Vehicle Overview
The Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD/3500HD and GMC Sierra HD trucks are built on a more robust version of General Motor's full-size pickup truck platform. The heavy-duty trucks share the same mechanicals, but are differentiated with unique interiors and front-end styling. Both can have a powertrain that consists of a Duramax diesel engine and an Allison transmission, which continues to draw rave reviews.

There are some configuration differences between the light-duty Silverado 1500 and its big brothers. The regular cab version comes only with an 8-foot long bed, while the 2500HD extended cab is available with both the 6.5-foot standard bed and the long bed. The crew cab is also limited to just the long bed. All 3500HD models have long beds and can be ordered with dual rear wheels or single rear wheels. All 2500HD models are SRW. All models are available in two- or four-wheel-drive.

A 6.0-liter V-8 gas engine is standard on all models. The popular 6.6-liter Duramax diesel and six-speed Allison transmission are optional. GM says the 2500HD and 3500HD can tow up to 13,000 pounds with the diesel engine and a conventional hitch. Maximum towing capacity with a fifth-wheel hitch mounted in the cargo box is 16,700 pounds. Payload varies between 2,331 pounds and 5,309 pounds, depending on the model.

New for 2009
The only noticeable changes are in consumer electronics. OnStar now comes with Turn-by-Turn navigation and Destination Download. Bluetooth has also been added, and the XM Satellite Radio has been enhanced with a NavTraffic feature. Finally, those with visibility concerns will welcome the availability of a rearview camera system.

The Silverado 1500's features are emboldened for the heavy-duty models. This includes specific grilles, headlamps, hoods and front fenders that are a little more muscular than the half-ton model's. The cargo boxes on 3500HD dually models are made of steel, including the hydroformed sheet metal outer fenders that give the truck extra strength and a more integrated appearance.
  • Available EZ Lift tailgate
  • Available rail system with adjustable tie-downs
  • Available moonroof on extended and crew cabs
  • Dual-port grille is wider and taller than 1500 model's
  • 3500HD dually has side, roof marker lights
  • Chrome bumpers for all models
  • Tow mirrors available

GM's efforts to improve its interiors have paid off with the Silverado's spacious cab. Materials have a softer touch, gaps are tighter and the surfaces are flush. The LTZ draws inspiration from the Tahoe/Suburban and is targeted toward luxury owners, while other trims appeal to the working owner. While GM doesn't have as many different interior packages as Ford, its choices are distinct enough to meet the needs of most buyers.

Because owners of heavy-duty trucks are on the road for long stretches, the LTZ is particularly inviting, with its leather seating and standard Bose sound system. Some luxury owners like the idea of captain's chairs in the rear of crew cabs, but that's about the only omission we can find in this nicely appointed interior.
  • Stadium-style seating in second row
  • Double glove box on work interiors, single on LTZ
  • Interiors distinguished by different instrument panels
  • Easy-to-read, LED-lit analog gauges
  • Power windows on extended cab doors roll down completely
  • Available power rear window on extended and crew cabs
  • Available rear-seat entertainment system
  • Power-adjustable foot pedals available

Under the Hood
There are a couple of engine options on the heavy-duty Silverado.
  • 360-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 with 380 pounds-feet of torque, iron block/aluminum cylinder head and two valves per cylinder
  • Mated to six-speed Hydramatic automatic transmission
  • 365-hp, 6.6-liter diesel V-8 with 660 pounds-feet of torque, iron block/aluminum cylinder head and four valves per cylinder
  • Mated to six-speed Allison automatic transmission

An electronic stability system is standard only on select versions of the 2500HD.
  • Dual front airbags standard
  • Ultrasonic rear parking assist available
  • Antilock brakes
  • Tire-pressure-monitoring system standard on SRW models
  • OnStar gets Turn-by-Turn navigation

Of Interest to Truck Owners
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 9,200 pounds (all models)
  • Regular cab payload: 3,924 pounds (4x2, 6.0-liter), 3,203 pounds (4x2, 6.6-liter), 3,644 pounds (4x4, 6.0-liter), 2,911 pounds (4x4, 6.6-liter)
  • Crew cab payload: 3,480 pounds (4x2 SWB, 6.0-liter), 2,781 pounds (4x2 SWB, 6.6-liter), 3,241 pounds (4x4 SWB, 6.0-liter), 2,530 pounds (4x4 SWB), 3,321 pounds (4x2 LWB, 6.0-liter), 2,630 pounds (4x2 LWB, 6.6-liter), 3,059 pounds (4x4 LWB, 6.0-liter), 2,331 pounds (4x4 LWB)
  • Extended cab payload: 3,623 pounds (4x2 SWB, 6.0-liter), 2,914 pounds (4x2 SWB, 6.6-liter), 3,360 pounds (4x4 SWB, 6.0-liter), 2,633 pounds (4x4 SWB), 3,481 pounds (4x2 LWB, 6.0-liter), 2,773 pounds (4x2 LWB, 6.6-liter), 3,222 pounds (4x4 LWB, 6.0-liter), 2,506 pounds (4x4 LWB, 6.6-liter)
  • Regular cab maximum towing capacity*: 13,000 pounds (4x2), 12,700 pounds (4x4, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x4, 6.6-liter)
  • Extended cab maximum towing capacity*: 12,700 pounds (4x2 SWB, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x2 SWB, 6.6-liter), 12,400 pounds (4x4 SWB, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x4 SWB, 6.6-liter), 12,500 pounds (4x2 LWB, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x2 LWB, 6.6-liter), 12,300 pounds (4x4 LWB, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x4 LWB, 6.6-liter)
  • Crew cab maximum towing capacity*: 12,500 pounds (4x2 SWB, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x2 SWB, 6.6-liter), 12,300 pounds (4x4 SWB, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x4 SWB, 6.6-liter), 12,400 pounds (4x2 LWB, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x2 LWB, 6.6-liter), 12,100 pounds (4x4 LWB, 6.0-liter), 13,000 pounds (4x4 LWB, 6.6-liter)

  • Fuel tank capacity: 26 gallons (2500HD with 6.5-foot bed), 34 gallons (all others)
  • Axle ratio: 3.73:1, 4.10:1
  • Minimum ground clearance: 9.5 inches
  • Cargo floor length: 78.7 inches (standard bed), 97.6 inches (long bed)
  • Cargo floor width: 62.4 inches
  • Cargo floor width at wheel well: 50.6 inches
  • Cargo bed depth: 21 inches

*Maximum towing capacity for all models is for conventional hitch-and-ball mount.