Vital Stats

Engine:
6.6L V8 Turbodiesel
Power:
397 HP / 765 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
10 Seconds (est.)
Top Speed:
98 MPH (limited)
Drivetrain:
Four-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
7,500 LBS (est.)
Seating:
2+3
MPG:
N/A
Base Price:
$48,230
In excess of 475,000 heavy duty pickups were sold in the United States last year – the capable workhorses represented more than 25 percent of the year's full-size pickup volume. But unlike the passenger-car segment, where dozens of makes and models are constantly competing for supremacy, the heavy-duty segment consistently boils down to a four-way battle between the Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ram 2500 and the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD/GMC Sierra 2500HD twins. And, while today's automobile shoppers seek fuel economy, safety features, style and technical innovation, big truck buyers are essentially on a quest for one attribute: capability.

General Motors recently invited us to Arizona to explore the power, proficiency and potential of its new 2015 Sierra and Silverado HD trucks. After a day of driving and hauling, we walked away with a much better understanding of what makes these 7,500-pound hulks of diesel-consuming machinery appealing.
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

This past September's State Fair of Texas was chosen as the launch venue for GM's model year 2015 heavy-duty trucks. While the vehicles aren't all-new (the chassis was redesigned for the 2011 model year), each debuts with fresh new cabs, upgraded interiors and a host of improvements on the heels of the recent half-ton Silverado/Sierra redesign.

More than two-thirds of all buyers opt for the mighty Duramax 6.6-liter diesel.

Allowing consumers to build a truck to suit their needs, GM will continue to offer more than 150 combinations of HD pickup that includes the buyer's choice of bodystyle (regular, double or crew cab), drivetrain (two- or four-wheel drive), bed length (6.5-foot or 8-foot), axle ratio and one of three powerplants. As the automaker rightly points out, "One size does not fit all."

The HD range's base powerplant is a gasoline-burning 6.0-liter Vortec V8, rated at 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque and running through a six-speed automatic transmission. The second engine choice is a modified bi-fuel version of the same 6.0-liter V8, which runs on gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). The last engine, which more than two-thirds of all buyers opt for, is the mighty Duramax 6.6-liter diesel (pictured below). The turbocharged engine is rated at 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque and it sends its power through an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission.

While the EPA doesn't post fuel economy figures for this class of vehicles, owners reporting online to Fuelly averaged about 15 mpg overall in 2013 models (our diesel test vehicle displayed about 18 mpg on the open highway when driving without a load, but our mileage dropped significantly when the truck was tasked with hauling or towing).

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

Both Silverado (and Sierra) HD pickups are covered by a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, five-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, and the automaker will provide two-years/24,000-miles of scheduled maintenance, including refills of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), at no additional charge (oil change intervals are determined by service use, but GM estimates that the five-gallon DEF tank needs to be refilled about every 5,000 miles).

The HD trucks are rated to tow 19,600 pounds.

Underpinning the family of trucks are fully boxed steel frames. The front suspension is independent, with forged steel upper control arms and cast iron lower control arms. Torsion bars are used instead of springs to allow easy trim height adjustment, says GM. The rear suspension utilizes three-inch wide asymmetrical leaf springs. There are disc brakes at all four corners, with two-piston sliding calipers on the front and a single-piston sliding calipers on each rear. With a conventional hitch, the HD trucks are rated to tow 19,600 pounds. A fifth-wheel setup increases the towing rating to 23,200 pounds.

The cargo beds are new, and they have both been redesigned to incorporate better illumination, additional tie-downs, EZ Lift and Lower tailgates and convenient CornerStep bumpers (which were touted on the 1500-Series trucks last year but actually introduced on the now-discontinued Avalanche). A factory spray-in bedliner is optional. GM is touting its best-in-class bed payload capability, an impressive 7,374 pounds.

In other mechanical news, GM has fully integrated the cruise control with the engine and transmission, thus allowing the driver to maintain consistent speeds up and down grades without having to manually downshift gears or apply the brakes. In addition to reducing workload, the system, which uses the functions of Auto Grade Braking and Diesel Exhaust Braking (on Duramax models), is claimed to prolong brake life and help prevent the friction brakes from overheating. GM's StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control is standard on all models, including the big 3500-Series dually.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

Aerodynamics have played a big role in determining their shapes.

