2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD First Drive

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2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Truck

(6.0L V8 FFV 6-speed Automatic 8.2 ft. Bed)
  • 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

    2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

    The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD adopts the half-ton truck's cab, interior and sheet metal. | February 05, 2014

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Updating a Heavyweight

Absurd, that's what it was. There we were, mirror to mirror, foot to the floor in turbodiesel-equipped heavy-duty crew cab pickup trucks, each towing a 10,000-pound trailer up a 6-percent grade. In this, the world's slowest heads-up drag race, the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD gradually oozed ahead of both the 2014 Ford F-250 and the 2014 Ram 2500.

This small edge in acceleration is not why you should buy the new Silverado HD.

In all honesty, the heavy-duty trucks from these three manufacturers are all seriously impressive pieces of hardware. There's not a stinker in the lot. They'll all tow staggering poundage, well beyond what's required of the average user, and do it without even breathing hard. What's most notable about this new Chevrolet HD truck goes beyond its outright might and acceleration.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD

New Cabs, Beds and Interiors
First off, some background. For 2015 the Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup adopts the new cab structure, interior and bed that debuted last year in the half-ton Silverado 1500, while the underlying HD frame is carried over largely intact from the last major overhaul of 2011. Stability control is now standard across all HD variants.

The 2015 Silverado HD lineup comprises the 2500HD and dual-rear-wheel 3500HD models. Beyond that, they're available in the usual dizzying array of configurations (more than 150 in total), including regular, double and crew cabs, two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, two bed lengths and two combinations of engines and transmissions.

The standard engine setup is carried over from the previous generation. It combines an iron-block, 6.0-liter gasoline V8 rated at 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed automatic.

Diesel power is an $8,395 option and according to General Motors, two-thirds of Silverado HD buyers opt for the Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 over the gasoline V8. Hardware-wise, the diesel engine, too, is carried over, though calibration tweaks have reduced its noise signature with no change to its ratings of 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque. An Allison six-speed automatic is paired with the Duramax V8. We've long been fans of this diesel engine's robust torque and refinement, and its efficacy is undeniable.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD

Quietest Truck in the Class
We reckon that the new half-ton Silverado has among the quietest, most civilized cabins currently available in a full-size pickup, and the HD enjoys the fruits of this labor. As with the half-ton Silverado, the new cab brings to the HD trucks a touch more space, revised door sealing for less noise intrusion and more sophistication with the MyLink interface.

After driving the 2015 Silverado HD in various guises over many, many miles in the hills north of Phoenix, we give it top marks for its civility. Compared to the half-ton Silverado, there's a bit more road noise from the HD's beefier tires and wind noise from its larger mirrors, but it amounts to small potatoes.

Less impressive is the recirculating-ball steering that is unique to the HD trucks. It's vague around center and has more sluggish responses than the half-ton's rack-and-pinion steering setup.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD

Big Tow Numbers
Maximum payload and towing ratings have moved upward a smidge over the outgoing trucks. Keep in mind that these ratings span tremendous ranges that depend on truck configuration. Payload varies from a low of 2,628 to a max of 7,374 pounds, while towing ratings vary between 13,000 and 23,200 pounds.

These ratings are not certified to the SAE J2807 tow rating standard, so comparing these numbers to those of other manufacturers is an apples-to-kumquats exercise. Not that it matters much for the average customer's towing task, which GM brass tells us is 9,000 pounds: a walk in the park for this truck.

Furthermore, GM linked the Silverado's cruise control system into the transmission calibration in order to do a better job of holding your target speed and downshifting more readily on downhill descents to provide additional engine braking. It's a technique that works well.

Doesn't Feel Like a Heavy-Duty Truck
Above all, what stands out is the Silverado HD's refinement. This truck simply makes intimidating jobs less stressful. You'll forget all about the 3,500 pounds of payload you placed in the bed; we did.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD

Even when towing a 17,000-pound horse trailer, the truck didn't seem to care. The torsion-bar front and beefed-up rear suspension underpinnings are intended specifically for these kinds of loads, so a bit of mass helps take some of the stiff-leggedness out of the ride. Even when unladen, it's pretty livable.

The revised sheet metal draws close familial ties to the light-duty Silverado, though the HD version adds a prominent hood bulge and unique front-end treatment that toughens the look. While the 2015 trucks don't include significant hardware changes under the skin, that skin brings meaningful updates to Chevrolet's HD trucks. The relatively serene cabin is a major contributor to unfraying nerves, and the Duramax is as robust and well-mannered as ever.

Prices move upward just a touch to reflect content changes among the many variants. As for fuel economy, the EPA doesn't require heavy-duty trucks to undergo the usual mpg yardstick measurement. It's safe to say that no significant changes up or down should occur relative to the outgoing truck. It's just one of those things we'll have to assess ourselves in a big truck-and-trailer shoot-out. Given how well-rounded the 2015 Chevy Silverado HD has become in its latest guise, that won't be much of a chore.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

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