2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD: First Drive

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We first saw the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy-Duty pickup trucks at the State Fair of Texas and found out that the interior, cab and bed changes on the 2014 Silverado 1500 would carry over to the 2500 and 3500 pickups as well.

Now that we've had a chance to get behind the wheel of these new trucks, our first impression is solid; they (we won't call them "all-new," but this is more than just a refresh) are quite a bit better than the previous models and will push the segment competitors to be better. And we like that the GM engineers didn't just focus on the big details like new double-cab and crew-cab configurations, improved interior designs and bed features, but they also focused on key integration improvements with braking and towing technology, and how to present more information to the driver. Maybe this isn't as far as GM could have gone, but it focused on all the right pieces.

As a quick recap, we'll remind you nothing has changed on the HDs' frames, suspensions or powertrains, with the exception of a beefed-up bumper hitch that is now rated higher than any other pickup in the segment at 19,600 pounds. Payload (also segment leading, for now) and fifth-wheel towing numbers are up slightly as well.

We recently had our first chance to get behind the wheel of various gas- and diesel-equipped Silverado HDs in the mountains outside Phoenix, where we were able to gather some preliminary impressions (no testing was conducted). We also drove a 2014 Ford Super Duty F-250 and Ram 2500, both with their highest-output turbo-diesel engine option, for comparison.

We spent a short amount of time in a 6.0-liter V-8 2500 Silverado HD LT double cab and were reminded of how nice this classic GM engine (still overhead valve) can be. At 360-horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque, the engine output is comfortable and responsive. On our city and highway tour on the fringes of Phoenix — driving an empty, untrailered truck — we found it nimble and without any of the chattery ride qualities some three-quarter-ton pickups can have. Chevy says it mostly sells the gas engine to fleet buyers at the lower end of the trim package spectrum, but it is still an engine Chevy will keep around for a while. There are no high-tech capabilities here like Ram's new 6.4-liter Hemi, but the 6.0-liter block does allow GM to offer bi-fuel capability, using compressed natural gas for commercial and fleet buyers interested in extended range and potentially huge cost savings. Chevy didn't have any of the bi-fuel models on hand, but it will offer the trucks in all three cab configurations — regular, double and crew.

The stout 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel is also unchanged, but that doesn't mean it feels the same in this new truck. Once you're driving, the first thing you'll notice is that there is practically no engine noise (with the windows rolled up). Not that the engine was noisy before (we have found it to the be the quietest of the three big competitors), but the new cabs have more sound insulation and tighter door seals, making the interior much quieter and more isolated from outside wind or engine noise. The idea here, we're told, is to make the truck interiors more comfortable and quiet so you can more easily hear your passengers or the radio. After putting several hundred miles of mountain highway driving on these trucks, we can say that works pretty well. We were able to yack (uh, converse) the whole way at easy volumes.

 

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The engine handled towing a 28-foot Airstream (see our video) without any problem, averaging about 10 mpg over a two-hour tour that took us above 5,000 feet elevation. The trucks — when compared directly from configuration to configuration (2014 to 2015) — have gained about 100 pounds of weight but it's completely unnoticeable with the Duramax's 765 pounds-feet of torque. Yes, that is a carryover number but with the improved brake pedal feel and smarter exhaust brake applications, the overall feel of the engine and chassis is a major improvement over the 2014 models. And when compared to the current-generation Ram and Ford Super Duty diesel three-quarter-ton trucks, the Chevy Silverado 2500 did an excellent job of holding the truck-trailer combination on the long downhill 6 percent grade where we got to drive each of the trucks back-to-back. The Chevy grade braking with the Allison 1000 transmission and exhaust brake (which is actually a variable vane turbocharger) work together exceptionally well. We can't wait to get a heavier load on these trucks and get them to Davis Dam on the Arizona-Nevada border and Colorado's Eisenhower Pass grade.

Trim levels are relatively unchanged but there are some differences that will allow buyers to better order exactly what they want and stay away from those features they don't. There will be two levels of the Work Truck package, two levels of the LT trim and the top-of-the-line LTZ. Each trim level will have an additional Convenience Package along with a Driver Alert Package that includes high-tech safety technology like lane departure warning, forward collision alert, vibrating seats, and front and rear park assist. There will be no High Country option package for Silverado HDs.

