Heavy Duty comfortable on highway, in winter
Today’s Heavy-Duty pickups are marketed to farmers, contractors, weekend toy-haulers and fifth-wheel enthusiasts like ten tonnes of four-wheeled testosterone.
Do you need 3-inch wide leaf springs? 765 lb.-ft of torque and nearly 4,200 lbs. of payload capacity? What about an exhaust ‘jake’ brake or a transmission designed for military equipment? How’s about a frame structure with the torsional rigidity of a steel girder?
These are just some of the key figures and hardware offered up by the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD-- which has recently undergone an ‘under the skin’ makeover that GM says has beefed things up, increased power and capacity, and decreased fuel consumption.
The resulting machine is one of three North American heavy-duties engaged in a perpetual attack on each other’s frame designs, towing capacities, torque outputs and price points. Chevrolet’s monstrous entry to this segment dukes it out with comparable models from RAM and Ford for the hard-earned dollars of shoppers after maximum pickup manliness. Of course, brand loyalty is a big deal in this market, too.
For a machine with such productive intentions, the Silverado 2500HD sure didn’t feel excessively industrial during a 5-hour trek from Oshawa to Sudbury, Ontario for a test-drive.
Admittedly, your correspondent has never plowed a driveway, towed a trailer or had the need to pluck an object from the earth’s mantle. But, hauling little more than my wimpy 200 pound frame, a camera bag and some snacks, the 2500HD delivered a reasonably quiet and comfortable highway ride. Sure-- there’s wind noise and that ever-present heavy-duty suspension jiggle, but both are relatively unintrusive, keeping context in mind.
Comfortable leather seats fitted to the ‘LTZ’ tester combined with near semi-truck levels of forward visibility added to the sense of comfortable confidence on the move. A sunroof and automatic climate control were welcomed companions for several lengthy highway drives, as were the powerful headlights and punchy Bose audio system. Both of the latter made late-night cruising a delight.
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