For many Chevy truck fans, only the half-ton Silverado will do. With 11 special edition models, buyers have plenty of choices to get something out of the ordinary. Autowise.com reviewed the most popular ones. Among them is the High Desert Special Edition, which tackles the trails while looking great.
Let’s look at the High Desert as well as two other Silverado Special Editions that offer off-road capabilities.
The Chevy Silverado High Desert Special Edition
Chevrolet first revealed the High Desert Special Edition Silverado as a show truck at SEMA in 2014. Then, the automaker officially introduced it there in 2016. Many consider it a replacement for the Avalanche pickup truck Chevrolet produced from 2007 to 2013.
The Silverado High Desert has the right balance of elegance and ruggedness for drivers who want the ease of a lifestyle pickup plus ample off-roading capabilities. The truck is available on the LT, LTZ, and High Country trim levels.
Equipped with the Z71 Off-Road Package, the Chevy Silverado High Desert has many features that off-roading enthusiasts need, like Rancho shocks, hill descent control, and underbody transfer case shield. Other features of this package include automatic locking rear differential, brushed metal sill plates, a high-capacity air cleaner, tow hooks, and all-terrain tires.
On the LT trim level, 20-inch wheels come standard, while the LTZ and High Country have 22-inch wheels. Unique to the High Desert Special Edition are the sport bar and sail panel, which echo the earlier Chevy Avalanche. Drivers can mount lights on one or both, and the sport bar has a third brake light.
A big bonus of this special edition compared to others is its flexible storage system. It has a set of two lockable, illuminated side bins mounted over the truck bed. The storage system also includes a three-piece, removable hard tonneau cover.
Inside, a cargo divider can be lowered or raised according to the size of the items being carried. The system is handy for protecting and securing any gear off-road or on the freeway.
For buyers who crave a little off-road luxury in this Chevy special edition, the High Country is the top of the Silverado trim levels. This version is powered by a standard 5.3-liter V8 engine or an optional 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
Besides the massive 22-inch wheels, this trim level comes with leather upholstery and wheel-to-wheel power assist steps with three settings. This High Desert version comes exclusively in a 4×4 crew cab style. Buyers can choose between a 5-foot-8 or 6-foot-6 box.
A truly special feature that’s standard with this trim is GM’s magnetic ride control technology, also used in Camaros and Corvettes. This electronically-controlled damping system fine-tunes the truck’s suspension in real-time to adjust to road irregularities. It improves body motion control while helping the truck handle its payload. Magnetic ride control is offered as an option at the LT and LTZ trim levels.
Any special edition package offering this many features is expensive, so it’s no surprise that the High Desert package costs $6,995. Buyers can drive a Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab Short Box High Country with the High Desert package off the lot for an MSRP of $54,000.
Other Chevy Silverado Special Editions with off-road capabilities
Compared to other Silverado Special Editions, the High Desert version is hard to beat for off-roading. But it’s also the most expensive one. Buyers who may want something less spendy but also want the Z71 package on a special edition Silverado have some options.
For example, the Midnight Special Edition is a murdered-out version of the Silverado with all of the Z71 goodies. It features a two-inch lifted suspension and 18-inch black wheels wrapped in Goodyear off-road tires.
The all-black Midnight is available in the LT Trail Boss or Custom Trail Boss trim levels. Buyers can also get this special edition on a Silverado 2500 HD. At $1,050, the package is reasonable. With the Midnight Edition, a Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab Short Box LTZ Z71 costs $43,350.
Other Silverado Special Editions equipped with the Z71 package for solid off-road capabilities are the Redline and Realtree. The Redline is new this year and available on LT Z71 double cabs and LTZ Z71 crew cabs.
Although it’s marketed as an appearance package with red and black accents, it does come with 20-inch wheels, off-road assist steps, and red recovery hooks that add to its off-road-worthiness. The upgrade runs for $2,695, and a 4WD Double Cab LT Z71 version of the Redline prices out at $48,915.