After a major overhaul last year, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 changes little for 2012. With a standard 6.0-liter V8, the truck is capable and powerful. But with the optional 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, it is a beast.

Our test truck had the optional ($7,195) diesel V8, which is the favored truck by folks who have to do serious towing and hauling. The engine cranks out 397 horsepower and a jaw-dropping 765 lb.-ft. of torque. Maximum conventional towing is 17,000 pounds, and with a 5th wheel set up, towing increases to 21,700 pounds. The maximum payload for the 2500 is 4,192 pounds.

The new diesel is also cleaner for the environment with a urea injection system that cleans diesel exhaust. The reservoir is replenished at about oil change intervals. But if you forget to replenish the urea, the truck will remind you by limiting itself to 55 mph.

And with its 36-gallon fuel tank, the Silverado 2500 with the Duramax diesel has a potential range of 680 miles. If you’re busy – and who isn’t – stopping for fuel seems like a big waste of time. But with this bad boy, you’re on the road longer. Of course, with highway diesel hovering around $3.80 a gallon, filling the tank will set you back around $140. Yikes! The fuel economy figures actually represent an 11 percent increase in fuel economy over last year’s model, according to Chevrolet.

Working folks can really appreciate the capabilities of this Chevy. When the big Duramax rumbles to life, it sounds like it is ready for anything. I just didn’t have anything big to haul during the test week, but if I had I don’t think the 2500 HD would have had any problems.

From a standstill, it sounds like the engine is roaring to get started. Mat the pedal, and it takes off quicker than you’d expect for a truck of its heft. The independent front suspension makes for better ride quality, but this is still a truck and it rides like one. The 6-speed Allison automatic transmission (a $1,200 option) shifts smoothly and is the standard in HD truck transmissions.

Mechanical components on the test truck included the Z85 handling and trailering system, a fully boxed frame, a 125-amp alternator, a locking rear differential and an electronic shift transfer case. It has anti-lock brakes, Stabilitrak stability control with trailer sway control, automatic headlights and tire pressure monitoring.

Inside, the test truck was smooth as butter with heated and cooled leather seats. Thanks, Chevy, for adding the cooled seats for all of us here in the south. This truck may be a worker, but you really need to clean up to get into a leather and wood grain cabin this nice.

But all this power and nice comes, as you might expect, with a price tag. The standard vehicle price for the 2500 is $45,190. Add in an off-road suspension package and skid plates ($295); the LTZ Plus package including a locking easy-lift tailgate, a home remote, rear wheel house liner, adjustable pedals and rear park assist ($725); the Duramax engine; touch screen navigation with traffic ($2,250); the Allison transmission; 20-inch wheels ($850); chromed assist steps ($689); heated and cooled seats ($650); rear vision camera ($450); additional airbags ($395); and other minor extras, and your $45,190 truck becomes $60,974.

The price is steep, but it’s an awful lot of truck for the money.

Engine:

6.0-liter V8

(optional 6.6-liter V8 Duramax Diesel)

Transmission:

6-speed HD automatic

(optional Allison 6-speed automatic)

Horsepower:

397 (diesel)

Test model base price:

$45,190

As tested price:

$60,974