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Review: Chevrolet Silverado 2500 4WD Crew Cab

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September 23, 2011

Review: Chevrolet Silverado 2500 4WD Crew Cab

By Slaton L. White

Ten years ago I went on a week-long salmon safari in Alaska, living out of a slide-in camper in a Silverado equipped with a Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbo diesel. It was an epic adventure, and looking at my old notes I see I raved about the truck’s performance. “Moved well from a dead stop. Quiet, even at full throttle. MPG: averaged between 11 to 14 mpg.”

A lot has happened to GM since then. After teetering on the brink of insolvency for years, it finally plunged into bankruptcy two years ago. What many people don’t know was that the company came perilously close to Chapter 11 in the 1990s. But they got a stay of execution. Know why? The Silverado. It was just about the only GM product people wanted to buy...and they bought enough of them to help keep the company afloat.

The Silverado was good then...and it’s good now.

I can say that after logging 900 miles in one recently. The 2500 4WD Crew Cab is a stout build, and boasts a maximum towing rating of 17,000 pounds. That means that when you drive it without a trailer or with an empty bed, it’s a bit rough. But when you get some weight on those rear wheels, it tames down nicely.

The biggest difference I saw, apart from the more luxurious appointments of the truck, was a nice improvement in fuel economy. I averaged 19 miles per gallon. Admittedly, that was with no trailer in tow, but for a vehicle of this size and heft to get nearly 20 mpg while still maintaining the payload required of a full-size pickup shows you just how hard GM engineers have worked at refining this engine. Of course, the Allison six-speed transmission is a good part of the story. This transmission shifts surely and smoothly with none of the irritating gear hunting found on some truck transmissions. As a result, the 2011 model I drove delivered an 11 percent increase in fuel economy (over the previous year), and coupled with a 36-gallon tank GM says you’ll get up to 680 miles of driving range. I didn’t monitor the gauge that precisely, but I know that my fuel stops were few and far between, enabling me to take advantage of cheaper fuel in another state.

The truck also benefits from four newly available standard features—intelligent brake assist, diesel exhaust brake, trailer sway control, and hill start assist. Given the loads that sportsmen pull when going into deer camp or to the lake to fish, these are all welcome additions. Intelligent brake assist consists of preloaded calipers that apply the brakes faster in a panic-braking situation. But the overall feel of the brake pedal, a long-standing issue for Silverado owners, has been corrected as well with the addition of larger rotors and calipers. The diesel exhaust brake helps the turbo create back pressure to slow the truck. The result is reduced brake fade—a big issue for hunters pulling a horse trailer—which translates into longer brake life.

Trailer sway is a big issue, especially when towing a high-profile accessory such as a boat. But GM’s StabiliTrak senses any sway and will automatically apply the truck’s brakes (with no input from the driver) to help maintain control. Finally, hill start assist automatically engages (on inclines of more than five percent) to keep the truck from moving for one second after the brake is released, giving time for you to accelerate without any movement backward.

By now, you’re likely asking, “What’s all this performance going to cost me?” The test truck topped out at $57,199. Base price was $44,645. The big hit, at $7,195, is the diesel engine. But diesel options are always expensive. On the plus side, if you take basic care of the engine, it’ll run for a very long time. The 6-speed Allison transmission is another $1,200, and the rear vision camera system is $450. When this feature started appearing on trucks a few years ago, I thought it was gimmick. But I’ve done enough towing to really appreciate this feature. And outdoorsmen who install a cap over the bed will find it’s nice to know what’s sitting behind the truck when they back up. It will save more than one mailbox, that’s for sure.

Comments (14)

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from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Mike, I guess in your eyes every review of any product on this site is spam?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I promise someone else's post was there before mine. On a side note I love my chevy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

GM will be selling your whereabouts via OnStar to the game wardens, so be sure your licenses/tags are all in order. Before you go.

