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2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ReviewThe Good
The 2010 Chevy Silverado 1500 boasts a relatively smooth and quiet ride, comfortable seats, potent and lively V8 powerplants that have been tweaked for somewhat better fuel economy, and a lengthier list of standard safety features than past versions.The Bad
A huge turning radius, tepid basic interior styling, and a lack of interior storage cubbies, not to mention occasionally iffy handling, are among the 2010 Silverado 1500’s less savory aspects.
The CarGurus View
A perennial and worthy contender for honors and awards, the 2010 Silverado 1500 is going to give Ford’s F-150 all it can handle in a typically rough-and-tumble market. This full-size pickup is durable and versatile and, with looks and features to match, has what it takes to get a trailer in place, a bed-load of cargo toted, and the family to grandma’s house through any weather, while stylin’ all the way to the bank.
At a Glance
Keeping up with the competition is the name of the game in the ultra-fierce American pickup market. Chevrolet has once again set its sights on the perennial favorite, Ford’s F-150, with its 2010 Silverado 1500 full-size pickup, and right now, the race is pretty much tied. Offered in five trim levels, the basic Work Truck, midlevel LS and LT, fuel-efficient 5.3-liter-V8-equipped XFE (Extra Fuel Economy), and upscale LTZ, this versatile workhorse has the heft for hauling as well as the duds for downtown. It remains to be seen if a few tweaks to its V8 engine, a new six-speed automatic transmission, some needed improvements in standard safety items, and a couple of added technological features are enough to overcome the Fords, Dodges, Toyotas, and Nissans of the world. Curiously, Chevy has decided to drop the 6.0-liter V8 from its Silverado 1500 engine lineup, while a rumored turbodiesel V8 has been put on the back burner, allegedly for economic reasons.
All Silverado 1500 trims except the rear-wheel-drive-only XFE are available with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or on-demand four-wheel drive (4WD), while the Work Truck and LT are offered in Regular Cab, Extended Cab, and Crew Cab versions, with the LS, XFE, and LTZ trims available only in 5/6-passenger Extended and Crew Cab configurations. Regular and Extended Cab trims are additionally available with either a 6.5-foot or 8-foot bed, while all passenger-oriented Crew Cab trims are delivered with a correspondingly downsized 5.5-foot bed. No matter the cab or bed size, however, these are big trucks, with a correspondingly wide turning circle, thus maneuvering any of these beasts in a crowded parking lot is not for the feint of heart, though the fully opening rear doors on the Extended Cab trims will make entering and exiting the rear seats a tad more torso-friendly once a suitable spot is negotiated.
The Silverado 1500 has traditionally been a moneymaker for Chevy, and with looks, brawn, safety, and two cabin styles, Pure Pickup and Luxury, still financially distressed GM is once again counting on America’s legendary truck love to boost both its image and its bank account. Despite numerous awards over the years, including Consumer Guide Auto’s “Recommended Pick” in 2010, this full-size pickup still has some build-quality and reliability issues to overcome before it reaches the pinnacle of pickup-dom.
The deletion of the 6.0-liter V8 this year still leaves the 2010 Silverado 1500 with four engines, ranging from a not-very-economical, though adequately powerful V6 to a trio of potent, quick, and economical V8s. The basic 4.3-liter V6 equips the base Work Truck, and with its standard four-speed automatic transmission puts out 195 hp at 4,600 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 2,800 rpm. This base V6 can tow up to 9,100 pounds in RWD trims, while standard-bed RWD versions get an estimated 15/20 mpg, and the 4WD trims get a tepid 14/18.
Standard in the LT and LS trims and available for the Work Truck is a 4.8-liter V8, also with the four-speed automatic, that’ll throw down 302 hp at 5,600 rpm and 305 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 rpm. Capable of hauling up to 9,100 pounds of trailer, the 4.8-liter V8 is estimated to get 14/19 in RWD configurations and 13/18 with 4WD. The four-speed automatic with both the V6 and 4.8-liter V8 engines is equipped with a tow-haul mode, though many reviewers feel this venerable transmission is well into its sunset years.
Next up on the list of Silverado 1500 powerplants is a popular 315-hp, 335-lb-ft/torque 5.3-liter V8 under the management a new-for-2010 six-speed automatic transmission. This combo, standard with the LT, XFE, and LTZ trim levels and available for the Work Truck standard-bed line, is good to tow 10,400 pounds when properly equipped, and is estimated at 15/21 with RWD, with the XFE alleged to get 16/22. This potent V8 is, alas, unavailable for the LS trim level.
Finally, the 6.2-liter V8, optional for LT and LTZ trims, gives them 403 hp at 5,700 rpm and 417 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm when combined with the recently introduced six-speed automatic. With proper equipment, this potent V8 can tow some 10,700 pounds of trailer, and it's estimated to get 13/20 mpg in RWD trims and 12/19 in 4WD versions. The 6.2-liter V8 also comes with cylinder deactivation, whereby four cylinders are shut down at cruising speeds in the interest of fuel economy. Additionally, all three V8s come with E85-capable Flex Fuel technology, as well as variable valve timing for added fuel efficiency.
Silverado 1500 trims with on-demand 4WD feature manual hi-lo gear selection on the lower trims and electronic hi-lo selection on the higher trims, as well as a mechanical center differential and auto-locking hubs. The LTZ, additionally, features a standard rear locking differential that’s optional for other trims in various trailer-towing packages.
