Full 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Review
What's New for 2015
Redesigned for 2015, the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD offers an improved interior, updated styling, new safety features and a new double cab body style.
Riding atop a wave of accolades for its redesigned Silverado light-duty pickup, Chevrolet follows up with revamped versions of its heavy-duty haulers. As such, the 2015 Silverado 3500HD boasts the same interior upgrades found in the 1500. These include higher-quality cabin materials, larger touchscreens to control entertainment and hands-free phone functions, new sophisticated safety features and a quieter cabin.
The heavy-duty trucks share the same square-jawed countenance seen on their light-duty counterpart. A new, roomier double cab model with conventional front-hinged doors replaces the former extended cab and joins regular and crew cab configurations. The new Silverado 3500HD also offers 6.5- and 8-foot bed lengths for the double and crew cab models. Regular cab models are long beds only. Loading and accessing cargo in those beds is eased via bumper corner steps and the EZ Lift and Lower tailgate.
Engine selections carry over from the previous generation, meaning up to 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque worth of grunt are available to handle most anything you could throw at this truck. Properly equipped, the Silverado 3500HD can haul up to 7,374 pounds and tow up to 23,200 pounds. And features such as integrated cruise control, automatic grade braking, trailer sway control and, on diesels, diesel exhaust braking, all help make towing smoother and easier.
The heavy-duty pickup segment has become as hotly contested as "The World's Strongest Man" competition. In addition to their ability to perform heroic feats of brute strength, these trucks provide levels of comfort and refinement unheard of years ago. The 2015 Ford F-350 Super Duty and Ram 3500 are also worth a good look. Within that select group, the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 stands proud and deserves consideration from consumers looking for one of these very capable workhorses.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is offered in regular cab, double cab and crew cab body styles with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. All cab styles can be had in either single-rear-wheel (SRW) or dual-rear-wheel (DRW, or "dually") configuration. And all come with a long bed (8 feet) except the crew cab, which in SRW form offers a choice of the long bed or a standard bed (6.5 feet).
Trim levels start at the base Work Truck, step up to midlevel LT and then top out at the upscale LTZ, though the latter is not available with a regular cab.
The regular-cab Work Truck, or WT, trim comes with chrome bumpers, 18-inch steel wheels, a heavy-duty trailering package, an automatic locking rear differential, rubber floor covering, a choice of cloth or vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench with a fold-down center armrest, power door locks, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, a 4.2-inch color display and a four-speaker audio system with USB/iPod integration and an auxiliary audio jack. Double cabs and crew cabs get six speakers as standard.
The LT trim adds alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, an upgraded tailgate, keyless entry, full power accessories, carpeting, Chevy's MyLink interface, smartphone integration, voice controls (cell phones and music), OnStar, a CD player, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The LTZ trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, power-sliding rear window with defogger, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote ignition, leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way power front bucket seats (with power lumbar), driver memory settings, a 110-volt power point and an upgraded MyLink system with an 8-inch touchscreen.
Some of the extra standard features on the upper trims can be added to the lower trim levels as options. Other option highlights, depending on trim level, include different axle ratios, a protective bedliner, a bed storage box, various tonneau covers, trailering mirrors, a sunroof, a Driver Alert package (includes front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert and a safety alert driver seat), power-adjustable pedals, a telescoping steering column, a navigation system, a Bose audio system, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Also available is the Z71 Off-Road package, which includes 18-inch polished alloy wheels, hill descent control, skid plates, specially tuned shock absorbers, a different front stabilizer bar and unique styling tweaks for the grille, bumpers and door sill plates.
Powertrains and Performance
Engine choices start with a 6.0-liter V8 making 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The optional turbocharged 6.6-liter diesel V8 makes 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque, sent through a beefier six-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard for all models, and four-wheel drive is optional.
Properly equipped and depending on body style, the Silverado 3500HD can haul up to 7,374 pounds and tow up to 23,200 pounds.
Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control (with trailer sway control), front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Upper trims also include OnStar (includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen-vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation).
Optional safety equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and the Driver Alert package (includes lane-departure alert, forward-collision alert, safety alert seat and front and rear park assist).
Interior Design and Special Features
The overall quality and design of the latest Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD's cabin is noticeably improved. Materials are of high quality, and the gauge cluster's crisp graphics are a snap to read day or night. The design is attractive, and top trim levels boast handsome accent stitching atop the dash. Frequently used controls, such as those for the radio's volume and tuning as well as those for adjusting the cabin's climate, are large and well-placed.
The central information display located between the tachometer and the speedometer is intuitive to navigate, and its graphics are simple and easily interpreted. On the center stack, both the 4.2- and the 8-inch MyLink color infotainment displays feature sophisticated (and in some cases reconfigurable) graphics options. Unfortunately, MyLink can sometimes be slow to respond to your touch inputs.
Seats up front are amply sized, supportive and fairly comfortable. The lack of a telescoping steering wheel option in the WT trim, however, may make it harder for some people to get an ideal driving position. In the crew cab, no need to call "shotgun," as the comfortable backseat is well-bolstered and angled appropriately for solid leg and back support.
Whether driven through city streets, on open highways or on twisty mountain roads, the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 does itself proud for the most part. We have to give it top marks for its civility. Yes, 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 overall, for a vehicle of this type the cabin is fairly serene.
Around turns, the big truck's steering has a light, precise feel, and body roll is decently controlled. Tight maneuvering situations, such as when parking or negotiating a multi-point turn, can take a hefty amount of wheel turning. But this isn't unexpected from a heavy-duty pickup.
Although we have yet to tow with a Silverado 3500, we have done so with a Silverado 2500. Even when pulling a 17,000-pound horse trailer, that somewhat less "heavy duty" truck didn't seem to care. We imagine the even burlier 3500 would feel at least the same. The beefed-up suspension underpinnings are intended specifically for these kinds of loads, so a bit of mass helps take some of the stiffness out of the ride. Yet even when the truck is unladen, it's still pretty livable.
Also minimizing stress on long trips with a trailer in tow is the Silverado's cruise control system. Linked into the transmission calibration, it does a fine job of holding your target speed as downshifts happen more readily on descents, providing additional engine braking and keeping speed in check.