2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Review: A Force To Be Reckoned With

The Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is hardly a year old, and yet is already receiving some substantial upgrades. It just goes to show how competitive the pickup truck segment is in the USA, even on the larger side. It's still powered by the same engine options, including the standard 401-horsepower gas V8. The Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel is still the boss, however. It produces so much torque (910 lb-ft) that the 3500HD requires additional reinforcement on the chassis, axles, and joints. Thanks to its sheer bulk, the Silverado also has more than enough room for passengers and whatever you decide to haul on the back. For 2021, its already class-leading 35,500-pound towing capacity has been increased to 36,000 lbs to firmly establish its dominance over the Ram 3500.

Read in this review:

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Truck Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Truck?

In this cut-throat segment, manufacturers need to constantly update their trucks to keep up with the competition. The 2021 upgrades include an EZ Lift manual tailgate as standard from the LT upwards, while FlexFuel capability is now available for the 6.6-liter gas engine. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available and standard on some models. The most significant upgrade is more customization options for the base Work Truck. While spartan trim has always had the basics, Chevrolet now provides customers with the option of adding both the Safety Confidence Package and Bed View camera on Work Truck models.

Pros and Cons

  • The standard engine has loads of torque
  • Superb cargo and payload capacities
  • Excellent towing capabilities
  • High-tech features on base model
  • Advanced driver-assistance features are available
  • All models are thirsty
  • High-end models are expensive

Best Deals on Silverado 3500HD

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Work Truck (WT)
6.6L V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$36,500
LT
6.6L V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,600
LTZ
6.6L V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$52,500
High Country
6.6L V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$64,300

Silverado 3500HD Truck Exterior

Chevrolet decided to keep the Silverado 3500HD's design the same, even though it gave the underpinnings a thorough revamp. This is most likely because the design was already exactly what it needed to be. It conveys toughness, durability, and a no-nonsense attitude towards hard work. However, with so many models in the lineup, there is still a lot of variety when it comes to overall exterior appearance. All models have a few things in common: double-barrel headlights and an extra-large grille, a slab-sided side view with aggressive haunches on dual rear wheel models, and a basic set of lights at the rear. Most models have "Chevrolet" stamped to a strip on the grille, but the High Country gets the famous Chevy bowtie. Similarly, the top-tier trim gets 20-inch alloy wheels as standard, while the rest make do with 18-inchers. The base DRW models get slightly smaller 17-inch rims.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Front Angle View Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Front Angle View 1 JESSICA LYNN WALKER
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Side View Driving Walker/Chevrolet
See All 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Exterior Photos

Dimensions

There are three body styles to choose from, so dimensions vary. The overall length is 235.5 inches for the Regular Cab with a long bed. The Double Cab with a standard bed is 240.5 inches with a standard bed and 256.5 inches with a long bed. The Crew Cab is the longest at 249.95 inches with a standard bed and 266 inches with a long bed. In terms of wheelbase, 141.55 inches is the shortest option, while the Crew Cab with a long bed has an impressive 172-inch wheelbase. The overall width is 81.75 to 81.85 inches in SRW guise or 96.8 in DRW, while overall height ranges from 80.2 inches to 80.94 inches between configurations. The lightest model in the range is the single-rear-wheel Regular Cab at 6,231 lbs. Weighing in at 8,300 lbs, the Crew Cab with a long bed, diesel engine, and dual rear wheels is the heaviest model.

  • Length 235.5 in
  • Wheelbase 141.6 in
  • Height 80.9 in
  • Max Width 81.8 in

Exterior Colors

Silverado 3500HD Truck Performance

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Side View Driving 1 Walker/Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Side View Driving 2 Walker/Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Steering Wheel Design Chevrolet

Engine and Transmission

The Silverado 3500HD comes standard with a 6.6-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine producing 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that feeds the power to the rear wheels, but four-wheel-drive is available on all models. Providing 0 to 60 mph figures for this truck is meaningless, but it can reach a top speed of 91 mph. The way this engine delivers its power is far more critical, and its performance in this regard is excellent. The full whack of torque is available from 4,000 rpm, which is mighty impressive for a naturally aspirated engine. It provides ample power for most situations, but the V8 diesel is the answer if you want the ultimate.

The 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel is mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission. It generates 445 hp and a whopping 910 lb-ft of torque from just 1,600 rpm. Couple that with the more robust chassis, and you have a class-leading towing machine capable of pulling 36,000 lbs in gooseneck configuration. The conventional tow rating is between 14,500 lbs and 20,000 lbs, depending on the model.

  • Engines
    6.6L Turbo V8 Diesel, 6.6L V8 Gas
  • Transmissions
    10-Speed Automatic, 6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

With an independent suspension at the front and three-stage leaf springs at the rear, the Silverado was never going to provide driving thrills. The leaf springs offer a robust platform for towing and hauling, but with an empty bed, the ride is bouncy. This is not a criticism, as it's par for the course in this segment. All of these trucks tend to bounce without a load.

