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Thread: 2010 Chevy Silverado 1500 hybrid

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2010 Chevy Silverado 1500 hybrid

    Hybrid cars get all the press but when you stop to think about it a little, a hybrid full-size truck might make more sense.

    Large trucks, after all, can do more than just transport people. You can use them for work.

    Adapting hybrid technology to a make a full-size pick-up reasonably fuel-efficient (which most compact and mid-sized passenger cars already are, even before fitting them with a hybrid powertrain) amounts to a two-fer: You get decent mileage without having to give up capability.

    And at the moment, there's only truck that offers this appealing combo - the Chevy Silverado 1500 hybrid.

    WHAT IT IS

    The Silverado hybrid is a full-size, up to six passenger, heavy-duty pick-up with most of the same equipment and capability you'd find in a regular Silverado - with the additional feature of a fuel-saving hybrid gas-electric powertrain.

    It - and its corporate twin, the slightly fancier GMC Sierra 1500 hybrid - are currently the only full-size pick-ups on the market available with a hybrid powertrain. (Later this year, Dodge will offer a hybrid version of its Ram 1500, with an estimated MSRP of around $47,000.)

    The Silverado hybrid comes only in crew cab/short bed bodystyle, with 2WD or part-time, selectable 4WD optional.

    Prices begin at $38,340 for a standard RWD version and run to $47,820 for a loaded 4WD model.

    WHAT'S NEW

    For the 2010 model year, the Silverado hybrid comes standard with E85 (ethanol) dual-fuel capability, which is good news for fleet/commerical users who have regular/easy access to E85.

    The optional GPS system has been updated and is now bundled with a rearview camera and USB port for iPods and MP3 players.

    WHAT'S GOOD

    Potentially significant (as much as 40 percent) fuel economy benefit in city-type, stop-and-go conditions, where the truck can operate entirely on electric power (up to almost 30 mph).

    No similarly-equipped non-hybrid full-size truck can match its city-driving gas mileage.

    Isn't slow or weak - or sad looking - like most hybrids are.

    It can do useful work (such as pull a heavy trailer or carry a pallet of bricks) which hybrid cars generally can't.

    Smooth transition from all-electric to gas-powered operation.

    WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD

    Unlike the non-hybrid Silverado, which is available in multiple bodystyles, with three cab choices and three different length beds, the hybrid version is only offered in just one body/bed configuration: crew cab with short bed. Take it or leave it.

    Pretty pricey up front (about seven grand more to start than a similarly equipped, non-hybrid crew cab/short bed Silverado LT).

    Possibly pricier down the road (as the hybrid components age and require service).

    Reduced tow rating ( a so-so 6,100 lbs., max vs. the sturdy 10,600 max for the non-hybrid Silverado).

    ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

    One reason the Silverado hybrid's base price is already close to $40k, just for openers, is because it comes standard with the next-to-largest engine Chevy puts into any Silverado - a 6.0 liter V-8.

    Non-hybrid Silverados can be purchased with a 4.3 liter V-6 or one of two smaller V-8s, as well as an even larger 6.2 liter V-8.

    The hybrid Silverado's 6 liter V-8 is teamed up with a pair of high-torque, 60 Kw electric motors powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The V-8 and electric motors together generate the equivalent of 379 horsepower. This is almost twice the rated output of the regular Silverado's base 4.3 liter V-6 (195 hp) and significantly more power than either the next-up 4.3 liter V-8 (295 hp) or the slightly larger 5.3 liter V-8 (315 hp).

    Yet the hybrid's 6 liter V-8/electric battery & motor combo returns significantly better gas mileage than all of them.

    It's rated at 21 city, 22 highway vs. the 4.3 V-6's much lower 15 mpg rating in city driving; ditto the 4.8 V-8's even thirstier 14 mpg city rating.

    Stacked up against the regular Silverado's top-gun 6.2 liter V-8 - which is rated at an OPEC-snuggling 12 mpg city - the hybrid's 6 liter powertrain is not too far away from being almost twice as fuel-efficient in city-type driving.

    There is a catch, though.

    Actually, a couple of them.

    First, to make the most of the hybrid's efficiency potential, it needs to be driven as much much as possible in stop-and-go driving conditions at speeds under 30 mph, where it can operate on electric power alone for longer. If your driving is mostly in the bump-and-grind, you could save a lot of money on fuel with this vehicle.

    But if your driving is not mostly stop-and-go, city-type driving, your real-world gas mileage will probably not be as impressive - and may not be worth the hybrid's considerably higher up-front costs.

    On the highway, the hybrid Silverado is rated at 22 mpgs - still very decent (for a full-size, V-8 equipped pick-up) but that's about the same as the non-hybrid Silverado delivers. The 4.8 V-8, for example, rates 19 mpg, a negligible 2 mpg difference in day-to-day mileage vs. the several thousand bucks' worth of difference in cost between a regular Silverado with that engine (or even the next-up 5.3 V-8) and the $38k to start hybrid version.

