Delivering all that was predicted and more, General Motors announced that the official tow and payload ratings for its all-new 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups ended up even higher than was originally predicted. The elevated service ceilings put both of these stylish workhorses ahead of their Dodge Ram HD and Ford F-Series HD foes in those two critical areas. According to Rick Spina, GM Full-size Truck global vehicle line executive, the increased specs were the result of both vehicles significantly exceeding their original performance targets during a series of ongoing development and testing regimens.
Equipped with the most potent powertrain -- a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 that makes a class-leading 397 horsepower and 735 lb-ft of torque matched with a six-speed Allison automatic transmission -- the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD lead the heavy-duty pickup pack in conventional towing with a 17,000-pound max compared to 16,000 for the 2011 Ford F-350 HD and 12,000 for the 2010 Ram HD. Equipped for fifth-wheel work, GM's ultimate road warriors earn 21,700-pound marks compared to 21,600 for the Ford and 18,500 for the Ram. Thanks to the more extensive use of high-strength steel in the bed area and stouter rear-axle components, the maximum payload on the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD has been upped to 6,635 pounds, besting the F-350's by 115 pounds and the Ram's by 1,505 pounds.