Touted to offer 11% better fuel economy along with increased horsepower, torque, towing capacity and payload than its predecessor, General Motors officially took the wraps off its new 2011 model year Chevrolet Silverado Heavy-Duty (HD) pickup at the Chicago Auto Show this week.
The Silverado HD sports 11 new fully boxed steel frames for a variety of body, cab, and powertrain configurations, 20,000 lbs of towing capacity, and 6,335 lbs of payload capacity. A 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine option is equipped with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 emission rules.
During a webcast for journalists held ahead of the Chicago Auto Show, Rick Spina, GM’s vehicle line executive for full-size trucks, said the 2011 Silverado HD is built on a completely new chassis that boasts 60% all-new parts numbers . A new independent front suspension offers a 25% increased front axle weight rating and there is a wider asymmetrical rear-leaf suspension.
Spina said that all 2011 Silverado HD single rear wheel (SRW) models will come equipped with GM’s Stabilitrak roll-stability control system – even on one-ton versions. Four-wheel drive (4WD) models will be rated for snowplow capability and there will be 4WD crew cab configurations.
Gary Arvan, chief engineer for the Duramax diesel, said that diesel-powered models should see 11% better fuel economy with increased horsepower and torque thanks in no small part to the SCR emission control system.
The diesel-powered Silverado HD will come equipped with a six-speed Allison transmission and 36-gallon fuel tank. That will allow for an operating range of over 680 highway miles, which translates roughly to fuel economy of 18.8 mpg. Arvan said actual fuel economy, horsepower and torque ratings would be released at a later date.
Arvan noted that due to new microprocessor-controlled glow plugs, Duramax cold starting is now no more than three seconds at minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, with no block heaters required at minus 20 or above. He said the engine’s biodiesel compatibility has also been boosted from a B5 to B20 blend, with a new fuel heating system to prevent the fuel from ‘gelling up’ in cold weather.
The Duramax will also come standard with a new ‘smart’ exhaust brake, said Jim Mikulec, lead engineer on the 2011 Silverado, that – when switched on – will operate in towing and normal driving conditions, with the cruise control on or off.
Mikulec added that the 2011 Silverado’s brake rotors will be bigger, 14-in on the front rotors, with stiffer and stronger calipers to reduce pedal effort and travel for greater stopping power. A new ‘hill assist’ feature that is standard on all models equipped with Stabilitrak applies the brakes for 1.5 seconds when the truck starts from a stopped position on an incline to prevent vehicle ‘roll back.’
“Clearly, trucks are an important part of our vehicle portfolio and GM and it’s important to make continuous improvements to our vehicle line,” said Rick Scheidt, executive director-product marketing for the Chevrolet Trucks division.
“We needed to make the truck stronger, sturdier, and more secure to drive, yet more fuel efficient as well without sacrificing performance or durability,” he added. “That’s what we’re delivering.”