The heavy-duty truck market is a competitive one that mostly comes down to three major brands: Chevrolet, Ford, and Ram. While 1500-level trucks are made for average, everyday driving, the heavy-duty models are designed for extensive labor. Put simply, the 3500-level trucks are the ones you want for hard use around the farm. I grew up around large trucks like these––a 2003 Chevy Duramax 2500 Dually and a 1986 Ford C70, to name a few. In the end, I’ve developed a preference for GM when it comes to trucks. Since it’s time to buy a new farm truck, I decided to take a new 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD LT trim, regular cab, long bed, Duramax for a spin.
The 2022 Silverado 3500 HD’s max tow capacity ranges from 16,120 pounds to 36,000 pounds, depending on which engine you get and what your setup is. For example, the regular cab, long box with RWD can tow the most, while the extended cab short bed can tow the least. I chose to test drive the model that comes in second with towing––the regular cab, long box model in 4WD. This specific model can tow up to 31,760 pounds, which is more than enough to tackle a loaded livestock trailer or our Kubota tractor and accompanying equipment.
My family also likes to use a truck bed camper for fishing trips. As a result, payload capacity is important, which is another reason I chose to try out this model. This particular Silverado 3500 HD setup offers a max payload capacity of 6,196 pounds. For reference, your average truck bed camper weighs around 2,500 pounds dry, but you have to factor in additional cargo, which adds to that total. A Silverado 1500 only offers a 2,270-pound max payload, meaning it would barely move an empty truck bed camper. The Silverado 3500 HD regular cab, long box is definitely your best bet if you own a truck bed camper like us.
When you opt for a truck that’s this capability-focused, you’re not expected to have the smoothest ride in the world. The suspension just isn’t made for comfort. That said, the first thing I noticed about this truck is that it doesn’t ride any worse than my old 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport did. It’s certainly no Range Rover, but it also doesn’t make you feel like you’re on an outdated amusement park ride, either.
Cargo Capacity and Interior Space
We’ve got several vehicles in this family, including a 2003 regular cab GMC Sierra, a 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, and a 2021 Jeep Wrangler Willys. We each own and prefer our own rides, and between our SUVs, we’re not looking for family-friendly space. The regular cab, long box Silverado offers three seats with no back seating area. This leaves even more space for bed cargo, hence why this is the perfect vehicle for a truck bed camper. Despite the first-row-only seating, this truck still feels very spacious. I’m very short, so the available legroom was more than enough for me, but I’d imagine that taller folks would feel comfortable––at least, more content than they would in other trucks.
Now, this leaves us with bed space, which is one of the Silverado 3500 HD’s best highlights. The long box option offers 83.5 cubic feet of space, which is more than any other truck in its class. This particular model came with an EZ Lift tailgate, which includes a power lock and remote open option. Upon opening, the tailgate slowly lowers, so you don’t have to worry about abrupt jarring. The LT model includes an available Multi-Flex Tailgate feature as well, which offers even more fun features––an Inner Gate Work Surface, Full-Width Step, and more––but I didn’t get to try it out on this specific truck.
Back when we needed a farm truck in the past, all that mattered was power and capacity. We still don’t want a bunch of safety features or unnecessary technologies on our farm trucks, but additional help with trailering is definitely not a bad thing. I enjoyed test driving this model because it includes several handy trailer tech features that make it much easier to hook and unhook your trailer, especially if you’re alone.
Firstly, the Silverado 3500 HD includes an available 8-view camera system. It includes four hitch views, six driving views, and five parking views. Your hitch views help when you’re hooking up a trailer on your own. The drive views include handy features such as an “Invisible Trailer View” and an “Inside Trailer View.” I found the latter especially cool for livestock owners since you can make sure your animals are doing well without having to pull over.
There’s also a standard trailering package on every trim level, which means you get a 2.5-inch receiver with a 2-inch insert, a 7-pin wiring connector, and something called “Hitch Guidance.” Even if you don’t opt for the available 8-camera system, Hitch Guidance is present to help you line up your hitch to your trailer. This system pairs with your traditional rearview camera. When it’s time to back up your trailer, Hitch Guidance provides lines to help guide you.
Another handy standard feature on this model is Tow/Haul Mode with Auto Grade Braking. This system is something you definitely want on your truck if you plan on doing any serious towing and hauling. It allows your truck to automatically shift into a lower gear, especially on hills, providing more power and control to make up for the heavy load.
Other standard features include Hill Start Assist and Electronic Trailer Sway Control. When you’re parked on an incline, Hill Start Assist kicks in, holding you in place until you can accelerate. As expected, Electronic Trailer Sway Control helps eliminate trailer sway and fishtailing. I love that this model includes so many standard trailering features, mostly because you can buy a lower trim like the WT or LT and still get all the trailering tech you’ll ever need.
Does the 2022 Silverado 3500 HD LT Trim Pass the Farm Truck Test?
Chevy really hits the nail on the head here, offering a model that includes all the performance and trailering tech you could want without forcing you to buy unnecessary technologies. You will get basic tech features such as standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity on this model, but the 8-inch infotainment center is easy to navigate, and there aren’t any overly complex technologies to deal with. This is especially important for me to find in a truck since my parents and grandfather will be driving it, too.
I will say that if you’re going to invest in this truck, don’t waste your time with the 6.6-liter V8 gasoline version. Your money is definitely best spent on the Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 engine, which is paired with an Allison 10-speed transmission. While the gasoline option will still get you decently far, keep in mind that the Duramax engine can almost pull double the amount that the gasoline engine can.
Plus, if you’re anything like most farmers, you want to keep your truck for a long time. Diesel engines can last over half a million miles without any major issues, roughly twice as long as gasoline engines. Diesel is also more fuel-efficient. While diesel prices are usually higher, you’ll still keep far more for your money when you stick with the Duramax engine. And after test driving this Silverado 3500 HD, I can honestly say that it’s the best farm truck setup I’ve tested out so far.