First Drive: 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD

How does it all work?
Before we climbed behind the wheel of the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and the 2011 GMC Sierra HD, we knew these trucks were capable of towing huge trailers and hauling impressive loads, but that didn't mean they would be inspiring or civilized. After only a few minutes behind the wheel of a 1-ton dually with 2000 lbs in the bed and another 10,500 lbs in tow, we were incredibly comfortable. That level of comfort only grew as we switched among a half dozen different truck, trailer, and payload configurations available to sample.

We particularly enjoyed pulling an identical pair of camper trailers behind a 2011 Ford F-250 and 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 on a back-to-back basis. The biggest differences between the trucks were steering feel and how well the exhaust brake worked. In both respects, the Chevy felt better and more predictable. We could never tell when the Ford's exhaust brake would kick in, or how much it would slow down the rig. There was also a more disconnected feeling between the Super Duty's steering wheel and the pavement than in the Chevy. Both trucks pulled the campers with ease and were fully capable of stopping them, but the Ford took more effort and attention.

Do I want one?
Right now Silverado and Sierra are the best choices for extreme towing and hauling in the heavy duty segment. If you are happy with GM's interior, you'll love the rest of the truck. That said, Ford isn't very far behind in terms of capabilities, and even Ram's (on-paper) disadvantages are minor in the real world if your towing needs are within its capabilities. The entire heavy duty segment is extremely capable and continues to evolve at an incredible pace. It's a tough decision between the three manufacturers because the trucks are so similar in real world feel. Isn't competition great?

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