What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Chevy Silverado 3500HD gets a more powerful 6.0-liter V8 as well as some minor equipment changes. Highlights of the latter include newly standard air-conditioning for the regular-cab Work Truck and a USB port for the uplevel sound systems.
When you're talking really serious workhorses, a Budweiser Clydesdale has nothing over the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD pickup. Typically seen in the "dually" (dual rear wheel) body style, this Silverado is for those whose towing and hauling needs are so crushingly heavy that even a 2500-series truck won't be enough. As with its GMC Sierra twin, the Silverado 3500 boasts an easy-to-handle demeanor along with a smooth ride and top-grade interior that allow one to comfortably tackle the brutish tasks these heavy-duty trucks are built for.
Other than adding a USB port to the uplevel audio systems and shuffling a few other features around between the standard and optional features lists, the Silverado 3500HD carries on as before. And that's fine with us, as a total overhaul a few years ago brought new styling, a dramatically improved interior, more composed handling, a more powerful engine lineup, a stronger frame and resulting higher payload and towing capacities. The latter specs impressively stand at 5,307 pounds and 16,500 pounds (with a fifth-wheel hitch), respectively.
Whether you opt for the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD or its GMC Sierra twin, you can't go wrong with these heavy-duty pickups. That said, there are a few worthy rivals to consider. The Dodge Ram 3500 has been redesigned this year, and it bests the Chevy in all-out towing capacity and arguably has the nicest cabin in the segment. The Ford F-350 is right in the mix as well, but the Chevy offers a bit more hauling and towing capability and a more welcoming cabin (particularly in Silverado LTZ trim). However, Ford offers a step up from these bad boys with the F-450, the only choice for those who need to tow a truly massive 24,500 pounds. As long as you're well under that lofty requirement, this stout steed makes for a smart choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Chevy Silverado 3500HD full-size pickup comes in three body styles and with two rear-axle designs. Regular, extended and crew cabs can each be had with either a single or dual rear-wheel setup (the two-wheel-drive regular cab only gets the single). All have a long bed. Regular cabs are available in base Work Truck or midlevel LT trims, while the extended and crew cabs can also be had in plush LTZ guise.
The Work Truck comes with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a trip computer, OnStar, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a tilt steering wheel and a stereo with just an AM/FM radio.
The LT adds keyless entry, rear tinted windows, full power accessories, a CD player, cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Some of these items are optional on the Work Truck.
The LTZ adds a locking rear differential, a heavy-duty trailering package (with an integrated trailer brake controller), alloy wheels, leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, remote engine start, upgraded interior design with wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, foglamps, 12-way power front bucket seats, heated seats, rear audio controls, Bluetooth and an upgraded audio system (with a USB port, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a Bose speaker system). Some of these features are optional on the LT.
Other options available on the LT and LTZ include a power-sliding rear window, a sunroof (LTZ only), a navigation system with real-time traffic, a rearview camera, rear parking assist sensors, power-folding exterior mirrors, power-folding and -extending camper mirrors, a Z71 off-road package (skid plates, off-road suspension, bigger stabilizer bar), the EZ-Lift tailgate, power-adjustable pedals and a rear-seat entertainment system (LTZ only).
Powertrains and Performance
The standard engine in the 2010 Chevy Silverado 3500 is a 6.0-liter gasoline-fueled V8 making 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Optional is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel Duramax V8 that boasts 365 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque. It gets a different six-speed automatic and is the go-to choice if you require a burly tow vehicle (it should also get better fuel economy). When properly equipped, the Silverado 3500 with Duramax can haul 5,300 pounds and tow 16,500 pounds (with a fifth-wheel trailer).
Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, with four-wheel drive optional. While the Work Truck 4WD gets a traditional floor-mounted transfer case, the two other trim levels available on the Silverado 4WD get Autotrac, a knob-controlled electric transfer case that also features an automatic setting that engages 4WD when wheel slippage is detected. All but 2WD regular-cab models can have single or dual rear wheels.
Antilock disc brakes are standard, but front side and side curtain airbags as well as stability control are not available. A safety package that includes power-adjustable pedals and rear park assist is optional, as is a rear parking camera.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Silverado 3500HD features two different interior designs depending on trim level. The Work Truck and the LT feature a more utilitarian, trucklike dash design with an open lower center portion to accommodate the standard three-person front bench (a center console is added with the optional bucket seats). The LTZ gets the same design as GM's large, top-trim-level SUVs, which lends the cabin a classier feel, thanks to the wood and metallic accents. With either design you get very straightforward controls within relatively easy reach, although the available dual-zone climate control buttons are small and difficult to operate with gloves.
The seats are quite comfy, although some may find the pedals placed too far apart and the tilt-only steering wheel located too close to the dash. Space in the crew cab's backseat is very generous, while most average-size adults should find the extended cab acceptable.
A notable strong point is the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 3500's well-weighted steering that provides the driver with a greater sense of vehicle control. This is a particular benefit on tight country roads. Although a heavy-duty pickup and its taut rear suspension will never offer a Cadillac ride, the 3500 is reasonably comfortable over long distances -- but it certainly helps to have it hitched up to something heavy. Both engines are strong, but if you can swing the price premium, the hefty performance and reasonable fuel economy of the Duramax diesel make it a very tempting choice.