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2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ReviewThe Good
For 2009, Chevrolet happily says goodbye to the cheap plastic control knobs of days past and welcomes an improved Silverado 1500 that maintains its reputation as a workhorse with a comfortable ride.The Bad
Only time will tell if the Silverado 1500’s new interior design will answer previous complaints about its cheap plastic and out-of-reach center console.
The CarGurus View
It's impossible to ignore the overall quality of the Silverado 1500, and anyone who needs a truck for work - or just likes riding high on the road - will find it hard not to enjoy what Chevrolet has to offer.
At a Glance
The 2009 Silverado 1500 comes in five trims. In ascending order of price and options, they are the Work Truck, LS, LT1, and LTZ, each available with both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. The number of options can be downright overwhelming, but the basic idea is that the Work Truck is the most spartan, bare-bones Silverado 1500, and the LTZ is the truck you might see in a rock star's garage. The '09 is a carryover from '08, so there are no major design changes, but there are improvements to the interior and two additional engines. The biggest trim change is the reintroduced Hybrid, a truck offering drivers an environmentally friendlier alternative, which rolls out of production in late 2008.
The Work Truck is available in all cab sizes, with a 4.3-liter V6 coming standard and any other engine under 6 liters optional. The only engine available for the Crew Cab LS is the 4.8-liter V8, but it offers up a few more accessories and niceties and more chrome than the Work Truck. The LT1 is also available in all cab sizes and comes standard with the same 4.8-liter engine, but it's upgradeable up to the 6.0-liter V8. A 6.2-liter FlexFuel V8 is available only in the LTZ - the top trim – which comes in Crew Cab or Extended Cabin with a standard 5.3-liter V8.
Like most of its pickup counterparts, the Silverado 1500 is highly customizable with three body styles: Regular, Extended Cabin, and Crew Cab. Most of those three styles can be combined with variable bed lengths: a 5-foot, 8-inch short bed; a 6-foot, 6-inch standard bed; and an 8-foot long bed. Interiors now come in two versions, called the "Pure Pickup" and the "Luxury Inspired," which have both departed from past Silverados' traditional sub-par interior design by receiving high marks. New for 2009 are an available hybrid engine and a larger 6.2-liter gas engine.
Along with a large number of trims come a variety of engines. The transmission for the 4.3-liter and the 4.8-liter engines is a four-speed automatic with overdrive. The two larger engines are endowed with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 4.3-liter, 195-hp V6 stands as the smallest in the lineup, with its rear-wheel drive transmission getting 15/20 mpg and the all-wheel getting 14/18. The next rung up on the ladder is the 4.8-liter, 295-hp V8, which gets 14/19 with two-wheel drive and 14/18 with all-wheel drive. Next is the 5.3-liter, 315-hp V8, which surprisingly gets the best overall EPA estimated gas mileage of the family, with 15/20 for the rear-wheel drive and 14/19 using all four wheels. The papa bear, and all new for 2009, is a 6.2-liter, 403-hp V8.
The towing capacity of the V6 engine is 5,200 pounds, and the range grows to max out at the 6.2-liter’s capacity of 10,700 pounds. (Any seriously heavy towing is usually relegated to a Silverado HD 2500 or 3500.) The payloads for each size Silverado can be found on our Specs page.
Available again in 2009 is the Silverado 1500 Hybrid, which uses a 6.2-liter V8 engine coupled with an electric engine that works either alone or in conjunction with its gas counterpart. The electric engine does not need to be plugged in, and the Hybrid Silverado has a towing capacity of 6,100 lbs. This is Chevrolet's second attempt at a hybrid engine, with the previous model having failed to find a niche.
The Hybrid operates in two modes. The first mode is for traveling at low speeds with light loads, when it uses either straight electric power, the gas engine, or a combination of the two. The second mode is used at highway speeds, when the gas engine is primarily used, with the electric helping power either four or all eight cylinders for accelerations, steep inclines, or towing power.
Ride & Handling
Because a truck can be used for a wide range of jobs and chores, the 1500 is available with five separate suspensions. The Z83 and the Z85 are what you would anticipate from your typical pickup truck: a lofty, comfortable ride that is expectedly top-heavy when cornering. The Z60 version stiffens up both the steering and the suspension to give the Silverado street performance. The Z71 offers off-road abilities but has been reported to be quite stiff on the road, with riders feeling most bumps and cracks. And if towing is what you need, the NHT suspension is built just for that.
In terms of acceleration and power, every 1500 trim tested well for initial and highway power. On the highway, it accelerates aptly and drops down to fourth gear without a pronounced delay. The Hybrid trim performs much like the other trims in most road tests, but the transition from full electric power to gas involves a slight surge in both noise and inertia. While in full-electric mode, the 1500 emits only a quiet whir.
Cabin & Comfort
The front seats for all three cabin sizes provide ample room, both in height and length. The Extended Cab gives the option of carrying more passengers, but the legroom is tight, especially in the middle, where legs might hit the back of the center console. The Crew Cab brings an abundance of room to the rear, and passengers not only enjoy legroom, but the added height that comes with a full-size truck.
The Silverado's interior is offered in two versions, both of which have been improved after years of being maligned by critics. The Pure Pickup interior adds features to its spartan predecessor, using higher-quality plastics for the controls. The only complaint has been that that the console is a bit too high and out of reach.
The Luxury Inspired interior brings the console lower and into better reach, only to make it ignorable by including wheel-mounted controls. Depending on the trim, the Luxury Inspired interior can be standard or an optional upgrade.
OnStar is standard on all models, with a complementary 1-year subscription. And convenience packages that include fog lamps, heated rearview mirrors, dual-zone climate control, and heated windshield-washer fluid are optional for the LT1 and LTZ.
The Work Truck and LS are quite simple on the inside, with no options offered. Only with the LT1 and the LTZ are you offered options such as: a sunroof, dual climate control, a power-sliding rear window, premium cloth or leather seating, and navigational and stereo upgrades. Bottom line: You’re going to need at least an LT1 if you want any cool features or gadgets in your truck.
A truck's height, weight, and sheer density add to its overall safety in an accident, but also increase the chance of a rollover. Even so, the 1500 provides dual front airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, and side curtain airbags. The NHTSA gave the Silverado full marks across the board for safety, with its lowest mark being a four out of five for rollover resistance.
What Owners Think
There are very few user reviews of the 2009 Silverado, but 2008 reviews show a convincing display of support for the Silverado. Whether users were commenting on its capability as a work truck or its quiet, comfortable interior, almost everyone had good things to say. Most complaints were centered around the 1500's gas consumption, even though it's rated highest in its class for mileage. Most reviews include no negatives.
by Ollie Garrison
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Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Questions
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