Used 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 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 overall craftsmanship.
Debuting last year with an all-new design, Chevrolet's 3500HD adds a whole new level of power and capability to the Silverado lineup. The fact that it comes only in dual-rear-wheel versions is testament to this truck's purpose as a true workhorse. Despite its rough and tumble image on the outside, the 3500HD still features the spacious and comfortable cabin that makes these trucks so popular.
Gone is the venerable 454-cubic-inch (7.4-liter) big block in favor of a 496-cubic-inch (8.1-liter) V8 rated at 340 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. Even with these impressive numbers, this 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. A 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel is also available. Rated at 300 horsepower and a whopping 520 lb-ft 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 360 lb-ft of torque, substantially more than Ford's and Dodge's biggest gasoline V8s.
Two transmissions are offered. Standard equipment for the 8.1-liter and 6.6-liter engines is a ZF six-speed manual with an extra-low first gear for precise low-speed maneuvering and smooth takeoffs. Optional is an Allison 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.
Awesome engine power and heavy-duty transmissions translate into unsurpassed trailer towing capacity. The 3500 can tow up to 12,000 pounds. This one-ton Chevrolet heavy-duty pickup beats both Ford and Dodge across the board when it comes to overall weight-carrying capacity.
To cope with heavy loads, all Silverado 3500s include standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and a Hydro-Boost brake proportioning system 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.
There are three trim levels: base, LS and LT. Base models come standard with a 40/20/40 split bench seat, air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, 17-function driver message center and deep tinted glass. Mid-grade LS models add power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, an AM/FM/CD stereo, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Top-of-the-line LTs come with power heated leather seats, the OnStar communications system, a self-dimming rear view mirror with a built in compass and power heated exterior mirrors.
One look at the numbers, and it's obvious that the Silverado 3500 is hard to beat 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, because there's a new sheriff in town and he's pulling a mighty big trailer.
edmunds expert review process
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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