By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 12/8/2011
Fresh from last year's overhaul that brought a stiffer frame, more powerful Duramax turbodiesel engine and a revised suspension, the Chevrolet Silverado HD trucks continue into 2012 little changed. In the world of powerful work trucks, the domestic manufacturers monopolize the field. The Ram HD and Ford F-Series HD trucks are equally capable, with one or the other claiming best-in-class in any number of categories, separated by no more than a few horsepower or couple more pounds of towing capacity. For many, the choice of an HD pickup truck comes down to a personal preference based on past experiences. If you're a Ford guy, you'll swear you'd never touch a Chevy, even though the 2012 Chevy Silverado HD can out-tow and out-haul the F-350.You'll Like This Car If...
If you've been a longtime Chevy HD fan and it's time to trade-in your old outfit, the 2012 Chevy Silverado HD's numerous improvements will help keep you a Chevy loyalist. If you're an old Ram (formerly Dodge) or Ford guy and you aren't happy with your current rig, you might be pleasantly surprised just how capable the Chevy Silverado HD really is.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for the most powerful diesel engine in an HD truck, Ram's Cummins diesel engine takes top honors (torque, not horsepower). Those who like a little more upscale flair in their trucks might find the 2012 Chevy Silverado HD's styling and interior décor somewhat on the conservative side. A Ram Longhorn or Ford F-350 King Ranch might be more to your liking.What's New for 2012
The 2012 Chevrolet Silverado HD trucks make new strides for 2012, with Chevy claiming best-in-class accolades for maximum fifth-wheel towing, conventional towing and payload.Driving It Driving Impressions
Thanks to its torque-heavy 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8, we found that towing a 10,000-pound trailer behind the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD truck posed absolutely no challenge whatsoever. The 2012 Chevy Silverado HD's available Duramax diesel develops 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque (that's more horsepower but less torque than the Ram HD, and less horsepower and torque than the Ford PowerStroke diesel). Despite the difference in power from its main rivals, the Silverado HD still takes top honors in fifth-wheel and conventional towing, as well as payload figures. The Duramax diesel is a bit loud, but you wouldn't know it from inside the passenger compartment. One of our favorite features on the diesel truck is the "smart" exhaust braking setup. The system works by progressively restricting the diesel's exhaust, depending on speed and grade, to help slow the rig with added compression braking. We tested a number of 2012 Chevy Silverado HD trucks, with gas and diesel engines, long and short beds, and basic to plush trim levels. We found all exhibited a firm suspension, good steering ability and fairly compliant ride.Favorite Features
This system progressively restricts the diesel's exhaust – depending on speed and grade – to help slow the rig with added compression braking.
A favorite on any vehicle, this available feature is especially appreciated on working trucks that operate in hot and cold weather extremes.