The V6 engine is considered by virtually all reviewers as barely adequate to the tasks usually assigned big pickups, while the V8s are each noted as more in keeping with today’s hauling and highway needs. Though the new six-speed automatic transmission, for the most part, earns kudos from professional reviewers, little difference in acceleration is noticeable between the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter powerplants, though mileage numbers differ significantly.
Ride & Handling
The standard Z85 suspension equipping all 2010 Chevy Silverado 1500 trims features a front independent suspension, with long-and-short-arm configuration and front stabilizer bar, while in the rear is the traditional solid live axle suspension. All trims but one roll on standard 17-inch wheels, while the LTZ mounts standard 18-inch chrome alloy wheels.
The Silverado 1500’s handling is described by virtually all reviewers as typically truck-like, with noticeable rear chatter on uneven pavement with the bed empty. Hard cornering results in significant body lean, but overall, according to most reviewers, the ride with the Z85 suspension is placid enough, with the addition of a stiffer Z60 suspension leading to a bit better handling response on paved roads, but also a somewhat harsher ride. Of course, the Z71 off-road-oriented suspension, available with both the LT and LTZ trims, will provide not only a sure-footed ride on the hills and gullies of the back country, but also some significant jolting and jostling even on well-paved roads.
Reviewers note that steering with the standard suspension package is well-balanced, if somewhat numb, while braking is better than adequate, despite all trims using front disc and rear drum brakes. One professional reviewer, however, found the brake pedal to be a bit too spongy for his or her taste. This full-size pickup is designed to tow trailers, haul loads, and, occasionally, strike out overland. Be advised that even the top-shelf 2010 Silverado 1500 LTZ will never handle like a sports coupe, nor will it pamper like a luxury sedan... and you'll have to be patient in those crowded parking lots.
Cabin & Comfort
Pure Pickup accurately describes the standard cabin style of all 2010 Silverado 1500 trims, except, of course, the high-end LTZ, with its luxury-inspired, significantly swankier interior ambiance. Standard amenities for the Work Truck with the three-passenger Regular Cab include vinyl bench seats, tilt-wheel steering, air conditioning, and an AM/FM stereo with four speakers. The six-passenger Extended Cab Work Truck adds fully opening rear-hinged back doors, rear, flip-up bench seating, front and overhead consoles, and two additional speakers, while the Crew cab adds front-hinged rear doors and fold-down rear seatbacks.
The Silverado 1500 LS trim, offered only in the Extended and Crew Cab versions, adds cloth upholstery, power windows, door locks, and mirrors, cruise control, remote door locks, a single-CD player, XM satellite radio, and OnStar telecommunications with a hands-free phone set, as well as front and rear floor mats. The LT and Crew Cab-only XFE trims up the ante a tad, with premium cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The five-passenger Silverado 1500 LTZ tops out the list of standard features with leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front bucket seats, power-retractable, reverse-tilting mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, simulated wood trim on the dash and doors, driver's memory settings, remote start, seven Bose premium speakers including a subwoofer, and Bluetooth communications technology.
Options range from many of the standard amenities on the higher trims being available for the Work Truck, to all of the LT, XFE, and LTZ features available as options with the LS. For the higher-end LT, XFE, and LTZ trims, the Z71 Off-Road appearance and suspension packages, with skid plates and extra engine and transmission cooling, a power sunroof, DVD navigation, rearview camera system, 6-CD changer, and a universal remote are among the extra options offered. Various trailer-towing packages are available for pretty much all trim levels, though the XFE carries a standard hitch and wiring.
Most reviewers note that dashboard gauges are large and legible, but controls in the Pure Pickup-style cabin are a bit too high up for easy reach, though the extensive use of hard plastics is nevertheless well-presented and adds to the sense of this truck’s utility. Reviewers agree that the Luxury-inspired interior is almost pampered, with all controls within easy reach of the driver and an added ergonomic ambiance fit for a night on the town, especially after a day on the job.
Adding dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, and stability control to the list of standard safety features on the 2010 Silverado 1500 is, according to numerous reviewers, a laudable move, and one that was long overdue. These additions join such traditional standard safety equipment as four-wheel ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, daytime running lights, and dusk-sensing headlights, and side-impact door beams across the lineup. Additionally, the LS and LT trims feature a standard post-collision safety system and remote anti-theft alarm, while the XFE and LTZ tack on standard front fog/driving lights.
For 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Silverado 1500 five stars for front impact driver and passenger protection and four stars for rollover protection. Side-impact testing was not performed. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), meanwhile, gives the Silverado 1500 its highest rating of Good for front impact protection for driver and front passengers, but only its second-highest rating of Acceptable for side impact protection.
What Owners Think
Owners of the 2010 Silverado 1500 want a versatile and utilitarian work vehicle, and most seem satisfied that this is what they got with this big pickup. However, some owners are disappointed with the Silverado’s build quality and reliability, citing squeaks, rattles, and mechanical issues even in their first months of ownership. Additionally, the cloth upholstery standard on higher trims is noted to be of sub-par quality and difficult to clean, while the OnStar communications system that’s standard on all the higher trims is consistently referred to as superfluous. Finally, the lack of standard step running boards, an often unnervingly wide turning radius, and the lack of some traditional standard technology features has more than a few Silverado 1500 owners shaking their heads.
Most owners, of course, overlook the glitches and focus on the positives with this full-size heavy hauler. For instance, owners are, for the most part, impressed with the 2010 Silverado 1500’s looks, ride comfort, and price. Fuel efficiency, especially with the 5.3-liter-equipped XFE, impresses a number of owners, while cabin room in the 2010 Extended and Crew Cab trims is also well-documented by owners. Owners consistently use one word to support their purchase of a 2010 Silverado 1500: Value.
Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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