- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

Bet you never thought about a heavy-duty work truck featuring such sensory pleasures as brilliant movie images, limitless music and the feel of graceful handling.
The worlds of personal-use vehicles and practical, old-line truckin' collide big-time to create the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500HD crew cab test-truck. This rolling utopia features a DVD rear-seat entertainment system, XM Satellite Radio, Quadrasteer four-wheel steer and a roomy cab accessed by four full-size doors.
The well-appointed tester does lack four-wheel drive and leather upholstery elements that might keep it out of the top tier of go-anywhere, mobile-living-room pickups. But, for extra cash, Chevy definitely can grant such wishes.
The LS test truck is pricey enough, commanding a $29,677 base price and, with aforementioned techie trappings, a $40,053 drive-out total.
Of course, a real trucker demands beef with these garnishes, and the 1500HD delivers. While the crew cab wears "1500" badging, it isn't a garden-variety half-ton model. The "HD" heavy-duty designation puts it in limbo between regular 1500- and light-duty 2500-series pickups.
Built on a substantial three-quarter-ton chassis, this beefy 1500 series pickup merits a "heavy half" title.
It's an answer to Ford's successful F-150 SuperCrew, but, instead of a sawed-off bed, it has a regular-length 6-foot-long cargo box that's only available in Fleetside form. Along with a more substantial frame and the Quadrasteer offering, the 1500HD's 2500 breeding gives it the power of a 6000 Vortec V-8 engine. This 6.0-liter brute produces 300 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and, for a trailer-towing kick, 360 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm.
Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
Partnered with a four-speed autobox featuring Tow/Haul mode, the engine generates grunt to tug a trailer up to 10,200 pounds. This force compares to a 1500 extended-cab's 8,600-pound maximum towing. Engaging Tow/Haul mode eliminates excessive gear-hunting on hilly terrain.
The 1500HD also excels at toting heavy payloads, boasting a 3,094-pound capacity.
Despite its brutish character, the 1500HD is more civilized than its three-quarter-ton sibling. Chevy reports "extensive" suspension tuning to achieve a softer ride.
Muscle is ample to launch this imposing pickup, which rolls on a 153-inch wheelbase and stretches 237.2 inches in length. Without Quadrasteer, this mass of sheet metal would require strategic parking away from tight, vehicle-crowded parking lots.
With Quadrasteer, a driver looks for challenging parking situations and hopes an audience is watching as the truck accomplishes Harry Houdini feats.
Basically, four-wheel steer allows the driver to execute a one-sweep, 90-degree turn into a parking slot.
Quadrasteer reduces the turning diameter by 21 percent, from 49.6 feet to 37.4 feet. GM engineers compare the turning capabilities of a Quadrasteer-equipped pickup with that of a Saturn Coupe.
Observers might point out that the rear wheels are "broken." They do look a bit contorted because, in low-speed maneuvers, rear wheels turn counter to front wheels.
When moderate speeds are reached, rear wheels basically are straight.
During high-speed cornering, stability and handling are increased with rear wheels turning in the same direction as front wheels.
A press of a button can activate Quadrasteer's towing mode, which modifies wheel action to accommodate trailer-hauling situations. In this mode both high- and low-speed maneuvering are significantly improved.
To demonstrate the system's trailer-tugging prowess, GM engineers set up a snaky, pylon-lined course.
A run with Quadrasteer off is awkward compared to the fluid maneuvering of activated four-wheel steer. Quadrasteer benefits come as part of a $5,750 package that also includes manual-select ride control, limited-slip differential, traction assist, heavy-duty trailering equipment and roof marker lamps. Quadrasteer alone costs $4,200, and a GM incentive trims that amount by $2,000.

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