Chevrolet continues to offer two completely different interiors for its Silverado 1500 family of pickups: Work Truck, LS and LT trims get a so-called “pure pickup interior” that includes larger door handles and controls that are designed to be used with gloves on, while the LTZ trim gets the same luxurious, softer, and more carlike interior that’s used in the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban.
The LTZ instrument panel is a bit lower to afford a better outward view, and several special color and trim themes are offered with the LTZ exclusively. LTZ models boast many more exclusive features in addition to the instrument panel; different door panels, a divided center console, heated power leather front seats, and an upgraded Bose sound system are included, while the top crew cab LTZ models get a rear-seat audio system, larger glovebox and rain-sensing wipers.
In most Silverado 1500 models, a stadium-style back seat is split 60/40, including a folding center armrest, and can be folded forward easily. The extended-cab versions have enough legroom for occasional use and access is aided by 170-degree back doors. Regular cab, crew cab, and extended cab versions of the Silverado are available, while cargo bed lengths are 5′ 8″ for the short bed, 6′ 6″ for the standard bed, or 8 feet for the long bed.
The maximum payload rating runs as high as 1,909 pounds. Across most of the model line, the Silverado has a very good ride and handles well compared to the full-size trucks of the past, with a well-tuned coil-over-shock front suspension, Hotchkiss-type rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Actually, five different suspension packages are offered, each tuned for particular types of use: Z83 is for a smooth ride; Z85 is oriented for better handling and trailer towing; Z71 yields better off-road capability; Z60 is for top street performance; and NHT is for top towing capacity. Towing numbers range up to 10,700 pounds when configured with the extended cab, 6.0-liter engine and Enhanced Trailering Package.
The 2011 Silverado offers four different engines-a 195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6, a 302-hp, 4.8-liter V8, a 315-hp, 5.3-liter V8 and a 403-hp, 6.2-liter V8. The V6 comes with a 4-speed automatic, while all others get a 6-speed automatic. Fuel economy ratings are as high was 22 mpg on the highway.
The Silverado Hybrid is a good option for green shoppers who still need pickup capability. The 2-mode hybrid system incorporates a 6.0-liter gasoline V8, electric motor system, variable automatic transmission and nickel-metal hydride battery pack, all of which enable a 6,100-pound tow rating while allowing especially good fuel economy in city driving, with EPA ratings of 21 mpg city, 22 highway. Top options on the Silverado include Bluetooth phone connectivity, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a navigation system with XM Nav Traffic, plus a rearview camera system that aids visibility while parking this tall vehicle.