When it was new in the 2007 model year, the Chevy Silverado broke sharply with its utilitarian roots. The work-truck ethic still showed up in base versions with up to six-passenger seating, but slick five-seat versions with all kinds of luxury features became a much more important part of the Silverado mix.
Those luxury versions also compelled GM to lift the Silverado's game across the board, by improving its interior quality and fit and finish.
In any of today's Silverado pickups, space isn't much of an issue. The Ram 1500 or Tundra may have a few inches more to spare in some directions, but very few big adults can quibble with excellent head and leg room. The seats themselves are a separate issue: whether it's bench or bucket seats in front, the Silverado's comfort is good in terms of seat width, but support is lacking, particularly lateral support.
Depending on the passenger configuration, the front seats also have excellent knee room--if there's no center console--or they are split with a very large storage area with a bin big enough for a netbook, a couple of Big Gulps, and some rubber-lined trays sized to hold smartphones and the like. The Silverado's big gauges and big controls can be operated when wearing gloves, too.
For back-seat room, the Silverado depends on buyers choosing the four-door Crew Cab. The Regular Cab version has just a sliver of space behind the seat, and Extended Cabs are marginally better, with space to hold toolboxes and gear, but not much more. Crew Cabs are fitted with a rear bench and are good for three-across adult seating; the stadium-style rear seat has a 60/40-split design and can be folded up for more cargo space. However, the back rest sits too close to vertical for long-distance comfort. The back seat in Hybrid models is somewhat like that in other Crew Cab models but under-seat storage gets compromised, to make room for batteries.
Across the Silverado 1500 / Hybrid lineup, bed sizes range from 5'8" on Crew Cabs and Hybrids; 6'6" on all versions except the Hybrid; and 8' on all versions except the Hybrid.
Throughout the Silverado lineup, the cabin is unexpectedly hushed and refined, thanks to increased sound deadening and tight build quality. Wind noise has been further reduced for 2011.