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Truck Review: 2011 Chevy Silverado 2500

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2011 Chevrolet Silverado

KNOWLEDGE BASE: Chevrolet Buyers Guide


By Marty Bernstein
Senior Editor at Large

Nothing gets road respect and the job done like a good looking, powerful big truck and the new Chevy Silverado 2500 4 WD Crew Cab model tops ‘em all. If you need to haul a big boat, trailer or lots of job materials with room for five and four wheel drive then this is the truck for you.

Completely redesigned inside and out and under for 2011 the LTZ model I test drove was the top-of-the-line in Chevy’s truck stable. The exterior design changes include a power dome-style hood with a new, louvered design, as well as a new grille and full-width chrome steel front bumper and the lower design makes getting under the hood much easier. The look is tough and rugged as one expects.

But it’s what makes the Silverado go, how it drives and rides, durability and reliability – that’s the information drivers and owners of big trucks need to know. Chevy’s made major improvements to an already good truck including:

New Frames – fully boxed frame assemblies have increased cross sections and use more high strength steel for greater durability and stiffness in front frame which is 125% stiffer than previous models. Front sections are hydroformed, there are larger engine and transmission mounts that provide greater vibration control.

Hydraulic body mounts –– used under the cab section on extended and crew cab models which produce a quieter, isolated feel inside the truck.

Accessory applications –– Chevy’s engineers responded to truckers needs by adding access holes to the rear frame to make installation of accessories and fifth wheel or gooseneck hitches easier. There’s also a stronger frame-mounted hitch for conventional trailer hauling.

Front suspension – – there’s stronger, independent front suspension enabling a snow plow to be used on all 4WD cab configurations while also supporting improved ride and handling characteristics.

Interior Amenities – – since many truck owners use their vehicle for moveable offices the 2500 has a spacious interior with many creature comforts far too numerous to list here. Just climb into the truck and you’ll be amazed.

Towing and payloads – -- Stronger frames, suspension systems with greater weight ratings and enhanced powertrain systems contribute to the Silverado HD’s greater towing and payload capability. The 2011 Silverado has a maximum conventional towing of 17,000 lbs up 4,000 lbs from the 2010 model and has a payload of 4,192 which is plus 320 lbs.

Engine power – – the 6.6 liter Duramax V8 is a 397 horsepower dynamo that can deliver 765 lbs of torque at just 1,600 RPM. That’s power when you need it and it’s so quiet a neighbor didn’t know it was a diesel. It’s coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission that’s smooth and quick to respond.

Driving assists – drive with confidently in most circumstances with control-related features, including trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake control, hill start assist, automatic grade braking and intelligent brake assist that enables controlled vehicle slowdown on downhill grades without actuating the brakes

Safety and security – the list of standard features is comprehensive and includes 4-wheel ABS brakes, driver and right front airbags, theft deterrent system, remote keyless entry, Stabilitrak with trailer sway control, hill start assist, six months of OnStar and Bluetooth for phone. A very nice package.

On the Road
Driving a truck this big is quite an experience. A couple years ago I drove the previous Silverado model on the infamous Los Angeles Freeways to and from my hotel in Heavenly Bills, er, Beverly Hills to the LA Convention Center while attending the LA Auto Show. There was a feeling of power never since equaled. It’s big, it’s powerful, it’s strong, it’s really big (my hotel could not park it in the garage) and most people in normal size cars get out of your way. And it was fun to drive.

That said, the new Silverado 2500 is not sportscar agile but is an easy to drive vehicle despite its size. Based on its suspension driving without any passengers or weight in the bed was not a fair test of its capabilities, but calling on previous experience know payloads will smooth out the bouncy bits on most roads. Sight lines are very good without much interference from the A-pillar a common viewing obstruction in this size truck. Acceleration was as expected 0 to 60 in about :10-seconds. There’s no compromise in this truck. None.

My Bottom Line
My test vehicle, as previously noted was the top-of-the-line and tipped the MSRP to $56,259 not including destination charge. The base model is $11,614 less but does not include the Duramax engine, 6-speed transmission, rear vision camera and other goodies dropping the price to $44,645. Granted that’s a fair amount of money for a large pick-up truck, but the Silverado is the big truck for those who need one for their work and or pleasure.

Give yourself a big deal test drive of the big Chevy Silverado 2500, you won’t be disappointed.