Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Review
Though "HD" is a fixture in our digital-age parlance, rest assured the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD does not, in fact, involve a television. In this case we're talking about heavy duty. The Silverado 2500HD is a true workhorse meant for big-league towing and hauling tasks, even if the latest model does offer an HD-quality 8-inch touchscreen.
Indeed, the current-generation Silverado 2500HD offers the iconic truck's nicest interior yet. For years, Chevy trucks were rebuked for lackluster cabins filled with hard plastics and poor fit and finish, but this criticism now only applies to earlier 2500HD models. Nonetheless, it will always be this truck's durability and tremendous workaday capabilities that keep generations of loyalists coming back to the gold bowtie. For a heavy-duty pickup, new or used, it's hard to go wrong with the Silverado 2500HD.
Current Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
A heavy-duty pickup with extreme payload and towing capacities, the current Silverado 2500HD is available in four trims: Work Truck (WT), LT, LTZ and High Country. Like its lighter-duty counterpart, the Silverado 1500, the 2500HD is available in regular-, double-, or crew-cab body styles, with a long (8 feet) or standard (6.6 feet) cargo box, and rear- or four-wheel drive.
A 6.0-liter V8 with 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque comes standard. A "bi-fuel" option allows this V8 to also run on compressed natural gas (CNG), with CNG output dropping to 301 hp and 333 lb-ft. Either way, a six-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting. The available diesel engine is a 6.6-liter Duramax V8 (445 hp, 910 lb-ft) paired with a beefier Allison six-speed automatic transmission.
Double- and crew-cab body styles are available at all trim levels, while the regular cab is only available in Work Truck and LT trims, and only with the long bed. True to name, the Work Truck comes with the basics: 17-inch steel wheels, vinyl upholstery and rubber floors, a 40/20/40-split front bench, cruise control, manual crank windows and a four-speaker audio system (double- and crew-cab models get a six-speaker system). Options are largely grouped in packages and include remote keyless entry, remote locking tailgate, rearview camera, a 110-volt power outlet, and Chevy's MyLink infotainment system with 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is optional.
The LT adds most of the WT's options as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted glass, heated power mirrors, the "EZ-Lift and Lower" remote locking tailgate, cloth upholstery, HD radio and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The LTZ trim comes with 18-inch wheels, foglights, extended chrome trim, an automatic locking rear differential, a power-sliding rear window, towing preparation, leather upholstery (with optional power front bucket seats), heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera and an 8-inch MyLink touchscreen.
The High Country package, meanwhile, emulates rival high-end models with 20-inch wheels, side steps, a spray-in bedliner, saddle-brown leather and basically every premium feature on the order list. The High Country also comes with high-tech safety options like lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert.
Some of the fancier standard features can be added to lower trims as options, while other extras include power-adjustable pedals, front and rear parking sensors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a heated steering wheel, Bose audio and the Z71 Off-Road package with special suspension components.
Powered by its 6.0-liter V8, the Silverado HD can tow up to 14,500 pounds or 14,800 with a fifth-wheel prep package. A stronger Duramax 6.6-liter diesel V8, new for 2017, shares similar tow ratings except when equipped with a fifth-wheel gooseneck, in which case it can tow up to 18,100 pounds.
Used Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Models
The current-generation Silverado debuted in 2015 with a marked improvement in the quality of interior materials and assembly. It featured upgraded technology like an 8-inch touchscreen to control phone and media functions, sophisticated driver assistance and safety features, and a quieter cabin. A roomier double-cab model with front-hinged doors replaced the previous generation's extended-cab model and its rear-opening doors.
For 2016, the 2500HD offered an optional MyLink 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Upper trims introduced an advanced steering assist system while a fifth-wheel gooseneck and trailering prep package joined the options list. Wireless phone charging and a remote locking tailgate also became available.
Engines carried over from the previous generation, although the diesel V8 got a power boost for model year 2017.
