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Chevy Silverado 2500HD; No. I Won't Help You Move

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On: Fri, May 6, 2011 at 4:28PM | By: Chuck Arehart

Chevy Silverado 2500HD; No. I Won't Help You Move

It's funny how having a full-size pickup that can do lots of stuff suddenly puts you in demand. Once the Chevy Silverado 2500HD test vehicle arrived, my popularity among those that needed something hauled, towed, or yanked out of the ground soared to the heights of Justin Beiber. When I stopped by a friend's house, I heard everything from, "I was thinking of putting the boat in the water," to “I picked out a new sofa bed." "Well, gotta get going'," was my common reply, escaping any time investment. Not that the Silverado HD wasn't up for those chores.

The 765 lbs.-ft. of torque that peaks at a low 1600 rpm is a 105 lb.-ft. improvement over the 2010 Silverado HD and is backed up by 397 horsepower. Ah, the beauty of big diesel engines. Other perks to the powertrain for 2011 include a 63-percent reduction in emissions and B20 biodiesel capability.

According to Chevy's numbers, the Silverado 2500 HD has the best conventional towing and payload capabilities in its class. So your boat and trailer can weigh up to 17,000 pounds or you can haul up to 4,192 pounds worth of sofa beds. And sometimes just one sofa bed feels that heavy. For really big towing jobs, a fifth-wheel configuration ups the limit to 21,700 lbs.

The Duramax 6.6 liter turbo-diesel packs all of that punch, but choosing the nearly $7,200 option automatically adds the $1,200 Allison six-speed automatic transmission. Why they aren't packaged as a single powertrain option is anyone's guess. A 6.0-liter gasoline engine with a six-speed (non-Allison) heavy-duty transmission is standard equipment and pumps out 360 hp with 380 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission includes a tow/haul mode and manual mode for do-it-yourself shifting at the touch of a button. In all-around driving the test truck delivered 16 mpg. A standard 36-gallon fuel tank helps maximize driving range.

A Ford F-250 owner who sampled the test truck described the steering as magnificent and agreed that the transmission seemed to hold each gear too long under light acceleration and without the burden of a heavy load. The powertrain is relatively quiet for a heavy-duty truck diesel, but it can drone on after a while when cruising in the 1500 rpm range.

The rest of the Silverado cabin is quiet and tight. The uppermost LTZ trim level includes leather and faux wood trim, power front seats with memory and heaters, and dual-zone automatic air-conditioning at a sticker price of $44,645. The LTZ Plus option package on the test truck added $725 to the sticker and included a locking easy-lift tailgate, adjustable pedals, and rear park assist. Other major options on the test truck fit for a gentleman farmer included 20-inch polished wheels ($850), chrome assist steps ($689), a backup camera to ease parking ($450), head-curtain airbags, and front seat side-impact airbags ($395) for a grand total of $57,254. The camper/towing outside mirrors with separate convex section aided driving and parking, but they would further benefit with a power folding feature and adjustable convex elements.

You'll find comfortable room for five in the crew cab body and the rear seat cushion folds up if you need to carry cargo instead of people. The floor is nearly flat to further ease loading and enhance passenger comfort as there's no drive-shaft hump. Well thought out items that help with maintenance are a fuel-filter meter in the Driver Information Center and a gauge on the air filter box that alerts you to needed replacement.

Overall, the Silverado HD felt like it could do just about anything and isn't afraid to make a hard-working owner and his crew or family feel comfortable inside. The heavy-duty segment of the pickup market is hotly contested to the benefit of those that use their trucks for actual work every day, and the Silverado is definitely one to consider.

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