While fortunately not yet the norm, $60,000 pickup trucks are surely no longer a rarity on American roads. But just because they are leather clad, feature packed, comfort enhanced, luxury-minded, long haul machines, don’t think for a minute that they are no longer about getting some serious work done.
The Heavy Duty truck world has been in a bit of an arms race of late, with all of the domestic regulars pushing both content and capacity to ever higher levels at an accelerated pace. So the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD continues to evolve, with guns blazing.
First, just a quick recap of what brought us to this point. 2014 saw an all-new Silverado 1500; one year later, the HDs were updated significantly with new bodies and interiors. 2016 sees further upgrades to the interior electronics such as steering and MyLink as well as some added features. Small tweaks that GM hopes will pay big dividends.
It’s been hard to truly say who offers class leading towing anymore, since different standards are being used; and each brand seems to have a particular configuration that out tows a similar setup of all the other brands.
But here’s where the Silverado HD falls in. Using SAE J2807 standards, it’s capable of towing 23,200-lbs. That’s a 4-wheel-drive 3500 Regular cab dually with an 8-foot bed, diesel engine, and 3.73 axle ratio towing a gooseneck or 5th wheel trailer. Our diesel-equipped 2500 Crew Cab 4X4 short bed is rated for 13,900-lbs on the rear axle, 13,000 from behind it.
Still, while work ethic remains a factor, it is the sheer luxuriousness available to Heavy Duty pickup drivers; with features and amenities that could only be dreamed about not too long ago; that seems to be driving the market. And, riding high in the Silverado is what the High Country package is all about.
You get the obvious chrome treatments to the exterior as well as step rails, 20-inch hoops, and a spray-in bed liner.
Inside, you’ll be wrapped in exclusive, yet durable looking, saddle brown leather, with the ability to heat and cool your rear-end.
So, while a rig such as this one is not exactly intended for daily job site chores, expect to see it towing show horses, or pulling a high dollar 5th wheel RV just about everywhere.
For the most pulling power, you’ll want the 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel, of course; as this V8 churns up 765 lb-ft. of torque, along with 397-horsepower. With it, you’ll get an Allison 1000 6-speed automatic transmission.
A gas engine is also available if you must, GM’s 360-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 with 380 lb-ft. of torque and a Hyrda-Matic 6-speed auto.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings aren’t required for Heavy Duty pickups, but we averaged a reasonable 18.1-miles-per-gallon with our diesel.
While hauling numbers are probably more significant to most, acceleration figures weigh heavily on some people’s minds, so it was off to the track; where we did a heavy duty sprint to 60 in 9 seconds flat. As you might expect, there’s no shortage of stump-pulling torque, it’s getting it to transfer to the pavement that becomes the issue.
Short shifting through the ¼-mile, the 2500 wrapped up that job in 17-seconds at 89 miles-per-hour. But as every HD diesel owner knows, that is nowhere near what this Duramax is capable of; and there are plenty of aftermarket bits that will help you unleash this beast’s full potential.
Setting it loose through the cones, is an exercise in having patience as you navigate tight quarters. Not that it protests, this is just a lot of heavy vehicle to maneuver.
The fact that the Digital Steering Assist has been tightened up for a more natural feel helps things along a little better than before.
Of course the biggest update that arrived with last year’s makeover was the Silverado ½-ton’s level of ride quality and noise control. And while that mattered little at the test track, you’ll surely appreciate that when going on those long haul tows.
As for pricing, you can expect quite a spread, with the literally hundreds of configurations available; but the fun starts at $34,150. Our High Country 2500 with options rolls out for over $66,000. Pricey but nowhere near the top of the market these days.
So, if you’ve got the need, or desire, to step towards the peak of the truck market, the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD High Country will have you riding in style like few other Heavy Duty pickups can do.
Engine: 6.6 liter Duramax turbo-diesel
Torque: 765 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 9 seconds
1/4 mile: 17 seconds @ 89 mph
EPA: 18.1 mpg (diesel)