Although it might take us a while to warm up to the new exterior styling, we have no such problems with the interiors. It was pretty tough for us to tell the LT and LTZ interiors apart, but both are huge improvements. The new gauge layout and center information screen are clear and simple to use, providing more information about what's going on with the engine and cooling systems, as well as delivering dozens of selectable screens for tire, fuel economy and audio data. Our only disappointment here was not seeing more screens dedicated to towing information. Additionally, we would have liked to have seen some upgraded towing mirrors (maybe with push-button extendability?) instead of the carryover manually extendable types. The climate controls and bank of toggle switches are our favorite improvements as both are easy to find and read at a glance.

Pricing is out on all 2015 Silverado 2500 and 3500 models. Although the base pricing for select models are right on top of last year's models, there have been increases on some models because of content changes and trim adjustments. Generally speaking, most of the middle and top-level packages have increased slightly over 2014 models.

We'll have more when we test the new Silverado HDs along with new Super Duty and Ram HD trucks later this summer. Let us know how you think we should spec out the trucks for testing or what packages you'd most like to see go head-to-head.

To see the most up-to-date specifications for the 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500, click here.

To see the most up-to-date specifications for the 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500, click here.

 

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Comments

man, chevy please get some real tow mirrors instead of 2005 vintage, man uuuuuuuuugly! Other than its fine though

I have mixed feelings about this truck so far (I have only driven the new half-ton).
I like the frame, Duramax engine, Allison, and all that. The interior is an improvement.
But the front isn't that appealing, the seating position still sucks, the rear seat isn't comfortable, it's made for small kids (look at the height of the setback and headrests). No power upgrade either. Don't worry, I see all the flaws of the other trucks too.

That silver one ton has to be one of the ugliest trucks I've ever seen. How can GM's styling department allow this stuff to reach production?

Where's the video?....

These are quite nice. It seem as though the technology has matured to a point where you cannot get a bad truck, GM, Ford or FCA.

I think the trucks should be spec'd how it seems most people buy them which is not MAX tow, it should be SWR 6 1/2 ft beds 4x4 deisels Crew Cabs with fx4 and z71 pkgs and option the ram as close as you can get the trucks should have leather seats and navigation systems all 3 makes offre air conditioned seats so that should be optioned as well. The test should focus on what alot of people buy these for in personal use like towing a toy hauler or a boat, on the weekends and commuting emplty for work, and include MPGs for both senarios. Test the Trucks in Arizona include test that detrmine how long the trucks take to cool to 70 degrees f after beeing left out side for a few hours in 110 degree heat and how well they tow in that heat. another test is to put hunting gear in the bed then navigate national forrest service roads and hunting trails in these trucks, and see which one preforms the best in that environment.

I think thats the way most people who buy a new HD truck use them.

It would be interesting to see real world performance comparisons between 2500 and 3500 competitors like the old Rumble in the Rockies and Heavy Duty Hurt Locker, but the 3500 dually comparison would probably be sufficient. I'm guessing GM is working on the next-gen Duramax and that we'll see that in a couple years. It will be interesting to see what kind of changes Ford's powerstroke will have later this year. Should make for another interesting Rocky Mountain show down.

I think GM did a fine job with these trucks. I especially like the GMC versions.

I have a 2008 GMC, when I get in the truck and see a wide trailer behind me I pull out my mirrors, Friends that have power mirrors that froze up and stripped do not have that option and a new mirror in a Dodge is $175, Ford is a dealer only part.
As an owner of a truck I want to know how it brakes how it pulls, Personally I do not care if the cup holder is 1 inch to low or other trivial things, the AC operation at 110 degrees, that is a great thought.

@ Carilloskis
I tend to agree with you on the testing of vehicles.

I do think the testers (PUTC) tend to make a show of how fast, and how much a vehicle can do rather than how well they manage what they do under 'normal' usage.

I think more of real life testing across more testers under more normal usage would be better.

It isn't about how quick a vehicle is. It's more about the experience of driving the vehicle. Because you will have to live with that experience everday.

