The SLT trim on truck three included GM’s second interior option, importing the "luxury inspired" low and forward instrument panel from the Yukon. Car-like in appearance with sleek, handsome wood trims, only the Ford King Ranch Super Duty interior tops this one in indulging driver and passengers.
An optional navigation system was embedded in the dash. It provided a clear and intuitive interface and map presentation.
The tactile feedback received when pushing and turning buttons and dials was high quality but larger control surfaces to accommodate a gloved hand are needed.
The rear of the cab has been nicely improved with stadium seating and a flat load floor to help store items levelly behind the front seats.
Jumping in pickup number three, we swapped from the 4WD Sierra Crew Cab unloaded Duramax into a 2WD Silverado 3500HD regular cab long box. Like the previous truck it was also equipped with a Duramax, but added 2,375 pounds of shot in the bed.
Max payload in for this truck is just shy of 4,000 pounds, so we were at a GVWR of approximately 7,700 pounds, well short of the 9,200 GVWR max payload rating.
The Duramax is a stellar engine. Still using a rear axle ratio of 3.73 but paired with the excellent and durable Allison 1000 6-speed tranny, the Duramax started off with gusto from a dead stop and its torque curve started giving early to help, peaking at 1,600 rpm, and continuing to give and give through all the gears. So smooth was this transmission that you barely felt the shifts as it climbed gears and had to look at the tach to confirm the RPM dropped with each one.
If you’re going to haul big loads often, you’re going to want the Duramax.
Truck four was king of the hill, quite literally. After an excellent, down home lunch at the Miner’s Diner in Julian we hopped into a jet black Chevy Silverado 3500HD Crew Cab Dually equipped with the Duramax and headed for Interstate 8 via the winding roads of Cuyamaca State Park.
Unloaded, this DRW pickup handled almost every twist and turn as though it were on rails. The quad footprint of the back wheels ensured that traction wasn’t going anywhere except from the tires to the pavement.
New for 2007 on GM duallys, and unique in the segment, is a bed that includes hydroformed shoulders over the rear wheels, eliminating the need to graft wheel covers to the box on DRW HDs. The single piece sculptured sheet metal also eliminates another source of rattles and squeaks as the truck ages.
By the final leg of our trip we were ready for some real world trailer towing on I8 with the Vortec and Duramax up and down a 6% grade near El Cajon. To make it interesting, GM provided competitive products from Ford and Dodge.