GM announces best-in-class towing, payload figures for heavy-duty Silverado, Sierra

2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD – Click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors has just announced the hauling capacities for the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups. The new trucks can now pull up to 21,700 pounds in fifth-wheel configuration and lug around 6,635 pounds worth of payload, thereby making them the new best-in class champions. The traditional tow rating sits at 17,000 pounds. What did GM change to give the trucks their new credentials? The company says that it extensively tested the trucks' systems, including the engine, transmission and brakes at the new gross combined vehicle weight and found that the thing could handle the abuse.

Both the Silverado HD and the Sierra HD now come with tougher bed rails, though. GM specified a new high-strength steel that can take more of a beating compared to last year's pieces. The new tow ratings best the next closest competitor, the 2011 Ford F-350, by 1,000 pounds on the conventional towing front and a more modest 100 pounds under fifth-wheel conditions.

How did we ever live in a world where pickup trucks couldn't tow three Bentley Continental GT coupes and a gooseneck car trailer? Hit the jump for the press release.

[Source: GM]

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Silverado HD Bests the Competition with 21,700 Pound Towing and 6,635 Pound Payload Ratings
DETROIT – Through ongoing development and testing, the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD capability ratings have been increased to 21,700 pounds of towing, and 6,635 pounds of payload. Based on these ratings, the Silverado HD will offer heavy-duty truck buyers the most power and most capability available in the segment.

According to Rick Spina, GM Full-size Truck global vehicle line executive, the increased ratings are a result of exceeding the original performance targets for the Silverado HD:

"Our focus has consistently been on delivering customers the most capable heavy-duty trucks in the market. The first set of capability tests confirmed that the team had exceeded the payload and towing targets by a significant margin. Ongoing testing demonstrated a clear opportunity to increase the true capabilities of these trucks. Even pulling a combined weight of nearly 15 tons seems easy behind the wheel of a 2011 Silverado HD 3500 with the proven Duramax Diesel."

To certify increased payload and towing capacities for the 2011 Silverado HD, engineers conducted a battery of tests.

* Based on extensive testing at maximum gross combined weight rating (GCWR) to validate the durability of the powertain, drivetrain, and brake components, the GCWR is increased to 29,200 pounds.
* Based on further testing in varied terrain, grades, and climates while pulling the maximum trailer weight to confirm predictable and stable handling, the maximum 5th-wheel towing capacity was increased to 21,700 pounds, and conventional towing capacity increased to 17,000 pounds.
* After higher-strength steel for cargo box cross sills was specified, the team conducted additional testing hauling maximum payloads to test the stronger cargo box and rear-axle components. As a result, the maximum payload has been increased to 6,635 pounds.
Based on these improved capacities, the 2011 Silverado HD possesses segment-leading capability in horsepower, torque, conventional towing, 5th-wheel towing, and payload.

Starting production next week, it becomes the most capable heavy duty pickup on the market.
"We encourage consumers to test drive the Silverado HD against competitive models," said Spina. "Based on our test results, we are confident the Silverado HD will prove to be the best choice for real-world towing and hauling needs."

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