Which Silverado 2500HD does AMG CARS INC recommend?
High-end, fully loaded trim levels are surprisingly popular in the heavy-duty segment, but the Silverado’s High Country trim just isn’t as luxurious as its rival trucks to warrant its high cost. As such, we think the middle of the truck’s lineup is the sweet spot. The LT trim level offers a decent amount of standard equipment plus most of the extra feature content you’ll actually use.
Highly capable yet relatively easy to live with, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is a heavy-duty truck with a lot to offer. More capable than the standard Silverado 1500, the 2500HD is a serious workhorse with massive towing and hauling capability.
While the Silverado 1500 is completely redesigned for 2019, the heavy-duty Silverado 2500HD is largely unchanged. That means you still get a choice of the robust 6.0-liter V8 or the massively powerful 6.6-liter turbodiesel. Maximum towing weight is still more than 14,000 pounds, and payload capacity tops out at more than 3,200 pounds. While these aren’t the highest numbers in the class, they’re certainly close and definitely respectable.
Inside, the 2500HD has an impressive array of features, offering standard tech such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with optional upgrades such as ventilated seats and leather upholstery. The seats are relatively comfortable, and the highway ride is impressively quiet.
There are only three heavy-duty pickup trucks on the market (plus the Silverado’s GMC Sierra twin), so there’s no reason not to consider them all. With the 2019 Silverado 2500HD, you get a comfortable, capable work rig that’s perhaps a little less frilly than its increasingly ostentatious competitors. We’re guessing such a no-nonsense approach will appeal to many heavy-duty truck buyers.
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD models
The Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is a heavy-duty pickup truck with increased payload and towing capabilities compared to the standard full-size pickup from Chevy, the Silverado 1500. It is available in double-cab and crew-cab body styles with a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. Both models offer either a standard bed (6 feet 5 inches) or a long bed (8 feet 2 inches). There are four trims: Work Truck (WT), LT, LTZ and High Country.
All trims come standard with a 6.0-liter V8 (360 horsepower, 380 pound-feet of torque) matched to a six-speed automatic. The optional turbocharged 6.6-liter diesel V8 (445 hp, 910 lb-ft) is paired to a more robust Allison six-speed automatic. Buyers can add a bi-fuel option to the 6.0-liter engine, allowing it to run on gasoline or clean-burning compressed natural gas.
Standard equipment for the Work Truck trim includes 17-inch steel wheels, an auto-locking rear differential, rubberized floors, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, power door locks and windows, a rearview camera, air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker audio system. Optional on the WT is satellite radio and OnStar with 4G LTE connection and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Custom package basically adds 20-inch wheels, upgraded trim and a few convenience options to create a less overtly work-oriented truck.
The LT trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable mirrors, keyless entry, a remote-locking tailgate, rear privacy glass, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, interior carpeting, OnStar, HD and satellite radio, and a CD player. Crew-cab models gain upgraded steering, while 4WD models gain an electronic transfer case controller.
Above the LT, the LTZ trim includes 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, foglights, power-folding mirrors, a power-sliding rear window with defogger, remote engine start, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 110-volt power outlet, and a seven-pin wiring harness with a trailer brake controller.
At the top of the ladder, the High Country comes with 20-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, side-assist steps, cargo box tie-downs, a spray-in bedliner, power-adjustable pedals, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging, a navigation system and a Bose audio system. Also included is the Driver Alert package, which adds lane departure warning, forward collision warning and parking sensors.
Most features on the upper trims can be added to the lower trims as options. Other extras, depending on trim, include the 4WD-only Z71 Off-Road package, tow mirrors, a sunroof, a rear-seat entertainment system, a hard or soft tonneau cover, and gooseneck or fifth-wheel hitch preparation.
The 6.6-liter diesel V8 gives the Silverado 2500HD big towing numbers and impressive acceleration. The steering and braking are less awe-inspiring, but objectively this truck performs well by most standards that matter to truck buyers.
The 6.6-liter diesel makes massive torque and more than sufficient power, which give it a surge of acceleration off the line. In our testing, it zipped from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.7 seconds. In-town acceleration is more reserved, but there’s plenty of power to get this truck up to freeway speed.
These brakes don’t inspire much confidence. Under hard braking, the pedal can go all the way to the floor. Braking distances are long. But in traffic, they seem to work well enough if you leave some distance. You just don’t feel very connected to the action.
The steering is well-weighted and provides stability when cruising straight, but it’s hard to judge what the tires are doing around turns. The low steering ratio adds stability when towing but results in busy hands when parking or making U-turns.
The big surprise is how well this gargantuan vehicle takes turns. There’s minimal body roll around corners unless you’re going way too fast. In parking lots and tight spaces, it maneuvers well enough considering its size.
