The big Chevy Silverado pick-up makes light duty of heavy work and long distances.

Story By Matt Raudonikis

There's no arguing with the specifications of the Chevy Silverado LTZ: 6.6-litre turbo-diesel V8 engine, 1037 Newton metres of torque, 296 kilowatts of power, six-speed Allison automatic transmission, 7.7-tonne towing capacity and a $130,000 price tag. This is one heavy-duty pick-up truck, or what we in Australia might call a ‘bloody big ute’.

You don’t see a lot of American full-size pick-up trucks here, and there are a few reasons for that. Their sheer size means they are not for everyone and don’t work real well in our cities, plus the fact that, aside from the F-Series sold by Ford last decade, these vehicles are not readily available here through the usual car dealers.

Queensland’s Performax International has been importing, converting and selling American vehicles for more than 20 years and the king of its fleet is the Chevrolet Silverado pick-up. The Silverado is available in single-cab, extra-cab and double-cab bodies, short, long and mid-length load beds, two- or four-wheel-drive, single or dual rear wheels and three specification levels, but the most popular model is the Silverado 2500 LTZ 4WD double-cab.

The LTZ is the highest specification offered on the Silverado. Its standard equipment includes heated and power-adjustable leather seats, dual-zone climate-control airconditioning, Bose sound system, bluetooth phone connection, dual front airbags, tow hitch, factory-integrated trailer brake controller with anti-sway control, 18-inch alloy wheels, electronic traction and stability control, and ABS brakes. Options include 20-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, off-road pack, factory toolboxes, power adjustable pedals, bed liners, load covers and many other accessories.

The cabin is spacious, as you would expect of a vehicle this size. There’s plenty of leg, head and shoulder room to make long trips comfortable and the bucket front seats are equally big and comfortable and are separated by a cavernous centre console.

A split bench front seat is available to give seating for six.

The feature that will appeal to most buyers of this type of vehicle is the 7711-kilogram towing capacity. That’s double the weight any more readily available 4WD can offer and the Silverado pulls it with ease. In a test drive a four-tonne, fifth-wheel luxury caravan was hitched to a Silverado and the pick-up pulled it as if it was not there.

This story excerpt is from Issue #78

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2011