A truck is "the most expensive tool in a driver's toolbox." The 2011 GMC Sierra HD and Chevrolet Silverado HD trucks were redesigned from the ground up to provide "beefed up" towing and payload capacities. Adjustments provide greater capabilities, more power, and more confidence, according to the automaker.
The HD segment was slower to recover than the light-duty segment in the recent automotive economic downturn. However, trucks are an important part of a fleet's portfolio. Those who purchase from this segment do so because they have to, requiring the vehicles for work, according to GM.
The automaker's two-brand, the two-distribution system is meant to maximize pickup truck market presence, assisting with the automaker's goal of "designing, building, and selling the world's best vehicles."
New Features for 2011 Sierra HD & Silverado HD
All-new, fully-boxed frames add strength for increased durability and improved ride and handling.
The Vortec 6.0L V-8 gas engine with variable valve timing (VVT) is standard on all GMC Sierra 2500HD/3500HD and Chevrolet 2500HD/3500HD models, with a strengthened version of the Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission.
The Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine is rated at 360 hp at 5,400 rpm and 380 lb.-ft. of torque in trucks up to 10,000-lbs. GVWR and an estimated 322 hp at 4,200 rpm and 380 lb.-ft. of torque for trucks with GVWRs greater than 10,000 lbs.
As many work trucks are mobile offices, Chevrolet Wi-Fi and GMC Wi-Fi by Autonet Mobile turn the HD pickups into mobile hotspots and provide multiple users with secure Internet access inside and up to a 150-ft. radius around the truck. Available USB and Bluetooth connectivity assist drivers in taking the mobile workspace one step further.
Additionally, asymmetrical leaf-spring rear suspension supports greater loads. According to GM, "The asymmetrical design is derived from unequal front and rear spring half lengths, which minimize axle hop and enhance traction control efficiency." The 2500HD models feature a two-stage leaf-spring design, while 3500HD models have a three-stage design.
GMC Sierra HD: Core of the Truck Business
The GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD offer a wide array of control features and new options.
"We are not wandering away from our strong truck heritage," said Lisa Hutchinson, GMC product marketing director. "We will not abandon the Sierra as the core of our business."
A first for 2011, GMC will add a Denali trim level for the Sierra HD, which includes such features as a chrome grille and door handles, body-color bumpers, 18-in. wheels standard (20-in. optional), and available heated/cooled seats and heated steering wheel.
The balance of the 2011 Sierra HD lineup is identified on the outside by new, three-bar grilles and powertrain-badged louvered hoods, in addition to a revised, full-width chrome steel front bumper and availability of 17-, 18-, and 20-in. wheels.
An all-new "smart" exhaust brake feature improves control on steeper grades and reduces brake pad wear. Trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake control, hill start assist, automatic grade braking, and intelligent brake assist help drivers stay in control of even the heaviest of loads.
Also, all 4WD cab configurations offer snow-plow capability.
Multiple Options for Chevrolet Silverado HD
The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD lineup includes 10 2500HD models and eight single- and dual-rear-wheel 3500HD models, including a new 3500HD Crew Cab with 6.5-ft. cargo box.
Towing capacity was increased to 21,700 lbs. and payload capacity was increased to 6,635 lbs. A larger gas tank and fuel economy improvements allow up to 680 miles of travel between fill-ups (with the 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel). A new, 36-gallon fuel tank is standard on all Silverado HD models, and enables a cruising range of about 680 miles (with the 6.6L Duramax - see sidebar, "All-New 6.6L Duramax Reduces Emissions).
New chassis cabs include 2WD and 4WD crew cab configurations. The crew cab replaces the previous extended cab, allowing more people to travel comfortably - a benefit for work crews traveling to jobsites. The new crew cab chassis cab configuration is offered in a 60-in. cab-to-axle (CA), while the regular cab chassis cab models are offered in 60- and 84-in. CA.