It wasn’t very long ago that a pickup truck with a capacity rating above the 1500 or 150 designation was strictly for work …not anymore. With the advent of bigger and heavier RV’s and boats, most half-ton pickups strain to pull its load up hill, out of the water or down the interstate, while most ¾-ton’s do it with ease, especially those equipped with a diesel. Today, each of the Detroit big 3 tout bigger and better 2500’s or 250’s than ever before and we found out how right they are when we got a chance to see what the Chevrolet 2500 HD with the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel could do.
Think of your ½-ton on steroids. Everything is bigger, beefier and badder, and in our case, just as nice – or nicer – on the inside, than many cars we drive. Big, comfy captain’s chairs upfront are just what the doctor ordered for those long cross country hauls. There’s a big storage tray on the center console with removable cup holders and a storage-well big enough to hold several 10-pound bass.
Although I am personally not a big fan of the fake plastic wood treatment in any vehicle, car or truck, Chevy did a pretty good job this one. The center-mounted touch screen and climate controls are easy to master and the instrument cluster is more car-like than you’d expect.
The fold up 60/40 split bench in back is comfortable and roomy, and will get high marks from any passengers.
A truck that’s rated to pull almost 9 tons has to have big bones, so Chevy gives the 2500 a fully boxed frame, much bigger brakes and a beefed up suspension. Although a capable 6-liter gasoline engine is standard, we recommend the Diesel with almost 400 horsepower and a whopping 765 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough grunt to uproot 100 year old oak trees. Although not EPA rated, our city/highway combo mileage averaged 16 mpg, which isn’t bad for this big locomotive. Of course, a 36-gallon fuel tank helps stretch the time between stops at the refinery.
When you’re talking about a beast like this, ride quality is like a horse-drawn buckboard without something for it to do, like a big load of dirt in its bed or a drag-behind 9-ton camper with slide-outs and rocks. This thing is happiest when loaded up.
Base price is $42,670, but we got the diesel version, which tacks on an additional $7,195, which must be coupled to the ruff ‘n’ ready Allison 6-speed transmission for another $1,200. Another amenity that may seem trivial is the touch screen navigation for $2,250. Be sure to get that because you’d hate to make a wrong turn on the way to Aunt Mary’s house.
With a litany of other options, the grand total for our tow monster is $58,590. Yes, it’s a lot, but no more than the competition, and like we said, this thing could be named Bluto for its towing and payload capability.
Unless you’re a died-in-wool Chevy fan, be sure to give the competitors a look too; Ford’s F-250 Superduty and the Ram 2500.
I’m giving the Chevrolet 2500 HD Diesel 4.5 out of 5 stars.