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Friday, June 8, 2018

2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Review

2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Review
The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD stakes its claim on a workaday pickup that won’t look dated in 10 years.

If the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD isn’t big enough to block the sun for you, then it may have enough power to drag the sun out of the way.


The full-size heavy duty pickup is offered in a long list of configurations and trims, including a three-quarter ton size (2500) and a full-ton offering (3500) with single- or dual-rear wheel setup.

The Silverado HD series earns a 6.8 on our overall scale thanks to its versatility and feature set. It’s the most conservatively styled heavy-duty pickup on the market, and a lack of federal fuel economy ratings and a full set of crash data keeps it from scoring much higher.

The truck largely stands pat this year after a mild updo last year. The hood and bumpers received new treatments, including a small hood scoop to force feed an available 6.6-liter V-8 turbodiesel that can drag nearly 10 tons in some configurations. The base engine is a 6.0-liter V-8 gasser that does just fine on its own, and its payload rating is just north of 3,500 pounds.

Chevy offers the Silverado HD lineup in WT (work truck), LT, LTZ, and High Country trims with a smattering of special editions wedged in between for customization opportunities.

A standard rearview camera this year had an unintended consequence that’ll be a boon for budget buyers: all models now receive an excellent 7.0-inch touchscreen—even WT variants.

Depending on your definition of what a heavy-duty truck should be, the Silverado HD can be as base or as opulent as your taste or budget will allow.

Can’t spend that money fast enough? Don’t worry. The Silverado HD is related to the GMC lineup of heavy-duty pickups that can approach six figures and are decked like luxury liners.

Styling
If you’re not convinced by the looks, the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD has enough available power to help you decide—all 910 pound-feet of persuasion.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD has always been the more contemporary among the Detroit Three in our eyes; a tuxedo wearing a cowboy hat.

Its dressed up appearance looks best in straightforward style. Adding big wheels and over-the-top appearance packages doesn’t quite jibe with our eyes.

We give the Silverado HD one point above average for a clean exterior, but stop short of doing the same inside—it’s just average. Pickups aren’t statements of style, and that’s just fine. The Silverado HD earns a 6 out of 10. 

All Silverado HD trucks are slathered in chrome (they’re big things after all) with large upright grilles and impressive hoods that pronounce their power. Silverado High Country trucks get their own unique touches: body-colored bumpers and chrome running boards that announce their upmarket price tags, but most Silverados just look like pickups.

Inside, Chevrolet has offered work conveniences such as plentiful interior storage, countless power plugs (the center console sports three USB ports alone) and large dials that can be manhandled with gloves.

Compared to others in its class, the Ram is more outre with its style and special editions, and the Ford is more tech savvy. For buyers looking for the Goldilocks sweet spot the Silverado HD may appeal by eschewing both for straightforward looks, but the interior quickly fades into the background.

Performance
Heavy duty pickups like the Chevy Silverado HD have power like a ballistic missile. Unfortunately, they tend to ride and handle like them too.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD lays claim to a few heavy-duty truck superlatives—towing and horsepower—but in the pickup arms race, some of those numbers exist only on paper.

If we boil it down to gravy, what’s left in the pan is a capable V-8 and a mighty turbodiesel than can relocate your neighbors—even if your neighbors are an apartment complex. Moving that kind of mass is a challenge, so we call it a wash. The Silverado HD gets a 5 out of 10 on performance once ride, handling, and steering are factored into the equation. 

Bragging rights dictate that we address the numbers, so we’ll give our calculators a workout. The base engine in all Silverado HD models is a 6.0-liter V-8 that make 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a 6-speed automatic that isn’t tuned for efficiency, it’s built not to twist into a pretzel under heavy load. The gasser is the payload champ: it’s rated up to 3,534 pounds in the back. Rear-drive is standard, although four-wheel drive is a popular and common option.
The optional engine is a 6.6-liter V-8 turbodiesel that has been uprated this year to 910 lb-ft of torque, no tree stump is safe. It gets a 6-speed automatic made by Allison to power the rear, or all four wheels if optionally equipped. The diesel is the towing champ, more than 18,000 pounds in some configurations, and may need a CDL depending on use (we wish we were joking).

