Following a similar announcement by Ford regarding their HD pickup lineup earlier this week, General Motors has followed suit by formally unveiling the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and the GMC Sierra HD at the State Fair of Texas earlier this week. The pair not only offer better capability, but also benefit from many of the same suite of updates that first made their debut on the revamped 1500 model.As is the case with the 1500 models, the exterior styling of the Silverado and Sierra HD has been heavily updated and features distinctive front end designs with the Silverado HD featuring a bigger crossbar running across the beefed up grille. Our favorite of the two though in this particular category is the Sierra HD (especially in Denali trim) which features a bigger grille that is adorned with a copious amount of chrome trim as well as revised head lamps that feature LED accenting. While GM did not reveal if there are plans to add the Silverado’s top of the line High Country trim to the HD range, expect more information to surface on that item closer to their official launch. Rear end styling is more subtle but features reworked tail lamp assemblies as well as the clever built in bumper mounted footsteps that allow easier access to the cargo bed versus their predecessors which required either a climb on the rear tire or the heavy tailgate to access cargo.
The interiors of both trucks have also benefited from the 1500’s slew of updates and not only boast better quality materials and improved sound deadening versus the previous generation models, but also a unqiue look that gives the cabins of both trucks their own distinctive identity. The familiar MyLink touchscreen infotainment system is standard equipment on all trims (with the exception of the base Work Trim model) while crew cabs feature larger rear door openings and slightly revised seating which gives back seat occupants two extra inches of leg room which is a welcome change for taller passengers that may need more room to comfortably stretch out during long trips.
Curiously though, performance hardware for these capable twins is largely carried over from the previous generation models with the familiar 6.0 liter V8 serving as the standard engine in the HD lineup. Performance measures in at a solid 360 horsepower and a healthy 380 lb-ft of torque for 2500 spec trucks while 3500s lose 38 horses and ring in at a lower 322 horsepower. GM claims that they chose to retain this engine versus the newer EcoTec 3 motor because of its proven reliability and low cost of ownership when compared to other engines in its lineup. Customers can also opt for the optional 6.6 liter Duramax diesel which is good for a respectable 397 horsepower, and a stout 765 lb-ft of torque. However horsepower is less than Ford and Ram’s diesel offerings while torque falls short of the Ram’s 850 lb-ft when it is equipped with the 6.7 liter Cummins diesel motor.
The Duramax’s raw power is transmitted to the drive wheels through an Allison 1000 automatic transmission (V8 versions use a conventional six speed automatic) which delivers smooth shifts yet is rugged enough to handle rigorous towing and hauling needs. In addition to its potent performance hardware, the HD’s utilize a fully boxed ladder frame which features an independent front suspension and a solid rear axle with asymmetrical leaf springs. GM claims that these components have boosted maximum payload by 150 lbs to 7,347 lbs while overall towing figures have increased to 19,600 lbs (a 1600 lb increase versus the old model) and a lofty 23,200 lbs when equipped with a fifth wheel towing package (a healthy 700 lb increase) that should please RV and large trailer owners. These same owners will also benefit from a suite of electronic aides that serve to make towing large loads safer and more convenient. One of these electronic aides is a revised cruise control function which now features the company’s Auto Grade Braking system (diesels also gain an engine exhaust brake) which work together to help the HD’s maintain a consistent rate of speed when ascending or descending steep hills. In addition to this key bit of technology, GM is also making stability and trailer sway control standard issue across all trims in dually and non-dually configurations.
Look for both the Silverado and Sierra HD models to begin arriving at a dealership near you during the first half of 2014 with official pricing expected to be revealed closer to their formal launch.