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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
“good, or better, than any other full-size truck”
“There’s still plenty of cheap n’ flimsy to go around”
“strong doses of wind, tire, and engine noise”
“quality materials and tight assembly tolerances”
Reviewers report that the 2009 Silverado exudes various levels of build quality. “Call it a 20-footer,” advises Autobytel.com; any closer than that, the “build quality issues become apparent.” They point to a misaligned hood, tailgate, and panels, along with various assembly issues, and “plastic bits behind the rear seat that were holding on for dear life.” However, other reviewers report that the Silverado is tremendously improved in refinement and/or assembly quality versus the previous model. “Nearly every exterior component shows remarkable attention to detail,” comments Autoblog, “and the result is a truck that’s assembled like a fine piece of furniture.”
Refinement from within the cabin is another area where reviewers differ. Autobytel.com notes “strong doses of wind, tire, and engine noise” and says that despite all of the luxurious appointments in their test LTZ, it “does not provide a cabin suitable for a serene cool-down after a difficult work day.” They also point out that the V-8’s rumble is an ever-present sound, which may tire some drivers. Edmunds, however, states that noise at highway speeds was “minimal.” and the interior sound level at 70 mph is lower than an Audi A6 sedan's. Meanwhile, Motor Trend mentions the attention to tighter seals, smaller door gaps, and increased sound deadening and attests that “wind noise is almost eliminated.”
Edmunds won’t call the materials in the Silverado the best, but says, “they’re as good, or better, than any other full-size truck,” and Autobytel.com notes the hard plastics on top of the dash but points out that “most of the hard plastics feel solid and durable.” Consumer Guide is also impressed with the Pure Pickup interior and the materials used in it, which “don’t look bargain basement.” Jalopnik sums it up well: “There’s still plenty of cheap n’ flimsy to go around, but new fabrics and plastics and a deft designer’s touch make the cab feel less institutional and more familial.”
The Silverado comes with several suspension calibrations. Consumer Guide tests the passenger-oriented Z85 suspension and finds it “compliant and fairly comfortable, with less reverberation over bumps than in most pickups,” while the Z60 and off-road-oriented Z71 calibrations are stiffer and harder riding. Ride quality tends to be a sore point with pickups, but the Silverado passes this test with flying colors, according to most reviewers. “There is a quiet, understated confidence to the Silverado's dynamic behavior that should be very pleasing to those who find themselves intimidated by older pickup trucks,” says Autoblog in describing the Silverado’s very refined driving manners. “We hope that GM finds a way to blend this voodoo into every product it builds.”
Autoblog is clearly not a fan of the seats in the LTZ, warning that larger drivers might find the interior tight due to the center console design and low dash; the seats themselves, they say, “felt more like an overstuffed arm chair than a proper automotive seating surface.” They aren't the only one to complain; Car and Driver mentions that headroom is tight for a 6’6” driver. Seating comfort is a subject of controversy, leading us to believe that the Silverado’s seats cater well to some body types and not to others. Consumer Guide notes of the Crew Cab body style, “With front bucket seats, the center console restricts toe space for the center rear-seat passenger.” Headroom and legroom are generous, they comment. Autobytel.com contends that there was plentiful headroom, legroom, and shoulder room. They find the LTZ’s front seats large and well padded, aided by padded doorsills and armrests, and claim that they remained supportive after several hours of driving. Autobytel.com also concludes that entry and exit are a little hard in their Crew Cab test truck due to the lack of running board but applauds the wide-opening doors.
TheCarConnection.com’s opinion about pickup trucks is that they are built to haul heavy loads, which reduces ride quality by default. That applies to the Silverado, but the editors find the level of seating comfort and the apparent quality of the materials inside to be pretty impressive, and its interior is one of their top choices for long-haul duty.
The excellent interior design of the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado is diminished by the use of mediocre materials and build quality.