2009 Silverado 1500 New Car Test Drive
The 2009 Chevy Silverado phases in a new six-speed automatic transmission, a bigger V8, an economical XFE model, and a gasoline-electric hybrid. The Silverado was lavished with product awards when it was redesigned for 2007. The 2008 models brought some additional features and refinement. For 2009, all the major changes are under the hood for 2009.
Silverado styling is bold by GM truck standards yet still traditional when compared with the latest pickups from Dodge, Nissan, Toyota, and Ford. We like the clean, bold look.
The Silverado is available in more ways than starlets misbehave, with three cabs, three beds, five engines (nine if you count all the 5.3-liter derivatives), three transmissions, and five suspension setups on four wheelbase lengths. The key is knowing which bits go on which trucks because little more than bow-tie badges and front fenders are shared amongst all of them.
For 2009, additional upgrades include a rearview camera system, a navigation system, updated wheels, OnStar 8.0 with turn-by-turn navigation and destination download, Bluetooth, and XM radio with real-time traffic information.
The Chevy Silverado is highly capable for towing or hauling, the amounts of which vary by model, of course. Your choice of a Silverado may come down to style, fit, the right equipment and options or simply brand loyalty, but choosing the right Silverado is more important than choosing a Silverado over another brand. So choose carefully.
Engines include one V6 and four V8s, plus a hybrid. The base setup is a 4.3-liter V6 (195 hp/260 lb-ft of torque) with four-speed automatic, offered only on regular cabs and 2WD extended cab short or standard bed. The integrated trailer brake controller and enhanced stability control are not available with the 4.3-liter. The 4.8-liter V8 (295 hp/305 lb-ft of torque) and four-speed automatic are standard on Crew Cab and 4WD extended cab short or standard bed and many LT models.
The 5.3-liter V8 comes in four states of tune, all at 315 hp and 338 lb-ft of torque, with active fuel management that shuts off cylinders to save fuel, iron or aluminum block, and available flex-fuel operation is standard on most LTZ models; some will have four-speed automatics while the six-speed is phased in. A 6.0-liter aluminum block V8 (367 hp/375 lb-ft of torque) with variable cam timing and active fuel management is available on long-cab LT and LTZ models in conjunction with the NHT maximum tow package. The six-speed automatic is being phased in as standard.
XFE (Xtra fuel economy) models use a 5.3-liter V8, six-speed automatic and cruising-biased axle ratio of 3.08:1 to increase EPA ratings. XFE versions feature aerodynamic upgrades in the form of a soft bed cover and extended front air dam, plus aluminum wheels (including the spare) and lower front suspension arms, locking rear differential, and low rolling resistance tires. A trailering package is standard so XFE models can tow up to 7000 pounds.
New for 2009 is the 6.2-liter V8 (403 hp/417 lb-ft of torque), a flex-fuel engine with aluminum block and variable cam timing and a six-speed automatic. It is offered only on Crew Cab models and returns 13/19 mpg EPA ratings with premium unleaded recommended.
The other new power option for 2009 is the two-mode Hybrid that debuted in the 2008 Tahoe and Yukon. This Crew Cab uses a slightly detuned 6-liter V8 (332 hp/367 lb-ft of torque), battery pack, and four-speed automatic with the two electric motors in it. EPA ratings are 21/22 mpg. Tow ratings are available to 6100 pounds, maximum payload is in the 1400-pound range.
The 2009 Chevy Silverado is available in four trim levels: WT, LS (Crew Cab only), LT, and LTZ. Packages can often upgrade amenities without upgrading engines or body styles.
WT ($18,045) is a basic work truck that comes with a driver information center, AM/FM/XM stereo, 40/20/40 split-bench, vinyl-covered front seat, dual glove boxes, two auxiliary power outlets, tire pressure monitoring system, OnStar and a four-speed automatic transmission. The LS Crew Cab ($28,710) offers more features.
LT ($25,160) adds a cloth-covered front seat with lockable storage under the seat, a CD player and MP3 compatibility, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and outside temperature displays, chrome front bumper and 17-inch styled steel wheels, and power folding and heated exterior mirrors. LT models can be upgraded with premium cloth front bucket seats with six-way power adjustment, dual-zone automatic temperature controls, audio controls mounted on the steering wheel, fog lamps, aluminum wheels, chromed bumper, and a spare tire lock.
LTZ ($33,080) adds heavy-duty trailering equipment, an automatic locking rear differential, body-colored bumpers, reclining and heated leather front seats with 12-way power, an in-dash six-CD changer with Bose speakers, 18-inch wheels, turn signal indicators in the exterior rearview mirrors and heated windshield washers.
Extended Cab and Crew Cab models have back seats and windows in the side doors that power down. The Crew Cab has four front-hinged doors, much like a sport utility vehicle. The Extended Cab has rear access doors hinged at the rear that open to 170 degrees to provide full access to the rear seating area. The Regular Cab can be outfitted with a standard bed (6-foot, 6-inch) or long bed (8-foot). The Extended Cab also offers a short (5-foot, 8-inch) bed, which is the only bed available on the Crew Cab.
Five suspensions are available: Z83 is the standard setup designed for a smooth ride; Z85 is a little firmer for enhanced handling and towing; Z71 is for off-road driving and includes 18-inch wheels; Z60 is for maximum street performance and includes 20-inch wheels; NHT is for maximum towing capacity (bigger rear axle with locking differential, HD cooling, and so forth) and includes high-capacity rear springs as well as all-terrain tires.
Safety features on all Silverado models include dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitoring system. Safety options include side-curtain airbags, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, Autotrac active transfer case, rear park assist, and OnStar.
Option prices vary by trim level and body style. Among them: a cargo management system for the truck bed ($95), a power sliding sunroof ($795), 20-inch wheels/suspension ($995), a power sliding rear window ($200), rear-seat entertainment system ($1,295), and navigation system ($2,250). On lesser models: locking differential ($395), StabiliTrak electronic stability control ($425), tow packages.