$7,107 - $16,115

2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was new.


Performance: 8.9

Most reviewers say that the Silverado's performance make it easy to live with, even for a large truck. They report a refined ride, powerful V8 engines and a six-speed automatic transmission that always seem to pick the right gear. The Silverado 1500 is available with a number of engine options: a 4.3-liter V6, a 4.8-liter V8, a 5.3-liter V8 and a 6.2-liter V8.

  • "There's plenty of energy, especially with V-8 power." --Cars.com
  • "We're surprised by the agility and easy-driving nature of the new Silverado." -- Road & Travel Magazine
  • "Pulls like a Clydesdale. The new powertrain puts the Silverado right back on top of the game, running quick strip times and hauling our test trailer without even breaking a sweat." -- Jalopnik

Acceleration and Power

The Silverado 1500 offers a number of engines, from the base V6 to the top-end 6.2-liter V8. Most reviewers focus on the V8 lineup and are pleased with it. The Silverado 1500's base engine is a 4.3-liter V6 that creates 195 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The entry-level V8 is a 4.8-liter V8 that creates 295 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. Another step up are the two 5.3-liter V8 engines -- one with an aluminum block and the other with an iron block -- both of which create 315 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque. The top-line engine is the 6.2-liter V8, which makes 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the V6 gets 15/20 mpg city/highway with two-wheel drive, and 14/18 mpg city/highway with four-wheel drive. The 5.3-liter V8 gets  gets 15/20 mpg city/highway. The 6.2-liter V8 gets 13/18 mpg city/highway.

  • "Power delivery with each V8 engine we tested was more than ample, and we were impressed with the smooth delivery of power through the electronically-controlled Hydra-Matic automatic transmission." -- Kelley Blue Book,
  • "Acceleration more than adequate at all speeds, aided by smooth-shifting transmission that kicks down quickly for more power." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The biggest V8 burbles beneath the Silverado's hood gloriously; under load it sounds like something between cherry bomb mufflers and a factory-installed Corsa exhaust. It's not just the sound though: the bite behind the bark is a force to be reckoned with." -- Jalopnik
  • "Available on crew cab models, the big E85-ready, 6.2L V-8 produces 403 hp, enough to knock the 5.7L, 381-horse Toyota Tundra from the title of most powerful full-size truck." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

Handling is generally found to be one of the Silverado 1500's strong points.

  • "The body structure feels as rigid as a supreme-court decision, so squeaks and groans are rare. The ride is smooth, the steering is crisp, the brakes respond without slack. Even on rough dirt roads, the ride remained smoother than in the others." -- Car and Driver
  • "The ride was smooth without being overly soft. The truck's stability is due in part to a fully boxed frame, coil-over-shock front suspension and a wider track. The rear shock absorbers are angled up and out for better handling." -- Kansas City Star
  • "The brake pedal has a firm feel when bringing the truck to a stop." -- Road and Track
  • "On long trips, the supple suspension and quiet cabin come into play to make the Silverado a pleasing companion." -- Edmunds
  • "The steering is nicely weighted, if a bit numb. The brakes are responsive, though one test example suffered from slightly spongy pedal action." -- Consumer Guide


Though few test drivers took the Silverado off-road, those that did were impressed with the truck's capabilities. For heavy off-roading, a locking rear differential and skid plates are available on some models. All Chevrolet Silverado 1500 models come with either two- or four-wheel drive.

  • "The Silverado felt more balanced and less nose-heavy than the Tundra." -- Truck Trend
  • "The Silverado can plow through sand as an intelligent transfer case distributes big-time engine torque to all wheels in order to maintain traction during our trek across the cactus-spiked Sonora Desert." -- Road & Travel Magazine
  • "Hit the dirt and the electronic four-wheel-drive system makes for quick and grippy traction." -- Autobytel

Hauling and Towing

The hauling capacity of the Silverado varies by cab type, drive wheels and box length. A crew cab Chevy Silverado 1500 can haul 2,039 pounds. Depending on the model and equipment, the Silverado 1500 can tow up to 10,500 pounds. A number of towing packages are available from Chevrolet. New for 2009 is an integrated trailer brake control, which is available on some models.

  • "An integrated trailer brake controlled, formerly available on heavy-duty models, is now offered on extended cab and crew cab models.  This brake controller is integrated into the anti-lock brake system for better control while towing." -- Kansas City Star

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