HSV goes rich with Silverado


Expectation of hitting the mother lode has inspired Holden Special Vehicles to go all out with its largest-yet offer.

IF you’re going to go extra large, you might as well also go big – that seems to be the thought with has determined the importer of what will likely be the biggest Chevrolet ever officially sold here to launch an all-out assault.

Though its past speciality – hotting up Holden Commodores – now consigned to history with no likelihood of revival, Holden Special Vehicles is not intending to leave the fast car game entirely: Next year it will begin to become a conduit for the Chevrolet Camaro.

In the meantime, HSV is also focusing on a new trade, as a big rig expert. Having already delivered a harder SportsCat edition of the Holden Colorado, it is now setting up for phase two of its traydeck drive: With a full-blown genuine American heavyweight, the Silverado.

That campaign has taken a giant step forward with announcement of the price and range and confirmation that re-engineering of the model to right-hand-drive will commence at HSV’s new production facility in Victoria this month with first vehicles from a five-strong lineup are expected to reach HSV’s five national outlets here in early June.

High-end one-tonne utes and the Ateco-imported Ram, which also undergoes conversion to right-hand-drive in Australia (as a joint venture between Ateco and Walkinshaw, which owns HSV), are the obvious rivals.

It is not yet clear if the Silverado programme goes down the same pathway as that taken for Ram. With the latter the donor vehicles are from the generation preceding those ‘2019 year’ update models going into the North America domestic market product around July. These were presented at the New York motor show in January. Today’s image portfolio shows 2017, 2018 and 2019 model year editions.

The Australian market pricing structure allows Silverado variants that compare to the new Ram 1500 editions also recently announced for NZ sale to carry a price advantage. Whether this scenario also applies in NZ is a mystery because Ram prices have yet to be announced. It should be noted that Ram bases its models at Laramie spec, which is more upmarket than the standard Silverado package.

HSV asks $134,990 for its entry model, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD WT. The other editions are a 2500HD LTZ for $154,990 in standard format rising to $163,990 in alternate ‘Midnight Edition’ and ‘Custom Sport’ variants which both add extra glam features. The top dog, a Silverado 3500HD LTZ  for $169,990, arriving in the third quarter.

All Silverados are based on the 4x4 crew cab and powered with Chevrolet’s Duramax 6.6-litre turbo-diesel V8 putting out 332kW of power and 1234Nm of torque, mated with an Allison six-speed automatic transmission.

While the Silverado’s 975kg load capability pips the Ram’s 913kg, the Ram has the upper hand on braked towing capacity, 6.94 tonnes to the Silverado’s 5.89 tonnes. However, HSV has reminded the Chevrolet figure is still provisional and will be dependent on the towing certification process.

The WT designation with the base package is shorthand for ‘work truck.’ Hence, whereas the other models trim out as recreational five-occupant models, this one will sit six. It does this by provisioning a 40/20/40 split-fold front seat.

The WT is not without comfort. The interior is described as “dark ash with jet black accents”. Standard equipment includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen with MyLink connectivity along with a six-speaker sound system, air-conditioning, remote keyless entry, remote-locking tailgate, reversing camera and heated power exterior mirrors.

A heavy-duty locking rear differential is standard, as is GM’s StabiliTrak roll avoidance technology, traction control, trailer anti-sway control and hill start assist.

Wheels are 18-inch steel rims with Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tyres.

The LTZ adds 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, more chrome trim and a Z71 pack, which includes twin-tube shock absorbers, fatter front stabiliser bar, transfer case shield and hill-descent control.

Additional interior treatments over the WT include 10-way power-adjusted perforated leather front bucket seats with heating and ventilation, dual-zone climate control, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with reach and rake adjustment.

The MyLink touchscreen goes up to eight inches and gains full colour. A seven-speaker Bose sound system is standard, along with Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free smartphone integration, voice activated radio, and phone controls and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Safety is stepped up with forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and front and rear park assist.

The Midnight Edition is fundamentally a black-hued version of the LTZ, with items such as black alloy wheels, black bumpers, black grilled with chrome bars and so on. It also gets the spray-on bed liner that it’s a $1990 option on lesser variants (the only other cost-extras are prestige paint hues – Cajun red tintcoat and deep ocean blue metallic – each at $1400).

The Custom Sport Edition is also based on the LTZ, but designed to be a little less macho. Its extra bits include 20-inch polished alloy wheels, white bumpers, white grille with chrome bars and the spray-on bedliner.

Full specifications for the 3500HD will be released closer to launch, but it will mirror the 2500HD LTZ in equipment, though adding truck-style roof marker lamps and 17-inch wheels with 80-ratio all-terrain tyres.

HSV managing director Tim Jackson, is confident about his company’s foray into the heavy-duty truck market.

“The availability of the Silverado range opens up some wonderful new opportunities for our business in a market segment that is relatively un-tapped and, we believe, has high growth potential.

“Whether it be the farming or mining sectors, those who need to pull a large caravan, boat or horse float, or simply those who want awesome towing and load carrying capability, Silverado is the pinnacle.”