2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

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2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2013.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 8

Bottom Line:

Strategic upgrades are made to one of the best full-size domestic pickup trucks.
Pros:
  • New look
  • More power
  • Fast with V8s
Cons:
  • Uncomfortable upright back seat in extended cab version
  • Low inside door handles
  • A stretch to reach some controls

General Motors' redesigned pickup truck promises to remain the corporation's top-selling vehicle with such things as smoother styling, stiffer construction and more power.

The high, wide and handsome pickup is sold as the very profitable Chevrolet Silverado, which we're concentrating on here, and similar GMC Sierra. It's GM's most important vehicle because it is the top-selling vehicle in America when Silverado and Sierra pickup sales are combined.

Last year was a bummer for pickup trucks, but combined sales of the Silverado and Sierra totaled 846,805 units. Taken individually, the Silverado finished No. 2 last year behind Ford's F-Series full-size pickup, with sales of 636,069 units. The Sierra found 210,736 buyers. (Unlike GM, Ford has no full-size pickup other than the F-Series.)

Considering those high numbers and profits, it's no wonder that Toyota has introduced its new Tundra full-size pickup, which is competitive with the GM and Ford offerings. Toyota has even built a Tundra plant in Texas, which is the heart of the big domestic pickup truck market.

Used as Cars
Many full-size pickups are used as cars, particularly the 4-door crew cab and extended-cab models, which have back seats. GM thus is emphasizing the same features of its 2007 Silverado/Sierra pickup that are mentioned when new autos are discussed: stiffer bodies and frames, more safety features, nicer interiors, better aerodynamics, smoother ride and higher fuel economy. (Carryover 1999-2006 models are sold as the Silverado Classic and GMC Sierra Classic.)

The more rigidly built new Silverado 1500 is offered with V8s with seamless cylinder deactivation that lets you run with four cylinders under lighter loads and are E85 capable, using a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

Estimated fuel economy depends on such things as engine size and body style. It ranges from 15-17 mpg in the city to 19-21 on highways. Those figures aren't bad, considering these are big heavy trucks that call for extra effort to enter or leave. (At least rear doors on 4-dooor versions open widely.)

New Features
The new Silverado is a few inches longer and 1.5 inches wider. It steers and handles better, thanks to such things as a new fully boxed frame, new rack-and-pinion steering and a new front suspension with coil-over shock absorbers. Front and rear tracks also are wider for greater stability. In fact, directional stability is outstanding.

The result is that the Silverado can be maneuvered nearly like a large car, although one must keep its longer body in mind.

Good Roadability
Steering is tightly responsive, and brakes are strong, with good pedal action. My test Silverado had the optional Z71 off-road suspension. It caused the ride to be firmer, but not uncomfortable. Anti-lock brakes are standard, and newly offered for some trim levels are traction/anti-skid control and curtain side air bags.

Wide Variety
The Silverado 1500 comes in 40 versions. List prices range from $17,860 for a regular rear-wheel-drive 2-door regular cab model with a 195-horsepower 4.3-liter V6 to $38,090 for a fancy LTZ crew cab version with leather upholstery, heated front seats and rear radio controls. It has a 5.3-liter 315-horsepower V8 with 4-wheel drive and four doors that close individually.

In between regular and crew cab versions are extended-cab trim levels, which require that rear doors be closed before front ones can be shut. In addition, the back-seat area in my extended cab test Silverado was cramped, and the seat was too upright for much comfort. Opt for the crew cab version for a more comfortable back seat.

Two 4-wheel-drive systems with low-range gearing for off-road use are offered. One system shouldn't be engaged on dry roads, but the other can be.

Nice Interior
The quiet, comfortable interior has a functional design, with such items as easily read gauges. Outside door handles are large, but inside handles are too low. Most controls are easy to use, but some are just out of reach. For more interior storage room, the rear-seat cushion folds against the seatback, providing a large, flat-floor cargo area.

There also are several bed lengths. Regulars have 6.5- to 8.1-foot bed lengths. Crews have a 5.8-foot bed length and Extendeds are offered in all three bed lengths. A worthwhile option is a $95 EZ Lift tailgate package, which contains a light, locking tailgate that easily opens and closes.

Strong Engines
The V8s generate 295, 315 and 367 horsepower, besides plenty of torque. They provide strong acceleration, and towing heavy objects is no problem. My test $25,690 Silverado 1500 rear-wheel-drive version with the 295-horsepower V8 was very fast.

You can get a $685-$795 power sunroof. A key option is a $715 Safety Package. It contains power adjustable pedals for shorter drivers, side-curtain airbags and rear-obstacle detection system, but isn't offered for regular cab versions.

Veteran full-size pickup truck owners are probably easily keeping up with all this information—and know things can get far more complicated when such items as option packages containing numerous features are considered.

No Manual Transmission
A manual transmission no longer is offered for the Silverado. It comes only with a 4-speed automatic. In contrast, the Tundra offers 5- and 6-speed automatics (but no manual gearbox) and Ford's F-150 has a 4-speed automatic, with a manual still offered. Still, the Silverado transmission upshifts smoothly and downshifts quickly.

The large pickup market is the last lucrative domestic vehicle stronghold, and the revamped Silverado should more than hold its own in it.

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BB04 - 9/18/2014 2:56:52 PM