In terms of exterior appearance, like their half-ton relatives, GM's new HD trucks remain conservatively styled. They're best described as offering traditional pickup designs, with uniquely shaped hoods, grilles and headlamps used to differentiate between Chevy and GMC models. Aerodynamics have played a big role in determining their shapes, and GM engineers went to great pains to explain how they sculpted the bodywork to provide more airflow to the engines while reducing wind noise in the cabins. While some competitors in the segment, like Ram, have been successful with brawny and burly styling to emphasize ruggedness, these GM offerings are less dramatic and unlikely to offend. Overall, we like the looks of the GMC Sierra Denali the best, as its massive chrome grill provides the most aggressive character of the bunch. Our Chevy Silverado 2500 LTZ test vehicle, with its busy front end plated in slats of chrome, is arguably the least attractive in the family.

The interior is GM's headline story for 2015. Gone is the ho-hum cabin of last year's model, now completely replaced with an interior that essentially mirrors that of GM's half-ton lineup. Large, vertical vents at four positions provide plenty of cabin airflow, while the center cluster is reserved for infotainment, climate and auxiliary controls. At the bottom of the latter is a large storage compartment configured with a 110-volt outlet, five(!) USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and an SD card slot. Standard models are offered with an analog six-gauge instrument cluster (as seen below), but higher grade models incorporate a multi-function color display at the bottom. The real eye candy is found within the range-topping GMC Denali models, which are configured with an analog tachometer and speedometer and a large multi-configurable digital display between the two. As expected, all of the models are offered with The General's latest eight-inch infotainment display with IntelliLink connectivity suite.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

GM brought a dozen or so trucks to its Phoenix-area event, including a couple of Ford and Ram models for comparison. Given that the Chevrolet and GMC are mechanically identical, we chose to focus our attention on the automaker's volume model, the Silverado 2500 HD diesel.

The new cabin is spacious, comfortable and very functional.

Our test vehicle, a 2015 Chevrolet 2500 4WD LTZ Crew Cab, arrived painted Deep Ruby Metallic and carrying a base price of $48,230. A total of $12,140 worth of options, including the Duramax 6.6-liter V8 ($7,195), Allison six-speed transmission ($1,200), power sunroof ($995), 20-inch forged wheels ($850), MyLink audio ($495), spray-in bedliner ($475), dual alternators ($295), camper mirrors ($55) and destination ($1,095) pushed its as-tested MSRP to $61,465.

Considering that we've had good things to say about the half-ton cabin, it's no surprise that we like the three-quarter ton's accommodations as well. The new cabin is spacious, comfortable and very functional. A tilt/telescoping wheel, power seats and available power-adjustable pedals mean drivers of all statures will fit well behind the leather-wrapped, multi-function, four-spoke steering wheel. The second row is equally as accommodating, but a short stint back there did reveal that the optional front ventilated seats exhausted warm air onto our knees, oddly heating the two occupants seated behind the driver and front passenger.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

The driving position in a HD truck is properly commanding, elevated well above other traffic, but sitting up so high does pose its own set of difficulties. Outward visibility from the driver's seat of the Silverado HD remains challenging, especially looking downward at other low vehicles and during parking maneuvers, because its slightly lower seating position blocks the view of the ground immediately next to the chassis. After comparing the Chevy back-to-back with its competitors, it's clear that rival Ford offers the best outward visibility (that automaker wisely scoops out the top leading edge of its doors to improve downward sightlines), with the tall seating position of the Ram coming in a close second.

Outward visibility from the driver's seat of the Silverado HD remains challenging.

We spent the morning putting about 100 easy miles on our 2500 4WD LTZ Crew Cab with an empty bed and no trailer. But in the afternoon, we grabbed the keys to a few other trucks that were loaded with heavy payloads (3,750 pounds of weight in the bed) and towing heavy trailers (10,000 pounds, combined trailer and load). We were allowed free rein to run the trucks around town, though the canyons, or up a nice, long highway grade. And, as previously mentioned, GM brought a Ford and Ram along for comparison.

