The engine lineup is unchanged, including a 195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6 in the stripped-down base truck; a flex-fuel, 302-hp 4.8-liter V-8; a flex-fuel 5.3-liter V-8 with 315 hp and cylinder deactivation for improved fuel economy in XFE models; and a 6.2-liter, 403-hp, flex-fuel V-8 in top-line LTZ Silverados. The base V-6 and base V-8 are teamed with a four-speed automatic; all other versions have a six-speed automatic that shifts very smoothly, helps achieve better fuel economy, and cuts down on noise. The 5.3-liter is TheCarConnection.com editors' pick, as it has plenty of power for most needs without much lower fuel economy than the base V-6.
The lineup is offered with either rear- or four-wheel drive-with a single-range transfer case this year, while dual-range 4WD is now an option-or on top versions, electronically controlled four-wheel drive.
Besides having some of the best straight-line performance and hauling capability in this class (up to 10,700 pounds), the Silverado is definitely one of the easiest full-size pickups to drive, with more communicative steering than other trucks and a wide range of refined, responsive engines.
The Silverado Hybrid has a sophisticated two-mode hybrid powertrain combining an all-aluminum 6.0-liter V-8 featuring variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation, to which GM adds an electrically variable transmission (EVT) with two electric motor/generators and four fixed-ratio gears, as well as a 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack.
In all, the hybrid system is rated at 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque, which pushes EPA fuel economy to 20 mpg city, 23 highway. Performance feels like that of the 5.3-liter V-8 engine, except for the almost absurd smoothness and quietness as the Silverado runs up to 27 mph on battery power alone. The Silverado Hybrid's brakes are powerful and recapture energy to charge the batteries; even saddled with more weight, the Hybrid tows 6,100 pounds with 2WD, or 5,900 pounds with automatic dual-range four-wheel drive.