First Drive: 2015 GM HD Trucks (GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500) trucks gmc first drives chevrolet
First Drive: 2015 GM HD Trucks (GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500) trucks gmc first drives chevrolet
First Drive: 2015 GM HD Trucks (GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500) trucks gmc first drives chevrolet
First Drive: 2015 GM HD Trucks (GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500) trucks gmc first drives chevrolet
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD & 2015 GMC Sierra Denali HD. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by James Bergeron

Somewhere, Southern Alberta – The truck market in Canada is surprisingly large for a population that is fairly small compared to the rest of the world.  Especially if you compare our market to that of our neighbours to the south, the United States.  Although I know our truck market is large – especially in the half-ton segment – I was surprised to learn that the Heavy Duty (HD) truck segment is over a four-billion dollar business in our small country alone, and that more than 20 percent of all full-size trucks sold in Canada are HD trucks. The HD truck segment includes the GMC Sierra 2500/3500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500, Ford F-250/F-350 and RAM 2500/3500.

Big trucks are big business and GM has significantly improved, updated and re-engineered their 2015 model HD trucks to grab as much of that market as they possibly can.  GM invited Autos.ca to southern Alberta to prove to us that their new 2015 models are a step above the competition.  And they chose the location for a reason, as it became obvious in the two days we spent testing these trucks that HD trucks are an essential part of life around these parts.

The 2015 GM HD trucks are redesigned both outside and in with new sheet metal and cabins that offer a strong brand identity and a more upscale design. The all-new exterior for 2015 offers enhanced aerodynamics and more efficient cooling – both very important features when towing or hauling large loads.  Large grilles with chrome surrounds, unique one-piece chrome bumpers for both Sierra and Silverado and unique HD hoods and headlamps held reduce drag and wind noise.

New inlaid doors, which fit into recesses in the body side, help reduce wind noise for a quieter cabin. The smallest details of the body, such as the roof and tailgate spoiler, were tuned in a wind tunnel to smooth airflow over the truck for reduced noise and improved aerodynamic efficiency and when you drive the new HD trucks these new features prove their worth.

HD trucks are the workhorse of industry and owners spend a lot of time in their vehicles getting to the job and getting that work done.  The new interior layouts and designs have been crafted to provide more comfort and convenience while still offering a rugged interior that can take the abuse of the day-to-day operations.  With many HD truck buyers opting for fully loaded trucks to travel in comfort and style, there is no lack of technology and luxury in the twin GM HD trucks either – from the newly introduced Silverado High Country to the well known and respected GMC Denali edition.

Standard on all Sierra and Silverado HD trucks are Stabilitrak with Trailer Sway Control and for the first time this feature is available on dually models. A driver alert package is also available, including: Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Safety Alert Seat.  Also available are a rear vision camera, available front and rear park assist and intuitive MyLink media and connectivity.

Both the Silverado and Sierra are available with the choice of three engines. For the first time a natural gas engine is available across the board and is fully supported by GM with full factory warranty.  The standard fit engine is a 6.0L Vortec V8 powerplant with proven performance of 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, and of course a 6.6L Duramax diesel mated to a six-speed Allison transmission that produces 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque rounds out the choices.  The diesel engine accounts for 60 percent of HD truck sales and, with over 1.5 million of these units out in the market today, has already proven that it is a hard-working and reliable powerplant.

First Drive: 2015 GM HD Trucks (GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500) trucks gmc first drives chevrolet First Drive: 2015 GM HD Trucks (GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500) trucks gmc first drives chevrolet First Drive: 2015 GM HD Trucks (GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500) trucks gmc first drives chevrolet
2015 GMC Sierra Denali HD & 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD. Click image to enlarge

The frame and chassis of this truck has not been updated or changed from the 2015 model but still boasts some of the best specs in the industry.  A fully boxed steel frame is the core of the beast with extensive use of high-strength steel in the frame and cab structures.  Independent front suspension for improved ride, easier trim height adjustments and asymmetrical rear leaf springs for enhanced traction and long-term durability are just some of the features.  The 2015 Silverado and Sierra offer increased payload and towing including:  best-in-class payload – 3,344 kg (7,374 lb); best-in-class conventional towing – 8,890 kg (19,600 lb) (with factory hitch); and a fifth-wheel towing capacity of 10,523 kg (23,200 lb).

The new HD models are also designed to bring new levels of confidence to tough towing through further refinement of the available Cruise Control, Auto Grade Braking, and Diesel Exhaust Brake. The integration of these features helps the 2015 Silverado and Sierra HD maintain a set speed up and down grades, even when towing a heavy trailer in mountainous terrain.  Other trailer tow-assist packages include an integrated brake controller and hill-start assist that maintains brake pressure on grades to prevent rollback.

The Heavy Duty trucks are definitely big trucks and the large new grilles really stand out, delivering a powerful brand and design statement.  My choice would be the Silverado headlamps and the GMC grille, but unfortunately that combination is not available. Nonetheless, both trucks are good looking machines.  Features brought over from the light duty models such as the integrated corner step rear bumper for easy bed access, upper tie-down points and easy lift and lower tailgate with damping make working with these trucks easier than before.




About James Bergeron

James Bergeron is an Ottawa-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).