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What Are the Differences Between the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado HD?

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Rear view of 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 in mountains
The Silverado 1500 is ideal for regular driving, off-roading, and lighter towing or hauling
Photo: Chevrolet

If you’re in the market for a Chevrolet pickup truck, it’s important to know the differences between the 2021 Silverado 1500 and the 2021 Silverado HD. For everyday driving, off-roading, and moderate towing and hauling tasks, the Silverado 1500 fits the bill nicely. But if your to-do list includes especially heavy and dirty jobs, one of Chevrolet’s two Silverado HD trucks might be the better pick.

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Front side view of Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD towing giant anvil
The Silverado 3500HD’s massive size and heavy-duty build lets it tow huge loads
Photo: Chevrolet


The first thing you may notice is that the two 2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD models are bigger than the 2021 Silverado 1500. The 2500HD and the 3500HD are classified as three-quarter-ton and one-ton trucks, compared to the 1500 at a half-ton. As such, the HD models are both longer, wider, taller, and heavier. This extra size comes in handy for the Silverado HD’s increased towing and hauling capabilities (more about those in a moment). You won’t experience much of a difference in the cab, though — passenger space is about the same for the 1500 and the HD.

Diesel Chevrolet Silverado driving down road
The Silverado 1500 is available with a Duramax turbodiesel engine
Photo: Chevrolet

Engine options

The Silverado 1500 offers many more engine options to choose from: six, to be precise. These include the standard 4.3-liter V6, a 2.7-liter turbo, a 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel, two 5.3-liter V8 variants, and the range-topping 6.2-liter V8. The 6.2-liter V8 delivers the most horsepower (420) and, along with the turbodiesel, the most torque (460 lb-ft).

The Silverado HD gets just two engine options, and they’re both big ones. There’s a 401-horsepower 6.6-liter V8 and a 445-horsepower Duramax turbodiesel that also puts out a massive 910 lb-ft of torque. As you might expect, the Silverado HD’s bigger engines also guzzle more gas, although they haven’t been officially rated by the EPA.

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Dual-real-wheel 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD LTZ pulling trailer with construction vehicle
The dual-rear-wheel Silverado 3500HD can tow up to 36,000 pounds
Photo: Chevrolet

Towing and hauling capabilities

The Silverado HD’s heavy-duty design means it can tow and haul significantly more weight than the Silverado 1500.

The Silverado 3500HD is the most capable by far, thanks to its available dual-rear-wheel configuration. Gas-powered models can carry a payload of up to 7,442 pounds, while diesel models can tote up to 6,523 pounds. Conventional towing capacity tops out at 16,800 pounds for gas models and 20,000 pounds for diesel. With fifth wheel/gooseneck equipment, those towing maxes rise to 17,200 and 36,000 pounds respectively.

Silverado 2500HD gas models can manage a payload of up to 3,979 pounds and pull up to 14,500 pounds (or 17,370 with fifth wheel/gooseneck). Diesel models can handle a 3,715-pound payload and tow up to 18,500 pounds.

The Silverado 1500 can’t match either HD models, but it’s no slouch when it comes to capability. Its towing maximums range from 13,300 pounds with the 6.2-liter V8 to 7,900 pounds with the standard V6.  The max payload for the 1500 starts at 1,870 pounds with the turbodiesel and goes up to 2,280 pounds with the 2.7-liter turbo.

Man using 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500's Multi-Flex tailgate
The Multi-Flex tailgate is only available on the Silverado 1500
Photo: Chevrolet

Trim levels and features

With its heavy-duty work focus, the Silverado HD doesn’t offer as many trim levels as the Silverado 1500. Both models offer WT, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country trims. However, the Silverado HD doesn’t come in Custom Trail Boss, LT Trail Boss, or RST trims like the Silverado 1500 does.

The Silverado 1500 and Silverado HD are pretty close when it comes to features. The HD doesn’t yet have the new Multi-Flex tailgate, and it lacks a few appearance options that the 1500 offers — like 22-inch wheels, for instance. But for the most part, you won’t miss out on many high-end features if you need to opt for the Silverado HD.

Front side view of Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD WT trim at worksite
The entry-level Silverado 2500HD WT trim
Photo: Chevrolet


As you might expect, the smaller Silverado 1500 doesn’t cost quite as much as the Silverado HD. The entry-level Silverado 1500 WT starts at $28,900, compared to $34,700 for the Silverado 2500HD WT and $35,900 for the Silverado 3500HD WT. The difference is about the same at the high end of the lineup.

For all the latest news and information on the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado HD, be sure to keep up with our coverage at The News Wheel.