    The other issue is weight/performance/capability.

    The electric motors, battery pack and related equipment add about 500 pounds to the bottom line curb weight of the Silverado hybrid (5,641 lbs. vs. 5,110 lbs.) Even with just two people on board and no cargo in the bed, this truck will weigh over 6,000 pounds. That's the 2WD version. With 4WD, you start out close to 6,000 lbs. at the curb before anyone even climbs on board.

    That's pretty serious bulk.

    And it's probably why Chevy selected the 6 liter V-8 for the gas side of the hybrid powertrain rather than the potentially more economical smaller displacement 4.8 or 5.3 V-8s. The larger 6 liter engine was no doubt deemed essential to maintaining acceptable performance, which is at least as important to most full-size truck buyers as gas mileage.

    "Acceptable" in this case is zero to 60 in the high eight second/low nine-second range (depending on whether it's a 2WD or 4WD model) or about the same as the non-hybrid Silverado with the 4.8 liter V-8.

    Regular Silverados with the 5.3 and 6.2 V-8 are much quicker (under 7 seconds for the Silverados equipped with the 403 hp, 6.2 liter V-8).

    The slower 0-60 time (plus the higher up-front cost and reduced tow rating) is the price you pay for the hybrid's superior fuel efficiency potential.

    DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

    This truck can be as quiet as church mouse when it is operating on battery power alone - then come alive at a moment's notice, transforming into a muscular He-truck, when the big V-8 kicks on.

    If you've ever coasted a vehicle down a fairly steep grade with the engine off, that's what it's like in the Silverado hybrid when it's running in all-electric mode. Only the difference is you still have power - including power steering, brakes and even AC. When the gas engine cycles on (this will happen when your speed gets to about 30 mph or you are trying to accelerate rapidly) the transition occurs smoothly and it's easy not to even notice. You may need to glance at the oil pressure gauge (which will show pressure if the V-8's running, none if it's not) to determine for sure whether the engine's actually on. Or the tach, which fall to zero RPMs (and indicate "Auto Stop") when the gas V-8 has shut down.

    Other than this, the hybrid Silverado rides and drives very much like a standard-issue Silverado. The 0-60 time may not be as fleet as in the lighter, non-hybrid version of the Silverado (especially with the bigger 5.3 and 6.2 V-8s). But it is muscular-feeling nonetheless. Floor it and the truck surges forward strongly; there is no lack of merging or passing power. It will lope along all day at 75-80 mph without any sign of strain.

    Steep final-drive drive gearing keeps engine RPM down to around 1,500 at 60-65 mph, which further helps economy. Ditto cylinder deactivation technology, which shuts down four of the V-8's cylinders under light-load/steady-state cruise to conserve fuel.

    Tire screech does happen sooner if you corner the thing aggressively - probably because of the extra 500 pounds of electric motors and batteries. But this criticism only applies if you subject the truck to some pretty harsh (and high-speed) maneuvering.

    Driven within reason, you'll probably never notice the hybrid's somewhat lower cornering threshold.

    In normal use, the Silverado is easy to drive. It has light, but not overboosted, steering and the lines of sight all around are very good. Though it is a large vehicle, it's not overwhelming (like, for example, the deliberately monstrous Toyota Tundra).

    The only thing I am not a fan of is the manual-mode shift controller for the automatic transmission, which is mounted on the end of the column-shifter. To use it, you end up driving with one hand on the wheel (your left) while your right plays with the "+" and "-" buttons on the stalk. It's not ergonomic - and it's probably not the safest thing, either.

    The good news is the manual mode is superfluous anyhow. GM's automatic transmissions shift superbly on their own. If you enjoy playing with the gears on your own, that's fine - but it's not necessary to extract optimum performance from this gearbox.

    STYLING & UTILITY

    Chevy nixed the '70s-era Trans Am-like decal package that screamed H-Y-B-R-I-D in big block lettering along the side of last year's Siverado (and GMC Sierra) hybrid.

    Thank the Motor Gods - and good taste - for that!

    Other than a couple of small badges on the exterior - and the slightly different gauge package, including tachometer with "Auto stop" indicator and "eco" dial off to the left of that - the 2010 hybrid Silverado looks exactly like the equivalent non-hybrid Silverado crew cab pick-up.

    The crew cab interior with three-across bench seats front and rear can very comfortably transport six adults. With just four on board, there is limo-like elbow and legroom, even for very large/tall and generally big occupants. In each row, you can drop down the upper portion of the middle seatback, revealing a large center console with multiple storage cubbies (up front) and Big Gulp-sized cupholders .