The previous-generation Silverado 2500HD was produced for the 2007-'14 model years with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The standard engine was a 6.0-liter V8 initially rated at 353 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque, while the optional 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8 made 365 hp and 660 lb-ft. The gas V8 inched up to 360 hp and 380 lb-ft for 2010, while the Duramax was overhauled for 2011 with 397 hp and 765 lb-ft. All 2500HD models of this generation were equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the diesel got a stronger one (not that the standard unit was exactly a weakling) with manual-shift control.
For 2013 and '14 only, buyers could add a bi-fuel option that allows the 6.0-liter V8 to run on either gasoline or CNG. When operating with CNG, power output drops to 301 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque.
This Silverado 2500HD offered three different cab designs — regular, extended and crew — until 2014, when the extended cab was dropped. The extended cab utilized a traditional "clamshell" design with reverse-opening rear doors. There were three trim levels: Work Truck, LT and LTZ. The Work Truck started with basics like manual accessories and vinyl seating, though air-conditioning was also made standard as of 2011. The LT added luxuries like chrome exterior trim, alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, cloth upholstery and upgraded audio, with optional dual-zone automatic climate control and front bucket seats. The fancy LTZ threw in the LT's standard and optional features plus leather upholstery, Bose audio, keyless entry and ignition, an upgraded dashboard, heated power front seats and rear audio controls. Options included a rear-seat entertainment system, a sunroof, a navigation system and the Z71 Off-Road package.
In an Edmunds comparison test of heavy-duty pickups, the mechanically identical GMC Sierra HD of this generation came out on top against its Dodge and Ford competitors. Though we found its cabin less inviting than the others, recent revisions to the frame, suspension and diesel engine proved hard to beat. As such, a used Silverado 2500HD from this era makes for a great used truck. Its capabilities remain formidable, and depreciation can deliver one to your driveway for a fraction of what it cost new.
Even though its appearance remained largely unchanged, this 2500HD saw some significant changes during its run. The 2011 model received a stronger, fully boxed frame, beefier suspension components and additional electronic aids, so that's something to keep in mind when looking at previous years. As noted above, the engines were also updated along the way. Other changes were minor, including an optional rearview camera for 2009 and hard-drive-based functionality for the navigation system in 2011.
The preceding Silverado 2500HD was sold from 2001 to 2006 in configurations much like those of its successors. It lived on for one additional year in '07 as the "Classic." These trucks came in standard, Work Truck (after 2003), LS and LT trim levels. The standard engine was a 6.0-liter V8 that made 300 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. There were two optional engines: an 8.1-liter gasoline V8 producing 340 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque and a 6.6-liter turbodiesel producing 300 hp and 520 lb-ft. This diesel was upgraded in 2006 for more power (360 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque), added refinement and fewer emissions. These engines carried over for the Classic.
A five-speed manual transmission was standard with the 6.0-liter V8, with a four-speed automatic optional. The 8.1-liter V8 and the 6.6-liter diesel came with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, which became a six-speed for 2006.
As with subsequent Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD models, we were impressed at the time by this generation's powerful engine lineup and substantial towing and hauling abilities. It was a reasonably comfortable truck for everyday use, but it predictably lacked the plush ride of its light-duty siblings. Any of the three available engines will provide capable acceleration and ample towing power, but the diesel V8 is the best choice for those who tow heavy loads — especially the more powerful Duramax from '06. Our principal beef concerned the subpar interior design, materials and build quality. Chevy improved the Silverado gradually during its lifespan, including notable updates for '03, but it was never quite up to snuff.
Prior to this, Chevrolet heavy-duty pickups ran from 1988-2000 and were simply known as the 2500 (3/4-ton) and 3500 (1-ton). In keeping with tradition, one could choose either rear-wheel drive (indicated by a "C", e.g. "C2500") or four-wheel drive (indicated by a "K"). Trim levels for these C/K2500 trucks included the base Cheyenne and top-line Silverado, which changed to base and LS for 1999. Strengths of these trucks include strong, durable powertrains, while weaknesses center on sketchy build quality and materials within the cabin.
Read the most recent 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD page.
For more on past Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD models, view our Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD history page.