2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid Photo

2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid - Review


Silverado Hybrid Front Quarter

In America, we like to have our cake and eat it too - and it better be a big cake. The Chevy Silverado Hybrid epitomizes this ideology. Who says you can't have a fuel efficient vehicle to tow your boat? Who says you can't haul a load of drywall in a hybrid? Who says trucks can't be "green"? Chevy certainly wouldn't ascribe to those philosophies. As always in life though, there are compromises. Having spent the last week in the aforementioned paradoxical vehicle, I can tell you what I love about it, and what I'd rather forget.

Performance:  Getting 20 miles per gallon out of a vehicle with a curb weight over 5,200 pounds is no easy task, but Chevy pulled out all the stops with the Silverado Hybrid. The 6.0-liter Vortec V8 uses variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management which shuts off four of the engine's cylinders while coasting or cruising at moderate speeds. Unless you're watching the informative display on the dash, you won't know how many cylinders are active. Switching between modes is seamless.

What makes this truck a hybrid are the two electric motors, the electrically variable transmission (EVT) and the 300-volt nickel-metal hydride battery sitting under the second row of seats. I was consistently able to hit 25 miles per hour using only electricity, before the V8 would kick in for more grunt. The transition was usually unnoticeable except for the sound of the gas engine. However, on several occasions, when dropping the pedal to the floor from a dead stop, I experienced an unsettling thunk as the truck quickly switched from EV-mode to V8 power.

That said, from 0 to 40 miles per hour, I felt every one of the hybrid's 332 ponies and 367 pound-feet of torque. At that point, acceleration drops off while the EVT catches up and you realize you shouldn't be driving a truck like this. Regardless, there's plenty of power on tap for any situation.

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