• 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Ike Gauntlet Preview and First Impression

    The Fast Lane Truck puts trucks through one of the harshest tests we can come up with – the Ike Gauntlet. Known around the office simply as “The Ike”, the test consists of running a truck up an 8 mile stretch of I-70 high in the Rocky Mountains while towing near its limits to test downhill braking, uphill acceleration, and overall stability, to name a few. Each year, the biggest and baddest towing rig in each segment to finish the test above 11,000 feet above sea level gets crowned with the Gold Hitch Award. Recently, a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4×4 became the first competitor to finish The Ike and set the bar for the challengers.

    2016 Chevrolet Silverado High Country
    2016 Chevrolet Silverado High Country

    The top-of-the-line Silverado Crew Cab we tested (pictured above) came equipped with a 6.2L gasoline V8 that makes 420 ponies and 460 lb-ft of rotational force mated to an 8-speed transmission. A fuel-saving 3.23 axle ratio gave it a 9,100 lb max towing capacity, so we loaded up a trailer with 9,000 lbs (just to be safe) and headed up to the “top of the world”. Up and down the steep grades of the Rockies, the Silverado pulled the trailer through cold and icy conditions while feeling confident and in control.

    2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab 4×4

    • Engine: 6.2L EcoTec3 V8
    • Power: 420 @ 5,600 rpm
    • Torque: 460 @ 4,100 rpm
    • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
    • Rear Axle Ratio: 3.23
    • Max Towing: 9,100
    • Max Payload:
    • EPA-estimated Fuel Economy: 15/21/17 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
    • As-tested Price: $

    So what kind of numbers did this year’s first Gold Hitch contender produce? We’ll have the video with results for you soon. Until then, check out last year’s Ike Gauntlet run with a 2015 Silverado, equipped with a Max Towing package.

    And here is the the 2016 Chevy Silverado Ike Gauntlet run.

    Brian Waring
    Brian Waring
    Brian is an engineer by trade but his true passion is anything automotive. He wakes up every morning to search the web for the latest industry news. He enjoys taking his Tacoma 4×4 off-road in the mountains of Colorado where he spends his free time hiking, biking, and snowboarding with his wife and dogs near their Rocky Mountain home.

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    43 thoughts on “2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Ike Gauntlet Preview and First Impression

    1. I’m not really sure why these 8 speed trucks with different rear end ratios have such dramatically different tow ratings. The truck with taller gears will run nearly the same rpms at one lower gear, which makes no difference whatsoever. I seriously doubt the lack of a very short first gear is sufficient to reduce tow ratings by thousands of pounds.

      J2807 should have stipulated that the only number that can be published is the limit of the test, not some arbitrary lower number setup for marketing purposes.

      1. Braking capability, transmission strength and frame strength could be the contributing factors. Were you referring to different models from the same company or comparing different companies?

        Do you have a specific example? I guess price gouging could be part of it.

        1. To get the high tow ratings its not just a little bit more gear in the “Max tow package”. Different suspension/springs, cooling, heavier duty rear ends and other bits, in addition to the gearing.

        2. According to GM
          Larger 9.76″ rear axle (More aggressive gearing on most models)
          trailer brake controller
          better radiator
          revised shock tuning for increased control
          heavy duty rear springs

          Usually includes larger towing mirrors as well.

        3. I was thinking about all half tons generally. I know for certain that Ram doesn’t change anything other than the rear gears in their trucks, yet the tow ratings drop substantially with different gearsets.

          I am under the impression, but don’t know for certain, that Chevy doesn’t change anything other than the rear gears as well, and changes the tow ratings dramatically from one set to the next. If someone could confirm that I would be interested to know.

          Ford has a lot of things that can change, so they may well be changing quite a bit when you get a different rear end from the factory.

          It just seems absolutely silly to me that a Ram 1500 hemi can be rated to tow ~8k with 3.21 gears and ~10k with 3.92 gears, when the only real difference is going to be that the 3.21 will accelerate in 3 or 4, and cruise in 5 or 6, whereas the 3.92 truck will accelerate in 4 or 5 and cruise in 6 or 7 (specific gears will of course depend upon the specific situation). It makes no difference to the truck if its turning 3k rpms going 50mph in 6th gear or turning 3k rpms and going 50mph in 7th gear.

