2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD

General Motors has unveiled its latest version of the Chevy Silverado 2500 and 3500 HD pickup trucks. Although the suspension, frame and powertrains are effectively untouched, there are some significant changes that will be appreciated by heavy-duty truck shoppers. Here are some of the most notable changes:

Like the redesigned 2014 Silverado 1500, the 2015 Silverado HD got three completely redesigned cab configurations. Each was engineered to make them more aerodynamically “slippery,” stronger in case of a catastrophic crash or rollover, and better able to accommodate thicker door and window seals to create a quieter cabin. The biggest change to the lineup, as with the light duties, is in the Double-Cab structure, which used to be the extended cab.

Engineers have now eliminated the swing-out rear passenger doors in favor of traditional front-hinged doors. The addition of B-pillars also makes the overall cab structure stronger and safer. Additionally, the crew-cab models have newly sized front and rear doors to allow for better legroom for both front and rear passengers.

Probably the biggest improvement in the heavy-duty trucks comes in the form of a vastly superior interior gauge, center stack and console layout. Although there’s a great deal of similarity to the light-duty GM trucks, there are some small differences in switches and gauge styles. The 2015 pickups will offer GM’s new MyLink system with a larger, smartphone-like console screen, along with an info-packed driver screen centered between the speedometer and tachometer. There are tons of storage spaces hidden in the doors and wedged in the center console (when so equipped) and in the dash, all close at hand. One new feature we’re happy to see is the new integrated trailer brake controller, though it’s oddly positioned to the left of the steering wheel, high on the dash. The setup is within easy reach and well within the driver’s line of sight.

Although nothing has been done to the mechanicals of the suspension or frame, there are some new ratings numbers you should know about. The configuration with the highest maximum payload (likely to be the two-wheel-drive gas engine regular cab long bed) has been bumped up to a segment-leading 7,374 pounds (up from 7,222). Additionally, these new trucks have had their maximum conventional towing (meaning hitched to the rear bumper) number increase from 18,000 pounds to 19,600 pounds, which is also segment-leading. Finally, the maximum fifth-wheel gooseneck rating for the Silverado HD (likely a regular cab, 2WD Duramax long bed) has been increased from 22,500 pounds to 23,200 pounds, which isn’t close to the segment leader.

We’ve already mentioned that 2015 HDs will offer an integrated brake controller, but it’s worth noting Chevy and GMC will have StabiliTrak and trailer sway control as standard features for all 3500 models. In addition, software engineers made the grade braking features much more aggressive on both six-speed transmissions, gas or diesel. Add to this, when equipped, a more sharply tuned diesel exhaust brake and you can see why the Duramax could make a great choice for those hauling and towing heavy loads through mountain passes. We thought the previous model had it pretty well dialed in, but GM engineers tell us it’s even more capable and controlled now.

As noted, many of the exterior changes were motivated by a unique collaboration between designers and engineers as they figured out a way to meld the new light-duty look and design language onto the bigger work truck while addressing many nasty aero problems. As you might expect, special attention was paid to the truck’s front, keeping gaps as tight as possible, and then paying close attention to where they wanted the extra airflow to be directed. Hoods, headlights and taillights were completely remolded to give the truck a taller look from the outside without obstructing too much of the driver’s or passenger’s visibility. Design changes also help vastly improve interior noise levels by decreasing the amount of wind noise…