For those who aren't sold on the 6.0L gas engine, the Duramax is a compelling option, no longer offering the turbo lag or electronic throttle lag of previous models. With 365 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque, the Duramax leads Dodge's new 6.7L Cummins I-6 and Ford's 6.4L Power Stroke V-8, which are both rated at 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The new Duramax is even certified to run on B5 diesel fuel and is probably the quietest diesel we've ever heard in a heavy-duty pickup. Thanks to a variable-geometry turbocharger, power delivery is smooth and comes on hard and fast, with quick shifts from the new Allison 1000. The Allison, already the beefiest tranny in its class has been upgraded with a sixth cog for 2007, improving fuel economy. Sadly, manual lovers will be forced to bemoan the loss of another manual transmission choice, as the manual transmission bites the dust, leaving the Duramax as a jaw-dropping $8,395 option package-$7,195 for the engine and $1,200 for the mandatory Allison. Diesel buyers can order the Super Duty with a manual for only $6,895, and Ram buyers can do the same for $6,100.
On top is the luxury-inspired interior...
In the details, you can see where the General has spent time studying the competition. We expected innovation, but instead got features that could best be described as derivative. Features such as the roll-down rear extended-cab door windows and tailgate assist may be the first in the heavy-duty segment, but were first seen on the '04 Ford F-150, while the rail system and 170-degree opening rear extended-cab doors are already offered on the Nissan Titan. At least GM buyers have access to these conveniences now, as well as an integrated trailer brake controller a'la Super Duty.
...while the pure pickup is seen here.
Behind the wheel, the HD trucks were a comfortable place to cover long stretches of road with a smooth ride. While the GMT800 trucks were often criticized for having too-soft IFS front ends and too-stiff solid-axle rear ends, the tuning on the new trucks is much improved, no longer having the unladen pogo'ing over freeway expansion joints and uneven roads. We devoured the delicious exhaust note served up by the 6.0L, a song we could have listened to all day. Even the steering is nicely weighted, and the big trucks didn't feel like they needed to be manhandled through twisty mountain roads, handling them with comfort and ease. Braking was also similarly improved.
The main complaint we had while in the driver's chair was an offset steering wheel that is inboard of the centerline of the seat, something that had the tendency to irritate and fatigue the cranky back of one of our testers, a point to keep in mind if you suffer the same ailment.
Overall we enjoyed, but were not smitten by, the new GM trucks. They certainly are an improvement over the outgoing models, but we don't feel that they raised the bar in any particular area and are merely keeping pace with the Joneses. The redesign is exactly what you might expect, with no surprises. What these trucks are is very capable, competent, and well-built pickups that will dutifully fulfill just about any chore that you might have in mind. However, we think GM could have gone farther with this generation, as it has to serve the company in the midst of increasing rivalries for the next seven to nine years. In this hot market, only time will tell if GM might have underestimated the competition with this redesign.
Vehicle model: 2007 Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab
Base Price: $24,575
Engine Type: 6.6L Duramax V-8 (LMM)
Mfg.'s hp @ rpm: 365 @3,200
Mfg.'s torque (lb-ft) @ rpm: 660 @ 1,600
Transmission: Allison 1000 six-speed automatic
Axle ratio: 3.73:1
Suspension (f/r): SLA, torsion bar/Semi-elliptical two-stage multileaf spring
Steering: Power assist, recirculating ball
Brakes (f/r): 12.8-inch vented disc/12.8-inch disc
Wheels/Tires: 17-inch cast aluminum/LT265/70R17
Wheelbase (in): 153
Length (in): 240
Width (in): 80
Height (in): 77.1
Track (in): 68.6 (front), 66.0 (rear)
Curb weight (lb): 6718
Ground clearance f/r (in): 9.5
Max Towing capacity (lb): 13,000
Fuel capacity (gal): 34
Seating capacity: 5