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The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD 3500 represents the pinnacle of capability and brawn in a Chevy truck. As the name implies, HD models—it's shorthand for heavy duty—are designed for serious hauling and towing tasks that demand more muscle than your typical full-size pickup can muster.
The HD 3500 starts with a 6-liter Vortec V8 putting out 322 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Add to this the standard Z85 Handling/Trailering Suspension, and you have truck with a 7,222-pound payload capacity and the ability to tow from 13,000 pounds to 23,000, depending on equipment. As if that's not enough, the optional 6.6-liter Duramax turbo diesel with its 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque can pull up to 24,500 pounds.
The Duramax is paired with a heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission supplied by Allison. All models can be ordered with the Trailing Equipment Package, which includes a hitch platform, wiring harness and integrated trailer brake controller.
To fit its many work roles, the HD 3500 comes in three cab styles: regular (three-person bench seat), extended (adds a rear bench for six-person seating) and crew (seating for six with four doors). Crew cab models carry a standard 78.8-inch rear box, while the others get an extended 97.8-inch box. The HD also comes with no box at all, making it the ideal platform for RVs and commercial vehicles. Dual rear wheels are available across the board.
The base WT (Work Truck) is all-business, right down its black rubberized floor covering and painted steel wheels. You do, however, get air conditioning and a stereo, and carpeting is available. The LT is more consumer-oriented with premium cloth seats, power windows and locks, MP3 and CD, and most other conveniences found in passenger cars. The line-topping LTZ—not available with the regular cab—adds front leather bucket seats with power adjustments, Bose speakers, aluminum interior trim and other luxuries. Fully equipped, the LTZ's interior rivals those of luxury SUVs.
The LT model gives you most of the comfort and convenience features that you would expect in a passenger car of similar price. While it's no luxury barge, the LT is nicely equipped for civilian life. Standard fare includes full interior carpeting, premium cloth seating, air conditioning, power windows and locks, MP3 and CD players, satellite radio and OnStar. Major options include the Z71 Off-Road Suspension Package for enhanced performance in the wild and the Z71 Appearance Package, which adds body-color bumpers, grille, door handles and mirrors; fog lamps; bright sill plates; 18-inch polished forged aluminum wheels; all-terrain tires; and unique badging.
Stepping up to the LTZ gets you a substantially upgraded interior with leather buckets seats in front, 10-way power control for the driver and passenger seats, a front console with dual power outlets and cupholders, dual-zone automatic climate control, aluminum dash trim, a Bose sound system with subwoofers, Bluetooth connectivity, and forged aluminum wheels. Note that the LTZ is not available in regular cab form.
The LTZ Plus Package ($725) adds a universal home remote, a locking tailgate, an EZ lift tailgate, power-adjustable pedals, rear parking assist, and a rear wheelhouse liner to help keep mud and dirt away from the undercarriage. The LTZ also offers a number of individual options such a sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, a six-disc CD changer, and touchscreen navigation. The Z71 suspension and appearance packages are also available.
The Work Truck will remind you of the days when trucks were all about hauling and towing. The WT is just as capable as its upscale brothers, but not as concerned with creature comforts. The standard cabin has vinyl seats and rubberized black matting on the floor, although cloth and carpeting are available. All models have air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo, cruise control, and painted steel wheels. Convenience options are few, but you can get power door locks and MP3/CD capability for the stereo. The WT is plain and proud of it.
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Comparable in towing and payload ability, slightly better fuel economy, big-rig grille might turn off some
Identical mechanically to the Chevy, but optional Denali luxury package sets it apart
Stylish inside and out, lacks the brute force of the others
A capable truck for most folks, but not those who need true heavy-duty ability