The Silverado series of trucks is one of the cornerstones of the Chevy lineup. Chevy makes some of the most impressive pickups on the road, and Silverado models are the pinnacle of what they offer. That being said, the Silverado 3500 HD is a pretty niche item designed to appeal to folks who need some serious power from their truck. Most drivers are going to be more than satisfied by what the standard Silverado 1500 can do and never need the capability of the Silverado 3500 HD. For some brands, that would be reason enough to leave the heavy-duty truck as something of an afterthought, but not Chevy.
With the updated 2024 Silverado 3500 HD, Chevy has shown that they’re looking for any way possible to make their most powerful consumer pickup even more remarkable. They’ve improved both of its engines, updated the interior on most models, and improved one of the most important aspects of owning this truck: towing. All of this means that someone looking for a Chevy Silverado 3500 HD for sale this year is going to get more from this truck than ever before. Let’s take a look at what Chevy’s doing with the Silverado 3500 HD.
Updates for Both Engines
For a heavy-duty truck like the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD, nothing is more important than the engine, since everything it can do relies on that power. The Silverado 3500 HD has had two engines available for it for quite a few years now: a standard 6.6L gas engine and an available 6.6L Duramax turbo diesel. For the 2024 model year, Chevy is improving both of these engines to ensure that drivers get a better experience behind the wheel, no matter which one they prefer.
First and foremost, Chevy’s popular Allison 10-speed automatic transmission is now standard for both engines, replacing the six-speed automatic that had been standard on the gas engine. This transmission provides smaller steps between gears, enabling the gas engine to maintain peak power for longer periods without the need to shift so drastically between gears. For the driver, this provides a better overall experience with a more confident feel to the engine. It has increased the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of the Silverado 3500 HD with the standard gas engine from 24,000 lbs to 26,000 lbs.
The big news for fans of the Duramax turbo diesel is that Chevy’s engineers have upgraded and improved this already-impressive engine. On last year’s model, the diesel engine put out 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque; for the 2024 model year, this engine now delivers 470 hp and 975 lb-ft of torque for better overall performance. Beyond these numbers, combustion in the engine is now more efficient and its low-end torque has been boosted by up to 25%, which is perfect for pushing uphill or hauling a lot of weight behind the Silverado 3500 HD.
New Exterior and Interior Upgrades
On the outside, the Silverado 3500 HD has received a facelift for the 2024 model year that includes a new front fascia, new headlights, and a new grille. It’s not radically different—the Silverado doesn’t suddenly look like the Cybertruck or anything—but it’s a good-looking update. The C-shaped LED lamps on the front-end are probably my favorite exterior touch for the new model year. They frame the grille nicely and give it a strong, clean look.
For me, the bigger improvements are found on the inside. A good-looking truck is nice, but I’m always more interested in what’s going on with the interior. The caveat to mention, before getting into the interior improvements, is that this update has not been provided on every model. Technically, all models have a new interior, but the real updates are found on the LT and higher trims. The entry-level WT trim has been redesigned like the others, but lacks the best features, so keep that in mind.
LT and higher trims have a 13.4-inch infotainment display, joined by a 12.3-inch driver information center screen. Together, the two of them look stunning, and provide drivers with a ton of visible display area. I particularly like that the central infotainment screen is canted toward the driver slightly, making visibility even easier. The center console has been redesigned to be more intuitive, particularly with the available wireless charger. Chevy has retained plenty of physical controls for audio and other systems, plus higher trim levels include authentic leather-wrapped surfaces and real wood accents, something I like to see in an increasingly synthetic auto industry.
Improvements to Trailering Technology
Someone interested in the Silverado 3500 HD had better be planning on doing some serious towing. Otherwise, the potential and power of this truck is going to waste. Chevy gets that, and has improved the towing tech on the 3500 HD in several ways. One of these ways is Adaptive Cruise Control with Trailer, which enables the truck’s Adaptive Cruise Control system to account for the added weight, drag, and increased braking distance of a trailer. Along with this, they’ve developed an Enhanced Transparent Trailer system—tech that uses cameras to give you a virtual view through what you’re towing—to include fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers for better visibility when taking advantage of this truck’s greatest towing potential.
There’s a Trailer Side Blind Zone Alert that extends the area of the standard Side Blind Zone Alert to include the length of a trailer for better awareness on the road. One feature that’s quite nice is the GCW Alert, which warns the driver if the vehicle and trailer hitched to it exceeds the Gross Combined Weight Rating for the truck, creating the potential for damage or unsafe driving conditions. In addition to these new features, popular options from previous years remain, such as the 14 available camera angles for easy hitching and watching what you’re towing. All around, Chevy is making towing easier and safer with the new options and upgrades available for the Silverado 3500 HD.
One Thing Missing
The one thing that Chevy’s does not offer with the Silverado 3500 HD is the off-road focused ZR2 trim for it. This would be a strange thing for me to even bring up, except that they are adding the ZR2 trim to the Silverado HD series, but only on the Silverado 2500 HD, not the 3500 HD. Fantastic off-road potential and the ability to go just about anywhere will certainly be a popular option for the 2500 HD, and I’m sure a lot of drivers are excited for it, but it’s a shame we won’t see that kind of capability with the incredible towing power of this truck. Perhaps if the Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 proves popular enough, we’ll see it as an option for the 3500 HD too, but not just yet.
So What’s Chevy Doing?
In the end, one thing is clear: Chevy’s goal is to take one of the most powerful and capable trucks on the road and make it even better. They’re improving performance with both engines, making the truck look better, and adding a number of upgrades to the redesigned interior for a superior driving experience. Combine all of those improvements with new technology to make towing even easier and safer, and you have a heavy-duty truck that is ready to tackle just about anything you can imagine. I’m hoping we’ll see an off-road ready ZR2 for the Silverado 3500 HD in the not-too-distant future, but otherwise I’m quite impressed with what Chevy is doing. Considering that this isn’t an all-new generation, but simply a refresh, it’s clear that Chevy understands the importance of their Silverado trucks, and that they plan on keeping them a vital part of their larger lineup.