If you live in a city, drivability will be low, as it is with any 2500 series pickup truck. Otherwise, the diesel’s low-end torque and abundant features make for a pretty approachable truck.
Our test vehicle had the Off-Road Z71 package — which is a great deal for the price — and serious ground clearance. You won’t be taking this on any tight trails, but it will easily conquer your average dirt road.
Despite the harsh ride from a very stiff and bouncy suspension, the Silverado HD is relatively comfortable. Put a big load in back, and you’ll have a road-trip-ready vehicle. But day-to-day comfort suffers, so you might want a 1500 if you don’t need the 2500’s extra towing capacity.
You’ll find big, well-bolstered and comfortable seats no matter which seating position you’re in. The seats are wide with sufficient contours to hold you in place, and they provide great road-trip comfort.
This truck bounces, shimmies, shakes and jumps over the slightest road imperfections. That’s forgivable in the 3500 class, but this 2500 should be a bit better. Load it up with a heavy payload or a big trailer, though, and the ride quality is significantly better.
Noise & vibration
While road noise is subdued, there is quite a bit of wind noise from the Silverado’s square front end and big mirrors. The diesel engine rumbles a bit, but it isn’t particularly grating or abrasive while cruising on the highway.
The big knobs and easy-to-read layouts are plusses. The air conditioning blows cold. The split-operation for the heated seats is a neat feature — you can heat your sore back without cooking your behind as well. The vents are vertically mounted, which isn’t ideal, but they’re easy to direct.
While it might not be the most luxurious vehicle in the class, this Silverado HD has a totally livable interior. The overall design is dated, but the materials quality is sufficient.
Ease of use
The 2500HD’s controls are easy to use with large, readable buttons and quick touchscreen response times.
Getting in/getting out
A grab handle and side steps make it easier to get in and out of the Silverado HD, but there is still some climbing involved. Still, entering or exiting isn’t any harder than usual in the HD truck class.
The adjustable pedals, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and generally good view over the hood combine for an excellent driving position. You’ve got a commanding view of the road any way you position the seat.
Call all your NBA player friends and have them stretch out. You can be tall, wide — or both — and fit with no problem in this truck. It’s big on the outside, so there’s a lot of space for five people on the inside.
All of the Silverado’s roof pillars are wide and thick, obstructing your view. The big towing mirrors and the rearview camera help the situation, but it’s tough knowing where the corners of the truck are.
The body panels and interior pieces are well put-together. We didn’t notice any rattling, shaking or malfunctioning during our test. Interior materials aren’t the nicest in the class, but they certainly suffice for such a utility-focused vehicle.
The 2500HD can tow and haul massive loads, and it has abundant interior storage. But offerings from Ford and Ram outclass it in a couple of key categories.
Massive pockets are everywhere. Additional small-item storage includes a giant center console, a split-open glovebox, multiple cupholders in each door, both front and back. If you’re looking for even more space for your stuff, the only place you’ll find it is in the Ram equivalent, which has small, in-floor cooler boxes in the rear seat.
Mirroring its rivals, the Silverado 2500HD is available with a standard bed (6 feet 5 inches) and a long bed (8 feet 2 inches). Our test truck had the long bed, which provides a massive amount of cargo space. The rear seats fold up for big interior storage as well.
Child safety seat accommodation
The 2500 can fit three car seats in the back without much fuss. There are two sets of easily accessible lower LATCH anchors and three shelf anchors that are a bit harder to reach. But this truck’s sheer altitude makes it less than desirable unless lifting kids is your workout program.
The 6.6-liter turbodiesel has massive torque and power, but the Silverado’s towing capacities are a bit lower than those of key rivals. The max trailer weight behind the Chevy 2500HD is 14,500 pounds; it can tow 18,100 pounds with a fifth-wheel gooseneck.
All full-size truck beds are similar in size. This one can be accessed by corner bed steps built into the rear bumper corners. Payload maxes out at 3,204 pounds — lower than what the class leaders can handle, but only by a few hundred pounds.
Using Chevy’s MyLink interface is pretty simple and straightforward for the most part, but we had several usability issues with our test vehicle. Finicky voice controls and subpar device integration made for a frustrating user experience.
Audio & navigation
Menu logic on the Chevy MyLink system is easy to understand, but it’s not the most elegant in the class. Touchscreen responses are slower than with the class leaders’ systems. We like the look of the optional 8-inch touchscreen, but it doesn’t stand out much from rival systems.
Our experience with smartphone devices was poor, with many dropped connections throughout the test. When it worked, we generally like the interface, but even then it takes quite a bit of time to load music. It’s best to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Several attempts to use the Silverado’s built-in voice controls fell short, with a success rate of about 50 percent. It was easier to use the physical knobs and touchscreen controls. That said, Siri and Google Voice can be accessed if you’ve paired your smartphone by holding the talk button longer.