miles of commuting per month (plus, I assume, weekend driving and other trips). Our Silverado with the same engine could probably pull around 20mpg on a commute like that, assuming you drove it reasonably easily and the city portion isn't too clogged with traffic - that's 60 gallons a month in commuting fuel, give or take, plus other driving. Our Silverado has averaged 19mpg for its lifetime of 75,000 miles, which seems fairly respectable. The 22mpg your friend quoted is reasonable under good conditions, in my experience, and the AFM helps out a fair bit. I'd be surprised if the 2500 came within 3mpg of the 1500 in any case.
I have a 2018 Silverado LTZ Crew Cab-5.3/4WD. Other than the know issues (clunky powertrain/slushbox transmission) none of which affect resale or reliability it will do the job. I have towed my 5,000-pound 30 foot travel trailer to the East Coast and back-and tow at high elevations (8,000 foot mountain passes) regularly with no issues. Before somebody else brings it up-the AFM is active and those with issues represent a decimal point followed by many, many zeros.....

BTW-unless you are talking a regular cab-the payload isn't anywhere near 2,000 pounds.

The truck will do 25mpg at 70mph also.

The transmission fluid on the 8 speed may need to be changed to the newer Mobil one if there are any issues. But they are generally solid.

I'm happy to see at least there are truck owners on this thread-and not those who feel they need to comment like on the last "truck transmission temperature fluid" thread who didn't know what they were talking about.
Last edited:
The 1500 has a problematic transmission but better ride and fuel mileage. 2500 had better engine and transmission but worse fuel mileage
On the 2500 if you lower tire pressure you get better ride you have to stare at the low tire pressure warning light
That 6 liter pushrod motor will get a lot worse mpg. however the 1500 has direct injection so make sure you run some PEA each oil change. clogged injectors cost some money. I have a 17 6.2l LTZ and the trans while annoying to some is still functional and durable for a working truck. I easily get 18-19 mpg with oversize tires and can get 20-21 if I feather touch the throttle. Towed 12k trailer cross country no issues ~13mpg.
Last edited:
The 3/4 will give you more room to grow if you decide to buy a TT later on. Theoretically, the 6.0 is also a more reliable engine.

The 1500 is a better choice for commuting and all-around use, though.
The 1500 has a problematic transmission but better ride and fuel mileage. 2500 had better engine and transmission but worse fuel mileage
On the 2500 if you lower tire pressure you get better ride you have to stare at the low tire pressure warning light
No-it doesn't. How's your mini van running?
neither, they are both Chevy's... :ROFLMAO:

Can you test drive them? I have a Ram 2500 and can agree insurance and parts are more expensive but I wanted a diesel to pull our TT. I lower the tire pressures to mid 60psi when not towing for a better ride. If fuel mileage is the deal breaker the 1500 is probably the better choice...

Just my $0.02
With the use and duty cycle you describe and in consideration of current and future gasoline prices and your daily commute, I believe the 1500 is the better option. I've driven GM trucks with the 5.3 for years. Currently have a 2019 with the dynamic fuel management. If driven reasonably the GM 1/2 tons with the 5.3 return some impressive gas mileage for pushing a 5000+lbs brick through the wind. The 6.0 has some great pluses, but fuel economy isn't its strong suit. Even though the 1/2 ton truck you are considering has the AFM system, I never personally had any issues with AFM. Chalk up my vote for the 1500.
Does it have to be 4x4?

You seem to want everything... at least you don't mention a quad cab.

I do fine with a 1/2 ton 2008 silverado 4.8/4L60E 2x4 reg cab and a Prius Prime. Towed a Honda Accord plus dolly, should be near 4k lbs.

Being out in the country, your insurance/ registration/ parking should be cheap enough for a spare vehicle. And you can save significant money waiting for mail order parts to DIY vs having to fix the truck tonight for work tomorrow.
Unless you are towing/hauling things that need to be done with a 2500 often, the 1500 is a better option.

Now if you want economy and from all the GM forums I'm on, the 3.0 diesel in the 1500 is getting crazy mileage. Depending on how some drive it is seeing real world 30mpg. 600 to 700 miles to a tank. But then this is a new truck and way more expensive and right now almost impossible to get.