2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4×4. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery: 2008 Chevrolet Silverado

Winnipeg, Manitoba – As my Forty’s speed toward me, like the Dodge Challenger at the end of ‘Vanishing Point’, I’ve come to a few realizations. Forty, and the nine additional something’s, will come with certain expectations. There’s a lot of things I’m not going to put up with anymore, such as mind games, telemarketers, and shoddy customer service. The 2008 Chevy Silverado LTZ 4X4 may not have the same ego needs, but there is one common thread; this full-whack pick-me-up is also in the Forties, as in a $43,925 base price. ($48,495 as tested.) The Forties for any truck comes with certain expectations, especially for cabin comforts and sensible utility. For many, this forty-something ride for their forty-something hide is also their satellite office, in addition to armoire hauling and family truckster duties. An extended or quad cab truck is fast becoming the utility staple of Middle Suburban Earth. Let’s get the dirt on what’s inside.


Cabin

Controls

This is a Chevy? That question is a compliment worth telling at the LTZ level. GM’s quality level in tactile feel continues to grow, and this latest example needs to make few apologies. Placement and reach is first-rate, though I am getting a little tired of the tacked-on steering wheel-mounted pods for cruise control, audio, and OnStar prompting. Other divisions, such as Saturn, have done an excellent job of integration in this department.

2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4×4. Click image to enlarge

Headlamps boast the handy Auto setting, and 4WD operation is a simple dial twist. Dual HVAC zones can be controlled manually, or by Auto settings, with underseat ductwork for rear passenger comfort. Below the HVAC controls is the switchbank for the power adjustable pedals, rear parking assist engage/cancel, StabiliTrak, and my personal favourite, heated windshield washer fluid. (The steam is worth the price bump.) XM Satellite Radio capability is standard on all Oh-Eight Silverado’s. The Driver’s Information Centre is where you’ll find the economy meter for the Active Fuel Management, which shuts down half of the cylinders on select engines when conditions permit. Column is tilt-only, with no manual telescope.

Convenience

2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4×4. Click image to enlarge

This is a truck, after all, and it’s going to get dirty. Chevy knows it, and has come to the table prepared for the coffee spills. The centre console lid has a removable thin rubber tray, as does the floor for the centre console cupholder indent. The front dual cupholder pod is removable, and has two available plug-in positions. The cups are held in place by four rubber tabs, which seem to be perfect cavities for take-out coffee. The cupholder pod has removable thin rubber coasters. You could actually throw this unit in the sink for a good soak to remove the monthly java residue.

Front door pockets possess proper cavities for larger water bottles. Rear passengers get minimal cubby storage in the swing-out rear doors. The rear doors can open ultra-wide, up to 170 degrees, with firm indents at 60 and 90 degrees. The rear of the centre console houses the flip-down dual cupholder. There are plenty of 12-volt DC power points, with two plug-ins found under the HVAC, one in the centre console cubby, and one at the rear of the console for the rear passengers, with a diminutive holding tray that needs enlarging.

2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4×4. Click image to enlarge

While we’re drilling more holes, it would be nice to move the MP3 jack into the console cubby, instead of the current audio head unit plug-in. Front visors contain back-lit vanity mirrors, as well as a slide function for better sunblock positioning. The optional moonroof has a retractable mesh screen, which keeps out the bugs when you’re sentenced to the driveway doghouse. The glove-box is locking, though the design of the luxury-spec IP means minimal storage space. Exterior mirrors are power-adjustable and heated, while the interior rearview boasts auto-dimming. The front power windows include express-down, and the rear power windows do a full descent into the door cavity. There’s also HomeLink think, for wireless control of your garage door, home lighting, even your sprinklers if you’re so inclined.

Seats

Again; this is a Chevy? The leather hides on the LTZ are of supple grain, with three-step heat capability for the entire front seats, or just the seatback. Both front seats get full power glide and recline, as well as power lumbar support. The rear of the seatbacks holds two storage pockets. There is zero complication with the fold-up system for the 60/40 rear seats. Just grab either seat bottom, apply an upward yank, and presto-change-oh, you’re done. Give it a downward shove, and you’re back in the seating business. Jacking tools are stowed underneath the rear seat.

2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4×4. Click image to enlarge

Fit and finish

GM just keeps improving. I’m not sure where Chevy is harvesting its fake trees, but the appliques actually work well in the LTZ, especially with contrasting metal-look trim. Soft trim hasn’t appeared yet for the plastics, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Safety features

Dual frontal airbags with passenger occupant sensing are standard, with the Head Curtain Side-Impact Air Bag System still an optional bump. It’s part of the $1,270 Safety Package, which also includes Power Adjustable Pedals and Rear Parking Assist. The new-gen Silverado earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s highest rating of five stars for frontal and side impact, when equipped with the side curtain airbags. (www.safercar.gov)


Spare/Truck bed

2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4×4. Click image to enlarge

The full-size spare has a keyed lockout for the manual cable descent system, to keep it from taking an unauthorized roll. Roadside assistance occurs for five years or 160,000 kilometres. For Oh-Eight, 1500 Series Silverado’s can be ordered with an integrated electric trailer braking system. The locking tailgate is a $125 tick on the option tab. The Tailgate Package option also includes the EZ Lift tailgate assist. Oomph! I must need more Wheaties. Instead of a factory boxliner, my favourite set-up is the aftermarket gooey coating, which makes the addition of the optional Cargo Management System a cinch.


Engine

You’ll need a footstool to get up there, but it is worth the trip. The 5.3-litre V8 in the LTZ boasts easy component access, as well as good reach for all fluid fill points.

2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4
2008 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4×4. Click image to enlarge

Even the engine oil inlet has an elongated filler tube neck. The air filter box has a unique meter, which appears to show at a glance just how clogged the air filter cartridge is. Headlamp bulb replacement looks tricky, most likely involving the backing out of the assembly.

Clarkey rating

I’ve been a fan of the new Silverado and Sierra trucks since my first 700-odd kilometres of evaluation through the Maritimes last year. There may be some heel-nips from the likes of Toyota’s equally-new Tundra, but the Bowtie and Professional Grade should have little to fret. As for the Outside Story, the new GM’s seem more sensibly proportioned. It’s a five star haul.

Next week: 2008 Jeep Wrangler

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