2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV First Edition RST Review: All the Bells, All the Whistles

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

By Damon Bell

May 23, 2024

The verdict: The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV delivers impressive power along with top-of-the-class driving range and DC fast-charging speed, but trim choices are limited for now, and some of the pricey First Edition RST’s features are of dubious value.

Versus the competition: In its flagship trim, the Silverado EV compares very favorably to the Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck in terms of specs, performance and gee-whiz available features. However, like its rivals, it’s really heavy and really expensive.

In a way, Chevrolet’s rollout of its all-new, all-electric full-size pickup truck mirrors the tumultuous state of the electric-vehicle market in the U.S. because it’s been happening in fits and starts. The 2024 Silverado EV was first unveiled in January 2022 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with initial deliveries expected to begin in spring 2023 for the all-business Work Truck version (for commercial buyers only) and fall 2023 for the top-line First Edition RST for regular consumers.

The timeline for both versions got pushed back; Cars.com Road Test Editor Brian Normile drove the minimal-frills Work Truck version of the Silverado EV almost a year prior to this review, and I finally just drove the decked-out First Edition RST in and around Detroit. (Per our ethics policy, Cars.com pays for its own travel and lodging when attending such manufacturer-sponsored events.) The Work Truck is on sale now (though it’s for fleet buyers only for the 2024 model year), and the First Edition RST should be arriving in dealerships imminently.

Related: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV Work Truck Quick Spin: Good Omens

Slick Styling

A four-door crew cab is the lone Silverado EV body style, and its styling stands out, especially in RST form. The look is more streamlined and less “trucky” than a conventional gas-engine truck or, for that matter, the Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T and forthcoming Ram 1500 REV electric pickups. (The Tesla Cybertruck is on a planet all its own.) The Silverado EV’s hoodline is shorter, lower and more sloped than most pickups’ (which aids forward visibility), and angled “flying buttress” rear roof pillars bring a sleeker look even though the rear window itself is upright. Though neither the WT or RST have a traditional grille, the RST gets a smooth, body-color panel and full-width daytime running lights that make it look more futuristic than its WT sibling.

All the Bells, All the Whistles

It’s not uncommon for automakers to launch the priciest versions of buzzworthy new vehicles first, and so it is with the First Edition RST. It brings a raft of flashy features that can’t be had on the WT, most notably a fixed-glass roof, four-wheel steering, massive 24-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, a trailer-capable version of GM’s Super Cruise hands-free highway driving system and a novel fold-down midgate similar to the model-year 2002-13 Chevrolet Avalanche pickup’s. Chevy’s Multi-Flex Tailgate is available.

The WT’s dual-motor powertrain makes a healthy 510 horsepower and 615 pounds-feet of torque, but the First Edition RST offers a Wide Open Watts mode that enables up to 754 hp and 785 pounds-feet of torque. This feature is like the GMC Hummer EV Pickup’s Watts to Freedom mode, only a little less insane. Chevrolet estimates a 0-60 mph time of less than 4.5 seconds, which is really moving for a truck this big and heavy. Chevrolet didn’t tell us exactly what the First Edition RST’s curb weight is, but it’s likely heavier than the WT, which checks in at 8,532 pounds.

Speedy and Stiff

Chevrolet arranged for us to make a couple of pedal-to-the-floor 0-60 mph blasts on a closed course in Wide Open Watts mode, and though these weren’t timed runs, that sub-4.5-second estimate felt accurate by the seat of our pants. Pressing a virtual WOW button on the infotainment touchscreen activates the mode, complete with a whimsical, video-game-like electronic “whoosh” sound and a graphical flourish on the touchscreen. The artificial EV powertrain sounds are also more pronounced in WOW mode.

My two WOW runs felt genuinely fast — even with a pair of videographers and their gear on board — but also a bit unsettled, particularly on the first run. The truck seemed to “shimmy” a bit mid-way through the run and didn’t feel totally buttoned down. Hopefully we can get a First Edition RST into our home-office fleet for further testing, including timed acceleration runs at a drag strip.

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Unlike some EV “boost” modes that last for only 10 seconds or so, there is no time restriction for Wide Open Watts mode — it can be left on indefinitely. But you probably won’t feel the need; even in its normal drive modes, the First Edition RST feels plenty quick and responsive, with the “instant-on” torque delivery characteristic of electric powertrains. I wasn’t able to tow during this event, but fellow editor Brian towed around 9,000 pounds with a WT and found it easily up to the task. The First Edition RST’s maximum towing capacity is the same as the WT’s at 10,000 pounds, and its maximum payload capacity is 1,500 pounds — the same as the much smaller Ford Maverick compact pickup.

The optional 24-inch wheels certainly add bling, but they also add what must be a substantial amount of unsprung weight, and that heft is apparent. Even with the adaptive air suspension in its normal setting, the ride was busy and sometimes clunky over manhole covers, potholes and such on Detroit’s less-than-stellar surface streets. Things get notably less harsh at highway speeds, but even so, I would forgo the flash and stick with a smaller-diameter wheel that will almost certainly deliver better overall ride quality.

Bump absorption aside, the First Edition RST handles quite well for a heavy, full-size pickup. The Silverado EV’s exterior dimensions are roughly the same as a gas-engine Silverado crew cab’s, but it feels a touch more composed. Close-quarters maneuverability is improved, too, thanks in part to the four-wheel steering that comes standard on the First Edition RST. The turning circle is a relatively tidy 42.2 feet, according to Chevrolet, and I found my test truck quite easy to park and maneuver in a couple of cramped parking lots.

