The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado heavy-duty pickups are arriving right now at local dealerships, and you’ll recognize them instantly – from a block away, if their grilles are facing you.
The Silverado three-quarter ton 2500HD and one-ton 3500HD are all-new for 2020, sporting an eye-catching grille that’s predictably generating strong reactions, for and against.
Cosmetics aside, the 2020 Silverado HD offers two new impressive powertrains. The standard engine is a 6.6-liter gasoline V8 producing 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque, joined to a six-speed automatic transmission. Compared to the previous model, those numbers reflect an 11-percent increase in horsepower and a 22-percent increase in torque, which translates into an 18-percent boost in towing capacity.
The other powertrain choice is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 with 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, partnered with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Chevy happily points out that this combo delivers a 52-percent increase in maximum towing capacity, up to 35,500 pounds on regular cab, two-wheel-drive 3500HD models with dual rear wheels. According to a local Chevrolet dealership, the extra cost of the diesel engine is “from 8 to 10 grand, depending on the model.”
There are five trim levels of the 2020 Silverado HD: Work Truck, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country, and there are 22 different cab, bed, chassis and driveline configurations.
My test truck was a Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab model in the Custom trim with a gasoline engine and four-wheel drive. This particular setup has a base price of $45,195 including a $1,595 destination charge. Maximum payload is 3,862 pounds, and maximum towing is 14,500 pounds.
Among the four items on the tester’s options list are a Custom Value package ($1,880) and a Fifth Wheel package ($1,090). A few of the features included in the first package are a power tailgate, trailer brake controller, OnStar services with Wi-Fi availability, heated and auto-dimming trailering mirrors, and a rear window defogger. The second package provides stamped bed holes with caps, seven-pin trailer harness and spray-on bedliner.
The new 2500 is larger than its (already really large) predecessor in every direction, including a 5.2-inches longer wheelbase on Crew Cab models. Standard 20-inch aluminum wheels with black accents and body-color trim details gave my test truck an extra splash of dash, but the truck’s overwhelmingly powerful message to me was: “I’m not here to transport you to the local feed store for your two 40-pound bags of black oil sunflower seeds. Don’t you have anything huge and heavy for me to tow?”
Well, no, I don’t. So I can’t talk about towing prowess with any authority, but I can report that the 2500HD has an astoundingly quiet cab and that it travels over Category 5 rough roads without bouncing or shaking passengers in the slightest. Due to the truck’s sheer enormity and solid build, there’s almost no sensation of speed, so it feels like you’re going 20 mph on Highway 2, irritated by the slow traffic, and then you look at the speedometer and you’re going 60.
Highway driving is obviously this truck’s natural habitat. I took it on Snohomish County’s beautiful twisty backroads and it performed pretty well for a monolith. The only problem was the driver who worried about grazing oncoming cars with those giant trailering mirrors.
2020 CHEVROLET SILVERADO 2500HD CREW CAB CUSTOM 4WD
Base price, including destination charge: $45,195
Price as driven: $48,420
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.