Most headlines surrounding the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado unveiled today are talking about the spicy new ZR2 variant—and for good reason. The ZR2 not only looks cool but has front and rear e-lockers and Multimatic DSSV dampers. However, there's something else that's impressive and admittedly more relevant to pickup truck buyers that's not being covered as much: The Silverado's towing improvements with the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel.
For the 2022 model year, the Silverado 1500 diesel's max towing capacity has been increased by nearly 4,000 pounds to a total of 13,300. That's thanks to the Max Trailering Package, which previously couldn't be configured with the Duramax inline-six, reportedly because of cooling issues and other structural limitations. As a result, towing capacity was limited to 9,500 pounds.
Kevin Luchansky, GM's Assistant Chief Powertrain Engineer, explained to The Drive how the diesel-powered Silverado's improvements are three-fold, focusing on the frame, suspension, and a lower-geared 3.73 rear axle. The engine's cooling capacity was improved, but as a whole, the Duramax was left largely untouched.
"There’s not much on the engine, which is great news—it’s mainly the frame," Luchansky told us. "It’s suspension, also the rear differential. It’s a bigger differential with a 3.73 rear and we also improved the cooling capacity and some of the powertrain cooling aspects under the hood."
The gasoline 5.3- and 6.2-liter engines were already offered with the max towing package and therefore don't see huge boosts like the Duramax. Chevy claims that the 2.7-liter turbo-four delivers 20 percent more torque early in the rpm range, so while overall capacity may not increase, the experience should at least be better.
Also new for this year is the addition of GM's Super Cruise hands-free driving-assist system, which we recently got to experience in the upcoming 2022 GMC Sierra at GM's own proving grounds in Michigan. Super Cruise for the Silverado will be offered with trailering mode, meaning that the system can be used while a trailer is connected to the truck, and it will be available as an option only on the range-topping High Country trim.
"The towing performance on the 3.0L is outstanding," said Luchansky. "We think it’s a great choice for customers who tow a lot and kind of want a ‘tweener’ truck. It really places the truck between a 1500 and a 2500 with the max towing [package]."
As we reported last month, production of the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel engine is currently suspended due to suppliers dealing with parts shortages, but GM expects it to resume once those issues have been squared away. With 2022 trucks not arriving at dealerships until spring of next year, the automaker is hopeful that the production pipeline won't be affected by this.
Even if there's an extra-long wait for the diesel-powered Silverado, our recent test of the 2021 Tahoe with the Duramax diesel left us with a good enough impression to weather any delays. The engine is smooth, quiet, capable, and refined. The addition of the improved max towing package simply makes it that much more desirable under the hood of any truck.
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