Top 5 Details Chevrolet/GMC 2015 HDs Got Right

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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.


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Bumper hitch II



so is the steering wheel offset here too, like the 1500?

yes, how anyone lives with the offset steering wheel is BEYOND me... what the heck!?!

Yep I hate GM's offset steering wheels. I also hate their seating positions. In a Ford or Dodge, you sit up nice and high and have excellent visibility, whereas in a Chevy you sit down low relative to the steering wheel.

I have noticed the offset steering wheel in photos, but I test drove a new Silverado and didn't notice it at all.

Offset steering wheel puts it in the perfect place to rest my arm on the arm rest of the captains chairs and have a firm grip on the wheel and just obliterate the highway miles. Never noticed it not even once, and I have one of the GMT800 trucks that was way more off center.... BFD kids.

Now that we have dealt with the haters I will say I agree with every point on here. This truck isnt perfect but it does a lot of things right. For instance with this hitch you can hook up any load you can legally tow without a CDL right on the bumper. The exhaust break is huger. On the king of beasts test the Ford F450 had its brakes up to something like 1000degrees F and were visibly dark red when under low light, how many times can you do that before you plow into a minivan full of kids with a fully loaded trailer? Does the average truck driver even pay enough attention to to realize the ramifications of repeated boiling of your brake fluid and how that affects service life? If I am towing a lot I will take the low slung DEF tank and slightly off center steering wheel knowing that my powertrain has over a decade of proven track record getting loads to the top of the hill and then the technology to get me back to the bottom safely over and over.

Should have offered a gooseneck option. GM missed the obvious here...IMHO.

@devilsadvocate You need exhaust or airbrakes under those sort of conditions. Brake fade would be not too far away.

19K lbs off the back bumper, no thanks... Give me a 5er/GN option for that kind of weight...

robertryan: only on the Ford was brake heat an issue, not on the GM trucks was there any problem like on the Ford, and every SD Ford I have ever driven has had weak brakes, and lots of service problems with them, where as the GM trucks have none of the issues with the brakes in their HD trucks compared to the GM trucks at work, they may have other issues the Ford does not, I say MAY but brakes are not one of them!

I have never noticed an offset steering wheel if it is its by mm. And I have owned 7 GM pickups over 4 generations off the full size line.

But its ok if some of you boys do not like the new GM pickups, more for those of us who do.

I now want a GMC 2500HD, 1500, and Canyon. I have no need for that many pickups but we can all dream.

I can't understand why GM can't put the steering wheel in the middle of the drivers seat, is it really that hard? or did they not know this until after the truck was built and on dealer lots?

this is not the first GM truck to have an offset steering wheel. They have been that way for years.

I have never noticed the steering wheel being offset, I have to disconnect my trailer I will look at it. I live at the bottom of a hill in the mountains of BC. I am retired and sit outside with the wife, she has a fruit stand. We get to smell the burnt brakes, every day they all have the same name plate.
I have 2008 LMM it works great, I just hauled 3 ton of wood pellets up a 3,200 ft mountain, and down 2,000 ft no brake problems.
The new trucks look great, and do the job, unlike the above mentioned name plate.
Just a thought!

Offset steering wheel is just an argument haters like to use just for arguments sake. Funny thing is the only ones complaining about it are the guys who don't own one. Like others have said I honestly never even noticed it until it was pointed out on these type of forums. When you are driving the truck it feels very natural and not and issue whatsoever. Sure the new trucks aren't perfect but none of them are. The important thing is they are very dependable trucks. I have owned 2 Duramax's and one 8.1... all were very good trucks and wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy one of the new ones.

I agree with you jake. I've owned a 1992, 2001, and now 2011 and beyond a shadow of a doubt they are a vast improvement over the previous trucks. Even without the power upgrades, my 2500HD will out pull any 3/4 ton on the market. Granted when ford redesigns the 6.7 for the third time they should be able to out run the duramax... Funny that ford is dropping their "fancy" turbo in favor of one similar to what duramax uses since it is proven to integrate better with the exhaust brake... Funny how the haters don't discuss that, but heck I guess it makes more sense to complain about manual telescoping and folding mirrors, and the placement of the def tank. I will bet that the power upgrades will come in 16 or 17. Over the past couple redesigns they have staggered the power train and aesthetics upgrades over a couple years. They are not perfect, but for a truck designed to haul and tow they are great.

#1. Conventional doors for X-cab: They got that wrong--far better way to put that post there than by making it the hinge point for the back half-doors. You just killed 80% of the accessibility to the back!

#2. Needed, as far as I can tell. Checkmark.

#3. Needed. Been one of my gripes for a long time. Not everyone wants moveable tie-down points--that's more parts to lose and often when you most need them.

#4. Bigger screen means nothing unless it gives usable data in an easily readable manner. Diving through dozens of menus like MFT is not exactly distraction-free. The question should be if it's a better readout instead.

#5. Bumper hitch... Really. Ok, I'll grant if you're using a ring-and-pintle hitch the strength of that bumper mount will be important. How many contractors pull a heavy-equipment trailer behind an HD as compared to behind an actual MDT or better? That's prepping the truck to do something it really shouldn't be allowed to do.

I never knew the steering wheels were offset either until mentioned here. I've driven a few 2500's lately and never found it to be an issue.
The rest of the interior I didn't like but it looks like they upgraded the 2014 models.

