2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ $21,995(Portland, OR)

Back in the good old days, the only folks who had pickup trucks were those who owned horses, trailers, boats or their own construction/home improvement business. Those workhorse rigs were typically bare-bones standard-cab models with a flat vinyl bench seat, manual windows and an AM radio with one speaker in the middle of the dash. Now, however, folks demand a lot more from a truck than just the ability to do grunt work. Among this modern breed, the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 proudly stands as a smart choice, if this type of vehicle is truly what you need. The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickup truck is available in three body styles: standard cab, extended cab and crew cab. Standard cabs can be had with either a standard bed (6-foot, 6-inch) or a long bed (8-foot). Extended cabs can have a short (5-foot, 8-inch), standard or long bed. In the interest of maneuverability, crew cabs come only with the short bed. Regular cabs can be had in base Work or midlevel LT trims, while the extended and crew cabs are also available in the plush LTZ trim. There s also an LS trim for crew cabs only. The Work trim comes with the basics, including air-conditioning (extended- and crew-cab versions), a trip computer, OnStar telematics, vinyl seating, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack, satellite radio and a tilting steering wheel. The LS adds full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control and adjustable lumbar support for the driver. The LT trim adds upgraded audio speakers, premium cloth seating (with a lockable compartment and a power outlet built into the center cushion of the split front seat), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Opting for the LTZ gets you alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers (with heated washer fluid), dual-zone automatic climate control (in extended and crew cabs), an exclusive dash design with wood/metallic accents, leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats (with 12-way power adjustment), steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth, a Bose audio system (with a six-disc CD changer and rear audio controls) and remote engine start. There are five different engines available for the 2009 Chevy Silverado 1500. Work trucks have a 4.3-liter V6 (195 hp, 260 pound-feet of torque) as standard. This can be upgraded to a 4.8-liter V8 (295 hp, 305 lb-ft) or a 5.3-liter V8 (315 hp, 338 lb-ft). The current Chevrolet Silverado s steering feel is much improved over older generations. On long trips, the supple suspension and quiet cabin come into play to make the Silverado a pleasing companion. Acceleration is great with either the 4.8- or 5.3-liter V8.