The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado is for buyers who definitely want a truck to do big truck things.
In fact, according to Chevrolet, 90 percent of their heavy duty (HD) truck buyers use their trucks for trailering, not because they occasionally need to pull a jet ski or a little boat.
Each version of the Chevy’s redesigned half-ton Silverado HD gets all-new styling and is different depending on trim. And although the interior is pretty much shared across all trim levels, including my test vehicle, the LTZ, most drivers don’t care because really it is capability that matters here.
To that end, the 2020 Silverado HD gets an enhanced version of Chevy’s boxed rail frame design, which has been beefed up to handle greater loads. It also has been stretched in crew cab models an extra 5.2 inches for greater interior space. There also are larger and more robust front axles, while the prop shaft is 30 percent larger.
Within the frame is now the diesel DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) tank, relocated from underneath the hood, and now attached to a filler adjacent to the diesel one. An electronic DEF gauge has been added to the instrument panel.
The Silverado is the first heavy-duty truck to offer an automatic mode for 4×4 models, like my LTZ — much like an all-wheel drive system, it’ll send power to the front axle when the system detects rear wheel slippage. We found it works exactly as advertised.
As for the diesel engine itself, the 6.6-liter V8 returns, producing the same 445 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 910 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm as before. Cooling has been improved thanks to a bigger fan and hood scoop, plus a new “after run” feature that automatically keeps the engine running — and eventually shuts itself off — after you have left the truck to properly cool it down after a particularly grueling job.
Crucially, the diesel also gets a new, standard 10-speed automatic transmission. Having so many gears reduces the gap between them, which is hugely beneficial for towing in terms of capability, efficiency, and interior tranquility. The exhaust brake function included on upper trims, such as the LTZ, is another invaluable towing feature.
For me, there is just no substitution for the diesel engine that produces nearly double the torque. It’s therefore not surprising that the majority of HD buyers opt for the diesel engine despite a price tag that tops $9,000.
However, there is more to consider than just the engine choice. The steering system depends on trim level, with the LTZ and High Country featuring an electro-mechanical system that keeps weighting consistent regardless of driving situation.
Granted, in the lower levels, the steering wheel doesn’t telescope and there is no driver-seat height adjustment for shorter drivers, but both are added on upper trim level LTZ and High Country.
For the four-wheel-drive Silverado diesel models, most drivers get around 14-17 miles per gallon on the highway and 8-12 mpg in the city, depending on the load. On average, the diesel Silverado 2500 HD’s best-in-class 15 mpg is remarkable for a truck of this size.
With the Duramax Turbo Diesel and the LTZ Premium Package added, total price for my 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 test truck came in at $72,770.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.