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1997 Chevrolet K1500

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1997 Chevrolet K1500 Review

Hauling and towing with style.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1997 Chevrolet K1500 truck line has a rich heritage and storied history. In fact, the Chevy C- and K-series truck lines stand alongside the Chevrolet Camaro as one of the manufacturer’s oldest offerings. The K1500 models provide half-ton four-wheel-drive trucks. They mark some of the best-selling vehicles ever produced by General Motors. While Ford produces the better-selling, similarly sized, F-series line of trucks, Chevrolet truck customers often remain loyal to their brand for a lifetime. And, truth be told, the two trucks show very few differences, despite marketing angles.

Choosing a full-size Chevrolet K1500 proves a daunting task thanks to the somewhat overwhelming selection of models. Available model selections run the gamut of varied wheelbase offerings, cargo bed sizes, cab designs, and Fleetside or Sportside bed styles. Chevrolet offers four engine sizes, one of which is a diesel engine.

The Range

Body Styles: two-door regular cab, two-door extended cab, three-door extended cab, four-door crew cab
Engines: 4.3-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8, 5.7-liter V-8, 6.5-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Chevrolet K1500 Regular Cab long bed, Chevrolet K1500 Regular Cab short bed, Chevrolet K1500 Extended Cab short bed, Chevrolet K1500 Extended Cab long bed, Chevrolet K1500 Regular Cab Sportside, Chevrolet K1500 Extended Cab Sportside, Chevrolet K1500 Regular Cab W/T short bed, Chevrolet K1500 Regular Cab W/T long bed

What's New

The 1997 Chevrolet K1500 has a tighter turning radius and three new exterior paint colors. The truck shifts smoother than ever with the automatic transmission’s newly advanced transmission fluid pump. The manual transmission also has a quicker and more efficient response, less noise, and a better feel when shifting. It has a noticeably reduced low-speed steering effort with the new Electronic Variable Orifice steering. The passenger airbag includes a new disabling switch, which seems especially nice for parents using rear-facing child safety seats to transport small children.


Since the Chevrolet K1500 has so many available body selections, exterior dimensions vary. Depending on the model and style, the K1500 can have a curb weight anywhere between 4206 pounds and 4873 pounds. The body’s overall length ranges from 194.5 to 237.4 inches long. The 1997 Chevrolet K1500 measures anywhere from 76.8 to 77.1 inches wide, and it stands 73.2 inches tall. Wheelbases vary from 117.5 to 155.5 inches.

The K1500’s exterior has front and back chrome bumpers. Exterior paint colors come with a choice of either metallic or gloss paint. The K1500 also features power mirrors, a tinted rear window, and daytime running lights with halogen bulb headlights. The Sportside trim showcases black bumpers with black trim, custom-designed 16-inch aluminum rims, wheel flares, and mirrors.


The regular cab 1997 Chevrolet K1500 seats up to three occupants. The extended cab models accommodate six people. Headroom feels comfortable with 39.9 inches in the front and 37.5 inches in the back seat. Front legroom seems spacious with 41.7 inches, while rear legroom totals 34.8 inches. Vinyl upholstery comes standard; leather seats provide an option with the luxury package. An illuminated entry system aids entry and exit and reading lights improve visibility in the front seat. The cargo area looks well-lit as well.

Performance & Handling

Off-road maneuvering in the 1997 K1500 improves thanks to the vehicle’s tighter turning radius. Driver handling and control improves with the K1500’s anti-lock braking system. The standard 4.3-liter V-6 produces 200 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 244 lb-ft of torque at 2800 rpm.

The Work Truck (W/T) K1500 models have the lowest maximum towing capacity at 5000 pounds. The regular cab 1997 Chevrolet K1500 reaches a maximum towing capacity of 7000 pounds, while the extended cab models can two up to 7500 pounds. The maximum payload capacity (the total weight the chassis can withstand) varies by model but typically ranges from 1668 to 1938 pounds.


All 1997 Chevrolet K1500 models come standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, and driver and passenger front airbags. NHTSA crash test results give the K1500 four stars for passenger safety and five stars for driver safety in front-impact crashes.

EPA Fuel Economy

Chevrolet K1500, 4.3-liter V-6: 15/19-20 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet K1500, 5.7-liter V-8: 13/17-18 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet K1500, five-liter V-8: 13-14/18 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet K1500, 6.5-liter V-8 Diesel: 15/18 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Optional Vortec 5700 V-8
  • Timeless styling
  • Passenger airbag
  • Third door on extended cab

You Won't Like

  • Interior styling
  • Poorly located cup holders
  • Uncomfortable seats
  • Aging design

Sum Up

Hauling and towing with style.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Dodge Ram 1500
  • Ford F-150
  • Ford F-250

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