2016 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Takes On the Super Ike Gauntlet Loaded to the Max

The Super Ike Gauntlet is truck versus mountain. It’s not the same as the standard Ike Gauntlet test that we use for the annual Gold Hitch best towing truck awards. The Super Ike is all about loading each truck to their absolute maximums on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and/or Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). While the standard Ike Gauntlet is about comparing the trucks in the same class with the same trailer weight.

The Ike Gauntlet is an 8-mile stretch between Dillon, Colorado the Eisenhower/Johnson memorial tunnels. It represents an elevation different of over 2,000 feet and maxes out at 11,158 feet above sea level at the Continental Divide.

This time it is the 2016 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD crew cab 4×4 long-bed Midnight Edition with the 6.6-liter Duramax V8 turbo-diesel. This new Silverado HD is equipped with a gooseneck hitch and kit, which can now be ordered from the factory. It also has Chevy’s new Trailering Camera System with up to five cameras on the truck. This option was just recently introduced. You can either get when buying a new Silverado truck, or you can retrofit a 2014-2016 truck that was originally equipped with the trailering package.

2016 chevy silverado trailer camera system menu review

The camera system comes in handy when towing trailers, but it still has room for improvement. There is a camera on the bottom of both side mirrors. The views from these cameras are activated when you turn on the corresponding blinker. These work while stationary or moving; however, the entire screen is taken over by the camera view when the blinker is on. This is not always convenient, because you might be following a navigation map or checking the radio stations while waiting to turn with your blinkers on. While in park or in reverse, you can access the additional camera selection menu on the center console by pressing and holding the “Home” button for several seconds. This menu allows you to combine different camera views and also access the camera that is mounted on top of the cab and pointing into the bed, or the wireless camera that you can install on the back of your trailer. When you throw the truck into reverse gear, the center monitor defaults to the camera that is on the back of the tailgate. It takes 10 seconds or so to access the camera menu and switch cameras. I wish this could be done quicker and easier. Nonetheless, having extra cameras is very helpful, especially when hooking up trailers by yourself or maneuvering the truck and trailer in tight spaces. It made hooking up the BigTex gooseneck trailer a breeze, and it’s always helpful to know what is behind your trailer when backing up.


The 2016 Silverado HD is powered by the LML series 6.6-liter Duramax V8 engine. It produces 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a 6-speed Allison automatic transmission and a 3.73 rear axle ratio. We have tested this engine/transmission combination many times before. We know this powertrain provides a lot of power and performs well at high elevations. What we have not done before was tow an extra heavy duty gooseneck equipment trailer with a 3/4 ton truck. How will the 3/4 ton chassis and the Z71 suspension react to towing at maximum?

This truck configuration is rated at a maximum of 12,900 lbs of gooseneck towing. We were loaded at 12,700 lbs with our ‘Diamond in the Rough’ Lincoln project car that we have not anything with in a long time. This BigTex 3XGN gooseneck weighs in at nearly 8,500 lbs empty and has a total capacity of 30,000 lbs. We will be using it again loaded at the maximum when we tow with the 3500 Dually pickups.

We also tested Chevrolet’s downhill cruise control feature. Going down the mountain safely is paramount, and the cruise control allows the driver to set a desired speed and then uses the transmission grade shifting algorithm and the exhaust brake to maintain speed, even when towing its maximum. It did its job very well. We set the cruise at 58 MPH and the truck showed 59 or 58 MPH all the way down the 8 mile stretch of the Ike Gauntlet.

In the end, this truck performed very well. It was able to hold the 60 MPH speed limit most of the way up the hill. It reported 4.1 MPG via the onboard trip computer on the way up at full throttle and towing the maximum load.