What's New for 2008
Other than satellite radio becoming standard across the line, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD sees no changes for 2008.
After years of suffering criticism about hard plastics and ill-fitting panels in its full-size trucks and SUVs, Chevrolet finally made big changes last year. As part of a tires-to-roof redesign, these models, including the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD heavy-duty pickup, received a substantially better interior with higher-quality materials, a more attractive design and better build quality.
In addition to the attractive interior, last year's revamp also brought new styling, a more powerful engine lineup, a stronger frame and resulting higher payload and towing capacities. The latter are up to 3,458 and 13,000 pounds, respectively. If this truck isn't enough to move your stuff, you might want to consider a Sikorsky Skycrane helicopter.
The 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD hasn't changed much, and that's just fine for us. Compared against its archrival in the heavy-duty arena, Ford's Super Duty, the Chevy (as well as its GMC Sierra 2500HD twin) edges out the Ford in work capacity and has an arguably nicer interior. Either way, you can't go wrong if you're looking for a comfortable, heavy-duty hauler. But if neither the bowtie nor the blue oval does it for you, there's also the remaining member of the old "Big 3" -- the Dodge Ram 2500. The Ram offers nearly equal towing ability and ride comfort but lags behind in payload capacity and available cargo bed configurations.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is a 3/4-ton full-size pickup that's available in three body styles: regular cab, extended cab and crew cab. Regular cabs come with a long bed, while extended cabs and crew cabs can have either a standard or long bed.
Trim levels include the basic Work Truck, midlevel LT and top-of-the-line LTZ. The Work Truck comes with air-conditioning (extended and crew cab versions), a trip computer, OnStar telematics, vinyl seating, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a tilt steering wheel and an audio system with a CD player and satellite radio. The LT actually consists of two subsets: 1LT and 2LT. The 1LT adds deep-tinted windows, chrome grille trim, alloy wheels, a CD player, cruise control, full power accessories, cloth seating, keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Upgrading to the 2LT (in extended and crew cabs) adds dual-zone automatic climate control, foglamps, front bucket seats and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
The LTZ (not available for the standard cab) goes heavy on the luxury with features that include leather seating, rain-sensing wipers (with heated washer fluid), a Bose audio system with six-disc CD changer, keyless entry/ignition, an exclusive dash design with wood/metallic accents, 12-way power and heated front seats, rear audio controls and Homelink universal remote.
Options, depending on truck configuration, include a power-sliding rear window, a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, rear park assist, a sunroof, the Z71 Off-Road package (skid plates, off-road suspension and locking rear differential), the Safety package (power-adjustable pedals and park assist), a snow plow prep package and a cargo management system (including sliding tie-down hooks in the front and sides of the bed).
Powertrains and Performance
A 6.0-liter V8 making 353 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of torque and matched to a six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all Silverado 2500HD trucks. Optional is the burly Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8, which boasts 365 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque. The Duramax comes paired to an Allison six-speed automatic. Properly equipped, the 2500HD can haul up to 3,458 pounds and tow up to 13,000 pounds.
Buyers have a choice of either rear- or four-wheel drive. The Work Truck with 4WD has a traditional floor-mounted selector for the transfer case. All other 4WD trims have Autotrac, which features an automatic setting that shifts into 4WD when wheel slippage is detected.
Antilock disc brakes are standard, though stability control, front side- and side curtain airbags are not available on the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD. A Safety package that includes power-adjustable pedals and rear park assist is optional.
Interior Design and Special Features
Overall, the cabin's fit and finish is impressive. Simple, intuitive controls, comfortable seats, an abundance of storage cubbies, three power points and well-placed cupholders add to the user-friendly environment. There is also a one-touch, three-blink lane-change feature and standard satellite radio that make long trips more enjoyable. Rivaling the interior of a Cadillac, the plush Silverado LTZ features a unique dash and door panel design with handsome wood grain and metallic accents that give this workhorse the feel of a premium luxury sedan.
Based on our experience with the Silverado 1500 as well as the previous generation of the 2500HD, we'd expect the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD to provide sprightly performance, especially with the now even stronger turbodiesel V8. On long trips, the 2500HD's supple suspension should swallow bumps (even with the heavy-duty towing option) while still allowing confident, no-slop handling with a minimum of body sway through the turns. The cabins of those previously tested Silverados were impressively quiet, a characteristic sure to continue with the latest heavy-duty lineup.