$14,742 - $18,983

2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid was new.


Performance: 8.0

Reviews of the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid's performance are mostly positive, but a few reviewers question if the fuel gains are worth the compromises the Silverado Hybrid makes in towing capabilities, or the Silverado Hybrid's hefty price. Overall, however, reviewers agree that the Silverado Hybrid is a capable performer for buyers who want to save gas and don't often tow heavy loads.

  • "The first production gas-electric pickup by any carmaker, the hybrid Silverado rolls just as well as its gasoline brothers, just quieter, cheaper and cleaner." -- Detroit News
  • "Although the 332-horsepower, 6.0-liter hybrid power plant sounds imposing, its somewhat odd power delivery and unremarkable towing capacity may further limit its appeal. " -- Edmunds
  • "Yup, this truck in two-wheel-drive trim gets 21 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Plus, it can still haul (1,400 lbs) and tow over three tons." -- Automotive.com
  • "It's not far-fetched to say the Silverado Hybrid's powertrain is more advanced than Lexus'." -- PickupTrucks.com
  • “Except for CVT drone during acceleration and a mushy brake pedal, you won't have any idea that you're not in a regular General Motors pickup” – Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid comes with one powertrain option: a 6.0-liter V8 mated to two 80-horsepower electric motors and an extremely advanced automatic transmission. The 332-horsepower V8 has extra fuel-saving technology, including cylinder deactivation.

By and large, reviewers are impressed with the powertrain, especially with the advanced transmission, which General Motors dubs an EVT. The EVT has four “fixed” gears like a normal transmission. However, since the two electric motors rely on two planetary gearsets to transmit power, the Silverado Hybrid’s transmission behaves much like a continuously variable transmission.  To the driver, operates like an automatic. As Sport Truck describes the EVT, "At first, the sensation of driving the Silverado Hybrid is weird. In easy-going driving, the engine RPM and exhaust note don't correspond linearly to acceleration. The EVT works like a continuously variable transmission, so the hybrid's 6.0-liter revs to a particular RPM and hangs there while the vehicle's speed seems to play catch-up."

Even under electric power alone, they say the Silverado Hybrid launches with authority and has ample passing power. However, a few reviewers disagree, given the Silverado Hybrid's price, and say that gas-only Silverados with smaller engines offer better performance.

  • "GM's two-mode hybrid system could be the most complex powertrain ever produced." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "No one would guess there's a 332-horsepower 6-liter V-8 under the hood -- and that power number doesn't reflect the instant torque from the 300-volt motor inside the transmission." -- Detroit News
  • "Add it all up, and GM's 2-Mode hybrid powertrain has three sources vying for the right to move you forward, and as you may imagine, there's enough processing power from the five CPUs to run a NASA-sponsored trip to the moon." -- Autoblog

Fuel Economy

With combined fuel economy equal to that of the mid-size Subaru Legacy 2.5GT sedan, the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid has a nearly 40 percent increase in city gas mileage over Silverado’s equipped with the 6.2-liter V8.

Several reviewers were impressed that the Silverado hybrid can run on electric power alone for speeds up to 30 miles per hour. A few reviewers question if the gas savings are enough to justify the hybrid's price premium, however. The 2011 Silverado Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 20/23 mpg city/highway in models two- and four-wheel drive.

  • "Another factor in battery operation shows up in the rearview mirror. In attempting to operate on batteries in a 30 m.p.h. zone, fellow motorists were more concerned about wasting time than gas and drove within inches of our bumper in disgust or passed at high speed while waving one finger in the air." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "Assuming $2 per gallon and a net mileage gain of 5 mpg, payback is yours in about 40,000 miles." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "As with most hybrid systems, the big savings comes when driving in the stop-and-go traffic common in the city, with the hybrid powertrain accounting for a 40% improvement in fuel mileage.  On the superslab, the 2-Mode technology is a bit less effective, even with a revised front fascia, lower air dam and rear tonneau cover eking out a single extra mile per gallon in highway testing." -- Autoblog
  • "More fuel efficient doesn't mean actually fuel efficient" -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Some reviewers are surprised with how well the Silverado Hybrid drives. Although it has electric steering, a setup that usually results in numb steering feel, most reviewers say the steering feels natural and gives good feedback. While the soft/mushy/something descriptive brakes take some getting used to, most reviewers say they stop the truck with authority. Like many full-size trucks the Silverado Hybrid has a comfortable highway ride.

  • "The electric power steering felt surprisingly normal, with just the right weighting for a vehicle carrying this much mass. " -- Autoblog
  • "The 42-volt electric-power rack-and-pinion steering is nicely weighted with good feedback, in contrast to the majority of electric systems, which tend to be numb in feel." -- PickupTrucks.com
  • "The only quibble I had with the truck's performance was the brakes seemed too sensitive. However, after a few days of driving it, I quickly retrained myself to use the appropriate pressure. " -- Detroit News
  • "Ride quality is very good, thanks in part to the new hydraulic mid-body mount. Developed specifically for the Silverado Hybrid to counteract the weight of the battery pack, this mount does a good job of reducing freeway hop and otherwise cushioning the ride. In fact, it apparently works so well that GM decided to fit to all regular Silverados and Sierras. " -- Motor Trend
  • "Little different than conventional models, Silverado Hybrid handles similarly to other large pickups, with noticeable body lean in fast turns. The brakes are responsive, though the pedal is a bit soft due to regenerative charging that replenishes the hybrid battery." -- Consumer Guide

Towing and Hauling

The Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid cannot tow as much as other full-size trucks. What's more, towing significantly reduces the truck's fuel economy, bringing it more in line with gas-only trucks. However, some reviewers argue that for the majority of users, who don't tow heavy loads and don't tow often, the Silverado may make sense because of the fuel it saves in city driving.

  • "It can still tow up to 6,100 pounds and the bed can handle just more than 1,400 pounds." -- Detroit News
  • "Towing as light a car trailer as you're likely to encounter, the Silverado scored 13.5 mpg, which is the same as GM's conventional gas-powered trucks and SUVs, in my experience." -- PickupTrucks.com

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