Chevrolet Silverado HD
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Overall

While the standard-duty 2014 Silverado is completely revised, the Heavy Duty version remains unchanged for now; minor equipment shuffling are the only highlights for the new model year.

Drivetrain

Base 6.0-liter gas V8 can be driven on natural gas, albeit with some loss in power; torquey 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 is smooth, quiet and ideal for knocking a building off its foundation.

Given their ratio of ability to size, HD trucks are amazingly capable. While we’ll most likely have to wait another year for the next Silverado HD, the current model is pretty much the same as the new-for 2011 version that introduced added stiffness to the big pickup’s 11 separate boxed frame assemblies. As well, the rear leaf springs were beefed up with a 6,200-pound gross rear-axle rating on the 2500 HDs, up from the previous 6,084-pound mark (ratings for the one-ton 3500 HD single and dual rear-wheel models were similarly increased). The base 6.0-liter gasoline V8 puts out 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, but for 2014, certain 2500-series models can be equipped to run on compressed natural gas, although power drops to 301 horses and 333 pound-feet of torque. For serious grunt work, there’s the optional (and very popular) 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 rated at 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque. Both base and optional engines employ six-speed automatic transmissions: a GM-developed Hydramatic comes with the 6.0; and the turbo-diesel employs an Allison-built unit. Chevy has added its “smart exhaust brake system” to the turbo-diesel that, when coasting, holds compressed exhaust gasses inside the engine’s cylinders, creating resistance, which in turn slows down the truck without touching the brakes. The result is less wear and tear on the brake hardware and greater control for the driver, especially when hauling or towing heavy loads downhill. Included is a stability program that reduces the trailer’s tendency to wobble about, while hill-start assist prevents the HD from rolling backward when on an incline. For the 2014 model year, the big news is that all gas-engine models now have the steeper 4.10:1 rear axle ratio as standard equipment to increase trailering ability by 4,500 pounds to a total of 13,000. Those who do most of their driving on the highway and don’t require big towing capacity can still opt for the less-aggressive 3.73 ratio to save fuel. Since the uses for an HD pickup are so specific and individual, the list of standard HD equipment on the WT (Work Truck), LT and LTZ trim levels is tremendous, as is the options list. You can, quite literally, outfit the HD from bare-bones basic to over-the-edge luxury.

Base price (incl. destination): $30,800

Type: Heavy-duty three-quarter /one-ton pickup

Base engine (hp): 6.0-liter OHV V8 (360, 301 CNG)

Optional engine (hp): 6.6-liter OHV V8, turbo-diesel (397)

Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel-drive

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

MPG (city/hwy): n/a

Safety: Front airbags; anti-lock brakes

Weight (lb.): 5,310