2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD: Powerful workhorse perfect for tough jobs and easy driving
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Perennially the No.2-selling vehicle line in the United States is the Chevrolet Silverado family of trucks. The Silverado line runs the gamut from the 1500 ½-ton, to the hybrid, to the 2500HD and on to the 3500HD in long and short bed, regular cab, extended cab and crew cab configurations.
There are even military applications produced, including the MILCOTS (Militarized Commercial Off-The-Shelf), affectionately referred to as the “Milverado”, used by the Canadian military and the COMBATT (Commercially Based Tactical Truck), which is similar to the Canadian version, but with more armor, developed for the U.S. military.
Silverado began as a trim level for Chevrolet C/K pick-ups and Suburbans from 1975 through 1999, and its sister platform, the GMC Sierra also began as a trim level and today, the differentiation between the two is largely grillework, interior trim, and more luxury options and configurations offered with the Silverado. Silverado and Sierra became their own lines beginning with the 1999 model year.
Redesigned for 2011 and built in Flint, Michigan, the Silverado heavy-duty line-up combines all the comfort, tech and luxury niceties that the popular light-duty half-tons embrace, but the 2500HD and 3500HD model lines (18 configurations in all) provide tough, hard-working vehicles that can handle any job while looking good and feeling great at the same time.
The 2011 2500HD is upgraded from a work perspective with increased towing capability (a trailer tow rating of 17,000 pounds), supported by all-new fully-boxed, high-strength-steel frames and strong suspensions for maximum capability and exceptional ride characteristics. Also improved is power, as the new 6.6-liter Duramax diesel delivers up to 11-percent greater highway fuel economy and up to 63-percent lower emissions, along with B20 biodiesel capability and quicker acceleration.
An all-new “smart” exhaust brake feature provides greater control on grades and reduced brake pad wear and an array of control features, including trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake control, hill start assist, automatic grade braking, intelligent brake assist and larger brakes make for a safer, better-handling vehicle.
Optional tech upgrades this year include mobile WiFi, USB connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar 9.0 and navigation.
The three-quarter-ton 2500HD is available with an extended cab or crew cab with standard box and long box in 2WD and 4WD. Exterior measurements on the extended cab with a standard box include a 144.1-inch wheelbase (jumps to 158.1 with the long box); 80-inch width; 77.8-inch height; 230.6-inch length (249.5 on the extended/long-box model) and a ground clearance of 9.7 inches up front and 8.5 inches in the rear with a step-in height of 26.2 inches.
The standard box goes 78.8 inches long and 62.4 inches wide at the floor (50.6 inches between the wheel housings). The long box is 97.7 inches long and the same width.
Power is a central point for this heavy duty Chevy truck. Offered with the 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 that thunders outs 360hp and 380 lbs-ft of torque, my test truck emphasized the heavy-duty aspect of 2500HD and was bulked up with the new cast aluminum head, cast iron block Duramax 6.6-liter turbo diesel rated at 397hp and a tree-stump pulling 765 lb.-ft. of torque. The system, mated to an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission had not been EPA rated at the time of my tests, but a week of mixed-use driving yielded an average of 14.9mpg.
Weighing in at 7105 lbs., the Duramax-propelled 2500HD shows surprising acceleration as my test Silverado ran a zero-to-60mph test in 8.9 seconds en route to a 15.9-second quarter-mile. The integral power-assisted recirculating ball steering is slowly responsive, but an independent front torsion bar suspension with a semi-elliptic two-stage multi-leaf spring rear provides floaty ride, even over job site potholes. Power-assisted, hydroboost brake-apply system, four-wheel disc, four-wheel ABS delivers excellent stopping capabilities.
Inside, the 2500HD with Extended Cab measures 41.1 inches of front headroom and 39.4 in the rear (Crew cab gains you 1.1 inches in the rear), 41.3 inches of front legroom and 34.3 in the rear (Crew cab gains you 5 inches in the backseat) and shoulder room of 65.2 inches in front and 65.3 in the second seats (Crew cab is about the same).
The 2011 Silverado 2500HD employs a comprehensive roster of safety features and functional technologies that include StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, a new high-strength steel tubular frame cross member that enhances safety and improves crashworthiness and seat pelvic/thorax and head curtain side air bags.
For 2011, Silverado’s 2500HD in LTZ trim starts at $42,040 for 2WD and $45,190 for 4WD, but lesser trims start as low as $28,415 for 2WD and $31,370 for 4WD. LTZ comes with custom leather appointed seats, Bose 7-speaker sound system, 5 USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote vehicle starter system, premium cloth seating, power windows mirrors and doors, On-Star and XM radio.
My Imperial Blue Metallic exterior was mated to an Ebony leather interior. Rear-parking assist and an EZ Lift tailgate, a diamond-patterned, powder coated aluminum tool box , the Duramax 6.6 engine, Allison tranny, power sunroof, sliding rear window and destination and freight pushed the price as tested to $50,150.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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