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Review and photos by Mike Schlee

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Chevy Silverado 2500 HD

Large trucks like this 2012 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 2500 Crew Cab 4WD have always seemed to be utilitarian devices to me.  These are vehicles possessing greater capabilities than merely providing daily transport and the odd weekend getaway.   Although it is a different lifestyle and market that I am not a part of, it feels like overkill to use one of these vehicles as a daily driver if you do not regularly tow or haul large loads.  It’s like bringing a butcher’s knife to work to butter your bagel, or bringing the basement chest freezer on the family picnic.  But then again, there is the mantra “You never know when you’ll need it.”

2012 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
2012 Chevrolet Silverado 2500. Click image to enlarge

The Chevrolet Silverado HD was last overhauled for the 2007 model year, which doesn’t seem that long ago.  In fact, for a pickup that used to not be a long period of time at all.  However, times have changed and any vehicle that doesn’t receive significant updates every five years or so gets left behind and the Silverado is ready for a refresh.  Good news is that one is on its way, but in the meantime, small enhancements continue to be made to the workhorse of the Chevrolet family.

Last year the 6.6L turbocharged Duramax diesel was refreshed and power jumped to 397 hp while torque increased a staggering 105 lb-ft to 765 lb-ft.  Since this truck is designed to tow upwards of 4,536 kg (10,000 lb.), when unloaded the power from all that torque is immense.  The Silverado thrusts you into the atmosphere as you hammer the accelerator pedal.  Even at triple-digit speeds this hulk just keeps accelerating unnaturally.  Take it easy on the gas (diesel?) pedal, though, and the engine remains subdued and light on power until those mighty turbos spool up.

2012 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
2012 Chevrolet Silverado 2500. Click image to enlarge

Power is sent through GM’s much-touted six-speed Allison automatic transmission to all four wheels through a two-speed transfer case.  Being that this truck is motivated by a diesel engine, redline occurs at a low 3,450 rpm, with cruising speeds slotting in at 1,450 rpm for 100 km/h and 1,750 rpm for 120 km/h.  Since this is a truck meant for hard work, my test truck had two purposeful engine features; an exhaust brake to assist in towing and a high-idle switch for cold weather conditions.

On the road, the 2500 HD is incredibly quite inside.  Unless hard on the accelerator, the diesel engine can barely be heard.  I could barely hear the gear I was carrying in my full cargo bed, which included several Muskoka chairs banging around.  I did not have a decibel reader, but I would bet this truck approaches luxury car levels of quiet inside.  The Silverado’s ride is rough when unloaded, but that should be expected of a heavy duty pickup truck.  On the highway, it is not as bouncy as the Ram Power Wagon 2500 I recently drove but that Ram was more of a dedicated off-road truck.  I did find that this rig handles well for its size, tracks straight, is predictable in corners, and handles all road surfaces with confidence.  The four-wheel disc brakes and 265/70R18 all terrain tires also make it stop with reasonable effort on both hard and loose surfaces.

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