If you are a regular reader of AutoTalk.com you will know that I love trucks. Big ones, small ones, diesel or gas, anything that is built to work and feels sturdy gets me excited. Of all the trucks I get to drive, GM continually manages to be my favorite. GM’s newest big truck is the Silverado HD High Country, a fancier version of the Silverado that is the nicest and most luxurious truck to ever wear the Chevy badge. I was worried that this new coating of chrome and leather would dull the work ethic of the big truck, so I spent a full week putting the Duramax through its paces to see if it can still hold up.
Let’s start with what makes the High Country special in regards to the “lesser” Silverados. On the outside you’ll find a custom chrome grille, body-colored bumpers front and rear, and some large chrome side steps. You also get a collection of giant High Country badges, unique 20-inch wheels, metal door sills finishers and a spray-in bedliner. And yes, the 20-inch alloys are chrome. The result is a truck that does look a little more civilized and expensive, and even at a glance you call tell that the High Country is a more expensive truck than the lower models. It just has presence.
Inside you will find several acres of saddle brown leather, an exclusive color for this model, as well as seats that are heated and cooled, Bose premium audio, an 8-inch MyLink infotainment system, and you get front and rear parking assist as well. This is all standard equipment, by the way. The optional stuff includes navigation, rear seat BluRay players, sunroof, power pedal adjustment and some extra safety tech like lane departure.
As you can probably guess, my tester came loaded to the hilt with all of the extra options available, including a $125 option for LED lighting in the bed. Grand total for my Duramax-equipped High Country with every box ticked was $66,425.
Quite a lot of cash for a machine that was technically built to be beaten and abused, but as truck prices surge higher and higher every year, most people won’t bat much of an eye at the number on that sticker.
But as you guys should know by now, that window sticker doesn’t bother me, and I put this truck to work. I usually do towing and off-road tests for big trucks, but this week the hay room in my small barn was getting empty. The perfect chance for me to load down the bed of this truck to capacity and beyond. So I headed up to the big barn to grab a nice load. I ended up with 26 bales of hay, and if we do some relatively modest math at 75 pounds per bale, we end up with 1,950 pounds. That puts us right around 80-percent capacity for this truck’s 2400 pound max payload capacity.
As you would expect from a truck that can pull a trailer that weighs nearly seven tons, my one-ton bed load didn’t even start to bother the truck. Aside from the wind drag coming from the gaggle of hay bales on the bed, I couldn’t even tell I was hauling anything. The truck pulled strong from every stop, and it handled the climb up to my barn with ease. For reference, the gravel road to my barn is 1000’ in length, and covers a vertical climb of around 200’. It’s not the most gentle of climbs.
That 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, with its 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque made quick work of the situation, and the slick-shifting Allison1000 transmission made sure my load wasn’t shifting and joslting during gear changes. The whole package is still one of the best in the business.
After proving its worth as a work machine, I decided it was time to let this truck live in what will sadly be its most natural habitat. I treated it as a simple commuter.
I’m just going to jump in say that buying this truck to use as your everyday car is about the dumbest thing I can think of. If all you want to do is waste money for no reason, you’d be better served with a sportscar like a Corvette or Porsche. At least those get better fuel mileage and they are easier to park.
In short, the High Country may be filled with luxury trimmings, and it may ride better than any Silverado before it, but this is a truck that is too big, too expensive, and certainly too thirsty to just have as your everyday machine. It is very spacious with room for five comfortably, and the added amenities like the navigation, Bose stereo and the plethora of charging ports for various devices can make the Silverado HD High Country a capable people mover, but there are very few reasons why any human being should treat this thing as a daily.
That said, if you are the kind of person who needs a truck to move, tow and haul things on a regular basis, but you also enjoy the finer things in life like cooled leather seating, the Silverado 2500 HD High Country has what you need.