Used 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Extended Cab Review
Chevrolet makes a pretty good pick-'em-up, if powerful engines are your thing. But it has a ways to go to match the Ford F-350 Super Duty when it comes to the quality of the materials and rugged good looks.
In 1999, the redesigned Silverado garnered rave reviews for its strong engines, superior brakes and roomy interior. Now Chevrolet has applied the same winning formula to its heavy-duty pickups and the result looks to be much the same.
Gone is the venerable 454 cubic inch (7.4 liter) big block in favor of a new 496 cubic inch (8.1 liter) V8 rated at 340 horsepower and 455 ft-lbs. of torque. Even with these impressive numbers, this new engine gets 4 percent better mileage than its predecessor and will run on compressed natural gas or liquid propane without special valves or other internal components. An all-new 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 replaces the 6.5 turbodiesel. Rated at 300 horsepower and a whopping 520 ft-lbs. of torque at 1,800 rpm, this engine bests the numbers of both its Ford and Dodge counterparts in horsepower, acceleration, and fuel economy. It's also quieter, easier to work on, and requires less maintenance than its competitors' offerings. Chevy's 6.0-liter V8 has also been upgraded to produce 300 horsepower and 370 ft-lbs. of torque, substantially more than Ford and Dodge's biggest gasoline V8s.
Two new transmissions are offered for 2001. Standard equipment for the 8.1-liter and 6.6-liter engines is a six-speed manual with an extra-low first gear for precise low-speed maneuvering and smooth takeoffs. Optional is a five-speed automatic with electronically controlled shift points and driver selectable dual-mode operation. In tow-haul mode the transmission downshifts automatically while descending a grade to reduce brake usage and reverts to a stabilization mode in varying terrain to reduce gear hunting. All 6.0-liter V8s get either five-speed manuals or four-speed 4L80-E automatics carried over from last year's trucks.
Awesome engine power and heavy-duty transmissions translate into unsurpassed trailer towing capacity. The 3500 can tow up to 11,400 lbs. The use of a fifth-wheel hitch increases trailer weight capacity on 8.1-liter and diesel-equipped models to 15,800 lbs. The one-ton, Chevrolet heavy-duty pickup beats both Ford and Dodge across the board when it comes to overall weight carrying capacity.
Numerous refinements were incorporated to cope with heavy loads including standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and a Hydro-Boost brake application that provides shorter stops with less effort and quieter operation. Wider wheels provide additional stability and brake cooling in addition to allowing larger, heavier-duty tires.
Numerous interior refinements add to the comfort and utility of Chevy's new 3500 pickup. Head-, leg-, and hip-room have all increased over previous models in both extended cab and crew cab configurations. The OnStar driver assistance system is now available on uplevel LT models. All trim levels include standard dual airbags with passenger-side deactivation switches to protect smaller occupants.
One look at the numbers and it's obvious that Chevrolet has raised the bar when it comes to heavy-duty trucks. With unmatched power and capacity, the Silverado 3500HD pickup leads its market segment in just about every measurable area. Looks like Ford and Dodge had better check their rearview mirrors, there's a new sheriff in town and he's pulling a mighty big trailer.
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This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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