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Chevy Silverado HD: turning the truck life into the good life

For 2017, it optionally outfits its Silverado 2500HD with an updated version of its turbocharged 6.6-liter diesel V-8. It’s rated at 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque.

Generally speaking, people buy trucks to move stuff from one place to another. Could be a boat, a travel trailer or a load for the dump.

As, pickups are available in four categories; compact, midsize; full-size (or light-duty); and heavy-duty.

Light-duty trucks satisfy the vast majority of buyers, including most who tow boats and travel trailers. But a big fifth-wheel, a horse trailer or a weighty farm implement can demand more firepower.

Making big-load towing safe, trouble-free

With their fortified frames, robust suspensions and powerful engines, heavy-duty trucks make towing big loads safe and trouble-free.

Their dimensions make them impractical and awkward in town. But in rural Eastern Washington, with its hobby ranches, horse stables and large-scale farming operations, heavy-duty trucks are a way of life.

Those rural buyers may be relatively few in number, but they spur serious competition. Every year, manufacturers labor to squeeze more capacity from their big rigs.

2017 Chevy Silverado HD exterior

With their fortified frames, robust suspensions and powerful engines, heavy-duty trucks make towing big loads safe and trouble-free.

Chevy’s turn to shine

This year, it’s Chevy’s turn. For 2017, it optionally outfits its Silverado 2500HD with an updated version of its turbocharged 6.6-liter diesel V-8. Rated at 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, it easily bests last year’s 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft.

Mated with a six-speed Allison automatic transmission, the Duramax turbodiesel boasts an 18,100-pound tow capacity, enough to haul a 42-foot sailboat, a Howitzer artillery piece or the world’s largest chocolate sculpture.

(That replica of the Mayan Temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza, was created in 2012. We assume it has long been consumed.)

Goodbye, diesel clatter

The big Silverado is meant to double as a daily driver, with high levels of refinement, comfort and drivability.

The traditional diesel clatter is lulled here to near silence. At idle, cabin noise registers 45 decibels; at 70 mph, it rises to 67 dB, or luxury-car territory.

Upper-trim cabins are finished in durable, high-grade materials. Our tester’s fit-and-finish far surpassed what would have been expected from a heavy-duty truck only a handful of years ago.

There’s little wasted space in the roomy cabin, which is littered with casual storage opportunities. Climbing in and out of the Silverado is made easy by a seat height that’s inches shorter than the competitions’.

Unique front suspension

2017 Chevy Silverado 2500HD exterior

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD features an all-new, patented air intake system. Marked by a dramatic hood scoop, the system drives cool, dry air into the engine for sustained performance and cooler air temperatures during difficult driving conditions.

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD features an all-new, patented air intake system. Marked by a dramatic hood scoop, the system drives cool, dry air into the engine for sustained performance and cooler air temperatures during difficult driving conditions.[/captionUnique among heavy-duty pickups, Silverado HD models run an independent front suspension. The setup contributes to a ride that is stable and forgiving, even with an empty bed, and helps produce a responsive and natural-feeling steering system. As expected of a large truck, steering feel is heavy, but an available digital steering-assist feature eases parking-lot maneuvers and improves high-speed stability.

Despite its tall profile, the Silverado HD flows easily through high-speed bends.

Not that it should matter in a rig this size, but the turbodiesel Silverado is sports-car quick, turning the 0-60 sprint in just 6.2 seconds. It produces 90 percent of its torque at just 1,550 rpm and sustains it through 2,850 rpm.

Power delivery is seamless and seemingly inexhaustible and the Allison transmission eagerly drops gears when conditions demand. The turbodiesel’s deep well of torque manhandles mountainous terrain, and auxiliary exhaust brakes help ease the 6,100-lb rig down from speed.

The EPA doesn’t rate heavy-duty pickups but, with an unloaded truck, diesel owners should average 14-15 mpg combined, and as much as 19 mpg at freeway speeds.

Big rigs once made big demands on their owners. The 2017 Silverado 2500HD brings the good life to the heavy-duty truck segment.

Contact Don at don@dadair.com, or visit www.dadair.com.]

Chevrolet Silverado 2500 4WD LT Double Cab
Vehicle base price: $37,095
Trim level base price: $43,795
As tested: $62,080
Options included 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8; 18-inch chromed aluminum wheels; heated front seats; power-adjustable pedals; power sliding rear window; tubular running boards; gooseneck trailering package; LED cargo-box lighting; spray-on bedlinen; upgraded audio system.
Tow rating: 18,100 pounds
EPA rating: N/A
Diesel fuel required