The last time we did this, Chevy's completely redesigned Silverado 1500 walked away with the TOTY calipers. Now that the Silverado Heavy Duty versions have received a similar extreme makeover, is the General poised for a repeat?
Chevy makes a strong case with a broad and deep HD lineup, consisting of a three-quarter-ton 2500HD and one-ton 3500HD. Both are available in WT, LT, and LTZ trim and an impressive range of configurations, including three cab styles, three cargo-box styles, and five wheelbase lengths. Inside, two interior styles are offered -- "Pure Pickup" and "Luxury Styled" -- as well as two seating configurations, front bucket seats or a 40/20/40 split bench.
The base engine is 6.0-liter gas V-8 making 353 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of torque, good enough to tow up to 12,900 pounds in a single rear-wheel configuration. Since manual transmissions are no longer offered for any of the HDs, the only transmission available with the gas engine is the new 6L90 six-speed, manually selectable, automatic.
Though the big-block Vortec 8.1-liter gas V-8 has been dropped, GM's optional Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 continues to lead the segment with 365 horsepower and a staggering 660 pound-feet of torque. With a fifth-wheel hitch and the Allison 1000 six-speed, manually shiftable automatic, that's good for a maximum towing capacity of 16,700 pounds.
While not new, the Duramax is substantially upgraded, with such features as a filtration system that helps provide a 90-percent reduction in particulates and a 50-percent reduction in NOx compared with pre-2007 standards. In addition, 2008 fleet trucks with Duramax engines can fuel up with B20 biodiesel.
For our testing, we borrowed two 4x4 Silverado HDs-one in single-rear-wheel configuration, the other a dualie. The former came in LT trim with the gas V-8 and Z71 suspension package, while the 3500 LT came powered by the Duramax turbodiesel.
Consistent and compelling characterized both Silverados' performance at the test track. But was it enough for a Truck of the Year repeat?
Click here to see an exclusive 2008 TOTY photo gallery of the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Z71 LTD & Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD LT!
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