In general, GM's new HD trucks drive very well. Their steering effort (the HDs retain hydraulic steering with belt-driven pumps) and accelerator springs are both on the heavy side when compared to the competition, but the additional muscle required to move the controls helps to make them feel more substantial on the road and decidedly more stable (remember how nice BMW's heavy steering used to feel?). Transitional handling is understandably a challenge in vehicles weighing more than three tons, but the big trucks are much more agile than most would expect and they never feel unstable.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

Accelerating the GM HDs off the line involves a bit of lag, as their single variable-geometry turbocharger spools up, but a rush of power effortlessly launches them down the road. Their big diesel engines redline at 3,200 rpm under acceleration (yet they will overrun to 4,800 rpm during braking) and their Allison gearbox shifts smoothly as the speedometers climb. We estimate a 0-60 mph sprint in either takes about 10 seconds, which only sounds slow on paper. In real-world driving conditions, such as running around town, climbing the onramp or passing on the highway, their acceleration isn't a reason for concern (GM electronically limits the top speed of its HD trucks to 98 mph due to tire construction). With all that mass, braking doesn't come close to passenger-car levels, either, but ABS and stability control ensure stops are straight and controlled.

We estimate a 0-60 mph sprint in either takes about 10 seconds, which only sounds slow on paper.

If you've been following heavy-duty trucks, you're undoubtedly well aware of the horsepower/torque battle that has been going on for years. When speaking of the competitors, Ford offers its own 6.7-liter V8 turbodiesel, rated at 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque, while Ram fits a 6.7-liter inline-six turbodiesel, sourced from Cummins, that cranks out 385 horsepower and 850 pound-feet of torque. The Chevrolet's engine, the product of a GM-Isuzu venture dating back to 2001, is right up there in the horsepower rating, but it falls well behind the other two with regards to torque.

Attempting to demonstrate that numbers don't tell the full story, GM hooked 10,000-pound trailers to a Silverado 2500, Ford F-250 Super Duty and a Ram 2500 for side-by-side acceleration tests. We lined up each combo and climbed a six-percent grade at 45 mph before mashing their throttles to the floor. In all of these highly unscientific races, the Chevrolet was the quickest to accelerate away from the others (take these results with a grain of salt, as the rear-axle ratios and wheel sizes were not identical). Our seat-of-the pants observation said the GM's Allison gearbox, which was quick to adapt to the load, was its advantage.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

It's the most competent on the highway where miles pass effortlessly beneath its impressively hushed cabin.

More interesting, and easier to verify, was GM's cruise control test down a long grade with the 10,000-pound trailers in tow. With the cruise control set at 55 mph (in towing mode and with exhaust brakes activated), we watched each system attempt to hold their trucks at a constant speed. The Ford and Ram quickly rushed past 60 mph, causing us to step on the brakes, but the Chevrolet held its speed right near 55 mph during the entire test. The automaker is proud of how well it has integrated cruise control into its engine and transmission software, and the combo seems to work effectively.

We will be the first to concede that all of the players in the heavy-duty truck segment are closely matched. Yet hours spent in the Chevrolet and its two rivals reveal strengths and weaknesses in each. The Ford is the oldest of the three, which immediately shows in its dated cabin, but its powertrain and chassis remain very competitive. The Ram is hard to fault, especially if you like its styling, and its self-leveling rear air suspension is brilliant (unfortunately, our GM-supplied test truck had the standard springs and shocks). GM's offering doesn't break new ground mechanically, but it's the most competent on the highway where miles pass effortlessly beneath its impressively hushed cabin. Plus, the Chevrolet takes honors for its fully integrated suite of electronics that work seamlessly with its powertrain.

The arrival of these 2015 Silverado and Sierra models doesn't mean that any of GM's rivals are going down in flames. Instead, these new trucks are strong competitors that solidify the segment as a whole. Heavy-duty truck buyers finally have three competent choices without an obvious wrong answer.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 112 Comments
      Hoale
      • 10 Months Ago
      The things you could do with a truck like that! They should do a commercial of it pulling houses and building down...or something
      WilliamM
      • 2 Months Ago

      just purchased one  the truck rides like crap  everything shakes even at low speed the dealer says its normal i should have bought a bus it would have been a smother ride 

