Let’s get this out of the way right now: I have absolutely no business owning a truck as large and in-charge as the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, nor do I have any delusions of ever being able to afford something as luxurious as the $66,000 High Country version I tested. This is clearly a truck for people with heavier loads and wallets than I carry.
Coming out of a week in an Audi TT, the first striking thing about the Silverado 2500HD was its sheer size. It failed to fit lengthwise into most parking spaces, and it barely fit widthwise. With an enormous four-door crew cab, an overall length of 230 inches, and a width of 80 inches, parking the heavy-duty hauler was like docking a houseboat compared to the TT.
This was my first time experiencing a Duramax Diesel V8 engine, and I came away impressed. There’s a fair amount of clatter generated by the 6.6-liter turbodiesel, presumably to remind you you’re driving a hairy-chested diesel truck, but I wasn’t expecting anything less based on the butch wrapper surrounding it. All heavy-duty pickup truck diesel engines seem a bit noisier than their gasoline-powered counterparts, anyway. The Duramax seems to straddle a line between the quieter Ram 2500 Cummins inline six-cylinder diesel and the clankier Ford F250 Duramax V8 diesel.
There’s a massive bucket of torque in the Duramax, of course. Chevrolet says it peaks at 765 lb-ft. That, according to the factory specs, can help the Silverado 2500HD tow up to 18,000 lbs or haul a maximum payload of 3,534 lbs. Obviously the few hundred pounds’ worth of scrap metal I hauled to the recycler was a serious case of underkill for this truck’s capabilities. It was like I didn’t even have a load in the bed, even though I had stuffed it just about as full of discarded garage door, heat pump, and other metal miscellany as I could.
Loaded or not, power delivery through the truck’s Allison six-speed automatic transmission was smooth as butter and controllable to the Nth degree. When I wanted to crawl up a steep grassy slope after loading all that scrap metal, I was able to barely toe the throttle and walk the truck up the hill in 4×4 low without doing appreciable damage to the grass. This kind of smoothness would be valued when backing a heavy trailer or trying to ease one’s way back up a boat ramp, I’m sure.
Inside the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country was every bit as luxe and leather-filled as one might expect, given its trim designation. There was soft brown leather on the seats as well as plenty of cowhide on door panels, dashboard, and center console. Seats were cushy and did an admirable job soaking up highway bumps the truck’s hefty load-ready springs could not. They were also heated and ventilated and featured power adjustment, in the case of the front buckets. The steering wheel had a full range of infotainment controls and was heated at the touch of a button. Cowboy Cadillac, thy name is High Country.
Since winter finally decided to arrive here in Tennessee the week I had our test truck, I was glad for its remote start feature that allowed me to get the diesel engine cranked up a few minutes before I headed out the door first thing in the morning, warming the cabin and that cold leather driver’s seat to a slightly more tolerable temperature. There was plenty of other handy tech on-board, including a newly improved-for-2016 Chevrolet MyLink eight-inch touchscreen in the dash that GM said featured faster responsiveness thanks to a better processor. There was Apple CarPlay capability, though I could not test it since I live in an Android household. Reportedly, Android Auto will come later in the model year.
Unlike some recent test vehicles — here’s looking at you, Audi TT — Bluetooth music streaming worked flawlessly in the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country. Its Bose sound system was typical Bose, with flat response across the spectrum. A window-rattling bass boombox is not part of the deal with most Bose systems, and that’s certainly the case here. There’s just accurate sound reproduction that gets loud enough for 99% of non-drummers. Drummers like me will wish for a system with more punch at the bottom and top to better “feel” the music, but we’re all hearing-impaired from years of cymbals ringing in our ears. If Chevrolet could combine the unfailing Bluetooth streaming of this pickup truck with the punch of that Audi’s Bang & Olufsen sound system, they’d really be onto something.
The thing about diesel three-quarter ton trucks like the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD in my little patch of ruralia is they’re immensely popular runabouts for those with sufficient funds and/or a credit rating that’ll get them into 84 months of truck payments, regardless of their need to carry cargo or tow loads of any consequence. The High Country’s eye-catching, humblebrag-worthy trim and interior appointments will not disappoint these pretenders any more than its serious towing and hauling specs would disappoint a bonafide ranch hand or construction foreman. I’d have a hard time doing any serious, scratch- and dent-inducing work in any $66,000 truck, but folks who really need a truck with these capabilities have better-paying jobs than journalists I suppose.
Whether one truly needs the capability of the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is irrelevant. Those who buy trucks for work might scoff at you for buying such a conspicuously spendy truck just the same as those who never needed or wanted a huge truck might. But haters, as the saying goes, gon’ hate. You won’t hear them within the quiet, Bose sound-flooded, leather-ensconced interior of this truck anyway.
2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country
Base Price: $56,265
Price As-Tested: $66,425 (including $1,195 destination charge)
Options: Duramax Plus Package including 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine, Allison six-speed automatic transmission w/ five-year/60,000-mile warranty, power-adjustable pedals, heated steering wheel, and driving alert package — lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and safety alert seat ($9,115); Power Sunroof ($995); Chrome Trailering MIrrors w/ Power Glass, Power Folding, Manual Extension, Heat, Turn Signals, LED Rear Guidance Lamps, LED Amber Lights, and Memory-Equipped Upper Glass ($230); LED Cargo Box Lighting ($125); Duramax Plus Package Discount (-$1,500).
- Smooth Duramax diesel and Allison transmission deliver quiet, smooth power
- Super-luxe interior and badass black-and-chrome exterior
- Chevy MyLink continues to be as easy to use as ever
- Can you imagine standing by and watching a front-end loader dump a ton of loose gravel in the bed of your new $66,000 truck? Me neither.
- Enormity makes for interesting parking situations
- These days, apparently a “three-quarter-ton” truck weighs 7,500 lbs unladen. Really.
Disclosure: Chevrolet provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas for this review.