When it’s all said & done: Cheaper by the gallon
It's a good deal, really. The flex-fuel V-8 costs nothing extra when the purchase agreement is signed, but it delivers plenty of down-the-road savings. Not all 5.3-liter Silverado engines are available as flex-fuel, but if a particular chassis and cab model offers one and it fits your needs, go for it. With E85 coming in at about a dollar per gallon cheaper, even with reduced fuel economy, the savings will quickly mount—not to mention the reduced emissions. We were very happy with the fuel economy returns with E85 in the tank, knowing the limitations that a flex-fuel engine puts on ethanol. Good fuel economy coupled with ample power is what we look for in an alt fuel vehicle, and the Silverado was easily adequate in both.
General Motors seems to understand and have their act together with making the compromise between power and economy, whether burning gasoline or E85 in their flex engines. We can only wish and hope they will extend this technological know-how further into their engine fleet. It would not be a great technological or manufacturing leap to do so. In the meantime, we say yay—overall the flex-fuel Silverado is a sweet deal with its dual fuel-ability, its heavy-duty capabilities and its underpinnings of comfort and utility. Toolboxes or not, this is a truck that just might be a favorite of the lady in the house.
- Good fuel economy for a V-8
- Comfortable utility
- Flex-fuel capability
- A tad pricey
- Could have used a 3.23 final drive ratio to improve fuel economy even further (without sacrificing power)
- Awkward door handle position and uncomfortable armrest
Details and Specs:
Technical Features: Vortec 5.3-liter V-8 with Active Fuel Management and flex-fuel capability, 4-speed automatic with overdrive, 3.73 rear axle ratio, Z85 handling and trailering suspension, 145 amp alternator, oil life monitor
Safety Features: 4-wheel ABS, dual stage driver and right side airbags, daytime running lamps, Stabilitrak stability control, tire pressure monitoring system
Interior Features: Auto dual zone AC, rear window defogger, XM Satellite stereo, dual 12-volt auxiliary power outlets
Exterior Features: Chrome rear bumper, 17-inch aluminum wheels with full size spare, P265/70R17 all season tires, front tow hooks, front fog lamps