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Chevrolet Silverado Goes Head-to-Head with Ford and Ram Trucks - 7 VIDEOS

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Real-world evaluations vs. Ford and Dodge heavy-duty diesel pickups

DETROIT - April 7, 2011: Chevrolet takes the heavy-duty pickup battle to the test track – and the mountain roads – in “HD to HD,” a video series that pits 2011 Silverado HD pickups against the competition in real-world tests of capabilities that matter to real-world truck buyers.

"We wanted to get away from spec-sheet comparisons and show how these trucks perform in the real world," said Rick Spina, global vehicle line executive for full size trucks. "To do so, we engaged an independent company to test the Silverado HD with the Duramax diesel and Allison transmission head-to-head with the competition, and record those tests for everyone to see."

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The tests include acceleration, passing, and braking tests, all conducted with a loaded bed, or in some cases, a loaded trailer. Other tests measure the effectiveness of the exhaust brakes on long downgrades and the stiffness of the frames during twist-ditch simulations. Competitors were diesel-powered 2011 Ford Super Duties, and in some tests, 2011 Dodge Ram HDs.

For example, in a zero-to-60 test of three-quarter ton models with a 1,500-pound load, designed to simulate merging onto a busy freeway, the Silverado 2500HD outpaced the F-250 Super Duty, 7.66 seconds to 8.36 seconds, despite the slight advantage in published horsepower and torque ratings for the Ford.

“We worked hard on the Duramax-Allison combination to deliver torque smoothly throughout the entire power band,” said Spina. “That is what gives us class-leading acceleration.”

Silverado HD pickups showed a similar advantage in acceleration tests on a 7-percent grade, and in passing tests at both sea level and at 6,000 feet while towing loaded trailers.

Spina hosts the videos with Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long. AMCI Testing, an independent company used by many carmakers, was engaged by Chevrolet to conduct and certify the tests.

Silverado HD’s real-world performance helped make it the Motor Trend’s 2011 Truck of the Year.

Click PLAY in the windows below to watch the tests

Introduction: Introduces the 2011 Silverado HD and its rivals, the 2011 Ford Super Duty and 2011 Dodge Ram HD, along with AMCI Testing, the independent firm engaged by Chevy to run the tests.

Acceleration: These videos tested acceleration of three-quarter and one-ton versions of the Silverado HD, Ford Super Duty, and Ram HD. In the first, three-quarter ton trucks loaded with 1500-pound payloads accelerated from zero to 60 mph on level ground at sea level, simulating merging on a busy freeway. The Silverado 2500HD outpaced the Ford F-250 Super Duty, 7.66 seconds to 8.36 seconds, despite the Ford’s advantage on paper, and beat the Ram HD by nearly two seconds.

In the second test, one-ton trucks were loaded with a 3,000-pound payload, and accelerated from zero to 60 mph up a 7-percent grade at a 6,000-foot altitude. Again, real-world performance trumped the spec sheet, as the Silverado 3500HD outpaced the Ford by nearly three seconds, and the Dodge by nearly six seconds.

Bumper Sag: In the next test, a Silverado 2500HD and F-250 Super Duty were each loaded with 2,400 pounds in the bed, and then a trailer with a 400-pound tongue weight was added to the hitch. The rear bumper of the F-250 dropped a total of 6.3 inches under the load. The Silverado, with its beefier frame and 20-percent wider rear springs, dropped just 3.9 inches.

Twist ditch simulation: In one of the most dramatic tests, Silverado 3500HD and Ford F-350 trucks were loaded with 3,000 pounds of payload and driven over a set of ramps designed to simulate a worksite situation like an irrigation ditch. With its stiffer, fully-boxed, high-strength steel frame and independent front suspension, the Silverado handled the test with ease. The F-350 twisted to the point where the tailgate jammed shut, then buckled from the strain. Next, Chevy ran a similar test with three-quarter-ton trucks and pointers to measure misalignment between the cab and bed. Misalignment for the Silverado 2500HD: 0.25 inch; for the F-250 Super Duty: 1.1 inch.

Passing Performance: Introduces Howie Long, a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, and Rick Spina, global vehicle line executive for full size trucks, who host the videos. The test pits a Chevy Silverado 2500HD with the Duramax diesel and Allison transmission against comparably equipped Ford and Dodge pickups. The trucks, towing a trailer loaded with 9,750 pounds of brick pavers, accelerate from 30 to 55 mph at sea level on a test track at Inyokern Airport in Inyokern, California. Silverado 2500HD beats the Ford, 1,020 feet to 1,174 feet, and outperforms the Dodge by more than 1,800 feet. For a more dramatic demonstration, the test was repeated with one-ton trucks and a 16,500-pound trailer at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet on a road outside of Bishop, California. To add a little visual interest – this is video, after all – the trucks had to pass a slow-moving semi and complete the pass before they reached a slower moving snow plow in the left lane. If they couldn’t complete the pass safely, drivers had to brake and pull back in behind the semi. Silverado 3500HD was the only truck to complete the pass, and it did so with room to spare.

Brake Fade: To measure brake fade under extreme conditions, such as a long mountain downgrade, AMCI took the Silverado 3500HD and Ford F-350 Super-Duty, loaded them with 3,000 pounds of payload, and did ten back-to-back stops from 70 mph. When the brakes were cooled down between runs, braking performance was comparable. However, when the cool-down periods were eliminated, the Silverado retained its full braking power, while the brakes on the F-350 faded noticeably.

Exhaust Braking Performance: Exhaust braking systems are useful for maintaining speed on downgrades, saving wear-and tear on the service brakes – and on the driver. So to test the exhaust brakes, Chevy went back to the mountains outside of Bishop with a Silverado 3500HD and a Ford F-350 Super Duty, each towing the 16,500-pound trailer. Trucks started down a 7-percent grade at 50 mph. The exhaust brake was set, and speed measured after the trucks had travelled 2,000 feet. At the end of the distance, the exhaust brake on the Silverado had slowed the truck and trailer to 44 mph. The Super Duty had actually accelerated to 56 mph.