Charging Speed and Driving Range

I didn’t have the opportunity to test the Silverado EV’s advertised driving range or charging speed, but I have no reason to doubt Chevrolet’s impressive specs. The First Edition RST has a GM-estimated driving range of 440 miles on a full charge — 10 miles fewer than the WT’s EPA-estimated 450-mile maximum range. Both of those figures top all other electric pickup trucks currently on sale, though Ram is promising its 2025 1500 REV will offer a maximum 500 miles of range with its optional larger battery. The Silverado EV’s DC fast-charging capability of up to 350 kilowatts enables approximately 100 miles of range to be added in 10 minutes, according to Chevrolet. Based on our road-tripping and charging experiences with the Hummer EV Pickup (which uses a similar version of GM’s Ultium EV platform), those range estimates are realistic, but achieving the fastest DC charging speeds requires optimal conditions that will likely be hard to come by.

Cargo Flexibility

Like most of its rivals, the Silverado EV has a handy front trunk (Chevy calls it an “eTrunk”) under its hood. It’s not as big as the F-150 Lightning’s Mega Power Frunk (the Lightning’s offers 14.1 cubic feet of space compared to the Silverado EV’s 10.7 cubic feet, according to their respective manufacturer measurements), but it’s still nice to have extra weatherproof, lockable storage space.

No current pickup truck matches the Silverado EV’s Multi-Flex Midgate feature. The forward wall of the pickup bed can be folded down along with the rear seatbacks in a 60/40 split after the rear seat cushions are flipped forward. This essentially extends the pickup bed into the cabin, and if more vertical space is needed, the rear window can also be removed and stowed securely within the folded-down bed wall.

Since everything folds in a 60/40 split, the midgate can be folded on only one side, thus retaining the right-side rear seat (the 40% side) or the left-side seat and center seat (the 60% side) for extra passenger-carrying versatility when hauling a long, narrow item like a kayak. The Silverado EV’s pickup bed is almost 6 feet long, but flipping down the midgate expands the bed-floor length to almost 9 feet. And with the available Multi-Flex Tailgate lowered and its cargo-stop panel flipped up, the bed floor grows to 10 feet, 10 inches long.

The midgate is a novel setup, and it’s well designed, too. Though folding the midgate and removing the rear window is a task best performed by two people, it could be handled by a single person if need be. The seat bottoms and seatbacks/bed walls fold easily, and the rear window is retained by a clever spring-loaded stop so it doesn’t fall forward when its retaining latches are released.

However, I am not sure the average owner will use the midgate regularly once the novelty wears off. It’s great to have the extra hauling capacity, but folding down the midgate and removing the rear window turns the Silverado EV into an open-air pickup in the back, with notably increased ambient noise levels and some wind buffeting — especially at highway speeds. I wouldn’t want to use it in extreme heat or cold, nor any kind of precipitation.

Top-Line Cabin?

A cavernous cabin is a given in a full-size crew-cab pickup, and the Silverado EV’s interior is as generously sized as expected. The First Edition RST’s interior gets some upscale touches, and it’s certainly nicer than what you’ll find in the WT. However, the overall ambiance is a bit underwhelming compared with the ritziest trims of the F-150 and Ram 1500, and it doesn’t look or feel impressive considering this truck’s flagship status and price tag (which we’ll get to in a minute).

Outside of some contrast stitching, glossy accents (including eye-catching metallic-red trim on the air vents) and a First Edition badge on the center-console armrest, there isn’t a lot that says “premium” in terms of the trim itself. It’s the First Edition RST’s features that do the heavy lifting, so to speak. Most are wonderful, but I would gladly do without the fixed-glass roof. It gives the cabin an airier feel, but it doesn’t have an integral sunshade, so the sun heats up the cabin on warmer days even though the glass is tinted.

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The standard 11-inch digital gauge cluster, 17-inch infotainment touchscreen and 14-inch head-up display are all excellent, with clean, easy-to-read graphics. The gauge cluster offers several driver-selectable layouts to suit individual preferences. Some climate controls are absorbed by the touchscreen, which we generally dislike, but the infotainment system responds quickly to inputs, and there are still physical controls, too, including knobs for temperature and audio system volume. Super Cruise is another welcome standard feature that continues to impress; its lane-centering feature works smoothly even on gradual highway curves, with almost no “ping-ponging” in the lane, and both automatic and driver-initiated lane changes are seamless.

Pricing and On-Sale Date

In base Work Truck trim, the Silverado EV starts at around $75K, but the First Edition RST tacks on about $21,500 to that — its starting price is $96,495 (including $1,995 destination charge). Among electric pickups (or even fully decked-out gas-engine pickups) that’s not a ludicrous number (it’s easy to get a Cybertruck or an R1T past the six-figure mark, for example), but unless you’re a first-on-the-block type, I’d wait a little longer to start shopping.

The First Edition RST is in production now and should be rolling into dealerships in earnest by mid-June; its headline-grabber features certainly make it a flashier truck, but I am not sure they make it a better truck. Chevrolet is in the process of filling out the Silverado EV lineup; LT and “regular” RST versions are coming later in the 2024 model year, as are WT versions for nonfleet customers. An off-road-oriented Trail Boss is slated to arrive for the 2025 model year. Chevrolet hasn’t given any specific details on any of these future versions yet, but my hunch is that most of them will strike a better balance of price, features and day-to-day comfort and usability for the average truck buyer than the First Edition RST does.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Senior Research Editor Damon Bell has more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry, beginning as an Engineering Graphics researcher/proofreader at model-car manufacturer Revell-Monogram. From there, he moved on to various roles at Collectible Automobile magazine and Consumer Guide Automotive before joining Cars.com in August 2022. He served as president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association in 2019 and 2020. Email Damon Bell


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