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Chevy upgrades the 2016 Silverado HD to take on Ford’s Super Duty

Hot on the heels of the redesigned Ford F-Series Super Duty, the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD gets some updates as Ford and Chevy continue their eternal struggle for dominance. The big Chevy trucks were heavily updated for 2015, but in this competitive segment, standing still is not an option.

The 2016 Silverado HD looks essentially the same as the 2015 model, which was resculpted to incorporate styling cues from the light-duty Silverado 1500. Underneath that chiseled exterior, though, the 2016 model gets a few notable tech upgrades.

A “Digital Steering Assist” feature available on certain models adds electronic controls to improve stability. Chevy says the system offers greater responsiveness, improved steering feel, and greater confidence when towing or hauling heavy loads. Electronic aids are generally the enemy of steering feel, but anything that can make a rig this large easier to turn is probably a good thing.

Heavy-duty trucks may seem like work vehicles, but they now feature all of the luxury and tech accoutrements of regular cars, For 2016, the Silverado HD’s MyLink infotainment system adds HD radio, and updated 7- and 8-inch touchscreens that Chevy says perform better than before. Models equipped with the 8-inch touchscreen will launch with an option for Apple CarPlay; Android Auto will become available beginning in March.

The Silverado HD is still available in a bewildering array of cab, bed, and powertrain combinations. There are 2500HD and 3500HD models available with a two-door “regular cab,” a “double cab,” and a “crew cab” with four full-size doors. There are also two bed sizes (depending on cab configuration), and the option for dual rear wheels on the 3500HD.

Engine choices will likely remain unchanged. The Silverado HD is currently offered with a 6-liter gasoline V8 producing 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, and a 6.6-liter turbodiesel with 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft. Both use six-speed automatic transmissions, with a reinforced Allison unit for the diesel. There’s also a bi-fuel option that allows a truck to run on natural gas.

As with the smaller Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150, the current-generation Silverado HD isn’t quite as radical a rethink as its new Ford rival. If Ford’s risks don’t pay off, Chevy is probably hoping to collect a few new truck buyers.

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