2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500hd Crew Cab Z71 First Test
The Civilized Bow Tie
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 is a pickup of contrary natures. Its payload, towing capacity, structure, and sheer girth legitimize its Heavy Duty status. It has all the elements you’d expect to find in today’s HD trucks, having the necessary big, burly parts to get the job done efficiently -- and in style. On the other hand, one adjective succinctly sums up the package as a whole and is quite the perplexing claim for such a behemoth: civilized. By civilized, we’re not talking de-clawed house cat by which not even a rodent is threatened. We’re talking hungry leopard who restrains from devouring everything in sight simply because he chooses to. Before you go slamming GM on our Facebook page for making something civilized, remember that while you may prefer the rudimentary nature of your 25-year-old diesel (and trust us, we do understand the attachment), you actually sound somewhat ridiculous for so easily dismissing today’s technological and performance advancements that enable such a description as civilized. A refined, sophisticated vehicle should be the standard for today -- even for the heavy-duty diesel pickup truck market. Your wife will actually be content, and you’ll likewise be content with the big, smoky burnouts. The burnout part is just speaking figuratively, of course.
This Victory Red 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD LTZ Crew Cab Z71 4x4 was delivered against our will, and we were forced to occupy its cabin for a week of misery. If that doesn’t sound convincing, it’s because we were actually quite willing to get our hands on this Chevy truck. Those longtime Chevy loyalists out there are going to be in love with this truck at first sight and feel right at home piloting this machine. For those who turn up their noses at the mention of Chevy, its new demeanor just may have what it takes to make a positive impression. The price tag attached to our tester truck was a healthy, but competitive, $62,925.
From front to back, this is visually a whole new truck, which certainly attracted attention “in the wild.” The front end moderately resembles the redesigned 2014 Silverado 1500, which has an almost throwback look to the pre-Silverado ½-ton trucks of ’88 to ’98. The manufacturer describes this new generation as stronger and more muscular. The upright two-port grille is flanked by restyled, contemporary projector headlamps, which have been pushed to the corners. Two chrome recovery hooks are framed by a prominent chrome bumper with recessed front fog lamps. The side mirrors are thankfully not ginormous. Moving toward the rear, the bold square fenderwells seem to be a point of contention, dividing even the Diesel Power staff. The CornerStep embedded in the rear chrome bumper, also characteristic of the new 1500 trucks, allows for easier access to the new, stronger, 6-foot, 6-inch pickup box.
The Jet Black and Dark Ash interior of the 2015 Silverado HD is markedly different than its predecessor and is a welcomed change for GM’s truck lineup. If you’ve seen the inside of the ’14 Silverado 1500, then you basically know what to expect for the HD. From the texture and placement of the controls to the size and intuitiveness of the interfaces, every aspect of the redesign aims at comfort, convenience, and connectivity. The six gauges of the clean, simple instrument panel surround a 4.2-inch color driver information center display, while the navigation-equipped Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with an 8-inch high-resolution, full-color touch-screen is the centerpiece of the central instrument panel. The center console includes five USB ports, two 12-volt power points, a new 110-volt outlet, and a cord management system. Heated and cooled leather bucket seats are surrounded by dual-zone climate control air conditioning for maximum comfort. Legroom for rear-seat passengers has been increased by about 2 inches, thanks not to a bigger cab, but to new, sculpted seatbacks.
Design elements have contributed to a super-quiet ride and an overall solid feel, resulting in an incredibly civilized truck. Once the doors shut, occupants feel almost isolated from the rest of the world inside the cab, partially due to new hydraulic body mounts. Any ambient noise from the Duramax engine, tires, and road become very muffled. Tighter panel gaps help reduce wind noise, as do the new inlaid doors (which fit into the body sides rather than wrapping over the roof) with triple door seals. The solid feel can be attributed to an all-new, stronger body structure in which more than 65 percent of the cab is constructed with high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels. Structural reinforcements, such as an enhanced instrument panel support beam and a thicker tubular steering column jacket, contribute to a rock-solid feel that subdues vibrations and rattles on rough surfaces. The Duramax idles smoothly and is very quiet, even from the outside.
On K&N Engineering’s SuperFlow dyno, the Silverado produced 344 hp at 3,250 rpm and 639 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm, which is right on par with what we expected. In windy, less-than-ideal, realworld city and highway conditions, we managed 15.3 mpg. Overall, the civilized Silverado 2500HD is a refined, complete package that’s suitable for both cross-country hauling and around-town stops.
|2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab Z71|
|PRICE AS TESTED:||$62,925|
|ENGINE TYPE:||6.6L LML Duramax, 90-degree V-8|
|VALVETRAIN:||OHV, four valves per cylinder|
|ASPIRATION:||Single variable-geometry turbocharger,air-to-air intercooler|
|FUELING:||High-pressure, common-rail system with Bosch piezo-electronic injectors and CP4.2 injection pump|
|MFG HP:||397 hp at 3,000 rpm|
|MFG TORQUE:||765 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION:||Allison 1000 six-speed automatic|
|SUSPENSION (FRONT/REAR):||SLA IFS, torsion bar/live-axle with three-stage asymmetrical leaf springs|
|STEERING:||Power-assisted recirculating ball|
|BRAKES (FRONT/REAR):||13.98-inch vented disc/14.17-inch vented disc|
|WHEELS/TIRES:||18-inch aluminum/LT265/70R18 Michelin LTX A/T2|
|CURB WEIGHT:||7,680 pounds (as tested, full fuel, no driver)|
|PAYLOAD CAPACITY:||2,793 pounds|
|TOWING CAPACITY:||13,000 pounds (ball hitch)/17,100 pounds (fifth-wheel)|
|FUEL CAPACITY:||36 gallons|
|EMISSION CONTROLS:||EGR, DPF, SCR|
|PERFORMANCE SPECS (AS TESTED)|
|¼-MILE:||15.6 seconds at 86.8 mph*|
|REAR-WHEEL HORSEPOWER:||344 hp at 3,250 rpm**|
|REAR-WHEEL TORQUE:||639 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm**|
|AVERAGE MPG:||15.3 mpg|
** Fourth gear, 20-percent load