General Motors, not content without holding claim to the top heavy-duty pickup truck specs, recently went back to the lab to retest its new 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD. The latest results are in and the maximum towing and payload ratings have all gone up.
Although pure numbers rarely tell the entire tale when it comes to towing performance and driveability, they remain significant bragging and selling points. The big news on the board is the capability of the trucks when equipped with the new LML-series Duramax diesel engine. After a series of internal tests, the trucks have been re-certified and rated at higher capacities.
The new numbers start with maximum hitch towing, which is now rated to 17,000 pounds. This is a 1000-pound increase over earlier reports. A sturdier fifth-wheel attachment is capable of 21,700 pounds, representing a 1700-pound improvement, and payload maxes out at 6635 pounds. With its shiny new ratings, the trucks’ gross combined weight rating increases to a hearty 29,200 pounds. As with all trucks, the towing, payload, and GCWR figures vary depending on cab selection, box length, rear-wheel setup, engine, transmission, and drive configuration.
How did the GM full-size truck team get these improved, important figures? The trucks’ sheetmetal hasn’t changed much but an all-new, high-strength frame is mounted beneath the body. The revised 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 puts out a class-leading 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque, higher than competing Cummins and Power Stroke products. The driveline, transmission, and suspension also received extra attention to ensure the heavy-duty trucks would perform in the most demanding of settings.
“Our focus has consistently been on delivering customers the most capable heavy-duty trucks in the market,” said Rick Spina, GM’s full-size truck global vehicle line executive. “The first set of capability tests confirmed that the team had exceeded the payload and towing targets by a significant margin. Ongoing testing demonstrated a clear opportunity to increase the true capabilities of these trucks.”
Currently, the 2011 Ford Super Duty lineup is rated to 16,000 pounds for conventional towing, 21,600 pounds for fifth-wheel towing, 6520 pounds for payload capacity, and 29,100 pounds for the GCWR. The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty offers performance of 12,000, 18,500, 5130, and 25,400 pounds, respectively.
Both trucks hit the assembly lines next week, so stay tuned for a heavy-duty shootout further down the line.