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2015 Silverado 1500 adds 8-speed automatic and will tow 12,000 pounds

Silverado tows your big boat and adds 8-speed transmission
Silverado tows your big boat and adds 8-speed transmission
Chevrolet by permission

General Motors, having introduced their new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 in 2014, are already giving notice that they are taking these new trucks up a notch for 2015 to aggressively meet the competition as the 2015 full-size pickup truck market promises to be one of the most competitive in recent history. Ford is rolling out their new all-aluminum F-150, Nissan is showing a new Titan with a 5.0L Cummins Diesel engine and Ram and Toyota are expected to add features and capability to their current full-size trucks (Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra).

Chevrolet took that notice lead for GM when they recently announced that a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Double Cab 2WD with 6' 6" cargo box and Max Trailering Package will still tow up to 12,000 pounds as measured by the new SAE J2807 towing standard that they have adopted for 2015.

All of the major manufacturers of full-size pickups have announced they are going to adopt the SAE J2807 standard for calculating tow capacity for each configuration of their various truck trim levels. In 2015, for the first time, each manufacturer claim for tow capacity for each trim level will be a true ‘apples to apples’ calculation using an agreed upon industry standard.

Just this week, we note that the 2015 Silverado 1500 will also offer an eight-speed automatic transmission according to a posting at this week. They report that the new eight-speed will only be offered on the 6.2L V8 engine with the 5.3L V8 and 4.3L V6 continuing with the current six-speed automatic. Interestingly there is no mention of the 2015 GMC Sierra Denali which uses the same 6.2L V8 as also having the same eight speed automatic available. But, we expect that the 2015 Sierra Denali will offer the new eight-speed transmission as well. In either or both cases, GM moves up the performance bar for their 2015 pickups again.

The new eight-speed transmission will be an important boost to the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado powertrain fuel economy and tow/haul capacity – enabling them to finally go head-to-head with the Ram 1500 eight-speed automatic which has given Ram a competitive edge in power trains over the last two years. According to, no fuel economy estimates are available from GM on this new power train combo. They also noted that the earlier announcement of the J2807 standard 12,000 pound tow capacity for that 2015 truck did not spell out if the eight-speed automatic was used in the power train configuration in order to achieve that number. It is possible that, if not used for the J2807 test, that the tow capacity for that truck configuration could go up when it is retested with the eight-speed automatic power train.

Not all of the 2015 Silverado 1500 pickup trucks will get an increase in tow capacity as measured by J2807. Some of the more popular configurations ordered by customers may actually show a slight decline. But, as Chevrolet points out, several will still be over 9,000 pounds.

The 2015 Silverado 1500 will start to be available later this summer, with full availability by fourth quarter 2014.

As we noted before, many full-size pickup truck owners often overestimate the tow capacity that they need for their use. In the case of the 2015 Silverado, a tow capacity over 9,000 pounds is going to handle a significant range of full-size pickup user requirements. Frankly, recreational and/or contractor full-size owner tow requirements are under 7,000 pounds most of the time.

When shopping for a new truck that is intended to haul and tow, be sure to spec enough - but not too much truck for your search. To do so, one needs to estimate the number of passengers they will likely carry when towing, the weight of any cargo that will be in the bed, the weight of the trailer they will use PLUS the weight of the boat or other equipment that will be loaded and the actual tongue weight for the combination.

With these numbers in hand, you can determine the appropriate size and configuration of the vehicle needed to meet the need. There are a couple of ways to do that and Chevrolet suggests asking a dealer for assistance in determining the configuration (using those numbers) of the right truck for your needs.

Additionally, Chevrolet offers a Chevrolet Trailering Guide that can be found in the Manuals and Videos section of the Ownership tab of the website – that be used to determine the appropriate configuration needed. This guide now takes into account the J2807 standard rating system.

The J2807 standard weight rating calculations use an agreed upon set of protocols that simulate, across all brands, a variety of real-world conditions that must be tested against in order to calculate the tow capacity for each trim level configuration within the brand model (ie Silverado 1500). Those key conditions include: cooling capacity on a measured distance grade, launch and acceleration performance on level road and 12 percent upgrade, combination handling, combination braking performance and structural performance of vehicle, hitch and hitch receiver.

In addition, a specific set of assumptions are made including that the vehicle is equipped with all options normally included by more than a third of vehicles sold, that two persons weighing 150 pounds each are in the cab, 70 pounds of aftermarket hitch related equipment is utilized and that 10 percent of the trailer weight is on the tongue.

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