Seemingly longer than a Scandinavian
winter and wider than the Montana sky, this hulking powerhouse feels like it can tow a
three-story building while carrying two armored cars in its bed. While this may seem like
hyperbole to the uninitiated, once youve spent time high up in its cab, steering
this Great White through the puny goldfish of city traffic, you quickly develop a sense of
invincibility. Soon, you feel like you could just drive over the cars in front of you
without scratching your skid plates.
This was especially true with my "Victory Red"
Silverado LT 2500HD 4x4 Crew Cab test vehicle. The view from behind the wheel is
commanding, and despite the length and width of the truck, navigating in parking lots and
in rush hour traffic is far easier than it seems at first glance. This size, however,
comes at a price.
My test truck wasnt equipped with running boards, but I
have to say that they are a must for almost anyone who buys a truck of this size. Stepping
into the cabin is no big deal if youre 6-feet-4-inches tall as I am, but when it
came to putting my twin 18-month-old son and daughter in their car seats on the rear
bench, and helping my pregnant wife into the passenger seat, that nearly two foot gap from
the ground to the door ledge becomes almost insurmountable.
Once youve loaded everyone into the truck, no matter where
theyre sitting, they have plenty of room to maneuver. The Silverado Crew Cab leads
its class in terms of front and rear seat passenger space. Ergonomics are excellent,
especially gauge location and switchgear placement, and now that the seatbelts are
integrated into the front seats, everything in the cabin is within easy reach. Of course,
when in the drivers seat, only one control really matters: the gas pedal.
The optional Duramax 6.6 liter Diesel V-8 found in the tester
vehicle delivers a pavement warping 520 lb. ft. of torque and 300 hp through a specially
designed Allison 5-speed automatic transmission. At $4,800 for the engine and $1,200 for
the transmission this package isnt cheap, but in terms of payload and trailer
hauling, nothing can touch it.
As if its size wasnt enough to make you think you were
driving a big rig, the diesel engine produces a perfect imitation of a
tractor-trailers clackety-clackety sound. If there were an air horn activating cord
hanging from the ceiling, youd be searching for the CB radio to give a 10-4 to your
Even though it doesnt have 18 wheels, the Silverado 2500HD
4x4 still can carry a best-in-class 3,337 lbs. in its bed (vs. 3,063 lbs. for the Dodge
Ram Quad Cab 4x4 2500 ST and 2,691 lbs. for the Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab XLT 4x4).
This stout Chevy also sports a class-surpassing 15,900 lbs. maximum towing capacity (vs.
12,700 lbs. for the Dodge and 13,400 lbs. for the Ford) and the highest maximum gross
weight vehicle rating, 9,900 lbs. (vs. 8,050 lbs. and 8,600 lbs. for the Dodge and Ford,
respectively). The lesson: If you want a truck that can carry the biggest payload and tow
the heaviest load, look no further than the Silverado HD (except maybe for its big
brother, the 3500HD).
On the road, the Silverado goes, steers and whoas with
surprising aplomb. Though it delivers expectedly dismal fuel mileage, the big Diesel
starts quickly, idles evenly and provides smooth power throughout its rev range. And
despite its nearly six ton weight, the Silverado has enough oomph for easy freeway merging
and panic-free passing.
When the road gets twisty, this pickup comes equipped. With
multi-leaf rear springs taking care of the rear and an independent suspension up front, no
matter what youre hauling (or not) this truck can handle it. Though quite stiffly
sprung (it is a heavy duty hauler, after all), even when the pavement gets rough mid-turn,
theres no jitteriness or jumpiness transferred through its power-assisted steering
When it comes time to slow the Silverado, have no fear. Chevy
engineers have equipped this Heavy Duty with heavy duty brakes: 4-wheel disc brakes with,
in Chevys words, "thick rotors and large pads" and GMs
much-ballyhooed 4-wheel ABS with Dynamic Rear Proportioning. Put simply, this rig can
stop, even while heavily loaded in panic braking situations, quickly and evenly.
From its chromed front bumper with integrated recovery hooks to its special
heavy duty trailer hitch platform, the big red Silverado 2500HD 4x4 Crew Cab proved to be
both a rugged, mean off-roading machine and a pleasant vehicle to load the family into to
visit grandma. Just beware of one thing: You know the joke about if you buy a pickup, then
everyone you know will start beating down your door with things for you to haul? Well,
with a truck like this, dont answer the door. God only knows what kind of freebie
jobs will start coming out of the woodwork.