Trucks are among the most versatile vehicles on the market, able to seamlessly shift between a number of distinct duties while providing unsurpassed power and cargo room. This flexibility makes them the perfect choice for those in the market for a capable work vehicle, but not all pickups are created equal. So what makes a truck particularly well-suited to life on the job site? Aside from sheer horsepower, torque, and the like, there are a number of features that are a must-have for any truck looking to make a name for itself in the demanding world of construction and the trades. Created with these demands in mind, the 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD checks all the boxes: rugged construction, wide-ranging functionality, and power in spades. Let’s take a closer look at the latest heavy-duty offering from Chevy and dissect just what makes it one of the best work trucks on the market.
Form Versus Function
There are a lot of… pretty trucks out there today. The SUV craze of the late ’90s drew many consumers looking to combine the pickup’s functionality with the comfort and convenience of a sedan, giving drivers a new option that had an almost instant impact on the industry as a whole. This extended to the truck segment, where manufacturers started including more creature features, design flair, and accessibility in response to the trend. There’s nothing wrong with catering to consumer demand, but to some extent, this led to a watered-down version of the traditional pickup that put more emphasis on style and seating than brawn and functionality.
Heavy Duty trucks like the 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD represent the other side of the coin: highly capable, no-nonsense work trucks designed with a specific purpose in mind. That’s not to say these pickups aren’t generously equipped with the tech and entertainment features that have become standard on most modern vehicles: they’re just the icing on the cake. At their core, trucks like these are more like a tool than anything else. They’re designed to complete a task in the most efficient way possible, which is a particularly important feature for those working to meet tight deadlines. Like any good tool, it’s all about the specs, so let’s dive into some of the most important metrics when it comes to work trucks and see how the 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD stacks up.
Capability by the Numbers
While a lot of ads and reviews focus on payload capacity, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is often a much more useful number when it comes to judging a work truck’s relative power. In short, the GVWR is the maximum weight that a truck can accommodate while still operating safely. This number includes not only whatever cargo you’re hauling in the back, but also the weight of the truck itself and all passengers and fuel. With a GVWR of up to 14,000 lbs, the Silverado 3500 HD has more than double the weight rating of trucks like the Ford Ranger and Honda Ridgeline and is more than capable of breezing through nearly any towing and hauling job with ease.
Based on GVWR, a truck’s class is another way of categorizing weight capacity. Ranging from Class 1 to Class 8, most drivers will likely never encounter anything past a Class 1 or 2. The Silverado 3500 HD rates as a Class 3, defined as pickups with a GVWR of between 10,001 and 14,000 pounds. A little clarification here: while the Silverado 3500 HD is marketed as a “Heavy Duty” truck (thus the “HD”), it actually falls into the medium-duty category when using this Class system. The official Heavy Duty designation is reserved for 18-wheelers and other massive vehicles with GVWRs of over 26,000 pounds. The Silverado is “Heavy Duty” when compared to stablemates like the Silverado 1500 and 2500, which fall into Class 2. These numerical designations loosely line up with the old half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-ton categories, though the figures those names are based on are a little outdated at this point.
Payload is how much you can haul in your truck, but towing capacity is all about how much weight you can pull behind it. This is an especially important factor to consider if you plan on routinely using your pickup to haul heavy equipment such as a skid steer or diesel generator. With a generous towing capacity of up to 36,000 pounds, the Silverado 3500 HD can do all that in more, allowing drivers to bring along everything they need to get the job done. All-speed traction and trailer sway control will keep drivers safe no matter what they’re hauling, and available hill descent control allows you to roll down even the steepest grade with peace of mind.
When it comes to work trucks, more isn’t always better. Some drivers who regularly find themselves operating in particularly snowy or muddy conditions will appreciate the improved traction offered by four-wheel drive, but two-wheel drive is actually the better choice for most scenarios. Not only are two-wheel drive trucks more fuel-efficient and generally less expensive than their 4×4 counterparts, but they also usually offer better towing and payload ratings. The Silverado 3500 HD comes standard with rear-wheel drive, with an optional 4×4 upgrade for those in more challenging climates.
Generally speaking, trucks that run on gas engines offer higher payload capacity than their diesel counterparts. It’s a trade-off though, as diesel engines tend to produce more torque, which improves towing capacity. It all comes down to what you plan on using the truck for. Lots of runs to the lumber yard to load up on building materials? The payload advantages of the gas engine make it the ideal choice. But for drivers who find themselves routinely hooking up a trailer and hauling heavy loads, diesel is the way to go. The Silverado 3500 HD offers drivers an option between the two; it comes standard with a traditional 6.6-liter gas V8 with an optional Duramax 6.6-liter Turbo-Diesel V8. The diesel setup is the best bet for drivers who do a lot of towing, with nearly twice the torque of the gas engine (910 pound-feet to 464 pound-feet).
A Versatile Design
While trucks historically prioritized hauling material over people, larger passenger cabs have become common in the industry in recent years. With the ability to accommodate up to six passengers, Extended, Double, and Crew Cabs are useful for those looking to ferry crews from one job site to another. These larger cabins also give these pickups increased versatility, allowing them to haul the whole family around should the need arise.
The Silverado 3500 HD comes in Regular, Double, and Crew Cab options, with the latter two offering an additional row of seating. The Crew Cab includes additional legroom for second-row passengers, at 43.4 inches to the Extended Cab’s 35.2 inches. The Silverado HD also offers one major advantage over many competitors: while drivers are often asked to sacrifice truck bed space to fit more passengers up front, the 3500 HD provides the same 98.3-inch bed regardless of the configuration. Speaking of the bed, it also includes 12 integrated tie-down points for securing heavy loads.
For those bouncing from job site to job site, the work truck is a rolling workshop. The cabin can provide a nice, quiet place to catch up on paperwork or make calls to clients without the din of heavy machinery in the background. With available built-in Wi-Fi and a 120-volt power outlet, the Silverado 3500 HD has everything you need to complete invoices, conduct conference calls, or find something good to watch on YouTube during your lunch break.
The tailgate itself can serve as an impromptu workbench thanks to Chevy’s innovative Multi-Flex tailgate, which offers six different positions to enhance functionality. In addition to the traditional swing-down tailgate mode, the Silverado features two load stops, with a small panel that folds up from the tailgate to prevent items from sliding out of the back. A foldable inner gate allows drivers to get nearly a foot closer to the bed when the tailgate is down, aiding in loading and unloading. Further, a fold-down step can support up to 375 pounds, making it easier to climb up into the bed, and an integrated work surface provides the perfect place to rest your laptop or lunch.
Invest in a Heavy-Duty Truck
There are countless advantages to investing in a quality work truck. While it’s tempting to conscript your personal vehicle to pull double duty, the demanding nature of the work will prematurely age any truck not designed for the job. Having a separate truck for your business also reduces the chances of missing out on valuable work due to an accident or repair while lending your business an air of professionalism. It also doesn’t have to break the bank, with even powerful work trucks like the Silverado 3500 HD starting at just $35,000. In addition, tax-savvy drivers can deduct many payments for commercial vehicles as business expenses, making work trucks an even better bargain. Offering the sort of power, reliability, and functionality unmatched in lighter-duty vehicles, a work truck like the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD might be exactly what you need to take your business to the next level.