As a followup to the all-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 that bowed for 2019, Chevrolet has introduced an all-new Silverado HD for 2020. Boasting a polarizing new design, an all-new gas engine and an increased towing capacity, buyers will find a lot to love in the new Silverado HD, which offers some great tech, including an available camera system that allows you to see inside and behind your trailer, making towing easier than it’s ever been. And that’s important, because towing and hauling is what these trucks are all about. The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD is an overall larger truck than its medium-duty Silverado 1500 counterpart, and thus the 2500 and 3500 models are meant for more taxing, heavy-duty use. While the Silverado HD lagged slightly behind the competition in years past with regard to towing capacity, the new model boasts best-in-class capabilities, and can tow up to 35,500 pounds when properly equipped; more than anything from Ford or Ram.
What’s New for 2020?
Like the medium-duty model was for 2019, the 2020 Chevy Silverado HD is all-new.
The 2020 Silverado HD is longer and taller than the outgoing model. While the Ford F-Series has moved to an aluminum body, the Silverado HD only uses an aluminum hood and tailgate, everything else is made of steel. Only the roof panel is shared with the medium duty Silverado 1500.
A gas-powered Silverado 2500 HD can tow up to 17,400 pounds, while a diesel-powered 2500 HD can pull up to 18,600 pounds with 2-wheel drive. In terms of maximum towing capacity, the new Silverado HD is class-leading, and a 2WD, diesel-powered dually 3500 HD can pull up to a whopping 35,500 pounds. Since maximum towing and payload capacities differ depending on the specific configuration of your truck, GM puts a convenient sticker on the passenger side door that breaks down the capabilities of your specific truck by connection style.
The new Silverado HD offers a step integrated into the bed just ahead of the rear wheel that allows you to step up and access the bed from just behind the cab. The step is rated to support up to 500 pounds. In both the 6-foot, 10-in shorter bed and the 8-foot long bed configuration, the new Silverado HD boasts the largest cargo volume relative to the competition.
On the inside, the new Silverado’s interior is virtually identical to that of the 1500 model, and both trucks use an interior similar to that found on the previous-generation model. Crew cab models offer a ton of space in the second row. See the 2020 Chevrolet 2500HD models for sale near you or See the 2020 Chevrolet 3500HD models for sale near you
What We Like
- Best-in-class towing capacity
- Great cameras
- Generous cargo volume
What We Don’t
- Uninspired interior
- Camera system limited to higher trims
- Steep premium for diesel.
$37,000-$75,000. Expect to pay a $10,000 premium for the diesel.
As in years past, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD is available with your choice of either a gas or diesel engine. The gas option is a 6.6-liter V8, which is all-new for 2020. Output comes in at 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque, and the gas engine is mated to an updated 6-speed automatic transmission. Optional is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel churning out 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque, which is the same as in the outgoing model. The diesel now comes paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t rate the fuel economy of heavy-duty trucks. That said, a truck like this isn’t what you buy if you’re after fuel efficiency, and drivers of the Silverado HD should experience somewhere around 10 miles per gallon in the city and 15 mpg on the highway.
Standard Features & Options
Just like with the outgoing generation, the new Silverado HD comes in just about every conceivable configuration, from basic bare-bones work truck to a posh luxury truck with room for five large adults. Three different cab styles are offered — regular, extended and crew — as are two different bed lengths: a 6-foot, 10-in option known as the standard length bed, and an 8-foot long bed. Two- and 4-wheel drive are available, as is a dual rear wheel option available on 3500 models that allows for better stability, more grip and greater towing capacity. One gas and one diesel engine are offered.
The new Silverado HD will come in five trim levels. The base model is the Work Truck, which starts at $35,695, and offers the “Chevrolet” wordmark grille and 17-in wheels on 2500 and 3500 Dually models and 18s on 3500s with single rear wheels. The Work Truck is the value-oriented trim, and prioritizes functionality over appearance and comfort.
Next up is the Custom, which is exclusive to the 2500 model and starts at $40,595. In addition to offering a few more basic features, the Custom comes standard with 20-in wheels and more body-colored trim pieces that give it a more upscale, monochromatic look.
The LT trim falls in the middle of the pack. With a starting price of $39,595, the LT still comes with the “Chevrolet” wordmark grille, but adds chrome elements for a bolder appearance.
Next up is the LTZ trim which starts at $50,295 and wears more chrome while introducing luxuries like a leather interior with heated front seats, dual zone climate control, power folding mirrors, an integrated trailer brake controller and a power-sliding rear window with a defroster.
