2012 Chevrolet Silverado HD diesel pickup: Big truck hangs tough
Most pickups seem to haul around not heavy loads, but empty air in their beds! However for some people, a big truck is a necessity and not just purchased for looks or posing value. And if you need a full-size, serious fuel-efficient work truck with the ability to tow or haul heavy loads, you don’t need to look any further than the diesel powered Chevrolet Silverado HD series of full-size pickups. From the basic, short wheelbase truck to the fully-loaded, long wheelbase, crew cab model, the Silverado’s come in a large range of engines, equipment levels and prices to match.
Three years ago, GM introduced its current Chevrolet Silverado HD pickups and they were recently upgraded for 2011. Major changes are the new, fully-boxed ladder frames and upgraded brakes and suspension. The maximum towing, conventional hitch, payload and GCWR ratings all increased. The work truck adds new standard features, and premium navigation stereo is available. Add the excellent Duramax diesel engine options and you have some major competition in the big truck market.
Engine choice in the Silverado HD range include the mighty gasoline V8 with 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque or the big-dog 765 lb-ft torque producing 350 hp Duramax turbo-diesel (comes with a super strong Allison six-speed automatic transmission). The Duramax engine is expensive, but offers all the power and torque for serious hauling you would ever need. The Silverado 3500HD can tow up to 21,700 pounds with a fifth-wheel hitch. Meanwhile the Silverado’s 6,635 pounds of bed capacity is equally impressive.
Interior wise the Silverado HD features a smart comfortable cabin. The seats are big and well padded. The instrument panel is big, chunky and it’s easy to see all the instruments while all other controls fall easily to hand. Moving to the rear compartments, passengers get decent legroom and headroom for even the tallest people. The interior detailing is up-market and looks inviting. A range of trims and options are available so the Silverado can be as plush and as well appointed as any car or SUV.
On the road, this vehicle behaves admirably with a stable and surefooted feel. The diesel engine is an amazingly strong workhorse that spins lazily until you need the power. It is also amazingly quiet and smooth for such a big, powerful unit. You can also choose from various options of 2-wheel, 4-wheel or All-wheel drive. Accelerator travel is long and allows better management of all that torque that just never seems to stop coming. The Allison six-speed transmission is a strong upgraded unit that is smooth and provides the HD with its stellar performance thanks to its well-calibrated gearing.
The Silverado HD diesel is an excellent example of what Chevrolet offers to serious, big truck buyers. The packaging is great and the Duramax diesel engine option, although expensive is the power plant of choice for a truck. It’s a practical, heavy-duty work truck pickup with a large bed and phenomenal towing and carrying ability. It has enough details to be interesting but is still an everyday driver and solid workhorse. Highly recommended.
2012 Chevrolet Silverado HD Series trucks priced from $36,145-$54, 970