2015 Silverado 3500HD New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Silverado HD (and GMC Sierra HD) is the least truck-like of the heavy-duty pickups. Apples to apples Silverado HD usually has a better ride, more precise steering and quieter interior, yet it can still do the work you expect of an HD pickup. For 2015, Silverado HD's cab and interior match the changes made to the light-duty Silverado for 2014, as do safety features such as forward collision alert and lane departure warning.
Chevrolet Silverado HD, Ford Super Duty and Ram HD compete constantly for weight rating superiority and bragging rights. At introduction, the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD fares well with the top payload rating (by less than 75 pounds) and top conventional trailer tow rating (by 1100), but the Ram bests Ford and GM by more than three tons on max fifth-wheel or gooseneck ratings. It's important to note that while there is an SAE standard for trailering ratings, none of the manufacturers quote figures according to it.
A base 2015 Silverado HD 3500 regular cab 2WD dual-rear wheel can carry 7,343 pounds of payload; it can tow 14,200 pounds. Top fifth-wheel rating is 23,200 pounds on a dually regular cab diesel 4WD (payload 5817). Top conventional towing is 19,600 pounds on a long-bed Crew Cab dually 4WD diesel (payload 5205). Like all big pickups, no one version maxes all the numbers, and these values are for low-option, empty trucks and will only go down with people, options and any cargo on board.
Chevrolet Silverado HD was completely re-engineered for 2011 so the majority of changes to the 2015 Silverado HD are above the frame. Most of the mechanicals got minor tuning and software updates for various control systems, but the basics will look familiar. The cab, interior, sheetmetal and many features are new for 2015.
The 6.0-liter V8 gas engine is rated 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque for all Silverado HD pickups. Paired with the 6-speed automatic it is a proven, inexpensive combo. For the big towing numbers you need the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel (B20 approved) with 397 hp and twice the torque of the gas V8. Everything in the suspension, steering, brakes, frame and ancillary systems is built to complement the diesel power. As a result, anyone with money and a driver's license can buy a leather lined four-door cabin capable of pulling a 10-ton trailer (which requires a commercial drivers license in many states).
Vinyl seats and rubber floors remain available. At the other extreme are heated and cooled leather seats with memory and more inputs and ports than some computers (at this time the High Country trim from Silverado 1500 did not make the jump to HD). The dash and materials have been upgraded, Chevy's very good MyLink infotainment is available, and the breadth of equipment expanded. Forward-hinged doors on the Double Cab that replaces the Extended Cab make it squeak and rattle-free, while both four-doors have more room in back.
The 2015 Silverado HD offers five wheelbases in 2500 (3/4-ton) trim. It comes as a Regular Cab long bed (8 feet), a Double Cab with standard bed (6-foot, 6-inch) or long bed, or Crew Cab with standard bed or long bed. The 3500-series (1-ton) is all long-bed except for a 3500 Crew Cab standard bed with single rear wheels. All dual rear wheel models have the long bed. Some models are available with a pickup box-delete for mounting an aftermarket setup or your own. Pickup fuel capacity is 36 gallons.
Three trim levels are available, WT, LT and LTZ, though not on every configuration. LTZ is limited to Double and Crew Cab models. Expect to add $1,500-$3,000 to move from regular cab to Double or Double to Crew Cab, about $200 from standard bed to long bed, $3,000 for 4WD, and roughly $4000 to upgrade from WT to LT and $5000 from LT to LTZ.
2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD models come in Regular and Double Cab versions with an 8-foot bed and Crew Cab with 6.5 or 8-foot bed. Each has a 6-speed automatic transmission, offers two- or four-wheel drive, and all but the Regular Cab 2WD 3500 offer a diesel engine option. The standard 6-liter V8 is rated 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque; the CNG version 301 hp and 333 lb-ft.
Silverado HD WT is the base model. It comes with vinyl or cloth upholstery, air conditioning, rubberized floor covering, chrome bumpers (with rear steps) and grille surround, EZ-lift/lower locking tailgate, black door handles and mirrors, LT245/75R17E tires on steel wheels and floor-shift for 4WD. WT models include AM/FM 6-speaker stereo, driver info center with trip computer, 40/20/40 manual-recline front seats, folding rear bench seat (on four-doors), power windows and locks, tilt wheel, intermittent wipers, and cruise control. Some options are an integral trailer brake controller, trailering equipment, 110-VAC outlet and a locking rear differential.
Silverado HD LT versions are upgraded with carpeting (though the WT floor is available), 40/20/40 front seat with locking console storage, 60/40 split-fold rear seat, MyLink 4.2-inch touchscreen, aluminum wheels, power heated mirrors, power windows, power door locks, deep-tint glass, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, visor vanity mirror/lights, remote keyless entry and electric-shift for 4WD. LT options are myriad, and include most WT options not already standard. Also available are cabin convenience and Z71 Appearance off-road packages, 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone climate control, Bose audio system, heated bucket seats, telescoping steering wheel, rear park assist and camera, and power adjustable pedals.
Silverado HD LTZ adds leather upholstery, 10-way power heated front seats and two-person driver memory, dual-zone climate control, 8-inch MyLink touchscreen and XM, rear-window defroster, auto-dimming inside mirror, backup camera, AC outlet, remote start, universal opener, alarm, power-folding mirrors with signals, fog lamps, locking rear differential, trailer brake controller, trailering equipment, LT265/70R18E tires on 18-inch aluminum wheels, locking differential, trailer equipment and integrated trailer brake controller. LTZ options include 20-inch wheels, Bose sound system, heated/cooled front seats, telescoping steering wheel, front/rear park assist, adjustable pedals and Z71 pack.
Available for all Silverado HD trims are spray-on bedliner and bed covers, chrome tow hooks, larger or dual alternators, side steps, power heated camper mirrors, LED box lighting, block heater, snow-plow prep for 4WD, high-idle switch, radiator cover and camper/fifth-wheel wiring.
Safety equipment includes frontal airbags, front-side airbags and front side-curtain airbags (on 2500), front seat belt pretensioners, six months OnStar Directions & Connections, electronic stability with trailer sway control and tire-pressure monitors on 2500. Safety related options include front-side airbags and front side-curtain airbags (3500), forward collision alert, lane departure warning, park sensors, backup camera and integrated trailer brake controller.