    But the fact that Chevy only sells this model in crew cab/short bed form may cost some sales. The short (69.3 inch) bed, especially, is a potentially serious liability in a full-size truck. (My physically much smaller, compact-sized Nissan Frontier regular cab pick-up with a standard-sized bed can haul about as much stuff as the full-sized Silverado crew cab with the short bed.)

    Chevy ought to know that not everyone needs or wants a six-passenger crew cab; and many truck buyers absolutely must have a full-sized bed.

    It's too bad Chevy doesn't offer at least an extended cab/standard bed version of the Silverado hybrid.

    On the upside, you do get standard 18-inch rims, most power accessories, dual-zone AC, leather trim for the steering wheel and a very nice six-speaker stereo with Bluetooth and satellite radio hook-up. The hybrid is very well-equipped as it sits, which further justifies the higher base price.

    You can add equipment such as a Bose ultra-premium stereo, power adjustable pedals and fog lights if you wish.

    QUALITY & SAFETY

    The truck itself is clearly a nice piece. GM's vehicles are currently among the best-built and most reliable vehicles you can buy - especially the drivetrains (engines & transmissions) which have proved themselves to be extremely durable and problem-free. This is reflected in the very solid five-year, 100,000 mile warranty you get on the powertrain. And the hybrid components get their own, separate, eight year, 100,000 mile warranty, too.

    What's variable in the case of the hybrid Silverado is whether you'll recoup your considerably higher initial investment in down-the-road fuel savings.

    If at least a third to half of your daily driving consists of idling in stop-and-go type traffic, over 5-6 years you could absolutely recoup the higher up front costs. And if gas prices go up to $3 or $4 per gallon again during that time - as they very well may - then the break-even point will come much sooner.

    But if the majority of your driving is highway/higher-speed driving, the math may not work out in your favor.

    Of course, the hybrid drivetrain is cool in its own right - and that may be worth something to you, too.

    On safety: One thing you should know (or be able to tell emergency/rescue workers if you have a wreck) is that there are three heavy gauge orange cables (clearly marked with tags) near the battery, on the driver's side in the engine compartment, that should be cut through to preclude the chance of the hybrid's high-voltage hybrid components (300 volts!) injuring someone, such as an EMS worker using the Jaws of Life to get you out of the vehicle.

    GM's OnStar concierge/rescue system is standard equipment, along with traction and stability control, ABS and full-length curtain air bags.

    Simply by dint of its size and weight, a Silverado is one of the most inherently safe vehicles you could hope to be in if someone else should hit you.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    An impressive - and unique - machine that almost does it all.

    Just be sure to crunch the numbers before you commit.

  2. #2
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    We really liked the Tahoe hybrid, which comes with a similar powertrain, and a similarly high price. It would have been a perfect match for my wife, who drives ~10 miles each way to work in stop and go traffic.

    Were you able to verify that the real world city mileage is anywhere near the EPA rating? Hybrid technology doesn't change the operating cost of a small car very much, but getting a usably big vehicle's city mileage from 12 to 21 mpg is _huge_.

    ( We didn't buy the Tahoe because they're in short supply, but mostly because the rear window in the tailgate doesn't open separately. We like to open that to tend to the dog, who will leap out if the entire tailgate is opened. )

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHalloran View Post
    We really liked the Tahoe hybrid, which comes with a similar powertrain, and a similarly high price. It would have been a perfect match for my wife, who drives ~10 miles each way to work in stop and go traffic.

    Were you able to verify that the real world city mileage is anywhere near the EPA rating? Hybrid technology doesn't change the operating cost of a small car very much, but getting a usably big vehicle's city mileage from 12 to 21 mpg is _huge_.

    ( We didn't buy the Tahoe because they're in short supply, but mostly because the rear window in the tailgate doesn't open separately. We like to open that to tend to the dog, who will leap out if the entire tailgate is opened. )
    I still have it - and when the tank's empty I will crunch some numbers and post them... but I can tell you this:

    I have had it since they dropped it off last Weds. and taken it up and down the mountain (roughly a 30 mile roundtrip) twice, plus some local puttering around. Gas gauge still reads three quarters full. Similar trucks/SUVs I have had show a quarter-down after just one trip up and down the mountain!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
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    2010 Silverado


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  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHalloran View Post
    We really liked the Tahoe hybrid, which comes with a similar powertrain, and a similarly high price. It would have been a perfect match for my wife, who drives ~10 miles each way to work in stop and go traffic.

    Were you able to verify that the real world city mileage is anywhere near the EPA rating? Hybrid technology doesn't change the operating cost of a small car very much, but getting a usably big vehicle's city mileage from 12 to 21 mpg is _huge_.

