The Silverado got high marks for orthopedic-grade seat comfort and such nifty truck touches as an oil-life monitor and transmission-temperature gauge. While some editors were disappointed in the appearance quality of the plastics on the big Chevy's instrument panel, the meaty armrests came in for special praise. The Silverado Extended Cab has the widest-opening doors in its class, and the rear seatback is angled for comfort, something the F-150 and Tundra can't match with their church-pew upright rear seatbacks.

Chevy trucks are known for reliability, and our HD Silverado was no exception. It used less than a half quart of oil over 12,951 miles, and at the 15,000-mile service the brake linings checked out with more than 75-percent friction material remaining. As part of the $265.95 15,000-mile service, we changed the engine oil/filter and the rear differential synthetic fluid, rotated and balanced the tires, and lubed the chassis. The 2500HD was also the subject of one factory recall to check for a faulty brake-system warning light.

Executive Editor Stone summed up the year-long test: "It's amazing that GM can offer this truck, in all its Duramax/Allison/ 4WD leather-lined splendor, for the cost of a well-equipped Jaguar X-Type."

What's New, Changed, Different
In the continuing effort to make full-size pickups look even more substantial and menacing, the Silverado gets a new front "face" for '03. It's a look that made its debut in the '01 Avalanche sport/utility-truck hybrid and is quite different from the "big rig" appearance Dodge and Ford seem to be adopting. The new grille, headlamps, front bumper/fascia, hood, and fenders combine to form a squinty-eyed glower that's hard to ignore.

Inside, the Silverado 2500HD receives a revised instrument panel with improved-feel switchgear and dual-zone climate control, which permits the driver and front-seat passenger up to 30 degrees of divergence on what represents a comfortable temperature. New seats and a redesigned center console also enhance interior comfort. New options include a Panasonic DVD Passenger Entertainment System for Crew Cab models that includes a flip-down LCD screen, and XM Satellite Radio with 100 digital channels coast to coast.

For '03, Chevrolet offers 14 different HD models powered by the 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 that can run on CNG compressed natural gas or a bi-fuel CNG/gasoline mix. For this application, the valves are upgraded and the seats are hardened to handle the higher temperatures and lack of natural lubrication.