First Drive: Chevrolet 3500HD

While most of the time I find myself driving luxury and sports cars, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to drive what would be an amazing race car hauler, the 2021 Chevrolet 3500HD dually. Built to haul it was a far cry from the old Chevy ranch truck that I learned how to drive a manual transmission in. 

While this is the base model, it still has a lot of modern amenities that I didn't expect in the base model truck, but it was lacking what I would expect in a vehicle with an MSRP north of $51,000. Optional extras included power windows and door locks, a built-in 5th Wheel hitch, and a spray-in Bedliner. Inside the sparse interior has a utilitarian rubber floor covering, a basic infotainment screen, and manual seats. 

The 6.6 liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel the Chevrolet pulls like a freight train and on the highway, it is noticeable that this truck needs at least 5,000 lbs on the back end to help smooth the ride out. Sadly I didn't have anything I needed to tow, but if I had the Silverado would have been more than able to handle anything I could throw at it. This truck, equipped this way, has a maximum towing capacity of 36,000 pounds, which is more than Ford or RAM (in this class). So it is the truck to have if you need to tow a lot of heavy equipment or a fairly large yacht. If you don't want to use the gooseneck, don't worry, the 3500HD can tow 20,000 labs from the standard hitch. 

The truck is surprisingly easy to drive, but the lack of seat adjustability to me would be enough to upgrade to the next trim level up to get the power seat. The Duramax is smooth, very powerful, and even fairly quiet. With 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque the truck has no problem getting up and going, he new Allison 10-speed automatic is very responsive and should be great for towing, we have a version of this transmission in one of our company fleet trucks and fully loaded it will climb nearly anything. 

Now obviously as you add more equipment, doors, and goodies the towing capacity goes down, but even then a crew cab 3500HD will still town 14,500 lbs from the conventional hitch. That is where the real question for most truck buyers comes in, do you really need the maximum towing capacity? Or do power seats, a heated steering wheel, and a back seat make more sense for 99% of people? The answer is obviously the latter. Spend the few extra thousand dollars for the LT with all the equipment plus the better-looking chrome bumpers and grill. Also, spend the extra $745 for the Advanced Trailering Package, it makes life towing much easier, I tested it out on a previous generation Silverado and it well worth the extra money. Plus the package also gets you a bevy of other great options. 

If you do happen to be the kind of trucker that does need the capability of towing mega boats or entire teams of horses, then Chevy has a truck for you, and it is really good at being a work truck. If you have a need to occasionally tow a race car, jetski, or make a run to Home Depot for some 2X4s, perhaps a Chevrolet Colorado is a better choice and trust me they are a lot easier to park. 

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