We've already said it several times, but there is plenty to like about what the GM engineers did to the next-gen version of GM's heavy-duty pickup trucks. Sure, we would have liked some small investments in the frames and suspensions. But making the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500s/3500s just a tad stronger or offering a few more optional towing packages probably didn't make much sense to the execs or engineers, especially since GM completely redesigned the frame and chassis just three years ago. Here's our list of details that GM got right.
1. Cab Improvements
The new HDs get the same cab configurations changes that we saw in the light-duty versions last year, meaning the previous clamshell-type extended cab now has a front-hinged conventional rear door for better roof- and door-crush strength. Likewise, the crew cabs have been modified to offer rear passengers better legroom. All cabs offer extensive use of high-strength steel and insulation as well. We found the cabs to be dead quiet.
2. Better Exhaust Brake
Although the HDs already had a dedicated on/off exhaust brake switch, integration engineers made it more aggressive and faster to react. The system uses the variable vane technology in the turbo to create back pressure in the engine to control speed. During our 7 percent grade descents in recent test drives towing a 10,000-pound trailer, our speeds never climbed more than 2 or 3 mph above the cruise-control-set speeds.
3. Better Bed Features
Like the light-duties, the new HDs incorporate the same integrated bed step in the corner of the bumpers (with bedrail handholds), use rolled steel in the bed (inside and out) for added strength, offer upper and lower tiedowns in the cargo area for safety, have lighting features available under the bed rails and now allow dealers to install spray-in bedliners.
4. Bigger Info Screen
The 2008 Ford Super Duty was the first to offer drivers as much engine and truck data as possible through a small screen within the gauge cluster. We like how much information both Chevy and GMC are now making accessible from the various sensors and computer controls throughout the truck. GM has even done a pretty good job of separating the different makes and trim packages with unique looks and capabilities.
5. New Bumper Hitch
Creating stronger trailer hitches is a tricky business because the aftermarket trailer hitch industry can only go so far in certifying the strength and ratings of a given system. That's why some truckmakers are taking the control in-house, beefing up their own systems and offering their own ratings. The new HD bumper hitch is stronger than ever before (in fact, segment leading), offering more than 19,000 pounds of towing capacity, which means about 2,000 pounds of tongue-weight strength. We hope GM comes out with a new line of stronger balls and hitches as well.