Silverado 2500HD

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2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Test Drive Review

Chevrolet has upped the ante on its Silverado 2500HD pickup truck for the 2021 model year, making more options available.

6.8 /10
Overall Score

The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD is plenty capable but its interior design keeps it from being a standout in the segment. Still, the Silverado 2500HD has a number of redeeming qualities that make it worthy of consideration, from comfortable accommodations to innovative camera technology.

Look and Feel

6/ 10

There’s no two ways around it. The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is tall. From the ground to the top of the hood is a smidge shorter than the 5’4” height of the average American woman. That’s not the whole story though, and stopping there would be a disservice to the true story of the truck, which is immensely capable and a far better pickup truck than its Chevy Silverado 1500 counterpart.

The Silverado 2500HD was redesigned for the 2020 model year, and Chevy has made some additional changes for 2021. There are new special editions (including a Carhartt Special Edition), fresh camera technology, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is now available.

Chevrolet sells the 2021 Silverado 2500HD in a wide variety of body styles, trim levels, colors and bed lengths. You might say that variety is the Chevy speciality. Buyers can get the Silverado in Work Truck, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country grades, with a choice of Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab body styles.

For the 2021 model year, Chevy offers the Silverado 2500HD In a number of special editions as well, including the LTZ Premium Texas Edition, Midnight Edition, Z71 Sport Edition, and Z71 Chrome Sport Edition. Silverado 2500HD LT models are available with Duramax and Appearance Packages, too.

Standard and long-bed versions of the truck are available but not every cab is available with every bed length. Regular Cab versions of the Silverado 2500HD come with only a long bed. Chevy makes its beds out of high-strength steel.

Buyers can equip their Silverado HD with 17- or 18-inch steel or aluminum wheels, or 20-inch aluminum wheels. Depending on model, the wheels are wrapped in either all-season or all-terrain tires when the truck arrives at the dealership. Unlike the Silverado 3500HD, the 2500HD is not available as a dually.

Integrated BedSteps and large CornerSteps allow access into the extremely-high bed. However, getting up to the level of the steps isn’t easy, especially for someone on the shorter side. Park the truck on an incline and the task is worthy of an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, especially if your upper body strength isn’t quite up to snuff.

There are 12 standard tie-down rings inside the bed of the Siverado 2500HD. Buyers can choose to up that number to 21 for an additional fee. New for 2021, the EZ Lift tailgate is standard on LT models.

The overall look of the Silverado is not nearly as sophisticated as its counterparts. The exterior, especially in certain paint colors, looks more Hot Wheels-ready than worksite chic. The GMC Sierra HD and Silverado HD are siblings in the General Motors lineup, and share a good number of parts, both visible to the naked eye and hidden from view.

Performance

8/ 10

Chevrolet sells the 2500HD with the buyer’s choice of a 6.6-liter V8 gasoline engine or a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel power plant (traditional and Power Take-Off). The gas mill achieves 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. For a hefty surcharge, buyers can opt for the Duramax, which gets 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated with a 10-speed Allison automatic transmission.

Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard throughout the lineup and four-wheel drive (4WD) is available. An automatic locking rear differential is standard. The 2500HD with the gasoline engine has a maximum payload of 3,979 pounds when equipped with RWD, and 3,965 when sporting 4WD. The diesel has a 3,715-pound maximum payload in either drivetrain configuration.

The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 comes standard with a hitch, seven-pin connector, trailering mirrors, federally-mandated rearview camera, and hitch-guidance technology. Max trailering with the gas engine is 14,500 pounds with a conventional setup and 17,370 pounds with a fifth wheel/gooseneck connection.The diesel can pull 18,500 pounds, no matter the trailering setup.

The diesel engine is by far the better power plant here, especially if you tow. Neither version of the truck is particularly fast getting from zero to 60 mph, but the diesel gets up to speed smoother and with more vigor—even when towing—thanks to its high level of torque and smooth-like-butter 10-speed automatic transmission.

As is customary, depending on the type of V8 engine, cab style, and bed size that the buyer chooses. Gasoline-engined models, no matter the cab or bed size, come standard with a 36-gallon fuel tank. Duramax diesel-powered trucks with a Regular cab have a 28-gallon tank while Crew Cab models have a 36-gallon tank. Opting for a Silverado 2500HD with a Double Cab and standard bed gives you a 29.4-gallon tank while the same engine in combination with a long bed carries a 36-gallon tank.

Fuel-economy figures are not provided by the automaker or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for heavy-duty trucks like the Silverado 2500HD, because they're considered work vehicles, not passenger vehicles. That also means these trucks typically have their average mpg numbers hindered by worksite and towing activity.

Cruising on the highway, even on extended road trips, the Silverado HD proves to be an impressive steed. It's easy to keep between the lanes and maneuvers with ease, including at times of rapid acceleration. Parking at the truck stop or Cracker Barrel is easy too.

