General Motors has had a bit of a problem with their Heavy Duty trucks lately. Ford’s Super Duty pickups have always been a clear-cut sales winner, and their latest trucks boast a lot of impressive, class-leading figures. Ram’s relatively new HD line of trucks have been selling well, buoyed by their handsome styling, fancy interiors, and fantastic road manners, to such a point that they’ve been eating Chevy’s lunch. It doesn’t help that the Silverado’s styling has been less than well received, too. GM has sought to change those tides with the newly facelifted 2024 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD High Country.
Hot on the heels of Ford’s newest Super Duty trucks and ahead of Ram’s imminent revamp, Chevrolet has imbued the 2024 Silverado HD with many of the same styling cues and cabin renovations that have benefited their half-ton trucks as of late. An updated and much cleaner fascia moves away from the controversial split grille, in favour of new “C-clamp” LED lighting plus a handsome four-bar chrome grille on our high-roller High Country test vehicle. For those looking for something a little more aggressive, an off-road-oriented ZR2 trim has been introduced as well, as an answer to Ford’s F-250 Super Duty Tremor and the Ram 2500 HD Rebel.
Our High Country tester features a suitably high-class cabin, with soft Jet Black and Umber leather with contrasting stitching and lots of open-pore Paldao wood trim, helping the Silverado HD’s cabin feel like a literal luxury cottage. Despite the cottage feel, there’s no shortage of slick tech here, as all but the most basic trims get a new 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, flanked by a 13.4-inch touchscreen to house the Google-powered infotainment, augmented by a 15-inch heads-up display.
The screens work well, using crisp, bright displays with excellent black levels and good responsiveness. The Google-powered map system is comfortably among the best in the business, and the voice controls work brilliantly. It’s all pretty intuitive and easy to figure out, and it’s backed up by a slew of well-integrated cameras to help aid manoeuvring in tight confines and working with a trailer.
New for 2024 is a deluge of new and enhanced tools to make hooking up and hauling a load easier than ever before. The aforementioned HD Surround View cameras can be tweaked to give a birds-eye view of a ball hitch and a clear view of the gooseneck hitch. It works with an expanded version of GM’s Transparent Trailer tech, which now works on any trailer regardless of size, or how it’s attached.
The new Silverado HD is also able to weigh your trailer, and can use this to let you know if you’re over the max weight rating, and can even direct you to a weigh station to confirm. It’s also able to use this data to adjust the adaptive cruise control, which can compensate for added drag, longer braking distances, and blind-spot/side view monitoring. All this makes moving mega-mass a cinch. On that note, our particular Silverado 2500 tester can tow 18,500 pounds on a gooseneck hitch, which falls a little short of the F-250’s 21,800 pounds. But it’s still, you know, a lot.
The ability to move said mass comes from GM’s venerable 6.6-litre Duramax diesel V8, tweaked to work harder by employing a larger turbo with variable vane geometry, revised pistons, and higher-flowing injectors. It’s mated to an impeccable 10-speed transmission manufactured by Allison, which I’m now convinced is to heavy duty trucks as the ZF eight-speed auto is to cars. It is superb, flawless in its operation, and now standard equipment on the gasser trucks as well.
The result of this massaging is 470 horsepower and 975 pound-feet of torque, which beats Ram’s Cummins straight-six but falls well short of Ford’s new High-Output Powerstroke engine, with its wacky 1,200 twisticles. Those power numbers don’t tell the whole story, though. Yes, Ford has considerably more power, but the Duramax never feels lacking.
Perhaps more than that, the level of refinement it offers is astonishing. When I picked up this truck, I wasn’t sure if it was a gasser or an oil-burner. After I started it, I still wasn’t entirely sure; in my defense, I figured it out pretty quick, but the fact that I didn’t immediately know is telling. It fires up without hesitation regardless of chilly temperatures, and it runs and idles just as smooth as any gasser. Throttle is response is dead linear and sharp, offering very generous motivation to a point where you’ll often just breathe on the skinny pedal. If you can remember to breathe on it gently, the Silverado HD returns decent fuel economy, averaging 15.5 L/100 kilometres in our mostly urban testing.
Despite this, it does seem to be calibrated to avoid hooliganism, as it’ll smooth out your movements if you’ve got a heavy foot. Look elsewhere if you want to roast tires; this thing is meant to be mature.
That maturity continues to the ride quality of the big Silverado. Unlike the solid front axles of its rivals, it makes use of independent front suspension. This allows it to have the best manoeuvrability and handling in its class by a country mile, and similar ride quality to the air-sprung Rams without the use of dubiously durable air springs. In the same vein, wind and road noise are well-hushed, and combined with the slick engine, the Silverado is comfortably the quietest heavy duty truck you can buy.
All told, GM has entered the Silverado HD as the elder statesman in the hard working truck game. Ford’s F-Series Super Duty trucks, with their solid front axles and ridiculous engine, might seem more impressive on paper, but it also sounds, rides, and drives like a bus. The biggest Rams are nice vehicles, but they’re also getting a little long in the tooth, and they don’t have the brilliant and bombproof Allison transmission you’ll find in this Chevy. Having driven all of the current crop of HD trucks, this 2024 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD High Country, at $111,839 as-tested, is the one I’d take every time, without blinking.