Home Car/Bike Reviews 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD 4WD

2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD 4WD

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Brobdingnagian. First used by Irish author Jonathan Swift in his 1735 novel, Gulliver�s Travels, it refers to anything that is excessively large or of a colossal size.

Obviously, the Chev Silverado 2500 HD Long Box Crew Cab didn�t exist when Swift wrote his famous satire, but if it did, the inhabitants of his mythical land of giants would probably have driven one. This is a huge vehicle.

How big is it? In this configuration, it has a wheelbase of 4259 millimetres, an overall length of 6580 mm, and a dry weight of 3350 kilograms. To put that into some kind of perspective, a Smart car is 2694 mm in length and 1559 mm in width. Because the pickup box of this truck is 2483 mm long and 1586 mm wide, if you were careful about it, you could haul a Smart car in the bed with the tailgate left down. Certainly, payload wouldn�t be a problem, as this iteration of the Silverado is good for 1185 kilograms, and a Smart car tips the scales at about 750 kg. Towing capacity? You can haul up to 7076 kilograms with this truck, mainly because it�s offered with a 6.6 litre Duramax turbo-diesel and six-speed Allison automatic transmission ($9670 extra), which is what I drove this time around. Oh, and it was also the 4WD model, with a locking differential ($410), two-speed transfer case, larger 20-inch wheels and tires, and engine skid plates. Because of its size and weight, I can�t imagine how this truck would fare if things got seriously ugly off-road, but it�s certainly got the oomph for it.

A few more numbers. The Duramax engine develops just under 400 horsepower, and a staggering 765 foot-pounds of torque. Takeoff power and highway reserve power are beyond impressive, and you could probably drop this engine into a Caterpillar tractor with no problem. I don�t think I�ve ever driven a truck this large with this much grunt. At least not around town.

All of this means that, unless you�re out in the country somewhere, hauling a trailer or schlepping cargo, the Silverado 2500 HD etc, etc is completely out of its element. If you take your time and think about what you�re going to do and how you�re going to do it beforehand, you can get by, but because of its size and whopping turning circle � 16.7 metres � it�s about as nimble as a grounded 747 jet and is a real handful in shopping malls and gas stations. More than once I came within a whisker of scraping the vehicles parked around me when I was rash enough to go to the mall with it, and ran over the curb multi times while turning. Eventually, I just stopped driving it in heavy traffic. The thing is, the wheelbase is so huge, you need to swing out, like a tractor-trailer, to make your turns. So, forget about taking this truck downtown, unless you enjoy talking to the police.  And my tester wasn�t even the biggest model offered by GM; you can get this truck with dual rear wheels, which makes it even more cumbersome.

But it does have a rough charm about it. You feel safer in it than if you were driving, say, a Smart car, and overlooking its size, this version of the Silverado HD is a treat on the highway. At 100 km/h, the engine is hardly working at around 1500 rpm, and the ride is smooth, stable and comfortable. Like most pickup trucks, NVH is minimal and you can carry on a conversation without having to raise your voice. If I lived on the prairies or commuted across Canada on a regular basis, this truck would fit the bill nicely.

Needless to say, interior elbow room is cathedral-like and the biggest man in the world could fit into this truck, no sweat. Rear seat room is equally commodious and you can easily seat three adults back there. I won�t throw any more specs at you, but my test truck had a front power seat option ($1795), which featured a six-way adjustment with recliner and lumber supports and was as comfortable as a La-Z-Boy. Other interior goodies included a dual-zone climate control system, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth, adjustable pedals, cruise control, back-up warning system, and on and on. I literally don�t have the space to list all the features of this truck.

But I do have room to mention the price tag and how much it�ll cost you to fill this rig up with diesel fuel. All in, my test truck had a sticker price of just under $72,000�.before HST and whatever other tariffs and penalties the government can levy, and, with a fuel capacity of some 136 litres, by my reckoning, it�ll run you around $200 to fill this little puppy up if you run it dry. That�s pretty Brobdingnagian in itself.

AT A GLANCE

Type: Full-size pickup truck

Base Price: $47,595; as tested: $70,815 

Engine: 6.6 litre Turbo-diesel V8

Horsepower: 397 hp @ 3000 rpm

Torque: 765 ft. lb. @ 1600 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Drive: RWD w. 4WD

Fuel economy: N/A

Alternatives: Ford F-250 Super Duty, Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon.

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