Edmunds expert review: When folks have some very serious hauling and towing needs, they call on the big boys -- heavy-duty pickups such as the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD. Within this niche segment of vehicular strong men, the Chevy stands as a solid choice among a decidedly small group of competitors.
Putting the Silverado in such good standing are its strong turbodiesel engine, a fully boxed frame for increased rigidity, big brakes and a beefy suspension that not only can handle more than 6,355 pounds of payload but also deliver a fairly smooth and quiet ride. That turbocharged 6.6-liter diesel V8 is a powerhouse, with output rated at 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque. And it comes matched to a cooperative six-speed Allison transmission. Handsome styling and (in the upper trims) a stylish and finely finished cabin also add to this big brute's allure.
All these strong traits keep the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD (and its GMC Sierra twin) in the thick of the competition. Put wheel-to-wheel against its rivals, the Silverado 3500 can't quite match the Ford F-350 Super Duty in terms of all-out work capacities, nor, in the lower trims, can it match the Ram 3500 in terms of upscale cabin ambience. But the Chevy boasts the best all-around performance and feels the most composed while towing a very heavy load, thanks to its more precise steering and arrow-straight tracking.
None of these heavy-duty pickups represents a clear winner or loser. It's like trying to pick among Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Willie Mays. In the end, choosing the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD over the rest could come down to something as small as styling preference or brand allegiance. 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
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