2015 Silverado HD: More power, capability

Farm Forum

Chevrolet’s three-truck strategy, offering midsize, light-duty and heavy-duty pickups that fill a wide range of needs, spotlights the new 2015 Silverado HD in the role of “heavy lifter.”

Silverado 2500HD and 3500DH pickups are tools that serious truckers use to tow heavy trailers and haul big loads, according to Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for GM trucks, and the 2015 models are more capable than ever to fill these real-world workhorse needs.

Chevy’s fresh batch of heavy duties are available in WT, LT and LTZ trim levels, and in regular cab (WT and LT only); new double cab with forward-hinged rear doors (replaces the extended-cab); and crew cab configurations. Cargo boxes come in 6-foot-6-inch and 8-foot lengths. Starting prices (regular cab/crew cab) range from $32,405 to $36,385 for the 2500HD, and $33,900 to $38,655 for the 3500HD.

Those taking their Silverado HDs off-road or onto rugged construction sites can opt for the $1,580 Z71 package, which ups capability with Rancho monotube shocks (2500HD only), skid plates and Hill Descent Control. The package also adds a distinctive-style lower front bumper, special grille with Z71 badge, Z71 bed-side graphics, Z71-logo gauge cluster and brushed-metal door sill plates with Z71 logos.

All 2015 HD models get fresh exterior styling, boasting a form based on the new, more-aerodynamic 2014 Silverado 1500 light-duty pickups. The front end is sculpted to increase airflow to the engine air intake and cooling system, assisting in maintaining power when towing under adverse conditions.

Wind rush is reduced with a cab design featuring inlaid doors, which tightly fit into body-side recesses. Extra sturdiness is given the cab by beefing up almost two-thirds of the structure with high-strength steel.

Designers enlarged the crew cab’s rear doors and revised the seats to add about 2 inches of legroom, allowing passengers to more easily enter and exit the rear seat.

Versatility is given the cargo box with two-tier loading capability, integrated tie-downs and easier loading with a CornerStep rear bumper and available EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate.

A trio of potent engines contributes to the new boxes hauling heavier loads. Standard power is via a 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 delivering 360 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 380 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. It features continuously variable valve timing and is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. A Bi-Fuel version of the 6.0 is offered that allows quick switching between gasoline and compressed natural gas.

Silverado HDs get maximum grunt from the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel. It cranks out 397 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 765 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. Piezo-actuated fuel injectors provide optimal efficiency, and a variable-vane turbocharger doubles as an exhaust brake that helps regulate speed on downgrades.

The Duramax is partnered with a heavy-duty Allison 1000 transmission featuring tap-up/tap-down shifting and Tow/Haul mode. Auto grade braking, integrated cruise control and StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control are standard features that contribute to confidence when towing.

A stiff, fully boxed high-strength-steel frame and heavy-duty suspension systems are key factors in the Silverado HD’s payload and towing capabilities. Maximum available payload is 7,374 pounds, up from 7,222 pounds; maximum available conventional towing is 19,600 pounds with the available factory hitch, up from 18,000 pounds; and maximum available fifth-wheel towing is 23,200 pounds, up from 22,500 pounds.

The strengthened frame also improves handling, as well as ride comfort for those sitting in the new-design cabs. Interior updates echo those of the light-duty siblings. An upright instrument panel design makes reaching and manipulating the well-laid-out controls more convenient. A distinctive-looking six-gauge instrument cluster with driver information center gives the driver easy access to key vehicle-operation data. More interior storage options also are given passengers.

Chevrolet MyLink is standard on LT and LTZ models. It provides user-friendly connectivity, featuring Natural Language Voice Recognition, and ports and power outlets to accommodate multiple devices. With the availability of OnStar’s new 4G LTE network, Silverado HD pickups are offered with Wi-Fi hot-spot connectivity.

“No other manufacturer gives customers so many choices,” said Luke. “For example, the new Silverado HDs offer more than 150 combinations of cabs, bed lengths, powertrains, drivetrains and axle ratios, enabling customers to buy exactly the right truck for their towing and hauling needs.”