          1. Agreed – it seems like major differences vs the axle ratio differences – I had a 2014 RAM 1500 Hemi with the 3.21 axle and now have a 2015 RAM EcoDiesel with the 3.55 (the standard on the EcoD – no 3.21 option). These result in the lowest possible tow ratings for both trucks – short bed crews. 8,050 lbs towing for the Hemi and only 7,600 lbs for the EcoDiesel.

            Both towed the same 5,000 lb boat and trailer on the same somewhat hilly route. The hemi easily towed the boat as expected (tow/haul mode not needed or wanted as the truck wanted to get to 8th gear). The 3.21 ratio meant nothing to me with this tow weight. The mpg was about 15.5 during the tow.

            The EcoD noticed the boat behind it even less. I’m sure due more to the max torque at far lower engine speeds than anything to do with the 3.55 axle. Returned 18.9 mpg on the tow. Not really sure I have a point here but more about the info. I guess if you were truly towing at the limit, the axle ratio might be truly noticeable.

            1. Had two 2000 f150 4.2l 5 spd, one 3.08 one 3.55. The 3.08 was miserable towing a 1500 lbs popup camper, like just leave it in 3rd miserable. The 3.55 gear overdrive was useable with minimal downshifts. Believe they had a 2000 lb and 4000 lb rating.
              I’ll agree the ratings are ambiguous, but shorter gears make a world of difference.

            2. To follow up to canoepaddler, I’d assume that the 410 ft-lbs of torque from the Hemi and 420 ft-lbs from the EcoD make up for a lot > regardless of axle ratio (vs circa 2000 F150s).

              The EcoD is ridiculous on low end torque. I had to have the wheels of my boat trailer off a concrete ramp sitting in sand and then pull the boat and trailer out and back onto the ramp – an 8 inch or so lip. I put the RAM EcoD in 4WD Low and it was like I wasn’t hooked to a trailer. I literally just pulled it up onto the sandy concrete ramp like it was a jet ski.

              This was 22 ft Glastron bowrider deep V with the 5.0L V8 Volvo-Penta and an 1,100+ lb EZ Load trailer. A lot of gear, fuel, etc. This same torque makes driving around and passing people in suburbia seem effortless.

          2. I don’t think you read my post above yours. GM changes more than the rear gears. Can’t speak for RAM and Ford. Ram’s tow ratings are generally much lower than the competitions due to their low GVWR and high curb weight. RAM would love to have a higher GVWR to up their ratings, but the suspension/chassis design doesn’t allow for it.

        1. I believe that ford and GM have been misleading consumers all along. Ram is the only brand that is Jae certified and has realistic tow ratings. Your article proves that GM is full of s**t ford is as well.
          I laugh out loud when I see the Chevrolet commercial with the three garage doors, the first door says best conventional HD towing (liars) if that was the case…… GM would have sent an HD dully to compete against Ram and Ford up the Ike gauntlet.

          1. For what it’s worth, originally, Toyota was the only one to pass the SAE J2807 towing test with their trucks. At least that’s what I read a while back. I applaud Ram for certifying their trucks as well. This standard should really help with deceptive marketing from all manufacturers.

            The SAE J2807 standard should help prevent the crap transmissions put into half ton trucks like they used to before the mid 90s. It was fairly common knowledge back then that towing too close to max too often would always result in damage. Fortunately, all of the manufacturers are building much better trannies for their half tons now.

          2. No such thing as JAE, smart guy. SAE J2807. Ram is not the only, they weren’t even the first, Toyota was. GM was set to use it but Ford pulled out at the last minute and waited until their new truck came out so they could make sure they didn’t have to drop their ratings.

            GM and Ford both use it.

            Want to talk about manipulative lying in ads? Watch any Fiatsler ad, they’re hilarious with the stretching of the truth.

