The Chevy Silverado HD lineup gets several updates for the 2016 model year. These include the Digital Steering Assist system, factory installed 5th wheel/gooseneck hitch preparation package, and spray-in bed liner. Still, we have not pulled our big and heavy gooseneck trailer with the truck. This High Country Crew Cab 4×4 dually is ready to take on the Ike Gauntlet towing challenge and go up against the 2016 Ram 3500 HD for theGold Hitch best towing heavy duty truck award. How does it do at towing the 21,400 lbs trailer up the steepest interstate to over 11,158 feet above sea level? Find out here.
The trailer and the ballast were carefully set up to match the run with the 2016 Ram HD. This time, we are towing a 2016 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Denali, but the trailer weight is identical and the tongue weight is dialed in at around 20%. We used water containers and cinder blocks to get the right weight and load distribution. We even compensated for not having Nathan during this run.
The 2016 model year truck is powered by the familiar 6.6L V8 Duramax turbo-diesel. The motor has not changed over the last couple of years. It still produces 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. The 6-speed Allison automatic transmission still does the shifting. The Chevy comes with the exhaust brake, integrated brake controller, and all the equipment to do heavy towing. Still, it’s maximum towing capacity (22,600 lbs for this configuration) is among the lowest in the class.
The Digital Steering Assist system was added for 2016 to improve highway speed stability and slower speed maneuvers.
Competition is heating up, and we have seen GM testing the next generation of the HD trucks over the last two years.
Check out this surprising Ike Gauntlet run in the video below, and come back at 6pm MT on March 14, 2016 for the 2016 Gold Hitch awards announcements.
[Spoiler alert: the table below the video shows the results of the Ike Gauntlet run.]
The uphill performance between the two trucks as about the same. The Chevy gained two points on the time and lost one point with the efficiency, when compared to the Ram. However, the noticeable difference was in the downhill performance. This is where the Chevy separated itself by five points. It simply required fewer brake applications on the way down.
|2016 Chevy Silverado 3500||2016 Ram 3500|
|Model||Crew Cab High Country 4×4||CrewCab Limited 4×4|
|Engine||6.6-liter V8||6.7-liter I6|
|Power (hp / lb-ft)||397 / 765||385 / 900|
|Tow Rating (lbs)||22,600 (3.73 axle)||30,310 (4.10 axle)|
|Test Load (trailer + cargo + ppl)||22,150 lbs||22,150 lbs|
|Suspension Sag||2.25 in||0.5 in|
|Down: Brake #||2||7|
|Total Ike Score (out of 100)||56||51|
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been writing and reporting at TFL since 2011.