      Jobu
      • 10 Months Ago
      Sooooo tired of the haters that feel they have to be heard every time a GM or Ford full sized truck platform is mentioned on this site. There are people who like and even need these vehicles. This is not going to change. Just shut the hell up already.
        Technoir
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Jobu
        Are you saying that others are not free to express their opinions? Stop trying to take away other people's freedoms and STFU
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Technoir
          [blocked]
          Jobu
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Technoir
          Hey assclown, my telling the haters to shut up was clearly a suggestion and not a constitution violating government move to silence someone who is free to speak. And just so we're clear, I am ordering YOU to shut up.
        DarkKnight67
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Jobu
        Amen.
        Arizonarelax
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Jobu
        "Just Shut up already" - Well Merry Christmas to you - if that offends you, cry a river, build a bridge and get over it.
      Fonin
      • 10 Months Ago
      why does everyone complain about truck owners who don't need trucks? does a camry need 260+ hp? does anyone need to purchase a $400k car? because people are free to spend their money how they want, it doesn't matter if you get 15mpg in a truck or in a GT500.
      Rob K
      • 10 Months Ago
      50 grand for a 3/4 ton pickup truck?! If GM is wondering why their truck sales are dropping, I think I just answered it.
        Carpinions
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Rob K
        Then I guess Ford and Ram are equally guilty, because the fully spec'd and outfitted Ram 3500 Cummins - which is nearly 30ft long - borders on $70k.
        jtav2002
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Rob K
        Um, what? You do realize that you can walk into any Chevy/GMC, Ford, or Ram dealer and leave with a HALF TON truck that costs over $50k, right? Plus, this is an LTZ trimmed truck. Not the cheapest model.
        DarkKnight67
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Rob K
        You also realize you could walk into a Toyota dealer and spend that on a 1/4 ton truck without half of the capabilities of any of the trucks listed in the article?
          Scooter
          • 10 Months Ago
          @DarkKnight67
          Tundra Platinum easily hits $50,000. I worked at Toyota dealership once. Pure crap.
        Timothy Tibbetts
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Rob K
        You might head to a local dealer. A well equipped 3\4 ton truck with a diesel (often a 5k uptick alone) is designed for a workhorse. The upper end of pickup trucks without Diesel (F150 Limited, for example) are over 50k. The F150 Lariat will set you back about 40-45k with the Ecoboost V6.
        Scooter
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Rob K
        Hehe, you could option a stupid Merc CLA or BMW 3 series to that price range quite easily. Its important to note that trucks regularly see MSRP discounts. I know somebody that bought a new Silverado with a steep discount.
      richard
      • 10 Months Ago
      What is it with these 4-door pickups, anyway? I realize the automakers make tons of money on these luxury trucks, that`s why they love to sell them. But if I`m going to buy a giant 4-door vehicle, make it a Suburban. What are you gonna haul in a 6 foot box? Not much.
        jtav2002
        • 10 Months Ago
        @richard
        You're obviously not a truck owner. 6' is enough to haul plenty. In fact 6-6.5' is usually a standard bed size. Long beds usually around 8' and many people don't need that long of a bed. Personally I don't like short beds that are around 5' however. Plus, why would you need a suburban? You probably have the same amount of space as the bed, only difference is a lot of the space is occupied by a third row of seats that you probably don't actually need.
          jtav2002
          • 10 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          I haul just fine with my 6.5' bed Richard. Use it all the time. Second truck with that size bed. Fits my needs great. I'm sure I can conjure up a load that wouldn't fit inside your 8' bed. In which case we will proceed to call your truck useless and proceed to call for a Suburban that would be less practical. Did it ever occur to you that not everyone is carrying this mythical 8 foot long quad that you own?
          The Wasp
          • 10 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          @richard Do you think you can fit an ATV inside a Suburban? There are literally billions of things that can be hauled in a truck (regular length bed or even 4-5') that can't be hauled well in an SUV.
          richard
          • 10 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          Actually I AM a truck owner, `09 GMC 2500 HD regular cab, 8 ft. box. And I always laugh when I see those guys trying to haul a quad or snowmobile, having to strap them in because they can`t close the tailgate. All interior seating, no room to haul. I just think there are a lot of people who think it`s "cool" to drive a so-called "pick-up", even with little stubby boxes.
