2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD First Impressions

Waterton Lakes National Park, AB – The heavy-duty pickups from General Motors are just the ticket for those who use their pickups to work, providing towing and payload capability on par with the F-250/350 and RAM 2500/3500. However, the Chevrolet Silverado also gives those blue-collar working folk a nice place to relax between job sites.

To find out everything there is to know about General Motors’ updated 2500 and 3500 series Silverado, they sent us to Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park to tow and haul some stuff around. You know, as if we were doing real work.

What is the Chevrolet Silverado HD?
The Chevrolet Silverado HD is the less expensive of two offerings from General Motors — the other being the GMC Sierra HD — with a choice of two engines and three cab configurations.

The Silverado HD is offered in 2500 and 3500 series, with either a single rear axle or dually configuration, and a multitude of trims. A new top-level trim, High Country, will be available later in the year.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD Price and Specs
As with any heavy-duty pickup, the options sheet for the Silverado HD is longer than 12-foot 2×4 lumber, and pricing varies accordingly.

Two engines are available on the Silverado HD: a 6.0L gasoline-burning Vortec V8 (those hoping for the new 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 will be disappointed) or a 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel V8.

The 6.0L develops 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque in 2500 models, while 3500 models make do with 322 hp. This engine is E85 FlexFuel capable and has the option of factory-approved CNG fitment.

However, the diesel is where big work gets done. With 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque on tap, those hauling heavy loads on a regular basis will want to shell out the extra $9,670 for the oil burner. The available Allison 1000 transmission adds an additional $1,445.

Three different cab configurations (Regular, Double, and Crew) are also available, as are three different box setups: Short, Long, and Chassis cab.

At the low end, the Silverado 2500 HD 2WD Regular Cab, equipped with long box and in base trim, starts at $37,290. Those with a bit more money to burn can shell out $60,055 for the Silverado 3500 HD Dually 4WD Crew Cab, equipped with a long box in LTZ trim. That’s before any additional options, which can easily nudge these trucks into the $80k range, especially once the new High Country trim is introduced.

Driving the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD
As we left our first coffee stop on the trip, we switched from our first vehicle — a GMC Sierra HD Denali — to a Silverado HD LTZ carrying a massive bail of hay in the box. Except when looking in the rearview mirror and seeing nothing but bound-up foliage, I completely forgot the payload was present.

Our trip down to Waterton Lakes National Park was easy, stopping at Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump along the way. Except for the decidedly heavy-duty diesel sounds emanating from the 6.6L Duramax, the Silverado HD drove much like its 1500 series light-duty counterpart: smooth, comfortable, and incredibly quiet.

Thanks to enhanced aerodynamics and new inlaid doors, the Silverado HD is much more silent inside than its predecessor. The quietness is even more evident in the gas-engine equipped Silverado HD, which could double as an incredibly luxurious highway cruiser with the right options.

The day after our Waterton Lakes visit, our activities took us to Bar-U Ranch where General Motors laid out a comparison test between mechanically similar Ford Super Duty and RAM Heavy Duty models.

With the same trailer and load, the GM offering easily spanked the RAM on uphill climbs. The Ford was able to keep up until about 90 km/h and then slowly fell back.

Inside and Out of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD
While the frame remains relatively the same in GM’s new big-boy toys, exterior and interior designs are all-new and highlight some fantastic features.

Outside, the Silverado HD now offers a rear bumper step (again, much like its little brother) for easy bed access without having to deploy a “man step.”

Cabs have changed significantly as well, now offering a front-hinged rear door on double cab models. The interior environment is greatly improved, easily putting the GM trucks at the front of the pack of heavy-duty offerings from the Big 3.

A best-in-class interior is not an easy accomplishment. Supportive, comfortable seats are a good start, as is the new-generation Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with the ability to pair up to 10 Bluetooth devices. However, the materials and switch gear really sets the Silverado apart from the pack.

Gone are button blanks — those spots where push-button options could be but aren’t — replaced with a toggle-switch bar at the bottom of the centre stack with switches that vary in length depending on the number of options equipped. And, to top it all off, everything is easy to use with a pair of thick work gloves.

Up front, the Silverado HD receives the same corporate facelift as the light-duty truck, with lots of chrome and a split going through the headlights. Even with this bolder, chunkier look, the Silverado has improved aerodynamics to keep everything quiet and route much cooler air to the powerplant under-hood.

Overall, and even with the carryover frame, the Silverado HD is a product worth serious consideration in the class. As heavy-duty haulers go, you can’t get any better — at least not until the next-generation trucks come along from Ford and RAM.

Comparing the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD
There are only four choices in the heavy-duty segment in Canada, with General Motors providing half of them. The Silverado and Sierra HD models, available in both 2500 and 3500 series, compete for construction jobs with the Ford F-250/F-350 and RAM 2500/3500.

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