Form and Function

8/ 10

Modern trucks aren’t just serviceable, they’re downright comfortable and spacious. The Chevrolet Silverado HD is no exception. It delivers far more headroom than most SUVs, especially up front, and can comfortably seat three adults across the cab. The Crew Cab version of the model offers the best opportunity to stretch rear seat legs.

Up front, the truck comes standard with a 40/20/40 split-bench seat with a covered armrest. Moving to a higher trim integrates bucket seats and a full-on center console into the front row.

Vinyl or cloth upholstery is standard on the model, which also gets a standard power-sliding rear window with defogger. A four-way manual driver and front passenger seat is standard. Buyers can option up with several seating configurations to choose from maxing out in the High Country grade with 10-way power-adjustable front seats (driver also gets lumbar support).

Assist handles are standard, a welcome addition on a truck this size, as are manual windows, a rubberized floor, manual-tilt steering wheel, and single-zone climate control.

Upper trim levels can get quite fancy, veering quite close to GMC’s premium territory. However, upmarket versions of the Ford Super Duty and Ram 2500HD are more-nicely outfitted, delivering luxe appointments and features. Carpeted floor mats and softer-touch surfaces become increasingly more available as buyers go up in trim level on the Chevy Silverado.

Tech Level

8/ 10

Trucks aren’t as barren as they used to be, but the Silverado 2500HD isn’t the most tech-forward model on the market today. Still, there’s plenty to like. It comes standard with a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen that runs the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system. Two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are also on every Silverado HD.

The infotainment system works well most of the time. Where it really trips up is when drivers attempt to scroll through a number of stations to find a new one. If you’re not just hopping from preset to preset, the system opens a layer that shows the station number and name, but not what is playing, and you can’t hear what is playing to make a choice to stick with that station or find a new one unless you select that station either via touch or steering wheel controls. It’s maddening. This isn’t strictly a Silverado problem, it’s the way the system is set up in every General Motors vehicle with this technology.

Additional standard features include a 12-volt front power outlet, two-speaker audio system, a 3.5-inch driver information display, Bluetooth, and Chevrolet Connected Access cable. The list of available features is long and includes a 120-volt power outlet, WiFi hot spot, an 8-inch driver information screen, bed view camera, a Bose audio system, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, keyless entry, rear camera mirror, remote start, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless Android Auto.

Chevrolet wins when it comes to camera tech. For 2021, the automaker added a bed-view camera to lower trim levels (Work Truck, Custom, and LT) with the ability to see a partial view in the rearview mirror.

Safety

5/ 10

The National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) don't crash test heavy-duty trucks. The Silverado 2500HD has a different platform, body shell, and mechanics than its regular-duty Silverado 1500 counterpart, so the results of its crash tests are not indicative of how the Silverado 2500HD would respond in the event of a collision.

Chevrolet equips every Silverado 2500 with six airbags, a rearview camera, Teen Driver software, an electronic stability control system with traction control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

Work Truck and Custom models are eligible to be equipped with a Safety Confidence Package, which includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, steering-wheel audio controls, a 4.2-inch driver information screen, and cruise control.

Additional available safety features and technology include cruise control, forward-collision warning, front and rear park assist, lane-departure warning, OnStar and Chevrolet Connected Services, rear-seat reminder, high-beam assist, and following distance indicator.

Cost-Effectiveness

6/ 10

The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD's biggest rivals are the Ram 2500, Ford Super Duty, and GMC 2500HD. Styling of the Silverado, especially the interior, is more downmarket than the others, but that's not where many heavy-duty truck buyers will have qualms. What they'll care about is towing capacity, rear-seat space, 4WD capability, and the ease of getting into the bed. In many of those categories the Silverado performs well, but it isn't the best heavy-duty pickup truck on the market today.

With destination and delivery factored in, pricing for the 2021 Chevy Silverado HD starts at $36,745. However, buyers will typically pay far more than that, with the Work Truck base model being a fleet-like special. The MSRP of the all-in, box-checking Silverado 2500HD is close to $80,000 without any appearance or specialty equipment packages added on. While that might sound steep, it's on-par with what other automakers sell their comparable vehicle for.

It's important to note that one of Chevy's strong suits is that it makes a large number of options and packages available at nearly every trim level, giving buyers the option to highly customize their truck straight from the factory. When it comes to boxes to check that help you avoid aftermarket stops immediately following delivery of the vehicle, Chevrolet wins the day.

In its highest trim level, the Silverado 2500HD High Country competes directly with the GMC Sierra HD and is a more cost-effective purchase. Buyers will find the interiors of both models quite similar aside from some finer-looking finishes in the Sierra HD.

If you want the latest technology paired with the most comfortable ride, however, you'll want to look at the Ford Super Duty, specifically the Ford F-250. If you prioritize infotainment, you'll want to check out the Ram 2500 HD, which has an available 12-inch infotainment touchscreen, and SiriusXM with 360L, an advanced version of the satellite radio provider's subscription service.

Updated by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

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