When it comes to towing and hauling, the 3500HD is the top dog in the Silverado family. This one-ton heavy-hauler features the strongest frame, most beefed-up chassis, and is the only Silverado available with dual rear wheels. It competes against the Ram 3500, the just-updated Ford F-350 Super Duty, and its twin the GMC Sierra 3500HD.
The big news for 2017 is the arrival of a brand new diesel engine. It's still a Duramax and is 6.6 litres in displacement, but there are major changes under the surface. The engine has a new block and head design, boasts a new fuel delivery system, has increased oil and coolant flow capacity, and will even run on B20 biodiesel. These changes help the 2017 engine churn out an incredible 445 horsepower and herculean 910 lb-ft of torque. That's a lot more than the last year's model and is just shy of the 925 lb-ft that the Ford F-350 Super Duty offers.
In addition to its added capability, Silverado 3500HDs with this engine also get a new functional hood scoop. Its design helps to funnel up to 60 percent more air to the engine. Opt for the diesel, and the engine is paired to an industrial-strength Allison six-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain upgrade isn't cheap though; together the engine and transmission add $12,470 to the Silverado HD's sticker price.
Don't need the diesel? The standard engine for the Silverado 3500HD is a 6.0-litre Vortec V8 that runs on gasoline or E85. It produces 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, and comes paired to a GM-built six-speed automatic transmission.
Other changes to the 3500HD include a new capless fuel filler system for gasoline-powered models, plus added standard equipment on various trim levels. The Teen Driver system, which first debuted on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is now standard. For 2017, the 3500HD is available in Graphite Metallic and Pepperdust Metallic.
The current generation of Silverado 3500HD has been around for a few years, but during that time, it has been updated with new technology to help refinement and usability. Depending on trim, the 3500HD is available with the latest in-car technology including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, on-board wi-fi hot spot with LTE and wireless device charging. Last year's upgrades to the vehicle's steering system provide a more natural driving feel and counteract for crosswinds - a handy feature when towing heavy loads and piloting this mega-sized machine at low speeds.
The Silverado 3500HD is available in a vast array of body and cab configurations, though not all configurations are available with every trim level. A regular cab (single row of seats), is available exclusively with a long box. Double cab adds a second row with small rear doors, and is long box only as well. The crew cab, with full-size rear doors is available in both long-box and short-box forms. Two and four-wheel drive are options on all cab and engine combinations, except for the High Country, which receive standard four-wheel drive. All variants come standard with a single rear wheel as standard, but dual rear wheels are available for increased towing capability and stability.
Trailering ratings range from a low of 13,000 lbs (5,897 kg) to 23,300 lbs (10,569 kg) - the latter is the maximum rating with the Duramax Diesel. While that's a lot more than the Silverado 1500 or 2500HD, the diesel's top-end figure is only a few dozen pounds more than last year's version, and trails the 30,000-plus tow ratings available in Ford and Ram products. All models get a standard towing package that includes a trailer brake controller.
Payload ratings for the 3500HD span 3,821 lbs (1,733 kg) up to a maximum of 7,153 lbs (3,245 kg). These figures are more closely in line with the competition.
The Silverado 3500HD is available in several trims including bare-bones WT (Work Truck), LT, LTZ, and High Country.
The base WT (work truck) trim comes standard with 18-inch steel wheels (17-inch on dual rear wheel models), illuminated cargo box, and chrome bumpers. Inside, there is a 3.5-inch driver information display in the dash, cruise control, power windows (only for double and crew cabs), air conditioning, power locks, a 40/20/40 split vinyl-upholstered bench seat, vinyl floors, and a four or six-speaker audio system (four speaker in regular cabs) with USB port. Bluetooth and a reverse camera are optional.
The LT adds an electronically controlled transfer case, alloy wheels, body colour mouldings, and tinted rear glass. The cabin of the LT includes leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows for regular cab, OnStar and LTE WiFi hotspot, and remote keyless entry with tailgate lock. The driver info display is upgraded to 4.2-inch full colour, and the stereo gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and reverse camera. Features like a power adjustable driver's seat, remote engine starter, power tilt and telescoping steering column, moonroof, power-adjustable pedals are available as options.
LTZ gets larger vertical mirrors with heat, power folding, and manual extension, along with fog lights. There is a power sliding rear window, power tilt and telescoping steering column, and power exterior mirrors with power folding feature. LTZ also has a 110-volt AC power plug, remote start, dual-zone climate control, and leather front seats that are heated and have 10-way power adjustment.
Top trim High Country and adds 17-inch forged polished aluminium wheels, body colour bumpers, a new grille, chrome step bars, front and rear park assist, 12-way power adjustable front buckets with perforated leather, heat and ventilation, and a Bose seven-speaker stereo.
LT and LTZ trim levels are also available with the Z71 off-road package option that adds skid plates, hill descent control, and Rancho shock absorbers for dealing with off-road terrain. Depending on trim level and equipment levels, active safety features such as lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree parking camera, and forward collision warning are available.
Pricing for Silverado 3500HD starts at $42,385 for a two-wheel drive WT trim and extends to $83,545 for a High Country 4x4 dually with the Duramax diesel powertrain.