The Chevrolet Silverado is arguably the best half-ton truck for towing and the Two-Mode hybrid version is arguably the best half-ton Silverado for towing. It’s absolutely amazing watching a Silverado pull a 5000 pound trailer and not hearing anything as the rig pulls away. If you’re gentle with the gas, you could make it to 30 mph before the gasoline engine fires up.
The silent operation is eerie, but the big news is how smooth this half-ton truck feels with a trailer in tow. Some may think of hybrid systems as being fragile or only useful for improving fuel economy, but Chevy hasn’t given up usability or durability by installing a hybrid drivetrain in the GMT900 pickups. True, the towing capacity is down to 6100 lbs in 2wd and 5900 lbs in 4wd trucks, but these trucks pull trailers as effortlessly as a diesel.
If you’re not looking to tow a trailer, expect to see 21/22 mpg in 2wd trucks and 20/20 mpg with the 4wd hybrids. Those numbers may not sound as impressive as a hybrid car, but these trucks can get you up to 40 percent farther on one gallon of gas than a traditional gas pickup. Adding fuel economy to the biggest gas guzzlers does a lot more for the environment than adding a few mpg to a car that’s already getting around 30 mpg.
The hybrid trucks are powered by a 6.0-liter V-8 and two electric motors housed inside the transmission. Output is a stout 332 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque. All Two-Mode trucks come standard with a soft tonneau cover, 3.08 axle gears, low rolling resistance tires, aluminum wheels, a longer chin spoiler, electric power steering, and a quieter exhaust system. Initially the hybrid trucks will only be available in crew cab configuration, but extended cab hybrids will be available later on. There are no plans to bring a hybrid regular cab truck to market since there is no place to put the 300 volt battery pack in a regular cab truck.
It’s impossible to determine how much driving you’d have to do to recoup the added cost of a hybrid truck since GM isn’t releasing the price for these hybrid pickups, but the option of a hybrid truck might be pretty appealing when they hit showrooms in 2009.