If you have a trailer to tow or heavy loads to haul, there's no substitute for a half-ton pickup — but even those trucks have their limits. For the heavy jobs, you need a heavy-duty pickup, and we think the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is a great choice: It has the muscle for the big loads, and yet it's not unpleasant to live with on a daily basis.
Chevy offers the Silverado 2500HD with gas and diesel power. The former is a 6.0-liter V8 rated for 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. It has a bi-fuel option that allows it to run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). The diesel is all-new for 2017, a largely redesigned version of the 6.6-liter Duramax V8. It's now rated at 445 hp and an astonishing 910 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission, with the diesel getting a more durable Allison unit. Both can be had with rear- or four-wheel drive. Towing capacity depends on configuration and maxes out at 14,500 pounds. Because of these trucks' heavy carrying capacity, the EPA does not provide fuel economy estimates.
The diesel is immensely powerful and very quick: We haven't track-tested the new engine, but last year's less powerful diesel propelled the 2500HD to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds, remarkable for a heavy-duty pickup. We expect the new engine to be even quicker. The rest of the driving experience is equally impressive: The steering is precise, and the truck is surprisingly competent on curvy roads, which is not what we'd expect from a big heavy-duty pickup. But ride quality is more in line with our expectations: It jiggles on concrete freeways and gets upset by big bumps, but that's par for the course with a chassis and suspension designed for heavy lifting.
The Silverado 2500HD's cab is nicely appointed and well built. There's plenty of room, though the front seats could be better, especially the backrests, which feel too hard. We actually found the backseats of our crew-cab tester to be more comfortable — too bad you can't drive from back there. Visibility is good, though both the side and rearview mirrors should be larger. Though the 2500HD sits high off the ground: Optional running boards and standard grab handles make entry and exit easier. We liked the damped tailgate, which opens softly, as well as the integrated bumper step, which makes it easy for short people to access the bed.
Chevrolet offers the Silverado 2500HD with regular (single-row), extended and crew cabs. Regular-cab trucks come exclusively with a long bed (8 feet 1 inch), while the larger cabs offer a standard bed (6 feet 6 inches) as well. There are four trim levels: Work Truck (WT), LT, LTZ and High Country. The WT is a fairly basic commercial truck. The LT is better for day-to-day driving. The LTZ and High Country offer several desirable luxury features. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.