I don't think many will do 0-60s everytime they jump into a vehicle, especially when towing thousands of pounds.

As I've stated many times. Most pickups run around empty most of the time. That's why you guys don't have many 'trucks' like we do. Even your large pickups have a low load capacity for their size, like a SUV.

They are a big SUV's with a balcony with a secondary role of towing. So why not test their primary usage more thoroughly.

Nice looking truck for the most part. I am not big on the chrome strip at the top of the grille. It is a bit overpowering, IMO, but aren't all pickup truck grilles like that these days?
I am anxious to see what powertrain upgrades they will come up with in the next couple of model years.

Big Al, I agree with what you are seeing, but I can see the point of 0-60 and hard brake tests too. Under these conditions, you test the actual capability. It's also easier to get reliable data. Unless you rig the ECU to be able to test at exactly 20%, 50%, 70% throttle tests, normal usage is going to be more qualitative, and not quantitative (unmeasurable). You can measure times, but you cannot measure the variables that gave you those times. It would always be "about half way to the floor" type of thing. Ao I am hoping for continued quantitative and qualitative comparisons in both the limitations and real world applications.

That blue one would fit me nicely. :) Nice trucks.

IMHO...FORD still has the best tow mirrors of the group!!

Most will just laugh at that comment, but if you tow often, then it really does matter.

biz

@ Alex,

Im not saying get rid of the 0-60 and 60-0 type tests its just a little comical when they do many of these tests with DRW trucks at max payload/ towing, when most consumer HD vehicles are SRW trucks that might not ever pull a fifth wheel , and only tow on the weekends but loads that are to heavy for a half ton, most toy haulers are under the ecoboost f-150s 11,000 tow rating but the tounge weight necesitates a 3/4 ton or larger truck.

Far better looking truck than the former. I can see how Chevy diehards would be happy. It's still not a fantastic looking truck though and I love old school Chevrolet! No SFA. No tucked away frame. No round wheel cut outs. It will hold 3rd place easily but it won't ever win first or second spot.

How about some real world testing towing normal loads. Like a 2500 towing an 8000lb travel trailer instead of maxed out with a flat bed and concrete blocks on it.
On the 3500 how about 13-14,000lbs which is what the average guy would tow in a 5th wheel. I really hate the stupid concrete blocks on a flat bed.
Drive them for 2-300 miles in the mtns and flast to get real world mpg's.
Also trim them out in mid level packages. Not everyone buys King Ranch, Laramie or LTZ trims.

I could careless who gets to 60mph the fastest since in the real world you're basically just driving normal.

Pretty good chevy truck superbowl commercial for 2014.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOMrA-BGuLY

I wonder what kind of metal that trailer is made out of???? Can't be that weak, corrosion prone, easily dented stuff that isn't durable????

I will add, they really should have kept the center crossbar on the grille separate from the headlights on the HD. it's just too much. It worked ok for the 1500 but not here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOMrA-BGuLYhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOMrA-BGuLY


You think that's good Beebee?? Man, I think that commercial is terrible. Just a bunch of cowboy crap. Where's the real towing specs? Where's the explanations of new additives, comforts and specs? You'd think Chevy would up their game. GM has far more Chevrolet customers than just those that tow around a single cow on a trailer. Their marketing is a joke. This isn't the Chevrolet I was into years ago. No way, no how.

@Alex
I not stating not to do those tests.

Many times I see bloggers who try and use those figures to place a vehicle above another.

Anybody notice in the Superbowl ad when the cowboy started up the truck it sounded like a 454 big block? lol

AWSOME!!!

@Big Al, very true, you can't depend ONLY on quantitative. I like to look at the whole package.

Here's TFL Truck's review.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKwT40qtqaE

Carry over engines! I hope these trucks get as rimmed as much as the Tundra did. It's a joke that GM is still using that 6.0. The fact that if you even want decent performance from the 6.0 you have to opt for the 4.10 gears, or else the truck is a complete dog.

Not everyone needs the diesel, and I would honestly purchase the 6.2 1500 with the max tow package before I would consider a 2500hd with the 6.0. Considering that they are now within a couple thousand pounds of max towing capacity.