          Christopher Winslow
          • 10 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          Yeah I just got a new Sierra 1500, I made sure to get the 6.5 foot bed. Lots of room, I agree 100% it is plenty of space.
        carguy1701
        • 10 Months Ago
        @richard
        They want to have the room to bring family along is my guess. The 4-door pickup has sort of assumed the role long held by large-ish RWD sedans.
      felix.storm
      • 10 Months Ago
      reminds me of the idiots living in my town who own big trucks without having the need of the intend purpose of work trucks... they just love to own the biggest piece of machines thinking "they're all that"...
        car-a-holic
        • 10 Months Ago
        @felix.storm
        Well ever think to yourself ; "self,.... Maybe I'm not all that?" Just wondering. Probably easy to think such things in your nice quiet bored to tears driving legend: the Prius.
          • 10 Months Ago
          @car-a-holic
          [blocked]
          • 10 Months Ago
          @car-a-holic
          [blocked]
        jtav2002
        • 10 Months Ago
        @felix.storm
        Kinda like all the "idiots" who buy performance cars that never see a track day in their life? Buy what you want. Who the hell cares what you use it for? Unless someone is forcing you to buy someone elses vehicle for them.
      Scooter
      • 10 Months Ago
      Am I the only one that thinks the new Silverado looks like the last model wearing big chrome mask? GMC Sierra on the other hand looks cleaner and well put together in the grille area. Nothing is overdone or tacky.
      felix.storm
      • 10 Months Ago
      so seriously, I'm just curious as to those who say they "need" a work truck like these, do they actually need all that comfort (leahter seats, super-duper noise isolation) and "infortainment" goodies (nav, gps, backup cam?!) or would they rather have a basic truck and save perhaps $15,000?
        • 10 Months Ago
        @felix.storm
        [blocked]
          • 10 Months Ago
          [blocked]
        EXP Jawa
        • 10 Months Ago
        @felix.storm
        Comfort, by its basic definition, is less about need and more about want. Some folks don't care about that in their trucks, like corporate customers that are unwilling to pay extra for it. Those folks that would rather have a basic truck buy a basic truck. Other folks might want it to be better appointed, and that's their choice, their business. Obviously there's enough demand that manufacturers have the need to meet it.
          stonehunte
          • 10 Months Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          Take a trip to Texas, that is all the data you need. I live here and I don't know anybody that owns one that doesn't use it for its intended purpose. Most are used on farms/ranches, construction, and oilfield.
          car-a-holic
          • 10 Months Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          Felix; if noone wantedit they wouldn't sell it; it's the highest profit point for those vehicles ( think up selling) and then look at how many are on road.....
          felix.storm
          • 10 Months Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          I supposed you're right. However, I'd really like to see the data backing the demand for these pretend to be luxury trucks.
        montoym
        • 9 Months Ago
        @felix.storm
        Hey, lucky for you, they do offer versions without all the fancy stuff, and they are much cheaper as well. But, some people still "choose" to buy the $60k versions. So what?
      JonZeke
      • 10 Months Ago
      HD trucks will forever occupy a place in my heart. I love these beasts, forget what the haters say. And no, people who do work with these (and aren't foremen, or the boss) don't get the fancy options. Certainly not chrome wheels. For every shiny, blinged out one of these you see there's a dozen plain-jane ones doing the hard work this country used to be known for. Respect the truck.
      Clark
      • 10 Months Ago
      "Aerodynamics have played a big role in determining their shapes." lmfao, this monstrosity is about as boxy as they come. (insert mountains in background) Over $60k for a Chevy pick-up is disturbing- they are pumping these things out in the thousands- big whoop it has a turbo diesel engine... 18 mpg highway w/o a load, not good GM. If you are paying this for a Pick-up truck you need to check yourself now! (insert rancher dude) $60,000.
      Tariff The Imports
      • 10 Months Ago
      GM HD is the joke of the truck world. DEF tank in a dangerous place and that low slung frame. There are 2 much better options out there. One form Ford, the other Fiat.
        kajohns1964
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Tariff The Imports
        If it ain't a FORD it ain't Heavy Duty. GM's are really big cars for really small people.
        Jobu
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Tariff The Imports
        Kind of like you are the joke of the Autoblog commenters' world?
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