2012 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD Crew Cab LTZ Road Test Review

Michael Seymour - CAP staff
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Ten years ago I went on a weeklong ATV trip in Northern British Columbia, living out of a camper in a Silverado equipped with
Duramax turbo diesel. It was an epic adventure, and looking at my old notes I see I raved about the truck's performance. "Moved well from a dead stop, Quiet, even at full throttle."

The Silverado was good then... and it's great now.

The biggest difference I can see, apart from the more luxurious appointments of the truck, is a nice improvement in fuel economy. GM engineers have worked hard at refining this engine.

Of course, the Allison six-speed transmission is an important part of the story. This transmission shifts surely and smoothly with none of the irritating gear hunting found on some truck transmissions.

The Silverado in LTZ form has enough luxuries to almost make me forget I'm in a utility vehicle. But then there's that rhythmic diesel engine emanating from underneath the contoured hood as well as the bazooka-sized exhaust pipe, courtesy of the 6.6-litre, Duramax V8 turbo-diesel engine.

During hundreds of kilometres of driving on- and off-road, sometimes I turned off the Bose stereo just to hear the diesel go. The engine makes power as easily as it makes harmony. Boot the accelerator and almost immediately there's the thrust of 765 lb-ft of torque; put a lead boot into it and, by the time the unobtrusive, six-speed transmission reaches 3,000 rpm, the truck's 397 horsepower is apparent.

Chevrolet claims an unburdened tow rating of 2,900 kilos (6,400 pounds), and Silverado leaves its competition behind off the line too, with a zero to 60 kilometre per hour sprint of under eight seconds, and that with a 1,360-kg (3,000-lb) payload while driving uphill in thin mountain air. The truck will still reach 100 kilometres per hour in under 15 seconds. No argument here.

Silverado offers Tow/Haul Mode that enhances performance while pulling a trailer or hauling heavy loads. When activated, this feature modifies the automatic transmission shift schedule and helps reduce throttle pedal activity while traveling over rolling terrain. Cruise Grade Braking, which uses transmission downshifts to allow engine compression braking to slow the vehicle and its load, works in and out of Tow/Haul Mode on the Vortec 6.0-litre engine.

The available heated, leather–appointed front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel take the Silverado to a new level of comfort and if your pickup truck doubles as your office, you're in luck because Silverado is loaded with creature comforts like dual glove boxes, cavernous storage areas, SiriusXM satellite radio, and Bluetooth with voice recognition as standard equipment.

For 2012 Chevy added new colour choices too, bringing Silver Ice Metallic, Mocha Steel Metallic, Black Granite Metallic and Graystone Metallic to the line-up.

Even trucks that work for a living should look good while doing it, so now there's an HD Z71 appearance package for LT and LTZ models that includes a body–coloured bumper, grille with chrome mesh, chrome door handles and mirrors, unique Z71 decals, fog lamps, bright doorsill plates and 18-inch polished forged-aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires.

By now, you're likely asking, "What's all this performance going to cost me?" The test truck topped out at $71,910. Base price was $55,340. The big hit, at $9,670, is the diesel engine, but diesel options are always expensive. On the plus side, if you take basic care of the engine, it'll run for a very long time. The 6-speed Allison transmission is another $1,445 and the rear vision camera system is $565. When this feature started appearing on trucks a few years ago I thought it was gimmick, but I've done enough towing to really appreciate it. And outdoorsmen who install a cap over the bed will find it's nice to know what's sitting behind the truck when they back up. It will save more than one mailbox, that's for sure.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Pickup, Chevrolet, 2012, Silverado 2500, $40,000 - $49,999,

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