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2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD 3500 Test Drive

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First Impressions

The first thing to know about the Chevrolet Silverado HD 3500 (view photos) is that “HD” stands for “Heavy Duty.” This truck can carry more than three tons—6,635 pounds to be exact. It can tow more than ten tons—properly equipped the Silverado HD is rated to pull a 21,700 pound fifth-wheel trailer. With a conventional ball hitch, the Silverado HD can tow a segment-best 17,000 pound trailer. Dang.

The second thing to know about the Silverado HD 3500 is that it’s BIG. Our test model was a Crew Cab long-bed with dual rear wheels. Bumper-to-bumper this beast stretches 259.1 inches or 21.6 feet long. Those dual rear wheel fenders make it 95.9 inches wide too. That’s nearly 16-inches wider than a standard full-size pickup truck. You feel like you are threading a needle taking this truck to a bank drive-through.

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About Our Test Truck

Chevrolet (read all Chevrolet articles) sells the Silverado HD in three cab configurations, three bed lengths, three trim levels, two-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive, and with dual rear wheels. Ordering a new HD can be a long process, because there are literally hundreds of different ways you can configure this truck. The base model is badged WT for Work Truck. LT is that mid-level trim package. Our test truck was a top-of-the-line LTZ, which includes leather, a seven-speaker Bose sound system, remote start, and dual-zone climate controls.

The base model Silverado HD stickers for $29,255 plus destination charge. Our test truck more than doubled that amount ringing-up a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $60,719 with the destination charge added in. Silverado HD buyers have a choice of either a 6.0-liter gasoline V8 or a more powerful 6.6-liter Duramax clean diesel. Our test truck had the Duramax diesel, which is a $7,195 option. Other big-ticket items included $2,250 for the touch-screen navigation system, $1,480 for the rear seat entertainment system, and $1,200 for the six-speed Allison automatic transmission.

The Crew Cab LTZ Silverado HD doesn’t lack for creature comforts. Though it is built to take punishment on the outside, the HD is Cadillac plush on the inside. It is almost too nice in fact; on a return trip from the horse barn I found myself taking off my muddy boots so I wouldn’t soil the floor mats. Rear seat passengers are treated to a large drop-down LCD entertainment system with wireless headsets so they can watch videos without disturbing the driver.

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Safety Reliability and Value

Crash test data from the IIHS and NHTSA is not available for the Silverado HD 3500. The sheer size and mass of this truck places a lot of sheetmetal around its occupants, however. It also comes standard with Onstar that offers automatic crash response. It also offers StabiliTrak electronic stability control, trailer sway control, integrated trailer brakes, hill start assist, auto grade braking, and an exhaust brake system to help control downhill speeds. The brakes are massive on this truck and they offer anti-lock for controlled stops.

Kelly Blue Book consumers gave the Silverado HD an impressive 4.4 out of 5 overall rating. It scored a 4.2 in value, 4.4 in reliability, 4.3 in quality, 4.5 in performance, 4.4 in styling, and finally a 4.4 in comfort. Those are high marks for a pickup truck. US News ranked the Silverado HD the number one heavy-duty pickup truck with an overall score of 8.8 out of ten. They scored it a 9.1 in performance, 7.4 in exterior styling, 8.3 on the interior, and 7.0 for reliability. One of the biggest accolades for the truck was winning Motor Trend magazine’s 2013 Truck of the Year Award.

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Though it is engineered for work duty, the Silverado HD is covered by a five-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Chevrolet also extends the five-year, 100,000 mile coverage to 24/7 roadside assistance and courtesy transportation. Since heavy-duty pickups are engineered to handle extremely heavy loads, they are “over-built” by nature. The Silverado HD 3500 (view photos) is a good example, every component is engineered to stand-up to extreme use. This truck just feels like it is built to go the distance.

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