(In case you haven't heard, it was revealed this week that GM is selling your personal information collected by OnStar - regardless of your permission, or lack thereof. It is also in the contracts (super fine print) that they retain this right, even if you disagree, and even if you do not subscribe to OnStar. The system still reveals your whereabouts, speed, direction of travel and other information to GM, which is storing and selling the information to insurance companies, among others.)

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

My 2004 3500 4wd diesel gets just about 20 mpg @73mph on the interstate. I doubt that I will buy another though this truck has been very good to me for 150,000 miles. I just won't spend $50,000 for a truck.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

@Envy - In this case I thought so. Apparently F&S didn't like having the "this blatantly comes across as an advertisement" aspect of it noted either because they deleted the first post. Who'd have though they'd be such SNAGs? See, here's the thing. There's nothing intrinsically hunting about that "review."

Between this rubbish, the screen blanking swiffer ads, the pop up junk, the "yet another article about food plots and setting up your tree stand" baloney, F&S has really sunk.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

@Proverbs -- Really? They put the damb GPS in your car and then track your moves with it? Who thinks that's a good idea? Any way to tear the monitoring device out?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from baconboy206 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I come here to read about hunting fishing and the outdoors, not to have you try and pass some blatant advertising as gear review.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well I have never seen a bad review done on any product really. So when i see a review for anything I think you have to assume it will be favorable even though they do point out drawbacks sometimes.
MIKE, I can't believe they deleted your post?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from lococabra3806 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I love chevys, i have a bunch of them in my family and i wouldnt drive much else unless you put a gun to my head. just great all around vehicles and to top it off they are american!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johntalbott wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Horray for Chevy. Accepted bail out $, then got a tax credit worth BILLIONS over the next few years. Now they are moving AMERICAN jobs to CHINA. I'm glad I can log on to a hunting/fishing site and see a review of a company thats ripping off the American people.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

my wife's silverado had to have its transmission seals re done at only 80,000 miles while the truck was only four years old! at 111,000 miles it seams like lots of little things are going wrong with it...what a piece of !@#$%T! my first truck was a toyota tacoma owned for 15 years and 222K miles on it. toytota gave me $4ooo cash back on a trade in for a new tacoma. not made in america like a chevy but do you honestly think the people who design the engines for ford, chevy, or dodge are white? i doubt it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ratt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A $60,000 truck that depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the lot, gets 11 mpg and cost $150 to fill up the tank. Please, explain to me slowly why we the lil people should be buying this Silverado ?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

There *IS* an opportunity here to have a good conversation about trucks and the like and hunting. So rather than dwell on the subject of the thread I'll attempt a blatant thread hijack and try to rephrase the subject as "What works for you?"

I mostly drive town and some dirt roads. The dirt roads are mostly graded, but infrequently, and sometimes have large washouts. I can navigate same and also some really steep, rocky slopes, in my 15 year old Ford Ranger. It doesn't have alot of power with 4 cyl so I won't tow anything substantial nor over long distances. But it is economical and carries a whole family's worth of camping gear when the occasion arises. It gets 22 mpg around town, and about 26 on the highway.

I don't know where it was made. With most American vehicles now, you can't count on an American brand being even substantially made in America. Likewise, with several Japanese brands, esp. Toyota and Nissan (maybe Honda but I don't know) even though it's a Japanese label they're substantially made in the USA.

Given what a miserable set of lame excuses most of our "American corporations'" leaders and boards of directors have turned out to be, it's far more important to me that whatever I buy be primarily made and assembled in the USA. I don't care whether the brand is American or Japanese as long as my money is keeping Amercian manufacturing workers (I don't care about the CEOs and CFOs) employed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I should have noted... I don't know where the parts were made. The vehicle was assembled in the USA. It's also important to me that a vehicle be a good value. I tend to rely on Consumer Reports to guide my choices vis a vis reliability and maintenance issues.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

GM will be selling your whereabouts via OnStar to the game wardens, so be sure your licenses/tags are all in order. Before you go.

