Take a look at the new 2011 Chevrolet Silverado heavy-duty pickups. Go ahead. See if you can spot the differences. No, not there. Crawl underneath. Ah, there it is.
Competition in heavy-duty trucks doesn’t really happen with freshened grilles and bulging fenders anyway. The Silverado is handsome with its big chrome crossbar grille, enough chrome to occupy a truck stop service shop, large trailering mirrors, and fast windshield. But what matters to buyers is a 20,000-lb. towing capacity and a payload capability of 6,335 lbs (properly equipped, of course).
Engineers strengthened the boxed frame, increased front axle rating by 25%, added an adjustable bumper section for snow plow installation, and adjusted the rear suspension’s leaf springs. Trailer sway control, hill start assist, and exhaust braking will help those wanting to tow very heavy loads.
So will the 6.6-litre Duramax diesel engine connected to one of Allison’s renowned six-speed automatic transmission. GM is still sorting out horsepower and torque ratings, but they will be improved from the 2010 model’s already-grunting 365 HP and 660 lb.-ft. of torque. You can also choose a 360-HP/380 lb.-ft. 6.0-litre V8 gasoline engine, but I wouldn’t. Go for the diesel, tug your load, and scare the be-jesus out of your nieces.
Here are our picks for the Top Five new models from the show. Click on a photo below.