Easily one of the most popular vehicles sold in the United States – year-end and year out – there’s just something special about the Chevy Silverado 2500 power and dependability.
The best years of the Chevy Silverado 2500 are 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2020. Chevy had many years to perfect this truck and the years they released a flop they immediately improved it and released the best truck of that model.
Best Years: 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2020
Worst Years: 2005, 2008 and 2017
A step above the “entry-level” Silverado 1500, the 2500 is available in a couple of different engine configurations (including V6 and V8 options) and is built to do heavy duty work. This truck is beloved by contractors, carpenters, tradespeople across the spectrum, and even just “weekend warriors” that have stuff to haul – including boats, trailers, campers, etc.
That said, there are definitely some years where the Silverado is a better buy than other ones. If you’re on the market right now you’ll want to be sure that you are driving home one of the good Chevy Silverado 2500s and not a lemon.
Best and Worst Years for Chevy Silverado 2500
Let’s run through the best – and the worst – years for the Chevy Silverado 2500 below.
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ONE OF THE BEST YEARS: 2006 Chevy Silverado 2500
The Chevy Silverado 2500 that rolled off of assembly lines in 2006 was the last of its generation, a truck generation that lasted from 1999 to 2006.
This means that Chevy had a ton of time to iron out any bugs in this generation of trucks – and plenty of time to shoehorn in technology and engineering that made this truck more capable than others that came before it.
On top of all of that, this truck came with one of the best appointed interiors (up to that time) that Chevy had ever put on a truck. Air conditioning, a top-of-the-line audio system, and a whole bunch of “creature comforts” – advanced power steering, cruise control, power windows, etc. – all help to separate this Silverado from the rest of the pack.
ONE OF THE BEST YEARS: 2009 Chevy Silverado 2500
While this Silverado came a couple of years after this generation of trucks was introduced, it brought back a lot of the old glory that Chevy had sort of lost with the previous version of the Silverado.
Five different engine configurations were available right from day one. That gave Chevy owners a lot of opportunity to get their hands on the exact 2500 that they wanted.
There were a number of different body styles available in 2009, too. Traditional bed sizes, step side beds, and different trim packages really let Chevy owners dial in the way their truck looked (and the way their truck performed).
New antilock brakes were showcased here, with a 100% new disk brake set up that was available on the Silverado for the very first time. This truck passed crash test ratings with flying colors, too.
ONE OF THE BEST YEARS: 2011 Chevy Silverado 2500
If the 2009 Silverado 2500 was a step above the previous generation, the 2011 version of this truck took things to new levels as well.
Shipping straight from the factory with the latest (at the time) OnStar system – OnStar 9.0 – Chevy owners were treated to a lot of advanced features no other manufacturer was making available. We are talking about dramatically improved overall audio quality, fantastic speech recognition capabilities, and much more.
Five different engines were available – just like the 2009 and 2010 models – but this time the maximum horsepower was bumped up to 403 hp.
Not bad, right?
This is also the first year that front and side airbags became standard across the board. Light, capable, and foolishly comfortable, this was a great work truck as well as a “mall crawler” as well.
ONE OF THE BEST YEARS: 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500
Representing another major leap forward in the second year of the most recent Chevy Silverado generations, the 2020 version has helped Chevy go toe to toe in the pickup truck sales realm with Ford and their F150s.
A brand-new 3 L turbo diesel option was unveiled in 2020 for the first time ever, giving Silverado 2500 owners a completely new way to get their hands on a gorgeous and capable truck. Smoother acceleration, better fuel economy, and a couple of other cool advantages were made possible with this new diesel set up.
Worst Years for the Chevy Silverado 2500
For there to be the best, there has got to be the worst, and this truck certainly has those. The good thing is that Chevy quickly turned around and fixed the problems and released one of its best versions the year following. So here are the years of this truck to stay away from.
ONE OF THE WORST YEARS: 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500
The 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500 was a bit of a dud. While the truck was halfway decent from a mechanical standpoint, the fit and finish across the board was atrocious for a company like Chevrolet.
The paint was terrible. It chipped, it faded, and it peeled faster than anyone would have thought possible. It was so bad that Chevy was repainting these trucks at their expense in a lot of circumstances.
The air conditioning system was known to be garbage, too. It wouldn’t just begin to fail – usually in the dead of summer – but would outright collapse and require a complete and total replacement.
Uneven tire wear, chatty breaks, and a really bland interior rounded out the issues the 2005 Silverado’s had.
ONE OF THE WORST YEARS: 2008 Chevy Silverado 2500
2008 was another bad year for the Chevy Silverado 2500 – a back-to-back situation since the 2007 Chevy 2500 was terrible, too.
Fuel sensors, throttle position sensors, and a whole bunch of other core computer components on the Silverado 2500 were prone to fail. These sensors could be buggy one day, perfectly fine the next, and then just die out of nowhere a few days later.
Four-wheel-drive was a nightmare with this year Chevy Silverado 2500, too.
The sensors would fail, the stress on the drivetrain would be significant, and sooner rather than later Chevy owners were noticing their power declining.
Combine all of that with bad batteries (batteries dying within 30,000 miles, even) and it’s easy to see that this was a bad truck.
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ONE OF THE WORST YEARS: 2017 Chevy Silverado 2500
Chevy ironed a lot of their issues out on the Silverado 2500 between 2008 and 2016, but new problems came roaring back onto the scene with the 2017 truck – a truck that would be the second to last year of its generation because of how sideways things went.
Transmission problems plagued 2017 trucks. The transmission would surge, jerk, and shift wildly – sometimes without any prompting at all. Worse, the problem didn’t happen when the truck broke in. It’s not like drivers needed 50,000 miles or more on their Silverado 2500 see these problems.
No, transmission problems were discovered on Day One vehicles that were rolling right off of the assembly line.
The drivetrain on this Chevy was terrible, too. Things were so bad that the NHSTA brought forward a bunch of complaints to Chevy directly, telling them that a vehicle this rough around the edges could be life-threatening.
Chevy, as a direct result of this feedback, totally redesigned the truck over the next year and rolled out a new generation two years later.
The Chevy Silverado truck lineup was unveiled all the way back in 1999, succeeding the Chevy C/K trucks that had really built the now legendary reputation that Chevy trucks enjoy.
Throughout the years some Silverado 2500 trucks have been better than others, with the 2006 (a great truck) Chevy and the 2017 (a not so great truck) Chevy Silverado 2500 trucks representing both ends of the spectrum quite well.
If you’re on the market for one of these Silverados today, make sure you run through the inside info above before signing on the dotted line and driving one off the lot.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.