If you're one of the many shoppers who uses a light-duty pickup for cruising around town, you'll probably want to move along. The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is anything but a city cruiser thanks to its enormous size, brawny engines and commercial-grade capacities.
Instead, the Silverado 3500HD was made for the job site -- and that's where it belongs. Whether you work on a farm or a construction site, you'll appreciate its huge towing and hauling capabilities, enormous diesel engine and commanding view of the road. You'll also appreciate the available dual rear wheels and the ability to choose your Silverado any way you like, from the bare-bones Work Truck to the upscale LTZ.
What's New for 2014?
While Chevrolet redesigned the light-duty Silverado for 2014, the heavy-duty models remain mostly the same. The sole exception is that Chevrolet has done away with the extended-cab model.
What We Like
Overbuilt and capable of virtually everything; 3-cab configurations, two bed lengths and two drive types; top-notch optional Duramax diesel V8
What We Don't
Dated compared to more recently updated competitors, especially inside; all-new 2015 model already on its way; doesn't offer manual transmission like RAM HD does
The Silverado 3500 HD offers two engines. Standard is a 6.0-liter V8 that makes 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. If that isn't enough, an optional 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 makes 397 hp and an almost unbelievable 765 lb-ft of torque. Official fuel economy isn't available, since the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't rate gas mileage for vehicles as big as the Silverado, but we'd expect around 12 miles per gallon city/17 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD offers many body styles, configurations and trim levels. There are regular and crew cabs, regular and long beds, gas or diesel engines and 2- or 4-wheel drive. Shoppers can even specify whether they want two rear wheels or four for added payload capacity. As for the trim levels, Chevrolet offers three: base-level Work Truck, mid-level LT and upscale LTZ.
The Work Truck ($34,900) doesn't offer much. Think vinyl upholstery, an AM/FM stereo -- but no CD player -- and manual mirrors. There isn't even keyless entry. This is the trim you'll want if you're a commercial truck buyer looking for a pickup with no frills.
Next up is the LT ($36,700), which adds alloy wheels, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, keyless entry and a CD player with MP3 connectivity.
Topping the lineup is the Silverado LTZ ($46,900), which is offered only in the truck's Crew Cab body style. The Silverado LTZ boasts high-end items such as dual-zone automatic climate control, a remote starter, Bluetooth, leather upholstery and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
As for options, the truck offers the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine, rear park assist, rear front and side-curtain airbags, an in-bed cargo management system and mechanical features such as a heavy-duty trailer package, a snow plow prep package, a locking differential and 4-wheel drive.
Every 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD features anti-lock brakes, front airbags, StabiliTrak electronic traction and stability control, OnStar Crash Response and Crisis Assist and a tire-pressure monitor.
In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's tests of the Silverado HD, the truck performs as well as most, with an average overall score. Trucks without optional side airbags earned much lower ratings than trucks with airbags, with Crew Cab models scoring slightly better than Regular and Extended Cabs. The Silverado HD also earned scores from three to four out of five stars in the roof rollover test, depending on body style and cab configuration.
Behind the Wheel
Given the array of cabs, wheelbases, suspensions and drivetrains, a Silverado HD's ride, handling and performance are essentially what you want them to be. Just one example: The HD chassis can be ordered with one of five torsion bar rates. And a Z71 off-road suspension is available on LT and LTZ models. It enhances capability when the road to the work site ends before the work site begins.
If the ride/handling balance can best be described as workmanlike, so can the responsiveness of the available V8 engines. By nature, the 6.0-liter gasoline engine is more responsive. The diesel, meanwhile, provides the stump-pulling torque but slower response to throttle inputs.
When it comes to utility, the Chevy's Heavy Duty delivers on all counts. The sturdy frame enables the HD to haul and tow virtually any load you or your crew can reasonably handle. And its utility is enhanced by its mobility; buyers can opt for mobile Wi-Fi and enjoy USB connectivity, Bluetooth, SiriusXM and navigation. Multiple charge points throughout the cab allow for operation of multiple electronic devices.
Other Cars to Consider
Ford F-350 -- The F-350 offers many of the same traits as the Silverado, including torquey engines and a dizzying array of body styles and bed configurations.
GMC Sierra 3500HD -- The Sierra 3500HD is essentially a mechanical twin of the Silverado. Its biggest advantage is an upscale Denali trim level for shoppers interested in the ultimate in luxury and capacity.
RAM 3500HD -- The full-size RAM 3500HD offers a similar array of options, engines and configurations as the Silverado. But it can tow a little more and boasts an available manual transmission -- a must-have for some drivers.
With so many trims and configurations, it is impossible to say which model is the favorite. Much depends on your needs. On a dirty job site or farm, the Silverado 3500HD Work Truck is an excellent choice. Managing the crew rather than getting your hands dirty? You'll probably want a Silverado 3500HD LTZ. Of course, the Silverado 3500HD LT strikes a nice balance somewhere in between.