Full 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Review
What's New for 2009
Changes are light for the 2009 Chevy Silverado 2500HD. One trim level is dropped and a trio of equipment packages debut. Bluetooth, real-time traffic updates for the navigation system and a rearview camera are also added to the options list.
There aren't many heavy-duty pickups to choose from. There are four to be exact, and even then, two of them are virtual clones of each other. However, competition remains fierce in this small group, as each battles for the hard-earned dollars of truck-buying folks and their businesses. One such truck is the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, which, together with its GMC clone, is the most recently redesigned and appealing member of this exclusive 3/4-ton class. Specifically, the Chevy provides superior vehicle control and top-notch interior quality to go along with the type of prolific hauling and towing capabilities one expects from such a workhorse truck.
Changes are light for the '09 Silverado 2500, with only a few trim and equipment updates for the new model year. The rest of the truck remains unchanged from its total overhaul two years ago that debuted new styling, a dramatically improved interior, better vehicle control and handling, a more powerful engine lineup, a stronger frame and the resulting higher payload and towing capacities. This is a truck that'll get the job done and keep you comfortable while doing it.
Whether you opt for the Silverado HD or its GMC Sierra twin, you can't go wrong with these heavy-duty trucks. The Ford F-250 is its closest competitor, but the GM trucks offer a bit more hauling and towing ability and arguably a better interior (particularly with the LTZ trim). The Dodge Ram 2500 is also available, offering nearly equal towing ability and ride comfort, but it is getting along in years and will soon be replaced with an all-new model. It can't match the Chevy's towing capacity, cargo bed configurations or interior quality. That leaves the Chevy as your best bet, but since brand loyalty is so vitally important when it comes to pickups, we're guessing that gold bow tie should be reason enough for many buyers.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Chevy Silverado 2500HD full-size pickup is available in three body styles: regular cab, extended cab and crew cab. Regular cabs only come with a long bed, while the other two cabs can have a standard or long bed.
Trim levels include the basic Work Truck, midlevel LT and king-of-the-hill LTZ. The Work Truck comes with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning (optional with regular cab), a trip computer, OnStar, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a tilt steering wheel and a stereo with a CD player and satellite radio. The LT adds keyless entry, rear tinted windows, full power accessories, cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Some of these items are optional on the Work Truck.
The LTZ is only available with the extended and crew cabs. It adds a locking rear differential, a heavy-duty trailering package (with an integrated trailer brake controller), alloy wheels, leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, remote engine start, upgraded interior design with wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, foglamps, 12-way power front bucket seats, heated seats, rear audio controls, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a Bose speaker system. Some of these features are optional on the LT.
Other options available on the LT and LTZ include a power-sliding rear window, a sunroof, a navigation system with real-time traffic, a rearview camera, rear parking assist sensors, power-folding exterior mirrors, power-folding and -extending camper mirrors, a Z71 off-road package (skid plates, off-road suspension, bigger stabilizer bar), EZ-lift tailgate, power-adjustable pedals and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
The standard engine in the Chevy Silverado 2500 is a 6.0-liter gasoline-fueled V8 making 353 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Optional is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel Duramax V8 that boasts 365 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque. It gets a different six-speed automatic and is the go-to choice if you require a burly tow vehicle (it also gets better fuel economy). Properly equipped, the 2500HD can haul up to 3,458 pounds and tow up to 13,000 pounds.
Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, with four-wheel drive optional. Although the Work Truck 4WD gets a traditional floor-mounted transfer case, the two other trim levels available on the Silverado 4WD get Autotrac, a knob-controlled electric transfer case that features an automatic setting that engages 4WD when wheel slippage is detected.
Antilock disc brakes are standard; Stability control, front-side and side curtain airbags are not available on the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD. A safety package that includes power-adjustable pedals and rear park assist is optional. A rear parking camera is available.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2009 Chevy Silverado 2500HD features two different interior designs depending on trim level. The Work Truck and the LT feature a more utilitarian trucklike dash design with an open lower center portion to accommodate the standard three-person front bench (a center console is added with the optional bucket seats). The LTZ gets the same design as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs, lending the Silverado's cabin a classier feel with its wood and metallic accents. With either design you get straightforward controls within a relatively easy reach. However, the available dual-zone climate control buttons are small and difficult to operate with gloves. The front seats are quite comfy, but some editors find the pedals placed too far apart and the tilt-only steering wheel located too close to the dash. Space in the crew cab's backseat is very roomy, and most average-size adults should find the extended cab acceptable. A welcome addition for 2009 is the rearview camera, which not only helps when parking the behemoth 2500 but also makes hitching up a trailer infinitely easier.
Compared with the heavy-duty trucks from Ford and Dodge, the Silverado 2500 distinguishes itself with well-weighted steering that provides the driver with a greater sense of vehicle control. This is a particular benefit on tight country roads. Although a heavy-duty pickup and its taut rear suspension will never offer a Cadillac ride, the 2500 is surprisingly comfortable over long distances. Both engines are strong, but if you can swing the price premium, the hefty performance and reasonable fuel economy of the Duramax diesel make it a very tempting choice.