(In case you haven't heard, it was revealed this week that GM is selling your personal information collected by OnStar - regardless of your permission, or lack thereof. It is also in the contracts (super fine print) that they retain this right, even if you disagree, and even if you do not subscribe to OnStar. The system still reveals your whereabouts, speed, direction of travel and other information to GM, which is storing and selling the information to insurance companies, among others.)

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I promise someone else's post was there before mine. On a side note I love my chevy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

My 2004 3500 4wd diesel gets just about 20 mpg @73mph on the interstate. I doubt that I will buy another though this truck has been very good to me for 150,000 miles. I just won't spend $50,000 for a truck.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

@Envy - In this case I thought so. Apparently F&S didn't like having the "this blatantly comes across as an advertisement" aspect of it noted either because they deleted the first post. Who'd have though they'd be such SNAGs? See, here's the thing. There's nothing intrinsically hunting about that "review."

Between this rubbish, the screen blanking swiffer ads, the pop up junk, the "yet another article about food plots and setting up your tree stand" baloney, F&S has really sunk.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

@Proverbs -- Really? They put the damb GPS in your car and then track your moves with it? Who thinks that's a good idea? Any way to tear the monitoring device out?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from baconboy206 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I come here to read about hunting fishing and the outdoors, not to have you try and pass some blatant advertising as gear review.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well I have never seen a bad review done on any product really. So when i see a review for anything I think you have to assume it will be favorable even though they do point out drawbacks sometimes.
MIKE, I can't believe they deleted your post?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ratt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A $60,000 truck that depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the lot, gets 11 mpg and cost $150 to fill up the tank. Please, explain to me slowly why we the lil people should be buying this Silverado ?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

There *IS* an opportunity here to have a good conversation about trucks and the like and hunting. So rather than dwell on the subject of the thread I'll attempt a blatant thread hijack and try to rephrase the subject as "What works for you?"

I mostly drive town and some dirt roads. The dirt roads are mostly graded, but infrequently, and sometimes have large washouts. I can navigate same and also some really steep, rocky slopes, in my 15 year old Ford Ranger. It doesn't have alot of power with 4 cyl so I won't tow anything substantial nor over long distances. But it is economical and carries a whole family's worth of camping gear when the occasion arises. It gets 22 mpg around town, and about 26 on the highway.

I don't know where it was made. With most American vehicles now, you can't count on an American brand being even substantially made in America. Likewise, with several Japanese brands, esp. Toyota and Nissan (maybe Honda but I don't know) even though it's a Japanese label they're substantially made in the USA.

Given what a miserable set of lame excuses most of our "American corporations'" leaders and boards of directors have turned out to be, it's far more important to me that whatever I buy be primarily made and assembled in the USA. I don't care whether the brand is American or Japanese as long as my money is keeping Amercian manufacturing workers (I don't care about the CEOs and CFOs) employed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I should have noted... I don't know where the parts were made. The vehicle was assembled in the USA. It's also important to me that a vehicle be a good value. I tend to rely on Consumer Reports to guide my choices vis a vis reliability and maintenance issues.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Mike, I guess in your eyes every review of any product on this site is spam?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from lococabra3806 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I love chevys, i have a bunch of them in my family and i wouldnt drive much else unless you put a gun to my head. just great all around vehicles and to top it off they are american!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johntalbott wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Horray for Chevy. Accepted bail out $, then got a tax credit worth BILLIONS over the next few years. Now they are moving AMERICAN jobs to CHINA. I'm glad I can log on to a hunting/fishing site and see a review of a company thats ripping off the American people.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

my wife's silverado had to have its transmission seals re done at only 80,000 miles while the truck was only four years old! at 111,000 miles it seams like lots of little things are going wrong with it...what a piece of !@#$%T! my first truck was a toyota tacoma owned for 15 years and 222K miles on it. toytota gave me $4ooo cash back on a trade in for a new tacoma. not made in america like a chevy but do you honestly think the people who design the engines for ford, chevy, or dodge are white? i doubt it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment