2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD first drive review

Chevy's Silverado HD is a luxurious mobile office that can also move mountains

If you need a truck that will tow anything, go anywhere, and keep you in comfort while you do it, you need to check out the Silverado HD.
If you need a truck that will tow anything, go anywhere, and keep you in comfort while you do it, you need to check out the Silverado HD.
If you need a truck that will tow anything, go anywhere, and keep you in comfort while you do it, you need to check out the Silverado HD.

Highs

  • Enough torque to tow anything
  • Super quiet and comfortable cabin
  • 14.8-second quarter miles
  • Trailer camera option is a godsend
  • Great looking truck

Lows

  • No blind spot monitoring

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD is an evolution of prior years’ models. As you’ll see in our Chevrolet Silverado HD review, this truck delivers on that promise. Don’t go looking for a massive change here, but that’s a good thing because these trucks have been developed to a fare-thee-well to be ultra-reliable and tough working machines. Up to 80 percent of heavy-duty trucks are purchased for business reasons, so Chevrolet understands clearly that towing and hauling capacity are critical. While the work capability is a must-have item, a comfortable cabin is the deal-closer for people who will use their truck as a mobile office as well as a tow rig.

The 2017 Silverado HD is aimed squarely at the building contractor, landscape excavator, and anyone who needs massive pulling power in a non-CDL application, but it’s also just a fantastic truck with great manners and a nice feature set.

What’s New

Changes in the 2017 Silverado HD are few, but important to the truck’s fundamental purpose. The LP5 Duramax engine is new this year, with a 19 percent increase in power. The 6.6-liter turbocharged Duramax now offers owners 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. The previous Duramax made 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet.

Jeff Zurschmeide/Digital Trends

Other new features include a trailering camera system that will be hailed as a godsend by those who tow large trailers. The trailering camera system employs the 8-inch touchscreen in the dash and offers the driver six different views including turn-signal actuated blind spot view, hitch view, a dual-blind spot view, individual left and right side views along the trailer, and even a trailer rearview by virtue of a wireless camera you can mount on the back of your trailer. The trailer camera option costs $999 and is available with both the standard mirrors and the extendable trailering mirrors. It’s worth noting that all 2018 Silverado HD pickups will come with a basic reverse camera system.

Trim Levels & Features

Trim levels include Work Truck (WT), LT, LTZ, and High Country. For practical purposes, LTZ and High Country are both really well-equipped. You’ll be happy with the heated and cooled leather seats and tech amenities in both trims.

Towing and hauling capacity are critical, and a comfortable cabin is a deal-maker for people who will use their truck as a mobile office

The LTZ trim is offered on double-cab and crew cab models, while the top High Country trim is offered exclusively on the crew cab. The High Country trim level includes heated and vented leather bucket seats in front, leather on the bench seat in the back, a center console, and a Bose sound system. These are available on LTZ is individual options.

The Silverado HD is a handsome rig by any estimation. If you spring for the Duramax, you get a functional hood scoop that looks great and feeds the air you need. But overall, the Silverado looks up-to-date and tough. You won’t ever be embarrassed by this truck.

Technology Overview

Even the most basic WT trim Silverado comes with a MyLink 7-inch-diagonal color touch screen with radio and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. So the tech situation is pretty good there.

All other trims get an 8-inch screen with MyLink services. The 8-inch screen supports navigation as standard equipment on High Country trim and optionally on LTZ trim. All Silverado trims come with 4G/LTE connectivity and wifi hot spot capability on a 3-month/3 GB trial, and then you have to pay for it. As a working truck, you’ll enjoy two USB ports, two 12V ports, and a 110V outlet in all trims.

Jeff Zurschmeide/Digital Trends

Other tech features like remote vehicle start (handy if it gets cold or hot) are standard on LTZ and High Country, and optional on LT trim. Remote tailgate locking is provided as standard on all trims except WT, where it’s optional.

There’s some good driving tech in the Silverado HD. Notably, you get cruise control on all trucks, plus automatic grade braking and diesel exhaust braking with the Duramax. Chevrolet also includes Digital Steering Assist power steering, which is not only a variable-assist system based on speed, but it will also detect when you’re having to pull a little bit to the left or right due to road crowning, and adjust itself to that condition. This feature is included on LT, LTZ and High Country crew cab models and double cab models equipped with the Duramax.

Interior Fit & Finish

The interior of the new Silverado HD really deserves high praise. First of all, it’s quiet inside. Even on a bumpy and grooved freeway pulling a big trailer, you can hold a conversation in a normal tone of voice. Second, it’s comfortable.

You won’t ever be embarrassed by this truck.

The seats provide support where you need it. To keep you comfortable, the seats are heated and ventilated with perforated leather upholstery, and the steering wheel is also leather-wrapped and heated in the High Country trim and optionally available in the LTZ trim.

If you get the front bucket seats with the center console, you can easily fit five adults into the crew cab with plenty of room. The center console comes with the bucket seats and provides massive storage, a place to work on your laptop (with the 110V plug and the wifi provided by the truck’s data plan) and even a wireless charging pad if you bought that option.

Driving Performance & MPG

As nice as it is, no one’s going to talk about a 1-ton pickup in terms of nimble handling. But the Silverado gets it right – the truck goes where you point it and it goes solidly. Accelerating onto the freeway around a curve on a bumpy on-ramp with a trailer in tow didn’t upset either the 2500 or the 3500 in the slightest. On the freeway, the truck tracks straight over all kinds of surfaces.

2017 chevrolet silverado hd first drive 13199
Jeff Zurschmeide/Digital Trends
Jeff Zurschmeide/Digital Trends

The EPA doesn’t formally rate fuel economy on heavy-duty trucks, but I saw 11.9 MPG out of the Duramax when towing near the truck’s limit, and 19.8 MPG when the truck was unladen. That’s respectable mileage for a big diesel.

Overall, the Silverado HD is fun to drive, if you like trucks. Truck aficionados will be impressed with the calm demeanor and lack of bad habits in this rig. Chevy staff told us that the truck will do a quarter-mile run in 14.8 seconds, which is as fast as many sport compact cars. We didn’t test that claim, but it seems credible.

Safety

When it comes to safety, you’ll get almost everything in the Silverado, but much of it is optional. Standard safety gear includes basic front seat airbags, Stabilitrak stability control with trailer sway control and hill start assist, and antilock disc brakes at all four corners.

Optionally, you can add thorax air bags in front and head curtain airbags for both rows. There’s a Driver Alert package that includes lane departure warning, forward collision alert, a haptic safety alert driver’s seat and both front and rear park assist. That package is available on LT and LTZ trims, standard on High Country, and not available with WT trim.

The other great safety option for a working truck is that trailering camera system. Buyers who tow, and especially those who pull big enclosed trailers, know how severely your vision is limited when you’ve got a giant brick three feet off your rear bumper. The Silverado has optional extending trailer mirrors with big panoramic panes on the bottom, and that’s great. But the multi-view camera system with the option of a wireless camera behind the trailer is a brilliant solution.

Conclusion

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD is a great truck, and it’s got the power and the features you need to run your business, get your stuff to the job site, and get your boat to the water on the weekend. It’s comfortable, capable, and confident. The net effect of all that put together is that towing your stuff around will not be the most stressful part of your day, and eliminating towing stress is worth a lot.

The Silverado HD with the Duramax diesel is not a cheap truck. If you opt for the basic WT trim and the standard 6.0-liter gas V8, you can get into the Silverado for $34,905. As tested, the 2500HD with the Duramax in the High Country trim is twice that price at $70,025. The 3500HD in LTZ trim with a dually rear axle and a lot of options was $68,605.00. Honestly, it was just as nice as the High Country trim, and that’s the truck I’d buy if I was going to be pulling serious tonnage.

Business owners take note, for the last few years Congress has authorized Section 179 deductions. This allows you to deduct amounts up to the full purchase price of qualifying equipment in the current tax year. Check with your tax accountant to be sure before buying, but this could make a new Silverado work truck an attractive proposition.