Unlike the Ram heavy-duty series, the Silverado uses a traditional leaf-spring setup in the rear that was picked for its simplicity and durability, not necessarily ride comfort. Like all pickups the Silverado rides better with weight over the rear tires, and if you don’t have any weight in the bed or on the trailer then what’s the point?

Predictably, handling for a truck that’s nearly long enough for a first down is a challenge. The Silverado HD has fairly good outward vision and its Digital Steering Assist system in turbodiesel models helps low-speed maneuverability.

This bulky pickup is relatively nimble, but won’t be confused for anything else anytime soon.

Comfort & Quality
Ask anyone who’s purchased a pickup before: Have truck, have friends who will move. They’re just that versatile.

Big trucks tend to do well on our quality and comfort system—utility factors in heavily in our matrix.

Starting from a base score of 5, the Silverado HD series gets points above average for a big bed in back with a theoretical ceiling of the lower troposphere—better make that two points. The front seats are spacious and all-day comfortable. The Silverado HD earns an 8 out of 10, mostly on its capability. 

Chevy offers the Silverado HD range with three cab configurations and two bed sizes, although it’s not mix and match everywhere. A long afternoon (or longer) can be spent studying what’s possible, so we advise patience and hydration when trimming your truck.

Mostly the HD range boils down to: a short or a long bed, 6-foot-6 or 8-foot; two-door regular or four-door regular or crew cab; single- or dual-rear wheel in 3500 HD models.

Base-trimmed WT models are trimmed with a vinyl upholstery likely borrowed from a city bus—fleet buyers appreciate the antimicrobial qualities. LT-trimmed trucks, which are more popular with retail buyers, get cloth upholstery that feels durable and looks handsome. LTZ and High Country models use decent hides, while the latter offers unique shades that would feel at home in some luxury cars.

Regular cab trucks seat two or three, depending on bench configuration. Double cabs have abbreviated rear benches that work for adults in a pinch, but will require some horse trading with front passengers to get adequate leg room. Crew cab models get more than 40 inches of leg room in the back for rear-seat riders, and can be fit for a small crew heading from jobsite to jobsite.

A spray-on bedliner isn’t standard on all models, just High Country trucks get it standard from the factory, but 3500 HD models can get rid of the bed altogether. Picture the possibilities.

Safety
Not much official safety data is available, but bigger isn’t always safer.

Big trucks don’t get thrown into walls often, but when they do, the results are somewhat surprising.

The IIHS doesn’t perform its full battery on heavy-duty trucks, so we’ve withheld a score here. If they do test those trucks (and they should, considering how many are on U.S. roads now) we’ll update this space. 

Federal testers are mixed. Chevy’s heavy-duty trucks were rated with a four-star overall rating, including four stars for front crash safety and three stars for rollover protection. The latter verdict isn’t all that surprising: the trucks’ high centers of gravity don’t usually fare well in the calculated tests. The former four-star front crash rating is a little surprising considering the trucks’ sizeable masses and steel construction.

Beyond official crash data, the Chevy Silverado HD comes equipped with six airbags, stability and traction control systems, and OnStar telematics that can automatically notify emergency services if the truck is in a crash.

LT- and LTZ-trimmed trucks can be equipped with advanced safety features including forward-collision warnings, lane departure warnings, and a rear seat reminder to check for infants or children in the rear seat. High Country trucks get those systems as standard.

Automatic emergency braking isn’t on the menu for Silverado HD models, par for the course in most big trucks. Blind-spot monitors aren’t available on the Silverado HD models, which is an oversight considering the trucks’ sizable footprint, but not unexpected—those systems struggle when towing.