    ( We didn't buy the Tahoe because they're in short supply, but mostly because the rear window in the tailgate doesn't open separately. We like to open that to tend to the dog, who will leap out if the entire tailgate is opened. )

    Update:

    Just got back from another trip in the Silverado. Odo says I have gone 189.7 miles (total). Fuel gauge reads just over half-full; computer says I am averaging 18.4 miles per gallon.

    This is what I'm getting in mixed-use driving, including climbing up and down a pretty steep grade.

    Not half bad!

  6. #6
    Prices begin at $38,340 for a standard RWD version
    Reduced tow rating ( a so-so 6,100 lbs., max
    pricier down the road (as the hybrid components age and require service
    Who would buy this POS? For $500 more you could have a Dodge Ram CREW Cab, with an efficient Cummins. The Cummins can tow over 13,000 lbs, has far more power and torque than the Chevy, and it comes with more room and features......who would buy the Chevy?

    (I used a Dodge for comparison and not a Chevy because, Chevy doesn't seem to offer the Dura-scrap in a 2500)

    2010 Ram 2500 Crew ST 4x2
    $30,465
    Powertrain Subtotal: $6,445 6-Speed Manual Transmission
    -$1,170 6.7-Liter I6 Cummins® Turbo Diesel Engine
    $7,615 GVWR: 9,000 lbs
    Included 3.42 Rear Axle Ratio
    Included
    Monotone Paint
    Included 17-Inch x 7.5-Inch Steel Argent-Styled Wheels
    Included LT245/70R17E BSW All Season Tires
    Included Media Center 130 CD/MP3 Radio
    Included ST Popular Equipment Group
    $770 Premium Cloth 40 / 20 / 40 Bench Seat
    Included 40 / 20 / 40 Split Bench Seat
    Included Rear Folding Seat
    Included Carpeted Floor Covering
    Included Front and Rear Floor Mats
    Included SIRIUS Satellite Radio
    Included 1-Year SIRIUS Radio Service
    Included For More Information, Call 1-888-539-7474
    Included Speed Control
    Included 11.50-Inch Rear Axle
    Included "Cummins Turbo Diesel" Badge
    Included Diesel Exhaust Brake
    Included Electronically Controlled Throttle
    Included Front Air Close-Out Panel
    Included Instrument Cluster with Vehicle Information Display
    Included Tow Hooks
    Included Vehicle Information Center
    Included Mini Floor Console
    Included Cold Weather Group
    $90 Engine Block Heater
    Included Winter Front Grille Cover
    Included Roof-Mounted Clearance Lamps
    $80
    Destination Charge
    $950



    Net MSRP*
    $38,800

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    It's a valid point -

    On the other hand, the 2500 diesel Ram is a much less civilized (in terms of NVH) vehicle. It's also a dualie...

    I personally would rather have the diesel - but I understand why many people prefer the quieter (and less messy/smelly) gas/hybrid 1500 over the rougher diesel 2500 dualie...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    It's a valid point -

    On the other hand, the 2500 diesel Ram is a much less civilized (in terms of NVH) vehicle. It's also a dualie...

    I personally would rather have the diesel - but I understand why many people prefer the quieter (and less messy/smelly) gas/hybrid 1500 over the rougher diesel 2500 dualie...
    2500 has just single rear wheels. But what is a truck for? It used to be for work....used to be. Of the truck makers only one makes a true work truck (with a manual trans) and that is Dodge.

    If you are going to spend 38k on a truck that is just a half ton, either get a diesel Ram, or get a non-hybrid half ton and spend the savings on gas for the life of the truck.

  9. #9
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    How many miles would you have to drive to save $7K worth of fuel and break even on the purchase of the Hybrid truck?

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    How many miles would you have to drive to save $7K worth of fuel and break even on the purchase of the Hybrid truck?
    At current prices - and assuming the 12-15,000 miles driven annually - probably about 5-6 years.

    Of course, gas prices could double at any time during those 5-6 years!

  11. #11
    about 5-6 years
    All the longer the hybrid power train will last if the vehicle is used for actual work.

    And 7k assumes that a non-hybrid would cost $31k...which according to chevy.com is right...holy shit! That's expensive for what you get.

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    All the longer the hybrid power train will last if the vehicle is used for actual work.

    And 7k assumes that a non-hybrid would cost $31k...which according to chevy.com is right...holy shit! That's expensive for what you get.
    Yeah - neither's a cheap date!

    Personally, I would go with the diesel 2500 Ram, if I needed a large, seriously capable truck that was also relatively decent on fuel. Then I would drive it for the next 20 years.

    But some people don't want the diesel (or the dualie) and it's possible that for some users (especially fleet users) the hybrid truck could make a case for itself.

    But it's like the hybrid cars. I've long argued that it makes more sense to buy a $10k economy-type car (such as the Nissan Versa 1.6) or - even better - a slightly used economy car for around $7k - than it is to spend $25-$30k on a Prius.

    But they still sell...

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