2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Review

Silverado 3500HD

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2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Overview

Full-size pickup trucks are a fixture of the American work site, and the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is no exception. But with the constant refinement of creature comforts, options, and technology aboard these workhorses—not to mention lower fuel prices—the heavy-duty pickup pulling a block-long fifth-wheel or travel trailer has become almost symbolic of the American vacationer. The 2017 Silverado 3500HD, with its impressive towing and payload capabilities, plush cabin appointments, and an available turbodiesel powerplant, is equally suited for the work site, the backwoods, and the RV resort.

The Silverado 3500HD comes in four trim levels: Work Truck (WT), LT, LTZ, and High Country. All trim levels have standard single rear wheels (SRW), but each can be equipped with dual rear wheels (DRW) for extra hauling capacity. The Silverado 3500HD is available as a 2-door regular cab (WT and LT trims) for 3 passengers, a 4-door double cab (WT, LT, and LTZ trims) for 5 or 6 passengers, and a 4-door crew cab (all trims) for 5 or 6 passengers. An 8-ft bed is standard, while a 6.5-ft bed is available only on the SRW crew cab.

There are a number of upgrades to the Silverado 3500HD for 2017, but the most notable are an improved turbodiesel engine and a new air-induction system with an integrated hood scoop. The optional turbodiesel 6.6-liter V8 engine puts out 445 hp and a massive 910 lb-ft of torque (48 hp and 145 lb-ft more than the 2016 turbodiesel). Under the auspices of a newly enhanced heavy-duty Allison 1000 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, this V8 offers 23,200 pounds of towing grunt and a maximum payload of 5,587 pounds. An exhaust brake is standard, and revisions to the new engine’s internal mechanics have it running noticeably more quietly than the previous version.

The new air-induction system for the Silverado 3500HD’s turbodiesel pulls cooler outside air through the hood scoop and front-fender duct into the turbocharger for a noticeable improvement in performance over the 2016 turbodiesel. Chevrolet claims to have tested the new induction system in Colorado’s Eisenhower Tunnel, the highest in the world at 11,153 feet above sea level, where it performed flawlessly.

The Silverado 3500HD’s standard engine is a gasoline-fired Flex-Fuel (FFV) 6-liter V8, which is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission to put out 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. This V8 can also be converted to burn compressed natural gas (CNG), although performance numbers will drop to 301 hp and 333 lb-ft. Look for a towing capacity of 14,600 pounds, with payload maxing out at 7,153 pounds, regardless of fuel.

All Silverado 3500HD trims come with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), while the optional part-time 4-wheel drive (4WD) with low-range gearing, auto-locking hubs, and an electronic-locking differential will make this truck a capable off-road performer. The Silverado 3500HD offers a surprisingly refined ride, with little body roll when cornering. Steering is respectably well-balanced, and a Digital Steering-Assist feature (available on the LT trim level and above) allows easier maneuvering in multi-point steering situations.

Following a comprehensive redesign for 2015, the Silverado 3500HD offers comfortable, refined, and roomy accommodations and a wealth of standard interior and exterior features, making it attractive to construction workers and families alike. All trims come with a trailer hitch and wiring, and a capless fuel filler is now standard on trucks with a gasoline engine. The LT trim is newly equipped with a reversing camera and includes GM’s MyLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, OnStar 4G LTE hotspot capabilities, GPS navigation, and an 8-inch touchscreen. The LTZ trim adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, and memory settings for 2 drivers, while the High Country trim features a premium 7-speaker Bose stereo. Additional standalone accessories are a gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailer hitch and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

New options for the 2017 Silverado 3500HD include a set of slick 20-inch 6-spoke polished-aluminum wheels, 2 exterior paint colors (Graphite Metallic and Pepperdust Metallic), a heated steering wheel in the LTZ Plus package, and a Jet Black/Medium Ash Gray interior-fabric color combination. A new Chrome Essentials package is available for LT-trim-level double or crew cabs and boasts chrome recovery hooks and tubular side steps (with each available separately as well). An Alaskan Edition package has also been added, featuring 18-inch black aluminum wheels, all-terrain tires, the Snow Plow Prep package, roof lights, a spray-in bedliner, and unique decals. The Midnight Edition package with its signature all-black look remains available, as does the Z71 Off-Road package with off-road tires, descent control, transfer-case skid plates, an upgraded front stabilizer bar, heavy-duty shock absorbers, and unique Z71 styling cues.

Safety-wise, the Silverado 3500HD comes equipped with antilock brakes (ABS), front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head-curtain airbags, daytime running lights, traction and stability control, and trailer-sway control. Higher trims also receive OnStar emergency telematics, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, and a remote antitheft alarm. A noteworthy optional feature is the Driver Alert package, which includes front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, and a safety-alert driver’s seat. GM’s Teen Driver system is new for 2017 and can be programmed to limit speed and audio volume and provide reports on driving activity.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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