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Silverado High Country – Where Posh Meets Utility.

I learned to drive on a farm, first with the tractors and then in the pickup truck. While I don’t recall how old I was at the time, it had to be whenever my feet could reach the pedals. The farm boy equipment operating rules didn’t include the DMV and I’ll bet many readers may have had a similar experience.

Pickup trucks were different back in that era. They were rugged work vehicles where even a radio was seldom optioned. When the family traveled into the city for church or to see a movie, we took the nice sedan. The thought of a luxurious pickup, complete with a sunroof, climate control, leather seating and Bose audio was unimaginable back then. And I’d have taken the challenge of “Teen Driver Mode”, a contemporary feature that limits youthful enthusiasm, and dealt with it just like the engine governor I disabled on my Cushman motor scooter.

Work trucks are still available today, mostly suited for commercial and government fleets. You can quickly spot them by the lack of a big chrome face and fancy wheels on the outside and spartan interiors that feature heavy-duty vinyl seating and rubber floormats. You can also tell by the window sticker, with Chevy’s sturdy two-door Work Truck model starting at $36,800 MSRP and I’ll bet it even comes with a radio.

Our Silverado Crew High Country 4WD came rather lavishly equipped at a base price of $66,200, but quickly added $11,300 of options that included power-retractable assist steps to reach a breathtaking $78,495 MSRP including freight. Not sure you’ll spot many of these bringing bales of hay to the barn.

Now before you rush to the conclusion that I’m looking askance at fancy pickups, they clearly can be quite useful. Perhaps you have a big RV trailer to pull and you’d like to travel in the luxury you so richly deserve. Our big rig with its 6.2-liter V8 can tow up to 13,200-pounds. And if it’s a really big trailer, perhaps a three-bedroom, two-bath model with a fifth wheel hitch, the HD High Country 2500 can pull 36,000-pounds with its 6.6-liter Duramax turbo diesel and Allison transmission.

Although my test truck was willing, I didn’t tow or haul a thing during my week’s evaluation. Instead, we just preened around the island in our Radiant Red Chevy performing errands that could have been accomplished with our old MINI Cooper Coupe. I also had the opportunity to compare the visceral truck sensation with my last Silverado candidate that was powered with Chevy’s very competent 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Although the four made the same 430 lb ft of torque as our big V8, it didn’t sound or feel as potent. It’s entirely possible that my raptor-response, male instincts were weighing in on the subject.

Pickups have become our nation’s most popular vehicle class, a phenomenon I’m sure you’ve noticed when parking downtown. There are scores of trim models to choose from, depending on your requirements, whim and budget and many carry fun names. Ford offers a King Ranch while RAM counters with its Big Horn and Toyota weighs in with a 1794 Edition. And we’ll stay friends as long as you don’t ask to borrow my pickup.

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