This 2021 Chevy Silverado truck has a crazy-cool digital rear-view mirror

A red 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab LTZ pickup truck on a beautiful farm next to the mountains.
Credit: Chevy

It can drive over a snowbank. In heavy mud, you probably won’t get stuck even if you try. You’re able to tow a massive camper or pull a tree trunk out of the ground.

And yet, the feature I was impressed with the most on the 2021 Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab LTZ truck happens to be the digital rear-view mirror.

In more and more vehicles, digital video is becoming more common when it comes to back-up cameras, seeing a forward-facing camera (like you can on the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 AMG) when you come to a stop, or even a side-angle video feed (many current Honda vehicles). Call it the impact of Netflix and Hulu if you want, we just like our video.

In the 2021 Silverado 1500, an unusual new feature is the digital rear-view mirror. Frankly, I’ve seen these in luxury cars and even a Nissan or two, but on the truck, it is even more useful. You can zoom in and out to view the car in front of you, and the real benefit is that it doesn’t matter what you have in the truck bed because the camera is on the rear gate.

I should know: I tried moving a few boxes and stacked them up and bungee-corded them to block my entire view behind the truck. I wanted to see what it was like to drive this pick-up without being able to see a thing through the normal rear-view mirror (invented by a guy named Elmer Berger way back in 1921 and still a common staple in every new car).

There’s a ton of flexibility here. In the 1500, I decided to zoom in more than usual and watched as cars approached behind me with ease. It’s handy to have a close-up view and adjust what you see rather than relying on an invention from 100 years ago.

I could also see a few other implications. If I was towing a trailer, it would be cool to inspect what I’m lugging behind me and choose between a more wide-angle view and one that is more close-up. I’ve towed trailers filled with gear and even had items jostle-free at times, and I imagined being able to keep an eye out for anything that is working itself loose.

And then there’s the fact that you can still see if you have a tall passenger sitting behind you in the second row (called a crew cab). In my case, the crew was my son and his girlfriend, both of whom are fairly tall. Having a passenger sitting right in the middle of the second-row seat and not being able to see can be distracting. With the digital mirror, that is not an issue.

In the future, I suspect we’ll see even more digital mirror options, especially for the side mirrors (although I am not sure how that will work). I could see more real-time video monitoring in trucks and options to see a live view beyond what I’ve typically seen (such as side and overhead monitoring). I could also see being able to zoom in with more of these cameras rather than relying on a static view that is common on some trucks these days.

For now, the digital mirror is a highlight for me on the Chevy Silverado, one feature that is easy to take for granted right up until you see a tarp start to blow away in the wind.