Heavy-duty pickup trucks, defined by a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 8,500 pounds or higher, account for a quarter of full-size pickup sales in the U.S. Interestingly, about two-thirds of heavy-duty pickups are diesel powered. Because these workhorses are valued for their towing capability and durability, the 2015 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra are created to be stronger and smarter.
Recall that 2011 marked inner improvements for the HD Silverado and Sierra with new chassis and fully boxed frames, and an updated Duramax engine and Allison transmission. For 2015, exterior changes and other improvements resembling those that the 1500 line received for 2014 will be implemented. Look for unique chrome bumpers, HD hoods and headlamps, and prominent cooling intakes to differentiate the HDs and also the GMC and Chevy brands. The front is designed for enhanced cooling by enabling the engine air intake to be isolated from the hot engine compartment, keeping intake air cooler. The design also improves aerodynamics for a quieter cabin and overall efficiency. Moving toward the rear, the new CornerStep rear bumper allows for easier cargo access, along with hand assists molded into the bedrail protectors. The downward slam of the tailgate is controlled by an EZ Lift damping system.
The new interiors might look familiar if you’ve been inside a new 2014 Sierra or Silverado 1500. Quiet and insolated (due to inlaid doors and triple door seals), these interiors feature increased space and comfort and extensive storage. The cab is all-new as well, made of high-strength steel and set upon hydraulic body mounts.
Towing and hauling improvements include fully integrated cruise control, auto grade braking, diesel exhaust brake, integrated trailer brake control, hill start assist, hill descent control, and StabiliTrak with trailer sway control. To plan for the unplanned, a driver alert package includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, available Safety Alert Seat, rear camera, front and rear park assist, and side curtain and seat-mounted side airbags. Also expect best-in-class payload (7,374 pounds), and towing capacities of 19,700 pounds with a factory hitch and 23,200 pounds with fifth-wheel towing.
As for what’s under the hood – well, don’t expect any changes for now, unless you’re looking for a bi-fuel version of the Silverado HD or Sierra HD, which will be available for the 2015 model. The fully-warranted bi-fuel version has a 6.0L V-8 engine with special hardened valves and valve seats that enable it to alternate between gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG) with the push of a button.
Be on the lookout for these giants to hit dealer floors during the first quarter of 2014.