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Expert Reviews 1 of 4
By Mike Magda
November 4, 2008
Vehicle Overview The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a bread-and-butter, all-American pickup with more emphasis on work than on gimmicks. The Silverado shares its GMT900 platform with the GMC Sierra 1500, but there are some styling and interior differences to appeal to shoppers with different tastes.
The Silverado comes in regular, extended and crew cab versions. Standard (6-foot, 6-inch) and long (8.0-foot) cargo beds are available on regular and extended cabs, while the crew cab gets a short (5-foot, 9-inch) bed. All configurations are available in two- or four-wheel drive. Chevy offers an incredible eight engines, but not all are available with each configuration. Some engines are E85 capable. GM also has five different suspensions in the Silverado lineup.
There are four trim levels: WT, LS, LT and LTZ. The popular Z71 offroad model returns with upgraded shocks, skid plates and special badging. Most V-8 models are rated to tow around 9,000 pounds, but some models manage more than 10,000 pounds with an enhanced trailering package. The Silverado doesn't offer fancy luxury packages, but rather provides an outstanding foundation to tackle tough chores while giving owners freedom to personalize their truck.
New for 2009 In addition to adding a monster 6.2-liter engine to the lineup, Chevy will also debut a new model designed to squeeze every mile possible out of a gallon of gasoline. The Silverado XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy) has aerodynamic enhancements, an aluminum-block 5.3-liter flex-fuel V-8, a six-speed automatic transmission and 3.08:1 rear axle ratio. Available on two-wheel-drive trucks, the XFE has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 15/21 mpg city/highway. That's 1 mpg better than non-XFE models. More V-8 models will get the six-speed automatic transmission, and an electronic stability system is now standard on all models except those with a V-6. GM also updated some electronic features; OnStar adds Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Bluetooth and Destination Download, and vehicles with XM Satellite Radio can now get NavTraffic. A rearview camera system is available on extended and crew cab models.
Exterior While GM is trying to differentiate the Silverado and Sierra, the common silhouette is hard to overcome, even with unique front fenders, grille, bumpers, headlamps, cargo box and taillamps. There's also still a strong family resemblance with the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban.
Very wide rear-door opening on extended cab models to load passengers, cargo
LT has chrome bumper, LTZ gets body-colored bumper
Range of 17-, 18- and 20-inch wheels available
EZ Lift tailgate available
Interior The Silverado offers two distinct interiors. The WT, LS and LT get an interior that's more work-oriented, while the LTZ draws inspiration from the SUV lineup. Besides interior fabrics and colors, the dash layouts are different, and the work trucks have larger controls. The easiest way to tell the difference is that work trucks have two glove boxes and LTZs have one. The Silverado cab is spacious and well-organized. The work trucks come standard with cloth seating; leather is available on the LT. The LTZ gets heated leather seats, wood trim, a Bose sound system and a larger center console. The split-bench rear seat in crew cabs can be folded up to expand load space.
Available power-sliding rear window
Available navigation system on LTZ, LT
Integrated trailer brake controls
Theater-style rear seating
Under the Hood
195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6 with iron block and cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 260 pounds-feet of torque
295-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 with iron block and aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 305 pounds-feet of torque
Flex-fuel 315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with iron block and aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 338 pounds-feet of torque
315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with iron block and aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 338 pounds-feet of torque
Flex-fuel 315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with aluminum block and cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 338 pounds-feet of torque
315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with aluminum block and cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 338 pounds-feet of torque
367-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 with iron block/aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 375 pounds-feet of torque
Flex-fuel 403 horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 with aluminum block/cylinder heads, cam-in-block and two valves per cylinder that makes 417 pounds-feet of torque
Safety GM's electronic stability system includes rollover mitigation technology. It's standard on all V-8 models. The Silverado can be ordered with roof-mounted side curtain airbags to help protect cab occupants on LT and LTZ models, but seat-mounted side airbags are not available. GM says its seat belt pretensioners activate during rear-end impacts.
Four-wheel antilock brakes
OnStar sends crash signal to emergency response
Latch child-seat anchors
Available ultrasonic rear parking assist
Of Interest to Truck Owners
Maximum gross vehicle weight rating: 7,000 pounds (4x4 crew cab)
Maximum payload capacity: 1,909 pounds (4x2 crew cab)