Sidebar: RV towing with a 2011 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD trucks car test drives rvs chevrolet
2011 Chevy Silverado 2500 LT Crew Cab. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Haney Louka

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With a gross weight of 6,300 pounds, it was a safe bet that our 30-foot trailer wasn’t going to be hauled across the country by the family wagon. To solve that problem I enlisted the help of General Motors, who offered me a freshly-minted example of their new-for-2011 line of heavy-duty trucks. The vehicle of choice was a red Chevy Silverado 2500 LT Crew Cab with the 6.6-litre Duramax diesel engine and six-speed Allison transmission. I think I can hear Tim “The Toolman” Taylor grunting in approval.

The 2500 HD we drove carries a base price of $44,655 in crew-cab, regular box, four-wheel-drive trim; stepping up to the mid-level LT adds $2,800 for some common convenience items. The big hit price-wise is the $11,525 bump for the Duramax diesel/Allison transmission combination, and our tester was also equipped with 20-inch wheels, a rear-view camera, leather seats, XM radio, and Bluetooth. All in, we’re at more than $66,000 before destination and taxes, but at the time of this writing there is more than $10,000 in price adjustments on this particular configuration. While that’s anything but cheap, well-optioned LTZ models can see MSRPs well into the $70s. I suspect, however, that the HD volume leader will be optioned a lot like the truck we drove.

Sidebar: RV towing with a 2011 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD trucks car test drives rvs chevrolet
2011 Chevy Silverado 2500 LT Crew Cab. Click image to enlarge

We’ve already covered the Chevy and GMC line of heavy-duty trucks on these pages, so this will just be a quick refresher. Even though the trucks look much like their 2010 counterparts, under the skin is a series of changes aimed at making these trucks do more of what they’re asked to do with less effort. To that end, the new optional Duramax diesel generates 397 hp and—get this—765 lb-ft of torque. There are also upgrades to the frames, with stronger steel and increased use of box-sections for added stiffness. A redesigned independent front and leaf-spring rear suspension and new exhaust brake system top the list of refinements to this new model.

It’s probably a fair statement to say that this truck was overqualified for the task at hand, what with its 17,000-lb towing capacity and all. But hey, a little extra ability is welcome when towing something this large, especially in the hills.

I was looking forward to the opportunity to use a heavy-duty pickup in the manner for which it was intended, but at the same time approached the situation with trepidation because, well, I’ve never towed anything in my life. This was going to be an adventure indeed.

Sidebar: RV towing with a 2011 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD trucks car test drives rvs chevrolet
Sidebar: RV towing with a 2011 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD trucks car test drives rvs chevrolet
2011 Chevy Silverado 2500 LT Crew Cab. Click image to enlarge

As expected, the Silverado made quick work of bringing our rig up to highway speeds; with the slight tugging on the hitch on rougher roads being the only sign that there was 30 feet of trailer behind us. The extendable trailer mirrors maximized our visibility, but I had to get used to the fact that I couldn’t change lanes along a curve because I had no idea if someone was beside the trailer.

Passenger accommodations were very comfortable in our mid-level LT tester. There was plenty of room, lots of storage (particularly beneath the rear bench seat and in the middle section of the front bench), with the only notable omissions being heaters for the leather seats and a second power point in the cabin. Models with centre consoles instead of the split front bench have additional hook-ups. Ride quality was reasonable with or without the trailer, so long as we remembered that we were driving a truck this big, and the view from the driver’s seat is outstanding. But what becomes addictive when driving something like this is the instantaneous torque that swells forth when the go pedal is prodded.

We were spoiled by the ease with which the Silverado 2500 HD carried out its duties. In all, we covered 4,200 km while consuming fuel at an average rate of 21.2 L/100 km: not too shabby at all considering what we were hauling. We certainly could have made do with a tow vehicle that had a lower capacity, but it was the perfect training vehicle for this towing newbie.