2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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Imagine owning a vehicle that can tow 2,767 kilos (6,100 pounds), yet return fuel economy in the mid-eleven L/100 km range. A vehicle with space for four grown men, and a handy bed to haul all kinds of things. You can own that very vehicle today in the form of the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid, and after a week of testing, if you make the decision to buy one you are sure to be pleased.

Why? Because Chevrolet is back, with build quality across all model lines that rivals Japanese and German brands. Sure, there are still a few models with too much plastic, but the difference these days is the plastic is of a much higher level of quality and the Japanese brand most likely to interest a full-size truck buyer is no better.

With a 40 percent bump in city fuel economy and 25 percent overall efficiency improvement, buying a Hybrid over a regular gasoline only powered Silverado makes sense.  Estimated fuel economy is 11.2 L/100 km in the city and 11.7 on the highway! (Photo: Canadian Auto Press)
Estimated fuel economy for both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models is the equivalent of 11.2 L/100 km in the city and 11.7 on the highway via the US EPA cycle. Combined with a 98-litre fuel tank, the Silverado Hybrid delivers a cruising range of more than 800 km.

The Silverado Hybrid's excellent economy is derived from General Motor's advanced Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) and 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System (ESS), which work with the standard 6.0L V8 gasoline engine with active fuel management and late intake valve closing technology. GM's hybrid technology system enables the Silverado to drive up to 50 km/h on electricity alone and allows the Vortec 6.0L V8 engine to operate in more economical V4 mode for longer periods.

In the Silverado Hybrid, the hybrid system itself generates the electricity used to propel the vehicle. When the brakes are applied or the vehicle is coasting, the electric motors within the hybrid system create electricity and store it in the 300-volt battery. This stored energy moves the vehicle and the regenerative braking cycle is renewed.

The two-mode hybrid system provides seamless, dependable power on demand in an efficient package. The two-mode system was first introduced on the 2008 Tahoe Hybrid.

As part of the vehicle's emission control system, the ESS is warranted for eight years/160,000 km.

The Silverado Hybrid is offered in the crew cab body style on both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. Each model is equipped with several standard, popular features, including StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, a locking rear axle and a trailer package.

On the safety front, the Silverado Hybrid offers dual-stage frontal airbags and head curtain side airbags, and according to GM it is the only full-size truck with five-star side-impact ratings in U.S. Government crash tests.

Integration of the hybrid system on the Silverado is seamless – the battery pack is beneath the rear seat – and delivers a quiet driving experience. Contributors include a new exhaust system and resonator tuned for the 6.0L engine's active fuel management operation; additional engine intake induction tuning for reduced interior noise and pleasing sound quality; low-rolling resistance, "quiet-tuned" tires; an electrically driven 300-volt air conditioning compressor that reduces vibration and allows the standard, tri-zone HVAC system to cool the passenger compartment even when the gasoline engine is shut off; and the ESS cooling system internal fan is tuned to be quiet at low vehicle speeds.

Hybrid system power output is 332 horsepower, with a sizeable 367 pound-feet of torque available. This truck offers surprising acceleration, with ample power for day to day passing on highways.

Along with quietness, the Silverado Hybrid also delivers exceptional driving smoothness, thanks to specifically tuned shocks and a hydraulic body mount. Located on the passenger side of the chassis, the hydraulic mount provides a dramatic improvement in highway driving smoothness, particularly on rough or choppy road surfaces.  During my test week over some really bad roads, I noticed the "rebound" over potholes I normally experience when driving a body on frame truck was much lower than some competitor's models.

My test Silverado was finished in blue with a beige leather interior, and included the "2HY" package which includes navigation with XM Satellite Radio with XM Nav Traffic, Bose audio system, leather seats, power adjustable pedals, and ultrasonic rear parking assist, among myriad standard features.

Pricing starts at $47,505 while the four-wheel drive model starts at $51,655. This is a feel-good buy that's equally at home working hard at a construction site, or as a full sized commuter.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Pickup, Chevrolet, 2010, Silverado 1500 Hybrid, $30,000 - $39,999,

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