Features
The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD series covers a wide spectrum of trims, from work-prepped, wash-and-ready beasts to plush and comfortable beasts.

Like most full-size pickups, the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD range is available in more flavors than the Haagen-Dazs freezer case.

Most trucks can be arranged into separate categories, with several different missions and creature comforts. At the affordable end of the spectrum, Chevy offers the heavy-duty truck in a WT (work truck) configuration aimed at fleet buyers and professional users. From there, the Silverado HD range climbs in waist and taste from LT to LTZ and finally High Country trims with plenty of special editions in between.

Base WT models come equipped with 17-inch wheels, power locks and windows, Bluetooth connectivity, vinyl upholstery, a rearview camera, and a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen.

That’s fairly good standard equipment, and the options are dizzying. We give the Silverado HD range points above average for both, and add another for the newly standard 7.0-inch touchscreen. The trucks earn an 8 out of 10 for features. 

Stepping up to Silverado LT trucks adds a handful of creature comforts including upgraded cloth upholstery, a 4.2-inch driver information display buried between the instrument cluster, a larger 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and keyless entry with remote locking tailgate.

The LTZ trim level unlocks more features that buyers may be looking for from a luxury-minded truck including leather upholstery, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, remote start, a power sliding rear window, and 18-inch wheels.

The top trimmed High Country trucks sport all the features you’d expect from a “cowboy Cadillac.” The wheels are upgraded to city slicker 20-inchers, heated and cooled front seats shod with optional leathers, an upgraded stereo from Bose, wireless cellphone charging, heated steering wheel, and front and rear parking assistants. High Country trucks are only available in four-door Crew Cab configurations, effectively making them a “High Country mile” long?

Several special editions of the Silverado HD are available this year, mostly on LT- and LTZ-trimmed trucks. Midnight, Custom Sport, and Z71 packages are available on those trims, the latter offering much beyond appearance features. Z71 trucks are geared more toward off-road duty with beefed shocks, a front stabilizer bar, underbody shielding, hill descent control, and bigger 18-inch wheels.

If your belt buckle doesn’t tell folks where you’re from, at least your truck can. The Texas Edition is available in the Lone Star state and associated territories of the Republic (Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana) and adds a few creature comforts such as power adjustable front seats. The Alaskan Edition is available in the Last Frontier state and beyond—it adds a snow-plow prep package.

Chevy makes standard on all trucks a teen driver feature that scores new drivers for parents based on braking behavior and driving habits.

Chevy’s OnStar telematic system that provides various assistance features such as emergency notification, concierge services, turn-by-turn navigation, and wi-fi hotspot data services is available on all trucks. Most features require an extra-cost subscription package after an initial trial period.

Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, which is standard on all models, is generally good and is one of our favorites for its simplicity of features and menus. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is available for compatible phones on all trims, while MyLink’s navigation system is optional on LT and LTZ trims and is standard on High Country models.

A suite of advanced safety systems are available on LT and LTZ trucks, and are standard on High Country variants. We cover those systems separately.

Compared to other trucks, the Silverado HD doesn’t skimp on the creature comforts, but its interiors and tech features can’t compete with the high-tech menu from the Ford Super Duty range.

Fuel Economy
Heavy-duty trucks aren't subject to report fuel consumption to the EPA, and the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD range is no different.

Heavy-duty trucks aren’t required to submit ratings to the EPA for fuel economy, so the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD range won’t be rated by federal regulators.

We’re not big fans of that practice—heavy-duty trucks are more common now than they ever have been. As a result, we don’t score those models on our ratings scale. 
It’s hard for us to predict how these trucks will use fuel in the real world; these trucks are used in myriad ways from daily drivers to long-distance haulers to work-site brutes.

Considering their size and enormous capability, up to 910 lb-ft of torque and more than three tons in some configurations, fuel consumption will be prolific. It’s possible to expect up to 20 mpg on the highway—perhaps with a tailwind, downhill on a sunny day and Vaseline on its chrome smile—but your mileage may vary.

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