Monday, September 20, 2010

2011 Chevy Silveraldo 2500 4x4 Crew Cab Diesel: One Heavy Duty Work Truck

What’s New:

From a quick glance, Chevy’s redesigned 2011 Silverado HD (heavy-duty 2500 and 3500) pick-up trucks look the same as last year’s. Yet, upon a closer examination, one will notice a new-hood with a louvered design, as well as a new-grille and full-width chrome steel front bumper. For the 2011 model year, Chevy has even added a 3500 HD Crew Cab, with a 6.5-foot cargo box to the line up.

Beyond the sheet metal and the new addition to the line up, the real changes for the Silverado HD series are underneath the hood and body of these work trucks. For the 2011 model-year, Chevy’s HD series offers a new fully-boxed, high-strength-steel frame and stronger suspension system, which allows for increase towing and payload capabilities.

Moreover, there is a new Duramax turbo diesel, which delivers up to an 11 percent increase in fuel-economy, quicker acceleration and lower emissions. And to help to manage this extra power, Chevy’s HD trucks are now equipped with larger brakes, which will surely come in handy when the driver needs to slow this vehicle down.

Foremost, Chevy’s truck line now incorporates the latest technology: WiFi, USB connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity; XM Satellite Radio; and GM’s OnStar system with navigation. All of this technology allows the new Silverado HD to be a rolling, money-making mobile office.  

Must-Have Goodies:

For the 2011 model year, GM’s HD (2500 or 3500 series) trucks are available in a Regular Cab, an Extended Cab or a Crew Cab in three trim levels: a base WT; a mid-grade LT; or an upscale LTZ. Overall Chevy’s new Silverado HD line up is quite extensive; the truck is available in ten 2500HD models and eight single-and dual-rear-wheel 3500HD models. Surely one should be able to find a work truck that suits their needs.

In addition to a variety of configurations, Chevy’s HD trucks can be outfitted with a number of options. For instance, the monstrous Silverado 2500 LT Crew Cab 4x4 diesel we reviewed was equipped with Chevy’s Interior Plus Package, which included a 6-way power driver’s seat, a dual-zone ventilation system, steering wheel radio controls, and a CD player with a USB port and connectivity for a Bluetooth phone. 

And since our vehicle was outfitted with Chevy’s midlevel trim, our HD truck lacked many of the features available on the high-end LTZ trim. The LTZ trim packages include a locking tailgate, power-adjustable pedals to reach the brake and gas, a Rear Parking Assist System and a rear-wheelhouse liner.

Also for those in need of pulling power, there are two options available to meet one’s demands: a HD Trailering Equipment Package, which consists of a locking rear differential and integrated trailer brake controller, or a fifth-wheel, which can easily pull up to 21,700 pounds.

Besides the pulling power, in the Silverado’s bed can be accessorized with GM’s On The Job Package, which contains a full-body skid resistant bed liner, bed- rail protectors and a dealer installed bed-mounted tie-down hooks.

Added to the features above the HD series is also available with these options too:  a power moon roof, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 20-inch forged wheels, dual 125 amps alternators, a heavy-duty cold-cranking battery, chrome assist steps and a rear sliding window.

What Rocked

For those in need of a fuel-efficient HD truck, Chevy’s new turbo-diesel could be the answer. With our 2500 HD truck being outfitted with a $7,195 optional turbo-diesel, we were able to accumulate over 500 miles from Chevy’s standard 36-gallon tank -- before the low-fuel warning light appeared. And this mileage was based on a combination of in-town and highway driving. Conversely, according to GM officials, Chevy’s HD series trucks with the turbo diesel should be able to achieve up to 670 miles on one tank, which is a 75% improvement over the previous model -- when only driving highway miles. 

Moreover, unlike in past HD trucks, Chevy’s 2011 models longer wheelbases – ranging from 133.6 inches  to 167.7 inches  –  are designed with an independent front suspension and new shocks which not only  provides better handling, but a smoother, more controlled ride.  Added to that, Chevy’s 2011 HD trucks offer a revised steering system, which reduces steering effort in low-speed and parking maneuvers.
Furthermore, Chevy’s 2011 Silverados can easily convert from being a workhorse during the day to a family truck on the weekend, seating up to 6 occupants comfortably.

What We Disliked:

While Chevy’s Silverado HD line up could be a little difficult to manage on Atlanta’s narrow city streets, these trucks are more than capable when performing at the work site. To help maneuver these miniature rigs, there are some high-tech safety features that should be a mandate on all large and HD trucks. For instance, an in-dash back-up camera could make it easier to back up, while an electronic blind spot system could help alert the driver of vehicles in its blind spot - before changing lanes. (We must note a back-up camera is an available option with some HD models). And unless one has an oversized garage, don’t expect to squeeze-in this vehicle.

Any Juice:

Underneath the hood of the HD workhorse we reviewed was a 6.6-liter, 8-cylinder Duramax turbo diesel, with a 6-speed transmission, spewing out 397 horses. The gas-powered Silverado is equipped with a 6.0-liter, 8-cylinder engine that produces 360-horsepower. 

The Verdict:

Like any HD truck, the driver will definitely feel in command of the road. Since GM has improved the ride and handling capabilities of the 2011 Silverado HD workhorses, these trucks are not only great to take out to the work site, but for quick trips to the mall, too.

Moreover, the roomy cabin when equipped with the latest high-tech features makes this a mobile office or the perfect family vehicle to cruise across the country. Added to that, while driving our quiet-tuned, extremely fuel-efficient turbo-diesel, we were was able to easily slide in and out of the neighborhood with out attracting a lot of attention or annoying the neighbors. 

Furthermore, with so many different configurations of Chevy’s HD series and the enhanced towing capabilities, these trucks can go toe-to-toe with any of its competitors. Ironically, there aren’t any import trucks as of yet with the HD distinction. For now, the HD truck market still belongs to GM, Ford and Chrysler.

Pricing for a base Single Cab Silverado 2500 HD work truck starts at $28,960, while a well-equipped 3500 Crew Cab LTZ HD work truck swells to a whopping $61,000.

Competition: Dodge Ram HD, GMC Sierra HD, Ford F-Series Super Duty


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