The most striking feature of the 2009 Silverado is the interior. The cabin offered on the top LTZ trim is similar to that currently offered on GM's full-size sport-utility vehicles such as the Chevrolet Tahoe, and offers standard luxury features like power heated front leather seats, six-disc CD/MP3-capable audio system and heated windshield washers, while top crew cab LTZ models add rain-sensing wipers and a rear-seat audio system. LTZ models are further differentiated by a completely different instrument panel and door panels, a huge, 20.1-liter center console storage area, and upgraded five-liter glove box. Ultrasonic rear parking assist is available.
The work truck and LT trims are equipped for those who plan to use their pickup for utility, with a more basic interior treatment. These trims still feature larger control knobs, plus a lockable in-seat storage bin that's large enough for a laptop computer and has a built-in 12-volt power outlet. The LT adds most popular equipment like air conditioning, cruise control, and a CD/MP3 audio system, and a 1LT convenience package brings more luxury in the way of dual-zone climate control, a remote starting system and steering-wheel audio controls.
Stadium-style rear seats, which are split 60/40 and have a fold-down center armrest, are standard on the crew cab and available on the extended cab. Rear legroom is sizeable on extended cab models and ingress and egress are easy thanks to rear access doors that open 170 degrees.
Each trim level is available in either 2WD or an on-demand 4WD system with locking rear differential. A 195-horsepower, 4.3L V6 is standard on WT regular cab and 2WD extended cab models, while a 295-horsepower, 4.8L V8 is standard on WT 4WD extended cab, LT regular cab and extended cab models, and WT and LT crew cab models. A 315-horsepower, 5.3L V8 with Active Fuel Management, a system that automatically shuts down half of the cylinders during light-load driving, is standard on LT crew cab and all LTZ body types.
That 5.3L V8 is available as an option on all other models, while there's also a Flex-Fuel version that adds E85 compatibility. Thanks to Active Fuel Management, the 5.3L gasoline Silverado is rated at 16 city, 21 highway, the same as the base 4.3L V6 and one of the best figures in its class.
As part of the maximum trailering package, a 367-horsepower (and 375 lb-ft), 6.0L V8 is available on LT and LTZ extended and crew cab models. This engine has variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management to maximize power output and efficiency. The package also includes a heavy-duty rear axle, locking differential, heavy-duty cooling system and high-capacity transmission.
New this year is an optional 403-hp, 6.2L Vortec V8 -- the most powerful engine in its class. While a 4-speed automatic is standard, a new 6-speed is also available.
Each of the five suspension systems available on the Silverado are tailored for particular driving situations, and each has a completely different character. The Z83 delivers the best ride, while the Z85 upgrades for improved handling and towing capacity. The Z71 is the option for those who plan to take their Silverado off-road, and for those wanting optimized street performance there's the Z60, which includes 20-inch wheels. The Silverado rides on a fully boxed frame with coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering unit. StabiliTrak continues to be available on the Silverado.
Cargo bed lengths are 5'-8" for the short bed, 6'-6" for the standard bed, and 8' for the long bed, and rated payload goes up to 2,160 pounds when properly equipped.
One year of GM's OnStar Safe and Sound plan is standard on all Silverados, including automatic crash notification and a one-year subscription to the Safe & Sound plan.
The Chevy Silverado sees some important changes for 2009, including the availability of a new gas/electric hybrid model, as well as a new 6.2L Vortec V8 engine, which can run on E85 ethanol-blended fuel. Also new for that engine, is a 6-speed automatic transmission, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and a rearview camera system.
The 4-speed super-duty transmission has been deleted, as have the paint colors Dark Blue Metallic and Desert Brown Metallic. New standard features on LTZ models include a rear locking differential, trailer package and remote start. StabiliTrak stability control is now only available on V8 model Silverados.