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2008 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD 4WD Crew Cab Review
MRSP: $52,430 (as tested)

I could hardly wait to get behind the wheel of this beast again. I've been some time since I was in a vehicle that had six wheels touching the ground at once and I was not disappointed with the performace and ride in the 2008 Silverado 3500 HD I got to test drive recently.

What's it like to drive?
Just like the 2007 3500 HD I reviewed last year, this truck is big. It's big if you're on the ground looking up at it, it's big if your sitting in one of the seats enjoying the landscape as you go motoring down the road and it's big if your trying to manevure your way through a fast-food drive obstacle course through like I managed on a Friday night. (Check your width and turning clearance before you get yourself stuck!)

Also like the 2007 model, once you step up into the 3500 HD truck, you will know that you're driving a truck, you can feel the work that can be done with this. The car-like driving experience that you find in the newer Silverado 1500 has NOT made its way into the HD line of trucks. You will feel the road, you need to make certain that you give yourself space to turn around, and you will bounce around bumpy roads. That being said, you don't have to worry about comfort though. The seats are big and comfy and best of all -- wide.

The 4WD package on the 3500 HD does make you sit up fairly tall with the top of the cab being perhaps 7 feet off the ground. Drivers and passengers under six-feet tall may have more issues getting into the cab, however once you climb up, you feel like you're in something solid and stout. Running boards may be a good idea with the 4WD option.

Starting up that 6.6 Duramax lets you know that you're driving a diesel, I love the deep sound. The truck has plenty of power for normal driving. I had no problem getting on the pedal slightly to pass a car or to get up to freeway speed in good time. With a GVW of 11,400 for the dually, you've got enough power to really move some weight around as well. Drivers who tow heavier trailers will enjoy the built-in trailer control options with on-screen DIC readouts.

Stopping is not hard either with the 4-wheel ABS brakes with rear proportioning, but remember it’s a large truck still, give yourself a lot of room when driving in stop-and-go traffic.

How's the 4WD work?
Hah, that was one of the most fun parts of driving this truck. During the review of the truck, I experienced some major downpours on the road and happened to find a little bit of mud to crawl through. No problems at all. With a turn of a knob, we were in 4-high and I didn't have to worry at all if I was going to make it through the mud or not, it was a piece of cake.

It takes a little bit of effort (for good reason) to get into 4-low. I had to stop, put the truck in neutral, switch to 4-low and wait a minute for it to engage. I'm actually not certain what the major combination is, neutral then reverse then forward ... but we got into 4-low and took it to speed of about 20 MPH with no problem. Stopped and got back into 4-high and then pulled back onto pavement and back into 2WD. Anyhow, with the high-torque/low-rpm diesel churning out power, it was very easy to go into 4WD with.

What’s it like to sit in?
This truck is clearly designed for comfort. A typical driver could easily towing a 5th wheel across country, a boat to the lake, or a large utility trailer for work, and do it in comfort and style. As a driver that fits into the big & tall categry, I had no problem fitting comfortably in my seat. I have a good view of the updated for 2008 cockpit-looking instrument panel, stereo control and navigation (although I have to stretch my arms a bit and lean forward to use the stereo) and all of the center console’s nooks and crannies, which there are several different options for 2008.

Because of the height and size of the center console, it was a stretch to move over and open the glove box (both of them). But I had enough room in the center console to store a cell phone, a Pocket PC, an electric razor and perhaps lunch for five. Yes, it's pretty good sized.

Headroom is impressive, I easily have two-plus inches of space over my head. Hip and shoulder-room is equally as spacious. I was able to go through a drive-through and actually pull my wallet out without taking off my seat-belt, that’s how much room there is. A word-of warning for those over 6'3", double-check your headroom when getting a sunroof enabled truck, it will cut down on the amount of headroom you have.

For 2008, the amount of foot and letroom has increased, an improvement on the 2007 model. The parking brake is no longer located in an awkward position my left-leg isn't struggling to find space to rest comfortably.

Toys and Gadgets
Ok, I'm hooked on the XM, built-in DVD system and GPS navigation system. I've been a fan of XM for the past year and having a built-in system can offer some advantages. I have been impressed with all of the factory packages so far, but the top-end system is worth the money in my opinion.

The DIC is also very impressive as well. From a glance you can get a view of report of the active MPG you're getting, tire pressure, transmission temp or a variety of other stats that you may need to know when going down the road. One of my big complaints has to do with the instrument panel though. The gauges are so far recessed that large shadows appear across the face of the smaller displays. I found I had to struggle to read the output during daylight hours. With the lights on at night, this problem went away.

Overall impression?
After driving several of the Silverados, I can simply say that these trucks are incredible! The 3500 HD is definately the heavyweight of the bunch and it shares a lot in common with it's 1500 and 2500 brethern. It's comfortable, quiet, has plenty of power and looks great too. It's a great ]trucks for hauling the kids and a boat to the lake, or for a contractor to work from.

Some Notable Standard Equipment
Daramax 6.6L Diesel V8 w/ 6-sp Allison transmission
Z85 Handling / Trailering Suspension4 wheel ABS
Tire Pressure Monitor SytemDriver Information Center (DIC)1-year OnStar Safe & Sound

Some of the Options
10-way power leather heated seats
Remote Vehicle Starter
Heated Window Washing Fluid
Full curtain airbags
Navigation Radio CD/DVD/MP3 with rear seat entertainment system
Power sliding rear window
XM Satellite Radio
Cargo Management System

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Nice review Steve!
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