Is the new GMSV Silverado really just Holden all over again? | Auto Expert John Cadogan

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The phoenix has risen from the ashes of Holden. And its name is ‘Silverado’. The hubris - the sheer, presumptuous audacity - required to pull this one off with conviction … it really is ‘export grade’.

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According to GMSV: “North American trucks are redefining the ute market in Australia and New Zealand.”

I respectfully disagree. Silverado sales approximate zero at this point. So, absolute redefinition of the segment there from Silverado: Zero.

RAM is of course just like Silverado, only with different hair and makeup, kinda thing. Last year was RAM’s first full year on sale here: 2868 sales in a 4X4 dual-cab market of 168,869 units.

I struggle to see how a market share of 1.7 per cent for Retardistani trucks could constitute any kind of (quote-unquote) ‘redefinition’ of a segment. These vehicles are, at best, niche. And that’s all they will ever be here - over-hyped and kind of irrelevant. (It’s OK to like them - that’s allowed.)

The Silverado (and RAM) party trick is, of course 4.5 tonnes of alleged tow capacity. This is going to attract some people. It just rolls off the tongue. 4.5 tonnes. (‘I’m in’ - as Jeep would say.) In Silverado’s case this is possible only if you fit a 70mm ball, and limit yourself to 422kg of download.

But this is a vehicle that weighs 2.5 tonnes. (It’s actually 200 kilos lighter than a Landcruiser 200 Sahara.) If you think it’s a good idea to tow a 4.5-tonne trailer with a vehicle such as this, I would submit that you are functionally insane, or staggeringly out of touch.

Trailers with centralised axle groups - like, single, tandem or triple-axle pig trailers - are fundamentally unstable in yaw and pitch. I’m talking caravans, boats, horse floats and campers. They rely on the underlying stability of the towing vehicle to remain stable in yaw and pitch. And it’s kind of important that they do stay controlled.

So, when the pig is 4.5 tonnes (which is nearly 80 per cent heavier than the Silverado) it’s very easy for the pig to nudge the vehicle around, at highway speeds, and the ‘tail’ thus it wags the ‘dog’. And I do mean ‘dog’. Catastrophically. Especially in yaw. This is fundamentally unsafe.

Thankfully the 4.5-tonne tow limit in Silverado is largely bullshit. In practise. See, gross combination mass for Silverado is 7160 kilos. (I’m getting this from their website.) Take away 4500 for the heaviest trailer and 2540 kilos for the kerb mass and you’re left with just 120 kilos for total payload. (That’s when you’re towing 4.5 tonnes.) I know some caravanners who would overload the vehicle, just by climbing aboard.

Certainly it’s not a ‘his & hers’ proposition. In the immortal words of renowned social philosopher Bonn Scott: “Ain’t no fairy story. Ain’t no skin and bones. But you give it all you got, weighin’ in at 19 stone.” That’s from the insulin resistant caravan owner’s national anthem, 1977. From the double platinum album - Takin’ a dump ‘out there’.

Do consider all this before spending, like, $140,000 on a Silverado
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