Gm like to add old stuff on new truck,look like the mentality of some tech ,maybe they need to do some change whit some old decider,,,???for month they said new truck they forget whit some old mirror ,,is hard to be perfect specially gm,,,

@fordtrucks1
I think it's pretty good. At least it is upbeat and positive. Not great. Mostly I just wanted to point out the use of the aluminum trailer to all the naysayers that think aluminum isn't strong or durable.


The new dmax is Cummings soon just watch,,,:))))

If you can test them on as equal of tire as you can, both manufacture and size, and gear ratio. Test in a hilly area. Can you get us oil temps and transmission temps, after towing heavy, at the same point?

Since the exterior/interior is basically the same thing as the Silverado 1500, I will say the same thing I said about it, that is, it brings the truck up to modern standards, but in my humble opinion doesn't quick meet the mark. For example, someone already said that the rear seats feel like they were made for kids. I sat in the back of the new Silverado and I completely agree with that statement. The headrests especially are very uncomfortable.

I think that while the Duramax reliability has been improved since the early 2000's when all the injector problems were getting people all upset, the Duramax still leaves a lot to be desired. Don't get me wrong though, it will do the job and do it will, I just think that it's not the best thing out there.

There is a reason that big rigs use I6 diesel similar to the Cummins 6.7 I6 that is found in the Ram. The reason for this is that they simply tow better. I remember back in the 90's when there was the Ford 7.3 powerstroke and the 5.9 Cummins, the Cummins would out-tow the powerstroke every time, simply because the torque curve was better suited for towing than the Powerstroke.

That is by far the ugliest truck on the road

@Alex

Exactly. I wish they could test things like part throttle acceleration, but that is next to impossible to a controlled test giving each vehicle exactly x amount of throttle or engine load. People can always get a decent feel for a truck within 30 minutes of driving to gather enough info to know how it would handle when it is normally driven. Quite frankly, I don't need a review side to give me that info since it is easy find with a test drive. It is the towing capabilities that I don't get to test before I buy a truck and would like to see tested by sites like this. If a truck can't handle the weight it was rated for like I expect it to, then I would like to know that so I could opt for a more powerful engine or shorter gear if needed to meet my towing requirement and standards.

Looks good! I would be surprised however if they win the HD shootout for 3rd straight year given the unchanged power ratings. Not a huge deal to me since all HD diesels already have enough power to move a small mountain. If you still want more you can easily tune it.

HEMI MONSTER I have owned 2 Duramax's and both were very reliable trucks. I have many friends and family that own diesels as well. From these real world experiences the Duramax and Cummins have been about equal in terms of reliability with both being good... the Powerstroke's have been by far the worst offenders. As far as the rear seat in the GM trucks I am 6'3" and fit just fine... saying they are only suited for kids is simply not true.

@Jake, it's not that an adult can't fit, it's that the seat doesn't seem designed to be comfortable for an adult. Headroom and legroom are adequate.

You guys do know that the pre 2011 Powerstokes were made by International/Navistar, and Ford makes the current 6.7L "Scorpion" diesel in house right? One of the reasons why Ford decided to split from International were the reliability issues.

wow that's news to me.

i think i'd have to black out the grille along with headlight bezels and paint the bumper body color before driving this thing!

Yes I was aware of that All1... so far the 6.7 seems to be doing better than the previous attempts. Alex the only complaint I have ever had from a rear passenger is that it was hard to get out because of the way the door jam was designed. The new trucks have a larger rear door so that has already been addressed. Honestly most trucks spend far more time being driven solo anyhow so to me its not a big concern if brand x has a slightly better rear seat.

Its nice to see these trucks are built in North America and not in Mexico like their half tons.

I'm not sure why everyone is balking on the front end. This is one of the best looking designs they've ever done.

I wonder if the headliner has the little part that allows more head room, BUT ONLY IF YOU TILT YOUR HEAD TO THE RIGHT! like the 1500 has? Is the steering wheel off center?

Exhaust brake....couldn't it closer to the driver?

It's up to you if you find it attractive....I think it looks like a brick.

@Big Al: So 4 or 5 K is Suv like? How about 3,000 as in the 2500s?

