Chevy's most powerful Silverado ever is here
We recently spent time in the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD in Moline, Illinois, where we drove the truck on the surrounding highways and also witnessed the truck’s towing abilities. Moline, a city on the border with Iowa and overlooking the Mississippi River, is also home to John Deere’s world headquarters, and their construction tractors served as the equipment to test the Silverado 3500HD hauling capabilities. These are six things we learned while driving Chevy’s most powerful Silverado ever.
Torque on Demand
For 2017, the Chevy Silverado 3500HD can be powered by a new version of the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V-8 engine delivering 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers represent a 19 percent increase over the previous Duramax and make the Silverado HD the Chevy vehicle that produces the most torque. During our short drive time with the 3500HD, we noticed an instant delivery of power that got the pickup moving quickly on the highway. The diesel engine is exclusively mated to a six-speed Allison transmission, which shifts smoothly and downshifts rapidly whenever more power is necessary. The soft steering makes the truck feel light despite weighting more than 4 tons, and the suspension absorbed the bumps and cracks of Iowa’s I-80 with no problems.
Another new feature in the 2017 Silverado 3500HD is a hood scoop, which allows cool and dry air to flow into the engine. The filter in the new air intake system prevents water or snow from going into the engine, allowing only cool air to flow. Chevy says the new system also permits the Duramax to maintain more power and speed when trailering in hot climates.
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
Although many see this vehicle as a work truck, Chevy equipped the 3500HD with plenty of nice and confortable touches. The High Country variant, which is the top trim grade, comes with full leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a Bose premium audio system, dual-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Chevrolet MyLink, 4G LTE connectivity with a Wi-Fi hot spot, and wood finishes inside the cabin. Outside, you’ll be able to differentiate it from other models, thanks to the High Country badges and the new grille mesh design with a two-bar chrome trim. For the 2018 model year, even the Work Truck trim (the base variant) will get a 7.0-inch screen with MyLink, and every trim will come with Chevy’s Teen Driver feature.
The Towing Test
Because I lack a commercial driver’s license, I had to sit in the front passenger’s seat while Eric Stanczak, chief engineer of the truck, towed 22,000 pounds (10,000 kg). (Note that the max towing is 22,700 pounds (10,300 kg) for four-wheel-drive trucks.) I was riding in the LTZ trim with a dual rear wheel, four-wheel drive, and the 6.6-liter diesel engine. A 7,300-pound (3,300 kg) Big Tex gooseneck trailer was used to tow a 14,700-pound (6,700 kg) John Deere backhoe loader, and the Silverado did its job effortlessly. For this part of the program, the Tow/Haul mode was activated, and I noted that the transmission wasn’t downshifting the entire time. There’s also a diesel exhaust brake that can be activated with the push of a button in the center console, and it reduces the amount of braking when driving a trailer. The feature uses the turbo to create engine braking. And speaking of braking, the Integrated Trailer Brake Control allows the trailer brakes to work in conjunction with the truck’s brakes, letting the driver have better control of the 3500HD when towing. Inside the cabin I experienced more engine noise than usual, but that is something normal when you tow almost three times the weight of the truck.
Packages for Your Needs
Depending on what you’ll use the truck for, you’ll be glad to know there are a few packages for your needs. The Snow Plow Prep package, for instance, comes with a roof emergency light, a forward lamp wiring harness, a 22-amp alternator, underbody shields, and heavy-duty front springs so you won’t get stuck in the snow. If you need a little more than that, the Alaskan Edition adds all of the above plus 18-inch black wheels with all-terrain tires, roof marker lights, a spray-in bedliner, and cool graphics on the body. That package is only available on singe-rear-wheel models. Of course, the Z71 package is available in the 3500HD, and it includes 33.6mm twin tube gas-charged shocks, an underbody transfer case shield, Z71 badges, a unique fascia, and hill-descent control.
For $450 USD, drivers can get safety technologies designed to prevent a collision, including lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and front and rear park assist. These features alert the driver through a vibration on the seat and sounds in the cabin, and they are standard on High Country models.
The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD starts at $36,005 USD but can quickly escalate to higher numbers depending on the trim level and body configurations. A High Country variant equipped with the Duramax diesel engine, a gooseneck ball and chain tie-down kit, and a Hitch package can go for upward of $70,000 USD—a clear sign of how expensive the truck market has become.
The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD continues to be built in Flint, Michigan, and is available now in Chevy dealers.