First Look 2012 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy-Duty


The 2012 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty lineup reclaims best-in-class towing and hauling numbers, plus it adds an all-new Z71 off-road appearance package.

Like the recent 2012 GMC Sierra 3500 that won our Heavy-Duty Hurt Locker comparison test, the latest Silverado HD receives the same hardware upgrades that boost its work capabilities.

We’ve been told GM engineers specifically targeted the maximum fifth-wheel towing number by redesigning the rear leaf springs, u-bolts, and box mounts on specific HD models. In addition, GM also strengthened the internal structure of the cargo boxes and increased the size of the supports inside the box sills. Finally, as you might expect, shock upgrades needed to be made on those max payload and towing packages.

As a result of the changes, fifth-wheel towing numbers have been raised from the 21,700 pounds to 23,000 pounds for 2012. Likewise, payload capacity has been raised (for the 3500 dual-rear-wheel regular cab 6.0-liter V-8) from 6,635 to 7,215 pounds. And finally, the maximum conventional trailer weight capacity is now 18,000 pounds, up from 17,000 from last year.


The Silverado HD also adds a new Z71 appearance package for LT and LTZ models that includes a body-colored grille surround with a chrome mesh grille, body-colored bumpers, 18-inch polished forged aluminum wheels and other details.


Nice work General Motors! You have slaughtered the competition (Ford) 300 pounds (5Th wheel), 500 pounds (conventional), and 105 pounds (payload). Yes, I know, the Ford got owned in the; Rumble In The Rockies and the Hurt Locker Tests. We (Ford fans) would just like to forget about that.

At least General Motors is making forward progress (updates).

finally some new from the old outdated Gm's

I noticed the sheet metal looks better now. That is all that impresses me.

Never been a fan of the looks of GM trucks and I dont like the revision to the 1500 but the HDs are pretty handsome now

I dont' get to caught up in the specs and who has the best numbers on paper. The real world tests say it all...

Why does the Ram 3500 have such a low payload and conventional tow rating GM is miles ahead of them im sad to say with the exception of the interior. This along with the Heavy-Duty Hurt Locker results tells me Ram HD's didn't need a max tow package upgrade they needed a whole new generation. I am pretty sure someone will answer my question but why doesnt any one make a Direct Injected, DOHC, VVT with twin turbo diesel in an HD couldnt they get a more powerful yet smaller displacement engine increasing fuel mpg?

When you put this picture beside the 2011 HD there really isn't much difference. I do like the painted grill and bumper though. Ford needs to do that. Get ride of the huge chrome grill and paint it body color. It wouldn't be so ugly then. I will take mine in white.

Seems to me all these numbers are just for bragging rights?

800ft-lbs, 7000lbs payload, 23,000 towing.

Very few people need to tow that much. How about the standard 2500-3000lbs payload, 10,000 towing types? Give us a reliable truck wth 25 mph empty and 15 mpg tow/haul .. and do it for 35k for mid range trim truck.

Instead they give-us more numbers than we can ever use and stock 50k price tag on it... Oh and still have 20 mpg empty.

@5.3 LOL- Ram payload... couple of reasons. The highest payload modes from Ford and GM are gasoline DRW models. Can't get a DRW Ram with a gasser- adds weight/takes away payload. Otherwise, the frame probably just wasn't designed to take that much load. And last, perhaps they wanted no part of tag trailers that big behind a 3.5t truck. It just isn't that good.
A smaller, "hi tech" engine wouldn't likely get you better results, because the emissions go right in the toilet, when you ask for that much specific power. Bad emissions eat up fuel economy. It's also tough to maket trucks with a smaller engine. A 1ton dually with even a 3l diesel might be perfect for some, but but not enough to warrant building it.

Mike L. : are the bed upgrades on the 1500 also?

Oh it's great to be #1 in any catagory, trucks, cars, sports you name it, Americans love to be #1. Without competition from the other manufactures there would be no reason to constantly improve your product. I really love the looks of GM'S HD'S and GM is constantly improving their trucks and capabilities.

I am of course a die hard GM fan and it's perfectly fine that ohters are ford or dodge fans. Glad we don't all drive the same brand anyways. I love Dodge's new commercial showing fords powertrain warranty ends at 60,001 and Dodge customers will have 39,999 miles to go on their powertrain warranty.

I am really looking forward to GM'S all new half ton models that debut in 2013. All new chassis and engines and of course big improvements in the interior as well.

So, who makes the most capable HD truck on the market today??? GM of course. GM is used to being the leaders and the BEST! Ford and dodge can fight it out for second place. Let the complaining begin.

I dont like those rims, or the chicken wire grill, but those could be easily changed

Meh! Yawn!!!

When Ram upped their fifth wheel towing capacity, why did they only wanted to match Ford and not beat it? same goes for their TQ numbers.

GM usually just makes their trucks with lighter parts. Ford is much more heavy duty, hence the specification differences.

Yawn it still has the IFS so who cares , if GM HD trucks realy want to compete they need a solid front axle .

Gee that's funny Taylor, since when is it a rule that a heavy duty truck have a straight axle??? Who made you the authority anyways??? GEE do you think Motor Trend missed that when they awarded Chevrolet's 2011 Silverado HD the "Motor Trend Truck of The Year" award???