The top-of-the-line High Country starts at $62,695 and introduces features that put it in line with the GMC Sierra Denali. These include a power up and down tailgate, 20-in chrome wheels, body colored bumpers, chrome side steps, a wireless charging pad and a Bose audio system on top of everything offered on the LTZ. The High Country is only available as a crew cab.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety doesn’t crash test heavy-duty trucks, but they do test medium-duty trucks like the Silverado 1500, which received generally good scores, save for a somewhat worrisome score of “Marginal” in the new passenger side small front overlap test. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Silverado HD would score the same way, it does speak to the caliber of crash-test engineering put into GM trucks, especially given that both the new Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150 medium-duty trucks earn scores of good across the board.
Optional active safety features on the new Silverado HD include park assist, forward-collision warning and a lane-departure warning system that vibrates either side of the seat in the event that you start to drift from your lane. Note that the new Silverado HD lacks an available lane-keeping assist system, nor can it be had with adaptive cruise control, which is offered on HD trucks from both Ford and Ram.
The new Silverado HD is also available with blind spot monitoring, although it doesn’t account for a trailer like some other truck systems. The Silverado HD’s new optional camera system offers up to eight cameras: six on the truck, one looking inside of the trailer, and one showing what’s behind the trailer. This serves to take a lot of the stress out of towing long, heavy loads.
Behind the Wheel
There’s nothing revolutionary to report with regard to the new Silverado HD’s driving dynamics — it drives pretty much like the old one. While Ford and Ram use a solid front axle in their heavy-duty trucks, for what both will claim is added durability, GM uses an independent front suspension, which allows for better ride quality and greater overall comfort behind the wheel. While the diesel version of the Silverado HD still emits that charming diesel rumble, the sound is muted thanks to good engineering and a healthy amount of insulation, meaning that extra cabin noise is kept to a minimum.
While both engines are weighted for towing heavy loads, the diesel is by far the more capable powertrain choice and experiences less of a performance dropoff while towing when compared to the gas engine. If you plan to tow a lot of heavy loads over long distances, opt for the diesel. Provided you can afford it.
Moving to the interior, and the Silverado’s cabin isn’t bad, but it isn’t especially nice either. Even on top-of-the-line High Country models, the Silverado’s dashboard is bulbous, with large swaths of cheap-looking plastic occupying the space between buttons. Still, the High Country trim comes with high-end leather and trim pieces that rival those found on the GMC Sierra Denali, while lesser trims offer ample space to sprawl out, not to mention countless cubbies and storage pockets that allow you to stay organized behind the wheel and at the job site. Atop the center stack is an 8-in touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, along with 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability, making it easy to stay connected and productive on the go. In its second row, the crew cab model offers a ton of space for back seat passengers of all shapes and sizes to sprawl out.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 GMC Sierra HD — The new Sierra HD wears styling that’s a little more aggressive, a little more premium-looking than the new Silverado HD. This makes sense given that General Motors is positioning the GMC’s line of trucks as slightly more premium than that of Chevrolet, as evidenced by the Sierra’s top-of-the-line Denali trim. Still, these trucks are remarkably similar, which one is better is up to you to decide.
2019 Ford F-Series Super Duty — The Ford F-Series is the best-selling line of pickups in the United States. While its new aluminum construction was met with some controversy, studies have shown repair costs to be on par with those of the steel-bodied trucks from GM and Ram.
2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty — The new Ram Heavy Duty line has earned high praise for its interior, which many will argue is the best in the heavy-duty pickup class. While it wears new front and rear styling, not to mention that new interior, the basic structure of the “new” Ram Heavy Duty line is the same as the model that preceded it.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado HD — Picking up a previous-generation Silverado HD from the 2019 model year is a great way to save a few dollars. Capability is about the same and while it doesn’t offer the aggressive new styling of the 2020 model, the interiors of the two trucks are very similar.
While Chevrolet will advertise that their truck comes with a lower overall starting price and greater maximum towing figures than Ford and Ram, those numbers seldom matter in the real world, as very few buyers will drive off the lot with a base-model truck, while even fewer will tow a trailer that weighs as much as the Silverado HD’s 35,500-lb maximum towing capacity. Additionally, any of the big-three pickups will be capable and reliable, and they all offer a massive cabin with loads of tech and storage space. For those reasons, it’s important to consider other attributes when deciding on a new truck.
Obviously, Chevrolet offers the Silverado HD in a variety of configurations to meet a variety of different needs. For those who just need a simple work truck to haul around raw materials and heavy equipment, to those looking for a family vehicle to haul a boat to the lake on the weekend, there’s a 2020 Silverado HD out there for just about anyone. If you are looking to do a lot of towing, consider springing for the diesel powertrain, which will pull your trailer more effortlessly than the gas option. We also love the available high-tech camera system that takes away most of the headaches that can come from towing a trailer. Otherwise, the Silverado HD is a competent, well-conceived truck offering buyers everything they want in a heavy-duty truck with very few surprises.