Supersize me. Let’s get one thing clear at the outset – Chevy’s Silverado 2500HD is not a vehicle for the timid. Everything about it is supersized, from the dimensions to the engines, from the front doors to that gigantic cheesegrater radiator grille. The Silverado isn’t a good multistorey car park companion, nor will it impress anyone with an eye on planetary wellbeing. These commercial-grade trucks don’t have fuel economy figures available, so we can’t advise on how many gallons per mile you’ll manage.

Even the Silverado range is vast. Your first choice involves which of five cab/bed configurations you want, followed by a selection of gas or turbodiesel engines, RWD or AWD, four wheels or six, plus five very distinct trim levels with various special editions and packages. Personal circumstances will shape many buyers’ requirements, but we reckon the AWD turbodiesel crew cab makes the most sense. Entry-level Work Truck represents good value for people with no demands for comfort, whereas mid-range LTZ is better as a workhorse that can also take your children to school.

The bigger picture. The Silverado 2500HD's cabin is a key beneficiary of its vast external dimensions. Smaller drivers may feel they’ve stepped into a Roald Dahl novel, because everything suddenly feels very big – the rearview mirrors, the dual gloveboxes, the center console (if not the rather paltry seven-inch touchscreen), the acres of surrounding glass… Visibility is excellent, but some of the dials are a long way away, making them hard to reach in a hurry. It’s also worth noting that interior quality is disappointing – there aren’t many creature comforts, the materials feel unyielding, and the dash is a long way behind modern times.

The front seats can be configured with two buckets and a table-sized center console, or a three-seat bench. Extended-cab models add a small rear bench that’s best for children, while crew cabs can swallow up to six people at a time. Bed lengths vary from 6’10” to 8’2”.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Interior

Enough power to restart a collapsed sun. If you’ve ever wondered what torque is, mash the accelerator pedal in the 6.6-liter turbocharged V8 diesel. As 910 lb-ft of torque is unleased – potentially to the rear wheels alone – you’ll understand why torque is so significant to many truck owners. In one diesel configuration, the Silverado can tow an astonishing 36,000 pounds. By comparison, the 6.6-liter gas V8 is a lightweight, outputting 464 lb-ft of torque and capable of pulling a maximum load of ‘just’ 17,370 lb.

Sarcasm aside, the gas engine is hard to recommend because it’s coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission that struggles with hills and frequently sends the rev needle surging. The TD has a ten-speed truck gearbox that’s far better suited to this do-anything workhorse, and it’s considerably smoother to boot. Traction can be improved further with AWD (a $3,000 option), or a dual rear axle, though the latter generates a curiously steroid-enhanced visual aesthetic and makes parking even more hazardous.

Choose your trim with care. Buy a Work Truck Silverado, and you’re entering a world of manual adjustment and cloth fabrics. For lumberjacks, that’s okay, but families will crave more comfort. That means climbing the trim ladder, yet even mid-range LTs have a seven-inch touchscreen which has to be upgraded to eight inches as an optional extra. LTZ brings power front seats, climate and satellite radio, but specifications would still seem very basic to an SUV or sedan driver. Yet at the same time, it’s hard to justify spending $80,000 on a High Country model.

Safety is a particular area of concern. The NHTSA and IIHS haven’t crash-tested the Silverado, or its GMC Sierra cousin, so there’s no official crash test data available. Vital features like blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking are on the options list, while WT doesn’t even have park assistance as standard. At least the dustbin-lid brakes guarantee quick stops.

Final thoughts. The popularity of big trucks like the Silverado is understandable. They generate outrageous amounts of torque, which in this case combines with the truck’s sheer weight to ensure an unflustered ride unaffected by crosswinds or pock-marked road surfaces. There’s space for six adults in crew cab models, plus room for a quad bike on the back. The towing capacity is greater than anyone is ever likely to need, and there’s loads of space inside.

For all that, the Silverado has major question marks hanging over it. The lack of crash test data and standard safety kit are major concerns, especially on a vehicle this hard to maneuver in smaller spaces. The interior is low-rent, standard equipment is miserly, and the gas engine’s gearbox makes it a poor choice. Cheaper Silverados make the most sense, if you’re willing to drive a vehicle with 1990s levels of safety and tech.

Check prices for the 2023 Chevy Silverado 2500HD »