The independent suspension is plenty heavy duty enough Taylor even if you don't think so. I am getting so sick and tired of this complaint it's sickening and childish to say the least.

if dodge get that payload up there towing would be though the roof,i know that cummins can tow way way more my 5.9l diesel towed 44,600lbs in goose neck it towed it better than anything i ever drove

I see your point on the Ram but on the diesel we both know about the BMW 3.0L straight-six 309 hp@4400 and 460 lb ft@1500-2500 but I was hoping for a bigger version of that say a direct injected vvt twin turbo dohc 5.7L V8 or I6 shrinking the displacement down 1 liter I thought maybe that would give better fuel economy and help with emissions and still deliver 400+hp and 700+lb ft and still a good size truck displacement.

I am sure glad I bought the 2011 with the Z-71. All that paint is too much on these new ones.

Got news for you: GM's new IFS might give up some ground clearence in certain situations to Ford's SFA, but it is much stronger.

At least Ford can still advertise they got the biggest grille and headlights!

"Yawn it still has the IFS so who cares , if GM HD trucks realy want to compete they need a solid front axle .

Why not say they all should have solid front axle 2wd also, oh wait since Ford uses IFS for 2wd then that means its alright. The big trucks all use it so it must be heavier duty right?


nice truck ,but do you thing ford start to get nervous about gm and dodge new engine,the ford ecoboost is looking good,but we wait for gm and doge ...

6,0 is a older engine,,do you thing gm did dramatic change to help the 6.0 to pull if not get the diesel..

I would love to see a tow/Haul/economy button that detunes the motor when you don't need all of that power to maximize MPG. And when you engage tow/haul, it gives you everything. My 2005 Ram 2500 with 610 ft/lbs torque is more tahn I ever need with a few occaisions where I tow a big trailer. Hell my older 2001 24V Cummins was more than adequate for most of my driving and got great mileage.

@james- I like the SDs giant chrome grill. A body color grill on an SD would look like Sh17.

Yawn......It's looks are still as if a walmart employee designed it. As for #'s maxing out isn't really going to sway that many if any buyers. As for the sfa vs ifs a no contest that the ram or sd will hold up better for those of us with long driveways or commercial plowers. Sure the 2wds have are ifs doesn't take a genius to figure out why. Competition is though we would all would be complaining if they were doing nothing.

Nice plastic front bumper, yukkk!!!

wow couple hundred pounds more. like dumb gm says, these are just numbers. my v10 can tow more than any chevy ever will

Dang. Bring on the Kenworth for comparison!

@jacob, Aren't you supposed to be in bed by now? you have to go to school tommorow you know.

The General's biggest problem off road is the poor breakover angle. I don't need the extra flex from SFA but i cross several ridgelines on my farm just to get to my deer stand that a GM truck won't clear (And my only complaint with the testing done on this site is lack of off-road comparisons). A four wheel drive truck should not need to be put up on jackstands for you to get under it on the comfort of a creeper ( All three brands are equally reliable-we all do maintance, right? )

Michigan Bob,

Did Motor Trend complete an Off-Road test of the IFS? Did they take the trucks on nasty roads that are so common all over the mountainous areas of the North East, South East, and Western US? The GM IFS, both old and new, is not good off-road.

GM builds a fine truck, but they don't hold up off-road. Even GM Engineering know this, but they figure there aren't enough people that are buying Fords and Dodges instead to make a difference. Same exact reason they don't sell manual transmissions in the US.

@ Michigan Bob
My griping about the GM IFS comes from me wanting GM to have more sales , the only discernable difference between a Ford HD truck and a GM HD truck (4x4) is the front axle , the GM trucks look better they have better looking interior and better power train , so the only possible reason Ford sells more HD trucks than GM is because of the solid front axle IMO , and until GM rectifies that they will always be an also ran in HD truck sales .

I prefer the chrome bumper and grille surround.

@ Tom with a Ranger That video was awesome. The highest rated comment was classic "I liked the part where the tie rod failed" HAHA.

thats one sharp lookin chevy i like the red on the grill and bumper

This "news" will be short lived as usual. GM still trying to catch up. I really want to see the new 2013-14 models. I hope they redesign the front-end (and interior and powertrain) in a hurry.

its still a ugly looking truck yuck chevys. i see everyone favors chevy they are good for nothing rust buckets

Just bought a 2011! Wish I would have waited a year...;)

Hopefully they don't put the Impala dashboard in their next design, it doesn't belong in a pickup.
They really need an up to date interior.

I'm glad GM offers an IFS, not everyone wants a uncomfertable and loud ride on their trucks, besides, the new IFS on the GM HDs is plenty tough, anyone who says otherwise is just a hater.

GM is still owned by the goverment. I will not buy a comunist product.

This whole anti IFS thing is bogus. There is not a high performance vehicle that does not have it. It is better. The engine and trans can sit between the frame rails to lower the center of gravity (a good thing). Lack of ground clearance? again a bogus claim- all three brands in stock form use roughtly the same tire size and the GM's don't particularly have anything hanging down further than the other two...

Besides these 8k trucks that cost 55k can only go so many places anyway.

@rick, Says the guy who drives a minivan.


How is the weather up on Brokeback Mountain?

@Cowboy, Welcome to 2011. GM is now a privately owned company again. STAY UP TO DATE BOZO!

Wrong Chevy man. The largest shar holder of GM stock is still the US and Canadian goverments, 2nd largest is the UAW. wiish also owns the largest portion of Chysler. The GM ipo did not release but small portion of the stock.

Lol @ chevy man.......OWNED!!

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