What's New for 2010
The 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 5.3-liter V8 receives tweaks that yield incrementally better fuel economy, including a standard six-speed transmission and variable valve timing (the 6.2-liter V8 also receives the former, and the 4.8-liter V8 the latter). All V8s can now run on E85 as well as gasoline. Side curtain airbags, front-seat side airbags and stability control are standard on all models, and all stereos except the base unit offer USB connectivity. Finally, the 6.0-liter V8 has been dropped.
Time waits for no full-size pickup truck -- that's what the past few years have shown in this hotly contested category. Considered the odds-on favorite for segment supremacy when it debuted four years ago, the Chevrolet Silverado now finds itself beset by upstart rivals. But continual improvements along with a whole lot of fundamental goodness have kept the Silverado in our good graces. The 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is an iconic American vehicle for a reason -- it's one of the best full-size trucks you can buy.
As ever, the 2010 Silverado is a robust specimen. There are no fewer than three optional V8 engines, and towing and hauling ratings are top-notch. However, drivers are demanding a lot more from their trucks these days than just the ability to do grunt work. To this end, the Silverado offers plenty of standard and available features, including luxuries like a navigation system and a USB jack, that are generally associated with passenger cars and SUVs. There are also two interiors, the more upscale of which (LTZ models only) features a full center console and good-quality materials.
The base interior, which most Silverados are stuck with, is about as spartan as it gets in this segment. It offers plenty of functionality but hardly anything in the way of visual interest. Rivals like the Dodge Ram and Toyota Tundra have nicer interiors even in base trim. Other demerits include a mediocre base V6 and a rather cumbersome turning circle.
Competition is stiff in this segment, as evidenced by our latest full-size-truck comparison test -- the Ram and Tundra both beat out the Silverado, even though the Chevy is still a fairly new design. But the Silverado finished ahead of the refreshed Ford F-150, and the trucks were closely bunched in the scoring column. Given its all-around competence, we don't hesitate to recommend the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado alongside its capable full-size peers.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickup truck is available in three body styles: standard cab, extended cab and crew cab. Standard cabs can be had with either a standard bed (6-foot, 6-inch) or a long bed (8-foot). Extended cabs can have a short (5-foot, 8-inch), standard or long bed. In the interest of maneuverability, crew cabs come only with the short bed.
Regular cabs can be had in base Work or midlevel LT trims, while the extended and crew cabs are also available in the plush LTZ trim. There's an LS trim for extended and crew cabs only. The Work trim comes with the basics, including air-conditioning (extended- and crew-cab versions), a trip computer, a tilt steering wheel, OnStar telematics, vinyl seating, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat and a CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. The LS adds full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, satellite radio and adjustable lumbar support for the driver.
The LT trim adds upgraded audio speakers and a USB jack, premium cloth seating (with a lockable compartment and a power outlet built into the center cushion of the split front seat), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Opting for the LTZ gets you alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers (with heated washer fluid), dual-zone automatic climate control (in extended and crew cabs), an exclusive dash design with wood and metallic accents, leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats (with 12-way power adjustment and driver memory settings), steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth, a Bose audio system (with a six-CD changer and rear audio controls) and remote engine start.
Notable options include a variety of towing packages, the Z71 off-road package (skid plates, an off-road suspension and a locking rear differential), 18- and 20-inch wheels, upgraded audio systems, a navigation system with real-time traffic updates and a rearview camera (the latter is also available separately with a rearview-mirror display), a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, heated power-folding outside mirrors, a sunroof, a power-sliding rear window, a cargo management system and rear park assist. There is also the XFE (extra fuel economy) trim variant for the two-wheel-drive 5.3-liter V8 crew cab that features aerodynamic enhancements and lightweight aluminum components that improve fuel economy. To ease loading and unloading the bed, one may opt for the EZ Lift tailgate that requires only about half the effort (compared to the standard tailgate) to open and close.
Powertrains and Performance
There are four different engines available for the 2010 Chevy Silverado 1500. Work trucks have a 4.3-liter V6 (195 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque) as standard. This can be upgraded to a 4.8-liter V8 (295 hp, 305 lb-ft) or a 5.3-liter V8 (315 hp, 338 lb-ft). The LS comes only with the 4.8-liter V8. The LT trim, depending on body style, will have one of these two V8s as standard, while the LTZ has the 5.3-liter engine as standard.Optional on select models is a 6.2-liter V8 (403 hp and 417 lb-ft). All V8s run on E85 as well as gasoline.
A four-speed automatic transmission with a tow and haul mode is standard on Silverado pickups with the base V6 and 4.8-liter V8. Silverados with the 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter V8 receive a six-speed automatic. In 0-60-mph testing, we clocked a Silverado with the 6.2-liter V8 at a very quick 6.6 seconds. Properly equipped, a Silverado 1500 can tow up to 10,700 pounds.
Buyers have a choice of either rear- or four-wheel drive. The Work and LS trims with 4WD have a traditional floor-mounted selector for the transfer case. All other 4WD trims have Autotrac, which features an automatic setting that shifts into 4WD when wheel slippage is detected.
Fuel economy estimates range from 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined for a crew cab XFE down to 12/19/14 mpg for a 4WD Silverado 1500 fitted with the 6.2-liter V8.
Antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum) are standard, with an all-disc setup available via the Max Trailering package. Stability control, front side and side curtain airbags are also standard.
In government crash tests, the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 earned top five-star ratings for frontal collisions. As of this writing, neither the government nor the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had subjected the newly side-airbag-equipped 2010 Silverado to side-impact crash testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Silverado's interior has very good fit and finish, though on base models the overall look is rather dull relative to the competition. The Silverado LTZ improves things greatly with a unique upscale dash and door panel treatment, a full center console and attractive wood grain and metallic accents, although you'll pay a stiff entry price for the luxury ambience. The rear seat in crew-cab models is quite comfortable, and the seat cushions can be flipped upward for a nearly flat load floor. Interior storage is adequate, but some might take issue with the smallish cupholders and the haphazard organization of the center console box.
The 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is part of the new breed of big trucks that are actually pleasant to drive. The steering is light but reasonably precise, and the truck's comfortable seats and smooth, quiet ride make long road trips enjoyable. One thing to keep in mind is that the Silverado's turning circle is typically larger than most other trucks. Acceleration is sluggish with the base V6 but just fine with even the smallest V8. The 5.3-liter V8 feels brawny, and the 6.2-liter V8 turns the Silverado into a veritable muscle truck. We much prefer the six-speed automatic that comes standard with the two bigger V8s; the four-speed feels past its prime.