The last new truck I bought was a GMC Sierra 1500 in 2005, and for the most part I’ve been driving that trusty old GMC every day since. When I heard Super Chevy was getting a brand-new Chevy Silverado for a test vehicle I just assumed it would be a 1/2-ton extra cab equipped something like my GMC, and I could do a toe-to-toe comparison. What arrived dwarfed my Jimmy and made it look a pair of shrunken K-mart cotton socks next to a pair of plus-sized Pendleton wool socks. It was definitely a juxtaposition of size and luxury in comparison.
My comparo story premise was shot, but I did have an assignment to cover Barrett-Jackson’s 2015 Scottsdale auction, and the show must go on, so a friend of mine and I hopped into the cab of the 2015 Silverado High Country 2500HD 4x4 and headed for Arizona. Before we even got out of the parking lot I was amazed at how quiet the High Country was and before we made it a few miles further to the Newport freeway I was impressed at how responsive the 7,500-pound truck was. On the freeway where my ’05 GMC always bucks and bounces the 2015 High Country rode more like a new Cadillac than an empty 3/4-ton truck. It made me wonder what could have been done to basically the same suspension configuration as my GMC that could make such an extreme improvement in the ride. To test further in-depth I would have liked to have dumped another 7,000-pounds plus of payload into the bed or pulled a loaded car trailer to find out how much better the 2500HD rode, or how it would affect its 7.2-second 0-60 time.
At nightfall I discovered an annoying distraction. The built-in LED turn-signal indicators in the driver-side mirror were so bright I couldn’t see what was behind in the mirror. Fortunately, I had a roll of gaffer’s tape in my camera bag, so it was an easy fix. The passenger-side outside rearview mirror’s LED glare wasn’t as obnoxious.
Our 2500HD High Country equipped with the B20-Diesel compatible Duramax 6.6 Turbo-Diesel generated 397 hp at 3,000 rpm and 765 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm. The Duramax 6.6 requires the Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. Along with the Allison six-speed, ours came with a 3.73 rear axle ratio and standard equipment diesel exhaust brake system. That setup works with the Allison transmission’s Tow/Haul mode and Auto Grade Braking features to reduce the amount of conventional braking needed while towing or traveling downhill. The benefit is the conventional brakes stay cool and not overheated, so they can operate at full capacity in case of a panic stop situation.
By Saturday we had all of the coverage needed from the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction so we decided to make a banzai run for Durango, Colorado, and then return to California from there. We were right on time heading up highway 17 through mountainous hills when traffic came to a complete stop. After creeping a few feet at a time for an hour or so I looked at my passenger and exclaimed our truck had four-wheel drive. With no off ramp in sight I threw it into 4WD Low and took off down the side of what turned out to be a pretty steep hill. Driving where there wasn’t a road seemed like a good place to evaluate the 2500HD High Country’s Onstar turn-by-turn navigation with 4G LTE WI-FI built in.
The Chevrolet brochure stated “The 2015 Silverado HD is the first pickup truck to offer available built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Available on select models, the next generation of OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi is the way to stay connected to your work while on the road. The all-new available technology turns Silverado into a fast, reliable Wi-Fi hotspot. Passengers can get work done via the high-speed wireless Internet with up to seven devices, such as tablets, laptops or mobile devices. Check websites, e-mails, weather and more, even from outside your truck. Plus, we’ve developed a new platform for Center console file cabinet.” We discovered the center console file cabinet was a handy place to store bulky camera gear and be able to grab it at a moment’s notice.
In the distance we spotted a dirt road with a signpost marked Bumble Bee and headed towards it. Driving the High Country in four-wheel drive was so much fun we stayed on dirt roads for another 200 miles ultimately ending up at the Grand Canyon just as the sun went down. I’d recommend seeing the Grand Canyon during the day.
Another handy option we were able to try out was the rear vision camera system. The center screen serves the monitor for the rear vision camera. Its dynamic grid lines help when backing up or hitching a trailer. The only problem is when you jump back into an older truck you’ll find yourself staring at the radio as you are backing up.
So how does the 2015 Chevy Silverado High Country 2500HD stack up against a comparably equipped new Ford or that other truck named after a Billy goat? I’d be willing to test either of those trucks, but we’ve got a brand-new Z06 Corvette test car waiting out in the parking lot and that sounds a lot more interesting.