            Conventional HD towing is a fact, it’s not 5th wheel. GM invented the class of hitch designed to allow them to have the higher ratings than the competitors, and that’s a fact.

            Some of you internet “truck guys” don’t know anything.

    2. What about the differential itself, motor revs maybe the higher with the 8 speed, but in the end the 3:21 ratio stays the same , drive shaft speed would be the same for any given speed, and the mechanical advantage isn’t what it would be with the 3.92 so the differential may run hotter, more load on the bearings etc, with the lower numerical ratio.

    3. GM, baby all the way. You can’t beat these trucks! I’ve had nothing but great luck with GM trucks. I’m gonna either buy the half ton with 6.2L or the 3/4 ton with the duramax. I have been looking at a Power Wagon as well, but with most of my driving down the highway, I might just go for the Chevy. If you do the maintenance they will go over 300,000 miles as I’ve done it with these trucks. I don’t believe Fiat trucks (Ram) have good enough transmissions to go that far. I’ve never changed a tranny in any of my GM trucks. I think any truck except for the ecoboost will get you to 300,000 if you run synthetic oil and do simple maintenance. However GM builds a great transmission, and I believe that longjevity is the difference. The jury is still out on the ecoboost. I don’t think it’ll easily make it to 300,000 without a lot of sensors being replaced along the way. Along with turbos, and who knows a few motors burning up. Those engines are running at peak boost a lot of the time. I like GM’s approach, and the 5.0L Ford coyote is a good motor, but doesn’t run with the big boy GM small blocks.

      1. my dads 2010 suburban made it to 336,000 by the time he sold it earlier this summer, so yea GM products last a long time if you treat them well, the only issue was the transmission at this point. im not a huge fan of the ford ecoboost engines because they make up for the smaller engine with the turbo, not a good polity in my eyes, GM just has a good base line for naturally aspirated engines.

      2. @Will

        Glad you’ve had good luck with GM trucks. Just because you personally haven’t changed a tranny on a GM truck, there are plenty of those who have. The 8 speed in the RAM half tons is probably the best transmission currently on the market.

        As for the EcoBoost engines, I wonder why you don’t feel they’ll last? There’s no reason they wouldn’t. They provide excellent towing characteristics.

        1. GM’s 8L90 has a max torque rating 738 lb-ft. Fiat Chrysler uses the 8HP70, a modified version of the ZF 8HP, in the Ram 1500’s and has a max torque rating of 516 lb-ft.

          What makes the weaker transmission the best on the market?

    4. it says the 3.23 rear axle it the fuel saving one and rated for 9100, the 3.43 is rated for 12000, what would be the mpg difference between the two if i had the 6.2 with the 8 gear trans?

      1. Only speaking from the RAM standpoint but I’ve seen real world reports in our little RAM forums where going 3.55 to 3.92 in the EcoDiesel cuts the highway mileage down by about 1 to 1.5 mpg. City remains the same more or less…Not sure of the difference between a 3.21 and 3.92 in the gas models…I’d guestimate a slight ding on the highway…

    5. I am still trying to figure out why my 2011 F150 with the 5.0 6spd auto is only rated to tow 7900lbs but a 2010 equipped IDENTICALLY but with the 5.4 & 6spd is rated to tow 2000 lbs MORE. the 5.0 has more hp and more torque at any given RPM. why would the exact same truck with less hp and torque be rated to tow more. The logic just doesn’t add up.
      Either the 2010 5.4 and its 10,000 # tow rating was inaccurate, or the 2011+ 5.0 was under-rated to get people who tow to step up to the Ecoboost.
      I still say it was a sales ploy to get buyers to drink the Ecoboost koolaid.
      I can’t wait for the SAE testing to be used across the board. Then we will see what the “real” towing capabilities are.

      1. @Mark

        I know the 5.4L makes a little less torque, but my understanding was that it produced its torque at lower RPM levels than the 5.0L. We have a 2011 F150 5.0L and it’s a great engine, but its a revver.

        The EcoBoost is not Koolaid, it’s a better towing motor than any other Ford truck engine option except the Powerstroke.

