At the top of the full-size truck food chain is the mighty 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD pickup. Designed to do the types of heavy lifting that exceed the abilities of a half-ton truck, the Silverado 3500HD is the go-to vehicle for those working construction, ranching, farming and any other occupation that requires the ability to tow up to 23,300 pounds or carry a payload up to 7,100 pounds. Yet for all its ruggedness, there’s also a comfort story here, one made all the more alluring by the Silverado 3500HD’s luxurious cabin and impressive driver safety and infotainment features. However, even with its newly improved Duramax diesel engine under the hood, the Silverado 3500HD’s towing and payload numbers still lag slightly behind those of the Ford F-350 Super Duty and RAM 3500HD.
What’s New for 2018?
The 2018 Chevy Silverado 3500HD Work Truck gains MyLink with a 7-inch touchscreen, a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth and a rear backup camera. The tire pressure monitoring (TPM) system now alerts you when the proper tire pressure is reached. See the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD models for sale near you
What We Like
Huge towing and hauling abilities; massive power and torque; capable of any job; high-quality interior; improved Duramax diesel
What We Don’t
No manual transmission; no self-leveling suspension like in the RAM HD; pricing starting to grow huge
The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD offers two engines. Standard is a 6.0-liter V8 that makes 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. Shoppers who want more power can go for the truck’s optional 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8, which makes a class-leading 445 hp and an especially muscular 910 lb-ft of torque.
Unfortunately, official fuel economy ratings aren’t available, since the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t rate vehicles as large as the Silverado 3500HD, but suffice it to say that these trucks aren’t for the fuel-conscious. Most drivers receive around 12 miles per gallon in the city and 17 mpg on the highway regardless of engine choice.
Standard Features & Options
As you might expect, the Silverado 3500HD offers a long list of available trim levels, body styles and configurations. There are Regular Cabs, Crew Cabs and Double Cabs. There are regular beds and long beds, the aforementioned gasoline or diesel engines and 2- or 4-wheel drive. Shoppers even have the ability to choose between two or four rear wheels, depending on the payload capacity needed.
In terms of trim levels, the Silverado 3500HD offers four. There’s a base-level Work Truck (WT), a midlevel LT, an upscale LTZ and a luxurious High Country.
Choose the Work Truck ($36,355), and you’ll find only basic transportation. Designed for use on gritty job sites, this model includes MyLink 7-in touchscreen infotainment with 6-speaker audio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 40/20/40 vinyl front seat, rear backup camera, automatic locking rear differential, heavy-duty engine and transmission oil coolers, air conditioning, power locks and cruise control. It’s so basic that items most drivers take for granted, such as keyless entry and power windows, are optional.
For a few more creature comforts, you’ll need to step up to the LT ($40,310). It includes a more generous list of standard equipment, ranging from power mirrors and tinted glass to alloy wheels. Also standard are cloth seats, EZ Lift and lower tailgate, power windows, keyless entry, MyLink with 8-in touchscreen, CD player, OnStar and satellite radio.
Next up is the LTZ ($49,270), which is only available in Double Cab or Crew Cab configurations. It includes features such as leather seating, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lights, power-folding mirrors, larger alloy wheels, chrome trim, remote vehicle start, integrated trailer brake control, power-sliding rear window with defroster and a 110-volt outlet.
Topping the range is the exclusive High Country ($56,460), which is only offered in Crew Cab guise. Designed to roughly mimic the GMC Sierra Denali, the Silverado 3500HD High Country primarily adds appearance upgrades, including 20-in alloy wheels, body-color bumpers, chrome side steps, full-leather front bucket seats, carpeted floor mats, special trim and a unique interior design with a center console. It also adds a navigation system, a Bose sound system, front and rear park assist, and a wireless charging system.
As you might expect, options are plentiful. In addition to the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine and dually rear wheels, the truck offers everything from work-ready features — such as a heavy-duty trailer package, 4-wheel drive, power adjustable pedals and rear park assist — to high-end convenience features, including a lane-departure warning system and forward-collision alert.
The 2018 Silverado 3500HD includes standard side airbags, side-curtain airbags, traction control, stability control and daytime running lights. Optional safety features include a backup camera, park assist, forward-collision alert and a lane-departure warning system.
Due to the 3500HD’s recent redesign, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have crash-tested the pickup. Although previous-generation models earned average crash safety ratings, we expect the redesigned truck to perform better thanks to its brand-new construction from the ground up.
Behind the Wheel
You won’t find many surprises when you’re driving a Silverado 3500HD. Although Chevy’s workhorse pickup now features the most modern styling and quality interior to date, any heavy-duty Silverado is still a full-size pickup, which means light steering, huge dimensions and a high driving position. Interestingly, the Silverado also manages to provide a surprisingly quiet ride, canceling out road noise, wind noise and even the churning of the pickup’s huge diesel engine.
Stepping inside, the Silverado 3500HD impresses with its highly modern dashboard, a rarity in the heavy-duty-truck world, which is usually the last segment to see any modern advancements in equipment and styling. The pickup’s rear-seat room is also impressive, especially in Crew Cab models. We wouldn’t suggest using it as around-town transportation for your family, but the Silverado 3500HD is just as capable of carrying passengers in comfort as it is of helping out on the job site.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD — Check out the Sierra 3500HD, which is highly similar to the Silverado right down to the styling. At the very least, the Sierra might be a better deal.
2018 RAM 3500HD — It’s hard to ignore the heavy-duty RAM, which boasts amazing capabilities thanks to its manual transmission, its torquey engine and its self-leveling suspension, but the latest Silverado is far more refined than the increasingly outdated RAM.
2018 Ford F-350 Super Duty — The F-350 was all new last year, offering more luxury, more high-tech features and better trailering ability. The F-350’s engine choices are equivalent to the Silverado 3500HD’s, but its aluminum bed may not be as rugged.
It’s hard to recommend the best Silverado 3500HD for you, largely because there are so many trim levels and models available. Our suggestion: Take a long look at the choices and pick the one that suits you best. Want to haul around the whole family? That’ll be the Crew Cab. Looking to haul a huge trailer? Go for the turbodiesel. Either way, regardless of the model you pick, you’re likely to find something for just about everyone.