We don't want ugly cab overs that barely seat three that won't sit as comfortable. Do you ever ride in trucks? Maybe if you were in the states on a summer weekend night, you would see these trucks hauling race cars, horse trailers to rodeos and horse shows, or hauling cattle and hay...on and on, you get your limited opinion about big trucks cause you come to the states for a few weeks in the cold northeast in winter time. LOL.

Your little truck payload might be between a 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton from the US, but if tested, it would do the work like maybe a half ton can, comfortably. MAYBE. OVER RATED!

"Let us know how you think we should spec out the trucks for testing or what packages you'd most like to see go head-to-head."

@ Mark Williams

Since you asked, I would like to see the mid-upper level 1-ton duallies go at it (Ford-Lariat, Chevy-LTZ, Ram-Laramie), same axel ratios, 4x4, beefiest suspension and the most powerful (diesel) powerplants they offer.

For the 3/4 tons, I usually see more work to mid-level trucks (nicely equipped) gas versions roaming the streets. Again, make it fair in terms of equipment, axel ratios, etc.

This is personal preference, but which ever trucks you pick for the test, I'm still going to read the article.

Ford 150's have had better towing mirrors since 2009. come on GM Give us something new and innovative.

These trucks remind me a lot of the Chevies of the 80s. I like the looks of these trucks, much better than the last generation.

@TRX
Considering the empty weight of these trucks their payload is very low.

Look at what is overseas, like the Transits, Ducatos, etc. They have quite large payloads in comparison considering their empty weight.

I'm not talking towing. I know someone will bring up towing.

The only thing I don't like is the huge chrome bumper. At least they went away from the 3 piece bumper. My son's scout troupe leader has the previous gen truck and both end caps are cracked. Why would one put plastic end caps on a work truck?

I think these trucks look good. They are one of the most attractive designs currently out there in the heavy duty segment right now. The Ram 2500's look way too bull dog-ish and the current F-250 looks like an old '99 Super Duty that's had one too many face lifts.

I noticed that these trucks seem to be getting higher and higher in ride height as the years progress. I've read about people complaining on the forums about the 1/2 tons getting too tall to step into comfortably without step bars and the ever increasing bed reach over height. Ford, one of the biggest offenders in bed reach over height, lowered it a bit on the redesigned '15 F-150. However, has anyone made the same complaints about these high riding HD's? That red Silverado in the last pic looks like it has a 4" front spacer lift on it. No way you could bring that on the job site and comfortably reach over into the bed area unless you were 7ft tall. Even the new rear bumper they have with the foot holds on the sides is going to be difficult stepping up into that thing.

I don't understand why GM is still hanging on to the old 6.0L for the HD's. With the added weight on the restyled '15's, they should've at least put the 6.2 as the base gas engine in them. It's almost as if they want buyers to choose the Duramax diesel option. Perhaps keeping the 6.0L in the lineup is primarily intended for fleet use buyers, which need reliability and low maintenance costs, while the new and more powerful 6.2L gets beta tested by 1/2 ton buyers for a few years before being finally added to the HD line. That's what I'm thinking, but I could be wrong.

Seriously? Doesn't the F-150 have more towing and hauling capacity than the Chevy HD and Ram 2500?

whoops! sorry, I shouldn't have said that! Sorry. What I meant to say is maybe most people don't need a super duty, 250-2500 series truck when the 1/2 Chevy, Ram or Ford will do the same job.
Here in Pennsylvania they issue weight class stickers for the weight rating of the trucks, my F-150 shares the same class 2 as the F-250 meaning legally I can haul the same weight (maybe even more weight cause my F-150 is lighter when empty) The class 2 has a limit of 7000 lbs Gross meaning what I can legally haul is the difference between the weight of the truck empty and fully loaded, (my F-150 weighs 5200 lbs empty 5200 subtracted from 7000 is 1800 lbs, where a F-250 is heavier when empty so legally it can haul less,,, you know what I mean? IF the F-250 is 5600 lbs empty then you can only haul 1400 lbs. right?
Plus if I wanted too I can haul 1800 lbs in the bed and tow an 11,000 trailer at the same time and still be legal.



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