The gas engine and its six-speed automatic transmission are perfectly fine, but the V8 turbodiesel and its ten-speed make the starter duo feel lethargic. With so much torque and such a wide spread of ratios, there's simply no situation where the truck feels sluggish. But the excessive power and weight do mean you need decent brakes. The standard brakes are epic, and Chevrolet includes electronic nannies to keep everything stable. The chances of needing the nannies are slim, as the Silverado has an inherent stability we appreciate.

The steering deserves a special mention, as Chevrolet still uses good old-fashioned hydraulic assistance. The upside is loads of feedback when off-roading and at higher speed while maintaining a light enough feel for in-town driving. It does require a bit of muscle when making quick maneuvers in town, though.

Silverado 3500HD Truck Gas Mileage

The EPA doesn't provide consumption estimates for large trucks, mainly because everyone would just be depressed. Look, a 6,000 lbs (best case scenario) truck with a V8 engine was never going to contend with the Prius, but the average pickup owner knows what they're in for. Luckily, most owners are more than happy to share their real-world mileage results on forums. The most common figure is 14 mpg in the combined cycle for the V8 diesel. That's on par within the segment and should result in a range of around 500 miles between refills, thanks to a 36-gallon tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    36.0 Gallons
* 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD 2WD Regular Cab 142" Work Truck

Silverado 3500HD Interior

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Central Control Panel Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Climate Control Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Infotainment System Chevrolet
See All 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The seating arrangement depends on the specification. Work Truck and LT trims provide seating for three people in Regular Cab and six in Double and Crew Cab body styles. This is thanks to a three-seater bench in the front, and another added in the back for the larger cabs. High Country and higher-trim models get two individual buckets up front, retaining the three-seat bench in the rear, reducing overall capacity to five. All models have ample room up front, but taller passengers will struggle in the rear of the Double Cab. The Crew Cab adds ten inches of rear legroom, making it the best option for families or crews. Seats are manually adjustable on lower trims, but LTZ and higher trims get ten-way power-adjustable front seats. Visibility is as good as it can be in a truck, though ingress and egress will always be a problem for the vertically challenged. High-end models get around this problem by adding assist steps.

  • Seating capacity
    3-seater
  • Front Leg Room 44.5 in
  • Front Head Room 43.1 in

Silverado 3500HD Trunk and Cargo Space

Chevrolet offers a choice between two bed lengths: 6.8 feet or 8.2 feet. Both are 71.4 inches wide and 21 inches tall. The result is 69.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity in the standard bed, rising to 83.5 cubic feet in the long bed. This is more than any of Chevrolet's rivals provide. Now that the EZ liftgate is standard at a much lower price, on the LT, loading and unloading are easier than ever. Depending on the model, the maximum payload capacity ranges from 4,013 lbs to 7,442 lbs.

Interior storage options comprise two cupholders for front passengers, a large storage area under the center armrest (in applicable models), and two gloveboxes. The door pockets are disappointingly small, but models with rear seats get under-seat storage for smaller items. The seatbacks can also be folded down in a 60/40 split, creating ample storage space behind the front seats.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Dashboard Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Center Stack Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Side View Driving 3 Walker/Chevrolet

Silverado 3500HD Infotainment and Features

Features

Work Truck models are kitted with the basic features, but it's worth noting that Chevrolet offers more than you get in the equivalent Ford. The basic trim consists of vinyl seats with four-way manually-adjustable front seats, manual air conditioning, a 3.5-inch digital display in the instrument cluster, a rearview camera, a rear-seat reminder, and the teen driver system. LT models get a larger display in the instrument cluster, cruise control, keyless entry, and cloth seats. The upgrade to LTZ includes leather seats with ten-way power adjustment and heating, a heated steering wheel, remote start, and an HD rearview camera. Top-spec High Country models come with ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, an eight-inch information display in the instrument cluster, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change alert.

Infotainment

Base models get a seven-inch touchscreen interface. Regular Cab models get a two-speaker sound system, while Double and Crew Cab models get a six-speaker setup. Every trim above the Work Truck gets an eight-inch touchscreen. The good news is that both infotainment systems come standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity. The LT trim adds a Wi-Fi hotspot, while the LTZ and above come with HD Radio and SiriusXM. The High Country includes a wireless charging pad and a seven-speaker Bose premium sound system.

Silverado 3500HD Truck Problems and Reliability

The Silverado seems to be a highly rewarding truck to own. It received 86 out of a possible 100 points for reliability in the J.D. Power Survey. Reviews by owners show that they are particularly impressed by the dealership experience and resale value.

