New GM Heavy Duty Trucks are Heavy Duty Ammo for General Motors

Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

GMC Sierra 3500HD
During the design of the new Heavy Duty pickups from GM the truck design team performed extensive customer research into what buyers wanted in a heavy duty truck. The new HD trucks had to offer the looks of big truck, a great driver and passenger environment, affordability, and absolutely have the best powertrain and payload capacity possible. Make no doubt GM has raised the benchmark with these new pickups by apparently fulfilling nearly every wish. The 2001 three-quarter and one-ton Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra offer promises of dramatically increased performance and efficiency across virtually all measurements when compared to the competitors trucks, though appearances may leave something to be desired.

Exterior & Interior

Both trucks shown during the press introduction were very late cycle prototypes and not official production vehicles, as such the appearance of the trucks may yet change slightly. That said, it will take a trained eye to spot the differences in appearance between the light and heavy duty trucks from GM. Certainly they are much more subtle in differentiation from the light duty trucks than the Ford F-150/250 is from the SuperDuty. The HD Silverado sports a subtle 'power bulge' in the hood and a revised grille with a larger bow tie and horizontal chrome stripe. The HD Sierra looks even more similar to its light duty counterpart with the only real difference seen in a slightly tweaked grille, lower skirting, and 'nostrils' in the bumper added for the diesel. Both models stand taller than their light duty siblings and will be available with two box types - standard fleetside or 'dually' for those heavy towing needs.

The Silverado shown had a composite bed - the fenders and outer tailgate panel were made of RRIM (reinforced reaction injection molded) materials and the one-piece inner panel and the inside of the tailgate used structural reaction injection molding (SRIM) materials. Only the 2001 model year half-ton Silverados HDs will have the composite bed option, it will not be available on the Sierra. Because of the molding flexibility of the composite materials used in the rear fenders expect GM to capitalize on it in the future with new, custom features designed to meet special needs (perhaps similar to the Hide-N-Side).

An interesting side note about the composite bed in general. The bed has been tested in temperatures from -40F to 170F and in places ranging from Nova Scotia to phosphate mines in Florida over a two year period. GM claims that wear and tear are every bit on par with the standard steel bed we all grew up with.

The future will see increasing differentiation in appearance between the Chevrolet and GMC trucks as GMC strives to take on more of the work truck marketplace.

The interior of the Silverado and Sierra HD trucks appears to be almost identical to the light duty pickups. They also appear quite similar to one another in layout, though the GMC had an additional console in the front. One noticeable addition is the Tow/Haul Mode button, first offered in the 1999 model year HDs (more about this on page 2). The Silverado shown had a cloth interior and the Sierra had leather. It remains unclear if this will 'flip around' as GMC seeks to be known as a work truck, though we are quite sure that leather will also be an option on the Silverado.

Silverado Interior

Sierra Interior

Power, Towing, & Suspension