Heavy Duty. What do those two words mean to you? To us, they’re focal in the pursuit of moving oversized, overweight items from one place to the next without breaking too much of a sweat.
Those two words also represent a philosophy held by General Motors’ full-size truck engineers to make a capable, comfortable work truck that is multidimensional in purpose. Following the release of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and Sierra 1500 light-duty pickup trucks, GM is now upping its game as it focuses on the medium and heavy duty portions of the segment. While capabilities aren’t up significantly, the trucks should be just as rugged as ever. Truth told, much like the light-duty Silverado and Sierra, GM’s goal with the new full-size heavy duty trucks wasn’t so much on their capabilities as it was on refining the overall package.
Let’s actually start with what isn’t. Although the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD look a lot like the all-new 2014 Silverado and Sierra, they’re actually based on the same chassis that spawned the current-generation HD trucks back in 2011. That’s not a bad thing; it’s a perfectly over-capable truck. Just don’t go into it expecting a 30,000-pound towing capacity like what you may find in the Ram 3500.
All of that said, the interior and exterior styling is all-new, with features copped from the new light-duty trucks, including the rear bumper step, the new IntelliLink/MyLink infotainment system, integrated trailer brake controls, and increased storage space. Under the sheetmetal, there is a new diesel exhaust brake, hill descent control, hydraulic body mounts for better ride control, more sound deadening, and asymmetrical leaf springs to cope with the stresses of up to 23,200 pounds of fifth-wheel trailer weight.
Also new are available forward collision alert, hand assists molded into the bed rails, upper tie-down points, under-rail LED lighting, EZ Lift and lower tailgate, and an available spray-in bedliner from the factory.
Engines and Drivetrain
So far as we can tell, this is pretty much all carryover at the moment. That means instead of receiving the new 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque from the Sierra and Silverado 1500 (as well as the 2015 GMC Yukon), the standard engine will be a 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 with 360 horses and 380 lb-ft. It will be available in both gas and bifuel models, which means that fleet owners will be able to run natural gas in models so equipped.
The uplevel engine will continue to be a 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 turbocharged diesel engine with 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque, paired with an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. Both engines come in any number of configurations from short-bed to dually to single and crew cab configurations. Two- and four-wheel drive will be available with each engine and transmission option.
While nothing’s dramatically different, GM says that the coolers–radiator and transmission–are larger and enhanced for more comfortable loading work under duress. That allows for a best-in-class payload rating of 7,374 lbs., a 19,700-lb. towing rating with the factory hitch, and 23,200-lb towing capacity with a fifth-wheel trailer.
If you’re really going to tow much more than 20,000 pounds, you may want to consider getting a chassis cab, industrial-grade truck anyway. Because, outside of one of the 2015 Silverado HD’s crosstown competitors, it ain’t going to be too easy. Still, heavy-duty pickup trucks are a vital market, with the Silverado HD and Sierra HD last year accounting for 36 percent of the workhorse market, or nearly 157,000 units with transaction prices exceeding $50,000 more often than not.
These trucks aren’t revolutions, which may turn out to work against GM when we see what kinds of tricks Ford has up its sleeves with its next-gen Super Duty trucks. It may also work against GM if Ram keeps on its warpath. Still, they’re better in every way they really needed to be–refinement, ride, quality, and capability. They’ll be on display at the Texas State Fair this week, and they’ll be going on sale early next year as 2015 models.
Source: General Motors