Can you legally pull 19K on a bumper hitch?

@Jake. It was honest criticism of Chevy trucks. I'm not a "hater" that's just one of those fashion words that's going around the Internet right now that everyone's jumping on the bandwagon to use as a defense mechanism when something you like is criticized (legitimately or otherwise). If I was really a hater for anything I criticized, then I would be a hater of all trucks. Anyway, getting back to reality, if you drive vehicles with a centered steering wheel and then you drive a vehicle with a wheel off-center, you notice it. It's even worse in the Express van. Instead of defending inferiority, you should demand GM fixes it, ESPECIALLY if you are a GM fan. I couldn't care less, if I don't like how something feels, I just go buy something else. I notice when my arms do not have an even reach to the wheel, if poor ergonomics doesn't bother you, then good for you.

@Alex - isn't there a name for organisms that lack bilateral symmetry? LOL

Insert "Ilene" joke here.

@Lou!!!! That made my day! :)

Alex I wasn't targeting you specifically just using haters as a general term that typically but not always applies on forums like this. If you read through the comments you will see that the majority of owners have never even noticed. I think it's safe to say that 9 out of 10 owners don't... that's how much of a non issue it really is. As one comment pointed out it can actually have it's ergonomic advantages. If I saw it as an inferior design I would "demand" change. Trust me I don't defend everything GM does, it just that these kind of sites have a way of bringing out the defensive side of you lol.

I don't like the idea of conventional opening rear doors for the extended cab models. It ruins the whole look. And, before we get into a debate of how the cab is now much stronger with a B-pillar in place, I have to mention that Ford decided to keep the clam shell opening rear doors for their Super Cab models on the redesigned '15's.

Aside from the much easier interior access that a clam shell opening rear door provides as noted above, they also have a much cleaner and sportier exterior appearance to them. Not every one wants a clunky four door looking truck. The old extended cab models provided a unique look with extra room in the back over their single cab counterparts. Unfortunately, GM decided to follow what Ram did a few years back and just make them all look like shortened crew cabs for the extended cab models.

Toyota did the same thing on the '07+ Tundra, but at least they offered a more innovative solution by make the rear quarter window/doors smaller and semi concealing the rear door handles by painting them body color and locating them higher on body line.

The hitch that's rated at 19,000 lbs. is NOT a bumper hitch, it's a receiver hitch. The article makes it sound like I can put a ball into the hole in the hitch step and hook up humongous loads.

The bigger info screen that they show in the Denali picture above is ONLY available in the Denali. You can't get it in lower trim levels and it's NOT EVEN AVAILABLE IN A CHEVY.

I can see only offering it in higher trim levels but why can't you get it in a Silverado?!?!

The bigger info screen that they show in the Denali picture above is ONLY available in the Denali. You can't get it in lower trim levels and it's NOT EVEN AVAILABLE IN A CHEVY.

I can see only offering it in higher trim levels but why can't you get it in a Silverado?!?!

- That's GM for you. They don't give a rats behind about Chevrolet unless it involves a racing event. They are GM/GMC afterall. Screw em.

The article was referencing the ~4 inch drivers info screen that is similar to what the ford has. Yes what is pictured is the Denali, but both Chevy and gmc models have a info screen in the instrument cluster.

@ Alex - I'm surprised that the GM fanboys didn't flame me for that comment.

I own a 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 Denali HD 4x4. 2 things I have to say after reading the comments. The 2015 HD's centered the steering wheel with the seat. I just measured. And the 4x4 has 2-hi along with 4-lo & 4-hi. That's a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Also, I have no vices against Ford, RAM, or Chevy. I really like all the trucks. But I could not resist the whole package GMC offers with the Denali HD's. From the looks of it all the way down to tech & performance.

I agree about the crappy ergonomics of an offset steering wheel.

First off, it's a terrible idea in general. For those who use both hands to steer, it makes the driver twist their torso and hold that position. In a collision this can lead to serious back injury because the force on a driver upper body gets transferred through the arms. Also, the air bag is not hitting the driver from a straight angle, which is also not ideal.

Secondly, for those who "don't notice it", you're right-handed. I agree that you can probably just hold on to the wheel for hours and hours. But to assume that drivers are all going to be right-handed is a bias against 10% of the population. What about lefties who now have to reach further to hold the wheel? And for the right-handers, what do you use to hold the wheel when you use your right hand to operate the touchscreen panel, grab a drink, or operate something with your right hand? If anything, the wheel should have been offset to the left since most drivers use their right hands for other things in the cab. But again, the steering wheel should always be centered, and any engineer who thinks otherwise should be an unemployed engineer. Or at least an employed engineer who has no say in how vehicles are operated.

And I also agree about the "double cab" missing the point. Yes, better structural integrity is always important, but what percentage of pickup truck accidents result in crumpled roofs? The look of the extended cab was considerably more sporty than the double, and a lot of people actually care about things like that.

In fact, it was due to the offset steering wheel and the lack of an extended cab variant that made me decide not to buy a Silverado. It's a shame too, the other aspects of the truck are nice.

The offset steering wheel in Chevy/GMC trucks is just ridiculous. It's like the dashboard and seating engineers were on opposite sides of the building and didn't meet up until final testing. I would own one if not for that simple, yet huge, design oversight. It's bad enough that resale value will suffer because of it.

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