Driven: 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4X4 Crew Cab

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Chevy’s new heavy-duty line of Silverado pickups are big beasts of burden. Short of a U-Haul, there’s not a whole lot out there that’s bigger and can still be legally piloted without a CDL. Even compared to the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab, a truck already near and dear to my heart but not exactly “compact” in its own right, the 2500 4×4 pictured here commands attention with another 2,000 pounds of girth, 4.5” of height and 9.5” of length.

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It’s important to keep those numbers on hand, because behind the wheel, they start to lose relevance. Sure, parking lots need to be negotiated with a bit more care than in your average light-duty pickup or SUV. In the 2500, I tended to stick to the empty ends of the lot where nobody would mind if I took up an extra space or three. But on the move, the HD operates with such a smooth demeanor and lack of fuss that you’d easily forget its larger-than-life shadow if you lived with it every day.

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Possessing an interior every bit as roomy, luxurious and comfortable as that of the loaded GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado 1500 models I’ve sampled in the past year, this LTZ Crew Cab tester would easily make the final rounds of competition for “best road-trip vehicle of all time”. If you’ve got a fuel rewards card with unlimited points, even better. Economy with the DuraMax diesel certainly wasn’t terrible – given its skillset, few would argue with the near-17 MPG average it returned in mixed commuting conditions. On pure highway stretches, I saw closer to 21.

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It’s on those longer highway trips where you can really revel in the 2500HD’s commanding driving position, plush heated and cooled leather chairs, and total isolation from wind and tire noise. And of course, that deep reserve of diesel torque – 765 lb-ft to be exact. To call the Silverado quick from a dead stop is probably overstating the case; with nearly 400 horsepower on tap, it’s certainly no slouch in the engine department, but let’s not forget the 7,300 pounds of curb weight to contend with, plus whatever you happen to be towing out back. It’ll take up to 17,100 pounds in gooseneck trailer weight (13,000 pounds conventional) to make the 2500HD’s knees start to shake. If you’re towing anything larger than that, you may want to consider buying a rig with “Mack” written across the front.

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At cruising speeds, that low-end torque is omnipresent – passing maneuvers are reduced to a simple flex of your right toes. The ride on our Z71 off-road package-equipped tester tended to get a little bouncy over rough pavement, but that’s par for the course with these HD trucks – and would likely resolve itself with a full bed or trailer in tow. Overall road isolation is excellent, a trait shared with the HD’s smaller 1500-series brothers. The steering even manages to be responsive without any undue speed or nervousness that could make towing a chore.

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Just as in the quarter-ton segment, competition among heavy duty trucks is fierce. As mighty as the 6.6-liter Duramax seems on paper, the diesel alternatives from RAM and Ford are just as formidable – the Dodge carries a serious 17,970-pound tow rating thanks to its 800 lb-ft of torque, and the Ford is no slouch either with 15,900 lbs of overall tow capacity, although that’s a good bit down from the Chevy’s abilities. The Silverado has both of the other domestics beat at the scales, though, since even a 7,300-pound curb weight is svelte when it comes to full-size diesel pickups – after all, that’s 160 pounds less than the Ford and a whopping 500 pounds lighter than the RAM.

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Pricing’s in line with the competition, too – as you’d expect. While $62,925 might be what some would consider puckeringly dear for a pickup truck, that’s what these rigs often go for. And in this loaded LTZ level of trim, they serve not only as workhorses, but mobile offices, travel trailer tow rigs and luxury sedans wrapped into one. Buyers expect them to be loaded, so loaded they come.

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As a prospect for commuting to the office in, it’s probably overkill. But for a do-anything, carry-anything, tow-anything luxury liner, the HD absolutely hits its mark.

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2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD LTZ 4X4 Crew Cab

Base price: $49,225

Price as tested: $62,925

Options on test car: Duramax turbo diesel engine ($7,195), Allison 6-speed automatic transmission ($1,200), LTZ Plus Package ($1,165), 6” Chrome side steps ($750), Heated and cooled front seats ($650), Z71 Off-road Package ($555), MyLink audio system w/ Navigation ($495), Spray-on bed liner ($475), All-weather mats and cargo package ($435), Front leather bucket seats ($325), Chrome tow hooks ($250), 18” A/T tires ($200), Tilt & telescoping steering wheel ($100), Movable bed tie downs ($60), Cargo box LED lighting ($60), 5th wheel trailer wiring provisions ($35), Delete power sliding rear window (-$250)

Powertrain: 6.6-liter Duramax V8 turbo-diesel engine, Allison 6-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive – 397 horsepower, 765 lb-ft torque

S:S:L-observed fuel economy: 16.8 mpg

Chevy provided the vehicle for testing purposes and one tank of gas. Photos by the author.

 

                                                         

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John Kucek

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