Unfortunately, inclement weather was predicted for our trip, necessitating the loading of luggage in the cab rather than the bed. Here, the Silverado shined again with its 60/40 split-folding rear seats that could be raised easily with one hand. Folding the larger portion of the seat allowed us to a weeks worth of luggage for three people behind the drivers seat and still leave ample seating for a third passenger in the rear seat.
On the road, the Silverado was exceptionally pleasant to drive. The ride was very smooth for a truck and bumps and pavement imperfections were soaked up nicely. The steering was nicely weighted and communicative and the manual shifting buttons on the shift column came in handy on long hills or when passing. Climbing up the narrow, windy Feather River Canyon, the Silverado handled nicely and never felt underpowered or too wide for the road.
When conditions got snowy, the Silverado remained unfazed. The automatic four-wheel drive setting handled slippery roads nicely, and full four-wheel drive kept the truck from having any trouble with deeper snow. Not once did the truck feel unsure or disconnected from the road. Occupants deeply appreciated the automatic transfer case and the lack of manually-locking wheel hubs, which kept the four-wheel drive functions inside the cockpit where it was warm.
Upon our return to Los Angeles, we had traveled 1,364 miles and from sea level to nearly 4000 feet and back. Along the way, we spent $148.71 on 79 gallons of regular-grade gas, averaging 21.7 gallons per fill-up at about $39.99 every 380 or so miles. By the end of the journey, our trip computer was reading an average of 18.2 mpg, though our calculations indicate the actual average was closer to 17.2 mpg, well within the EPA-estimated 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, but not in agreement with the computer. Still, the instantaneous fuel-mileage readout on the dash was fun to play with, though it quickly became apparent that only moderate throttle input was required to bring the engine out of four-cylinder mode and back to full V-8 power. The cruise control seemed to be much better at keeping four cylinders shut down.
After spending nearly 1400 miles in the 2009 Silverado, including a marathon 13-hour trip covering most of the length of California, we'd happily do it again. Minor quibbles aside, the Silverado gave us no reason to complain and plenty of reasons to love it. Its place atop our recent comparison and its 2007 Truck of the Year award were well-deserved, and we hope to see continued improvement from Chevy in the future.
| 2009 CHEVROLET SILVERADO LT 4X4 |
| Base price || $19,765 |
| Price as tested || $39,019 |
| Vehicle layout || Front engine, 4WD, 6-pass, 4-door Truck |
| Engine || 5.3L/315-hp/388-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8 E85-Capable with Active Fuel Management |
| Transmission || 6-speed automatic |
| Curb weight || 5286 lb |
| Wheelbase || 143.5 in |
| Length x width x height || 230.0 x 79.9 x 74.0 in |
| EPA city/hwy fuel econ || 14/19 mpg |