The torch-and-pitchfork-wielding mob of hardcore truck fans that attack the Honda Ridgeline, or anything else not considered a "real truck" for that matter, probably won't be burning down any garages containing the 2009 Chevy Silverado Hybrid or its GMC Sierra twin. Despite the eco-friendly gasoline-electric drivetrain and miserly (for a truck, at least) fuel economy that goes with it, this is a legitimate full-size pickup.
Seeing as it's a low-volume offering, the Silverado Hybrid comes in a short-bed crew-cab configuration only. Under the hood is a 6.0L V-8 rated at 332 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque mated to GM's two-mode hybrid system, consisting of a pair of 60-kW (80-hp) electric motors sited in the bell housing of an electrically variable transmission that can also operate as a manually shifted four-speed auto. Powered by a 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery stored under the rear seats, these motors provide gobs of instantly available torque and can propel the truck without assistance from the engine up to around 25-30 mph -- albeit only with extremely light throttle input as we found out. On top of the hybrid bits, belt-driven power-steering and air-conditioning pumps make way for electric ones, wheels are fitted with low-rolling-resistance tires, and the big V-8 can switch off half its cylinders under a light load thanks to GM's Active Fuel Management system. The result: an impressive for a truck EPA city/highway rating of 21/22 mpg (RWD)and 20/21 mpg (4WD).
These aren't "when three of the Galilean moons of Jupiter align to form an equilateral triangle" numbers either -- if the on-board fuel-economy computer is to be believed. Your lead-footed scribe achieved 19.6 mpg driving around the streets of San Antonio. Others who were gentler with the accelerator pedal than a New York cabbie achieved the claimed 21-22 mpg. Many V-6 sedans would be hard-pressed to hit that on a regular basis, and they don't weigh almost three tons. Keep the standard tonneau cover on though, unless you have to haul something big or you'll lose a mile or two per gallon.