Chevy's 2017 Silverado gets a functional hood scoop for easier breathing

Hood scoops look cool, but sometimes that’s all they do. Carmakers are often tempted to slap a non-functional hood scoop onto a new model, hoping consumers will envision performance capabilities the engine underneath doesn’t really have. However, the scoop on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD is the real deal.

In addition to making Chevy’s big truck look like a muscle car, the scoop should provide some real-world benefits. It’s part of a new air-intake system meant to keep the Duramax diesel engine running at full power more often. Like humans, internal-combustion vehicles need to breathe, and the new system helps keep the Silverado HD from getting winded.

Most of the air is drawn into the engine through the scoop, meaning it’s closer to ambient temperatures and thus much cooler than air circulating under the hood. Engines run more efficiently off cool air, so this is a plus. The scoop also takes advantage of a ram-air effect, in which the speed of the truck actually forces more air into the engine. There’s also a secondary intake in one of the front fenders, in case the hood is blocked.

Read moreGM takes a step toward hybrid trucks with 2016 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra eAssist

Engines like air that is dry as well as cool. To minimize moisture, the intake system also has an air/water separator that forces air through a 180-degree turn before it gets sucked into the engine. Any moisture consolidates into large droplets, which are flung against the wall of the housing by centrifugal force, and then drained away.

No truck launch or update is complete without a description of a hardcore testing regimen, and Chevy certainly put the 2017 Silverado HD through its paces. Engineers simulated every type of precipitation possible, from what Chevy calls “monsoon-level downpours,” to snow, to ice pellets. It also tested trucks in a range of temperatures to see if they could pull heavy loads in extreme cold and heat.

It’s all about helping the Silverado HD’s Duramax diesel engine breathe easier. That engine is a 6.6-liter turbocharged V8 that produces 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque, and is coupled to a six-speed Allison automatic transmission. Expect the Silverado’s GMC Sierra HD twin to get the hood-scoop upgrade for the 2017 model year as well.

Cars

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Outdoors

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Cars

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.