      2. There is more to towing than just the HP and torque!!!!! If you don’t have a tow package, you may not have the beefed up cooling, brakes, HD driveline parts, etc.

    6. @JeffK,

      A Hemi or any other half ton in 4 LOW would have pulled your boat out just fine as well. Low range is quite the multiplier.

    7. Another 6.2 truck!! Will we ever see a truck with the 5.3 in it? Not everyone can afford the top of the line truck with the 6.2 in it

      1. Yep, business as usual at TFL. I am sure they will test the 3.5L EB up the Ike for the 5th time before the get a Ford 5.0 as well. At least they were able to test the 2.7tt but it was a bit too easy. The manufactures will want to send their best in order to win the Golden Hitch. I would would be nice to see the Hemi run it as well.
        There doesn’t seem to be much weight on cost.

    8. The roads on the Ike gauntlet must be clear? Hope you guys also got a chance to run the new Tacoma as well!

      1. The 2016s are just hitting lots, there are lots of trucks they haven’t tested yet.

        Give it some time. It will have no problem competing with the 5.0 and Hemi trucks. The 6.2 is just there to show who is boss.

        1. Apparently GM doesn’t have much faith in the 6.2L for longevity and hard work…that’s why this engine does not go in the gas 2500 and 3500 trucks. Rather, they use the underpowered 6.0L. The somewhat common Corvette 6.2L engine failures are further evidence that this engine might need a little work. So I guess for those who need to show “who’s boss” on their way to the mall, there’s a 6.2 for that.

          1. How did the 6.0 l compare to Rams 6.4 hemi and the 6.2 l Ford up the pass. Still keeps up and is durable from my experience.

          2. They don’t use the 6.2L in thweir 2500’s because they favor a detuned iron-block V8 over the aluminum 6.2 LT1. You could say the same about Ford’s engine choices the SD, you won’t see the 3.5EB or 5.0 Coyote under the hood. Or by your logic, Ford doesn’t have faith in their EcoBoost engines – plenty of guys with stock 3.5’s throwing rods, stalling on the highway, or getting quotes for new timing chains. Fiat carries the 5.7 over as the base engine for their 3/4-ton’s since it’s already an iron block V8. They also offer a 6.4 iron block as an upgrade that’s completely unrelated to the 6.4 Hemi used in their cars. None of the three push their heavy duty gas engines for max HP per liter as increasing an engine’s specific output comes at the cost of long-term durability.

            Anybody that plans on using their heavy duty trucks to do heavy duty work wants a high ouput aluminum block engine. It’s less of a concern in a half-ton. It’s the same reason nearly all half-tons on dealer lots will have passsenger tires while all 3/4-tons will have light truck tires.

          3. The 6.2l is an aluminum engine. The loads on a 3/4 ton vs a sports car or even a half ton are completely different so the HD trucks use iron.

            If you don’t have any clue as to what you’re talking about its best to just not say anything.

            There are no common Corvette engine failures. A few due to contamination don’t make for common failures.

            Also, that underpowered 6.0 was the fastest gas HD truck up the mountain… How many other fas HD trucks have no issue going to 2-300k miles? There is a reason why they are considered the most dependable trucks on the planet, its backed by statistics.

    9. Yes Andre, you do have a heavy accent to my Midwest American ears! I can understand why an on-board voice command would have issues understanding what word you are saying. So, probably best to let another tester do the voice commands. I’m just saying:)

    10. Two things. You said you were doing this by most purchased trucks. The GM 6.2L is NOT the most bought Chevy engine package by far while the 5.7L Hemi is for Ram and 3.5L Ecoboost is for Ford. The most purchases truck and engine combo for GM is the 5.3L whcih for some odd reason I hardly ever see get tested. Secondly, while the 6.2L is the most powerful gas engine, it is not the most powerful engine in it’s class like was stated. That goes to the 440hp and 860lb-ft Powerstroke which is available in the F250 which is also a class 2 truck. Half tons are in a different sub class as three quarter tons, but they both still are in the same class 2.

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