|83.5||Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||74.7|
|10-Speed Allision||Diesel Transmission||6-Speed Aisin|
When you're in the market for a heavy-duty truck that needs to pull its weight, you're looking at a different breed of animal. You won't find this creature in the world of midsize pickups and light-duty work trucks. No, we're talking about the beasts that power America; the ones that get the houses built, the livestock shipped, and sewer pipes delivered. This is the world of the heavy-duty work truck. You've heard of the Big Three; well, today, we're gonna take you on a tour of two of them, pitting them against each other in a battle of torque and steel. It's the 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD vs 2022 Ram 3500.
On paper, these trucks seem nearly equivalent, but a deeper study indicates differently. While Ram has been out wowing the world and winning awards, Chevrolet has been quietly but continually outselling them and getting the work done. The Ram certainly has more engine options and wins out on torque, but Silverado slides back ahead with a right hook of clever technology and near-endless configurations. So, we're going to pit these two together today, examining performance, payload, towing, and tech, showing you exactly why we think you should put your hard-earned dollars behind the bowtie instead of the ram's head.
If the engine is the heart of the automobile, then these two trucks come with a selection of hearts, some stronger than others. For the Silverado, two engine options are available. The standard engine is a 6.6L V8 gas mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that produces 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. The second, a Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 mated to a rugged Allison 10-speed automatic, produces 455 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. Between the two, we'd opt for the Duramax for its increased power and capability made possible by the 10-speed. Each engine can be matched to a two-speed transfer case for 4WD capability.
Over in Ram land, we have three engine options to choose from. The first is the standard 6.4L Hemi V8 gas making 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. Next, there is a 6.7L Cummins Turbo-Diesel I-6 making 370 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the big one of the group, the 6.7L High Output Cummins Turbo-Diesel I-6, makes a decent 420 hp and a whopping 1,075 lb-ft of torque. This specific engine is mated to a fully electronic Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission.
While it may be tempting to take the High Output Cummins as the best engine here, and by the numbers, it certainly would be, we're still going to side with the Duramax solely because of its Allison transmission. 10 speeds is simply more than 6, and having more speeds, along with the ability to manually select gears, allows you to get the most low-range power out of your engine. And low range is really where the grunt work of towing and hauling occurs. Not to mention the potential for fuel savings, but our guess is, since you're looking for a heavy-duty truck, you don't really care too much about that.
In terms of towing and payload, a 3500 is the largest, most capable truck you can get without venturing into the realm of strictly commercial vehicles. These models are commonly known as one-ton trucks because they were originally designed to carry a payload of up to or over one ton. As we'll see, this metric is no longer accurate, but it's worth mentioning as it's been the verbal parlance of the truck world for many years.
The Silverado 3500 HD has several tow and payload ratings depending on which engine, cab, and bed size you choose. For instance, when outfitted as a work truck with a regular cab, long bed, 2WD, dual rear wheels, and the 6.6L V8 gas engine, the max conventional tow rating is 16,800 lbs. That increases to 17,200 lbs with a gooseneck or 5th wheel trailer hitch, and the truck can carry up to 7,442 lbs of payload. The Duramax engine on the same spec truck sacrifices some payload at 6,523 lbs but ups the max conventional tow rating to 20,000 lbs. The gooseneck/5th wheel hitch capability also increases to 36,000 lbs. As you can see, those numbers are well over the nominal one-ton payload capacity for this truck.
We'll use the same spec for the Ram 3500: regular cab, long bed, and 2WD. With the standard Hemi 6.4L V8, towing comes in at up to 18,210 lbs and payload at up to 7,680 lbs. Moving up to the Cummins Turbo-Diesel, max towing increases to 22,660 lbs, and max payload bumps up to 6,830 lbs. The top-of-the-line High Output Diesel provides up to 37,090 lbs of towing but only 6,560 lbs of payload. Overall, the max gas and diesel numbers are very close for the two models, although the middle-of-the-road Ram diesel option is decidedly outclassed by Chevy's Duramax.
It goes without saying that tech plays a major role in convincing people to buy a specific car. Mostly this is achieved by integrating more entertainment and safety equipment, which both these trucks do remarkably well. However, as we've been examining these two as work trucks, what clever tech does either have on board to make work a little easier? Let's find out.
In a first for the segment, the Silverado 3500 HD comes with an available option called the Advanced Trailering System. This is an app that can be configured with the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system or downloaded via the myChevrolet mobile app. The Advanced Trailering System allows you to program specs for different trailers, creating custom trailer profiles that, when chosen, prepare the Silverado accordingly. The system also provides a pre-departure checklist, monitors trailer lighting and tire pressure, and includes a Trailer Theft Alert. Other onboard features, such as 15 high definition camera angles, and Stabilitrak with electronic trailer sway and hill start assist, create a vehicle more than capable of handling a variety of trailers.
Ram is no slouch in terms of advanced trailering technology. The Trailer 360 Surround View camera offers a bird's eye view of your trailer, providing 360 degrees of trailer monitoring exactly as advertised. Trailer Tire Pressure monitoring is another feature that can be accessed through the center infotainment screen, alerting you when a tire is low and needs refilling. However, the best feature of the Ram is the Digital Rearview Mirror. Not only can this take the glare of tailgating highbeams out of your eyes with touch screen light control, but it also comes with a Tow Mode.
Tow Mode allows for a digital live stream via a trailer camera attached to the rear bumper of said trailer, creating an unimpeded view of the road behind your trailer. For many of us, we still instinctively look to the rearview mirror to check our backsides. This isn't exactly possible when towing a trailer, so seasoned towers have learned to retrain their brain to use their side mirrors. However, this Digital Rearview Mirror offers a return to what feels natural, allowing newer trailer owners a leg up on the outset of their trailering journey.
It's hard to say who wins in this contest because each truck has something the other doesn't that are both equally clever. However, from an overall standpoint, an application that allows for multi-configuration trailer profiles that communicate with your truck to provide the best possible towing experience is just more clever than a specialized rearview mirror. Silverado wins here, too, by providing even experienced truckers with a tool that will make towing easier.