There was a mild buffeting sound passing through the inside of the observation tower as an enormous American flag flapped around the oval track of Texas Motor Speedway, conjoined to scaffolding bolted down to the back of a blue 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD. A world record feet, as it turned out. Trailing the massive flag pulled by the latest Silverado HD was a score of select consumers and their Chevrolet trucks, some of them nearly 20 years old. Present was not a cloud in the sky.
Last week, during the events surrounding the 2016 State Fair of Texas, Chevrolet hosted select media at Texas Motor Speedway to not only watch this spectacle, but to briefly pilot their latest work horses around the oval track to experience the new L5P Duramax in action. All 445 horsepower and 910 foot-pounds of it.
Yes, GM has finally caught up with Ford and Ram trucks on paper with its new engine, up from 397 hp and 765 lb-ft, bypassed the 800 lb-ft realm entirely, and broke into the coveted (yet equally profound) 900 lb-ft+ range. The horsepower and torque figures represent the most abundant figures General Motors has ever offered in either a Chevrolet or GMC truck, period. Eagerly, we leapt into the driver’s seat of a black 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD 3500 dually, turned the key, which let out a robust clack of the 6.6L V8 diesel engine. Clamped to the conventional towing hitch was a 10,000-pound trailer. Next to me was somebody who made sure I didn’t drive on the oval embankments with it. Otherwise known as the No Fun Police.
There wasn’t too much to the task. Simply line up with the starter cones, compress the accelerator pedal, and see how quickly the truck can accelerate with a moderately weighted trailer in tow until we reached the next set of cones. The record of the day was 65 mph. We hit 62. Right as we passed the cones we were instructed to brake for the more curved section of the oval track. Predictably, there was no drama. No wobbly feedback from the steering wheel, and neutral behavior from the trailer, as well. Around the bend was a simple 50-70 mph acceleration test with more cones.
Chevrolet says that while towing 10,000 pounds, acceleration from 50 to 70 mph with the 2017 Silverado HD is as little as 10.6 seconds, 1.5 seconds quicker than the 2016 Silverado HD. We’ll have to take their word for it, as there were no outgoing models sitting around, nor were there any instruments.
The demonstration drive was over as quickly as it began. The all-too-brief takeaway on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD? More performance in a very familiar package. Where it was like controlling a stampede of horses before, now the horses are stronger. We hope to spend more time with the 2017 Silverado HD when the trucks launch early next year.