As the new Chevy Silverado 3500HD is still at the very beginning of its lifecycle, there are a few kinks to iron out. The 2020 model was recalled five times. Problems included the hood opening unexpectedly, a roof rail airbag not deploying, and the front center seatbelt not being properly secured. The 2021 model has been recalled twice, for incorrect bolts used to attach seatbelts and for the front center seat belt not being properly secured.

The standard warranty includes a bumper-to-bumper warranty valid for three years/36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty good for five years/60,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Warranty Note:
    Preliminary 2021 Warranty \ 
  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain Note:
    HD Duramax Diesel: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles; Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance Note:
    HD Duramax Diesel: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles; Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

Silverado 3500HD Truck Safety

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has put the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD to review for safety. All models get ABS, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, the teen driver system, and six airbags. The advanced driver-assistance systems are locked behind a paywall, even on the top-tier High Country. The big news this year is that you can now add driver-assistance systems to the Work Truck. This gives Chevrolet the upper hand in the workhorse segment as far as safety is concerned.

Verdict: 🏁Is 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD a good Truck?

The previous iteration of the 3500HD had a towing capacity aligned with trucks a size down from the large pickup truck segment. The brand-new heavy duty Silverado didn't just go for being on par, but rather segment-leading. The result is now a maximum towing capacity of 36,000 lbs, which none of its direct competitors in the US can match. Chevrolet also goes the extra mile by reinforcing the underpinnings of the diesel model, ensuring that the other parts can cope with that massive torque output.

The updates to the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD might not look like much, but the competition is so close that the deciding factor might be something as small and insignificant as wireless Apple CarPlay. We also appreciate Chevy making some driver aids available on workhorses. If your boss gets you one of these beasts, it's a good way of telling whether or not they care about you.

These large pickup trucks are niche vehicles built for specific purposes. Towing capacity and load-carrying ability matter most, and perhaps being class-leading in these departments is enough to make the Silverado 3500HD an excellent truck.

🚘What's the Price of a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Truck?

There are numerous options to choose from, so we'll highlight a few to give you an idea of the pricing. A basic 2WD Regular Cab with a 6.6-liter gas V8 has an MSRP of $36,500. A mid-spec Crew Cab with a standard bed in LT trim retails for $44,400. Upgrading to LTZ trim on the same truck increases the MSRP to $52,500, while High Country takes the price up to $64,300, since this also includes swappin to 4WD. A Crew Cab with a Long Bed, 4WD, dual rear wheels, and the 6.6-liter Duramax V8 engine will cost you a hefty $75,450. The base price of the Chevy Silverado 3500HD excludes the $1,695 destination charge.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Models

See All 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Trims and Specs

🚗What Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Truck Model Should I Buy?

The model you choose depends on what you want to use it for. To gain access to the full 36,000 lbs towing capacity, you're limited to the Regular Cab, which is only available in Work Truck and LT trim. Last year, we complained about the lack of features on these models, especially on the safety side. You can now add more comfort and safety thanks to available packages.

We don't see manySilverados used as everyday transportation for the family, but if you were so inclined, the Crew Cab with a standard bed, 6.6-liter gas V8, and 4WD offers a nice blend of comfort while still being able to work hard. At $65,190, it is pricey, however.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Comparisons

Ram 3500 Ram
Ford F-350 Super Duty Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD401 hpTBC$36,500
Ram 3500 410 hpTBC$36,880
Ford F-350 Super Duty 385 hpTBC$35,745

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD vs Ram 3500

The Ram received a facelift in 2019, cementing its position as the best buy in the large pickup segment. That is, until the new Silverado came along and upset the apple cart in a big way. We'll skip over the gas-powered engines because the diesels matter the most. The Ram's 1,000 lb-ft of torque is more than the 3500HD's 910 lb-ft, though the Silverado has several enhancements underneath that give it a more impressive tow rating.

With so many similar traits, a comparison of the two trucks comes down to the little things. With Chevrolet now offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, the option of adding more safety features to base models, and an EZ Lift tailgate from the LT upwards the range, it created a more significant gap between itself and its rivals. Until they introduce the next round of model updates, that is.

See Ram 3500 Review

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD vs Ford F-350 Super Duty

Ford has quite a significant weapon in its arsenal. The available 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine delivers class-leading power figures of 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft of torque. If you want to brag about power output, this is the one to have. Ford must have hoped that its 35,500 lbs towing capacity would keep it at the top for years, but Chevrolet's 910 lb-ft V8 diesel and reinforced chassis took care of that, if only by 500 lbs. With Chevrolet constantly updating the 3500HD and how much it can tow, the Silverado manages to stay ahead of the competition. That's why we reckon it's the better pick.

See Ford F-350 Super Duty Review

Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD:

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