2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Preview
- Nearly full redesign of Chevy’s heavy-duty pickup truck
- Wide variety of cab, bed, chassis, drivetrain, and trim configurations
- Standard new gasoline 6.6-liter V-8 engine making 401 horsepower
- Available Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 cranking out 910 lb.-ft. of torque
- New 10-speed Allison automatic transmission with Duramax
- Tows up to 35,500 lbs.; hauls as much as 7,466 lbs. of payload
- Lots of new trailering systems and technologies
- Built in Flint, Michigan
- On sale in summer 2019
The heavy-duty truck segment is heating up. Ram has a significantly updated model, Ford has given its popular Super Duty several updates for 2020, and both GMC and Chevrolet have redesigned 2500 and 3500 series trucks going on sale in the summer of 2019.
Buyers choosing the redesigned 2020 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty will select between 22 different cab, bed, chassis, and drivetrain configurations. Five trim levels are also available: Work Truck, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country. Every 2020 Silverado HD is built in Flint, Michigan.
For maximum towing and hauling, you’ll want the Silverado 3500HD regular cab with 2-wheel drive, dual rear wheels, and the optional turbodiesel engine. It will tow up to 35,500 lbs. and haul as much as 7,466 lbs. of payload.
Longer, wider, and taller, the new Silverado HD shares nothing but its roof panel with the recently redesigned Silverado 1500 light-duty pickup. Chevrolet says it made sure that the door skins were smooth for easier attachment of signage.
Cargo boxes are different, too, though they share similar construction materials, including a durable roll-formed steel bed floor. Improvements include new bed steps forward of the rear wheels, larger bumper corner steps, and 12 fixed tie-down rings rated at 500 lbs. each. The Silverado’s larger 8-ft. box offers more volume than key competitors, says Chevy, with 83.5 cu. ft. of volume.
Each Silverado HD is equipped with larger trailering mirrors with improved extension and retraction compared with the outgoing model. As an option, they’re power-operated. They also feature forward-facing spotlights, with rear-facing spotlights and puddle lamps available at extra cost.
Additional options include active grille shutters, LED headlights and taillights, a power up/down tailgate, and a 120-volt power outlet in the bed.
All 2020 Silverado HD models boast a bigger interior than before, and Crew Cab models receive a 5.2-in. wheelbase stretch, which adds about 3 extra ins. of rear legroom.
Cabins are essentially identical to the Silverado 1500, and in High Country trim include leather, simulated wood, and an upscale 2-tone appearance when choosing a color other than black.
Under the Hood
The new Silverado HD uses a strengthened version of the outgoing truck’s frame, according to Chevrolet, paired with new front and rear axles, larger ring gears and prop shafts, and improved Duramax engine cooling in order to tackle larger loads.
As a result, towing capacity is up across the board, not just for the dually models, says Chevrolet. And, every Silverado HD includes a VIN-specific trailering information label that lists that specific truck’s trailering and payload ratings. That way, there can be no confusion about how much a given truck can tow or haul.
A new 6.6-liter, direct-injection, gasoline V-8 engine is standard, making 401 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 464 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, and Chevy says this engine offers an 18% increase in towing capacity over the outgoing 6.0-liter V-8.
For maximum capability, you’ll want the Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8, which makes 445 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 910 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. A new Allison 10-speed automatic transmission is standard, and Silverado HDs equipped with this powertrain include a new “after-run” function that will keep the engine running for up to 15 minutes to allow it to properly cool down.
How does this work? If the engine needs a cool-down idling period, the truck will tell the driver this is necessary. If the driver shuts the engine off anyway and leaves, the truck will automatically restart, allowing the engine to properly cool down.
Thanks to all of the frame and drivetrain improvements, the Silverado HD boasts up to a 52% increase in maximum towing capacity, to 35,500 lbs. for a regular cab, 2WD, dually optioned with the Duramax diesel. That same configuration is also good for the maximum payload rating of 7,466 lbs., but you need to swap the Duramax for the standard gas engine.
All gas-engine Silverado HD models include a 36-gallon fuel tank, as does the crew cab with the diesel. Get the Duramax in a regular or extended cab truck and the bigger gas tank is an option.
An Autotrac 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system is also available, and includes a “4 Auto” mode that seamlessly transitions from 2WD to 4WD depending on conditions.
Other standard features include a tow/haul transmission mode that remains engaged during the following key-on cycle, simultaneously reminding the driver that the mode remains engaged. An improved integrated trailer brake controller recalls the most recent gain setting, and the Silverado HD features automatic grade braking and, with the Duramax, diesel exhaust braking.
An Auto Park Brake Assist system holds the truck in place while hitching a trailer, while a Park Grade Hold Assist function puts braking at all four wheels to hold the truck on a grade for an extended period of time. Chevy’s Digital Variable Steering Assist returns for 2020, enhanced for improved feel.
Chevrolet emphasizes that the new Silverado HD was designed from the start for work. Highlights include an easy-access engine block heater outlet, easy-fill diesel exhaust fluid reservoir, better-integrated Snow Plow Prep package, and an available factory-integrated, engine-driven Power Take Off system to run power tools on the job site.
The improved trailering story continues when it comes to the Silverado HD’s technology offerings.
For starters, Chevrolet has improved integration of the Silverado’s trailering functions with its myChevrolet smartphone app. Trailering App functions include testing the trailer lights, running diagnostics on the electrical system, checking trailer tire pressure and temperature, and more.
Additionally, Chevrolet is actively developing “smart trailer” functions accessible through the app or through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via the Silverado HD’s infotainment system. Examples of these smart functions include remote activation of the trailer’s climate system or checking water tank levels before arriving at a campsite.
A new Advanced Trailering System camera system provide up to 15 different views for improved trailering, including one called a Transparent Trailer View that allows the driver to see “through” a trailer. Others include a Bed View and an HD Surround Vision View.
Additional technology highlights include a next-generation infotainment system that supports the new SiriusXM 360L format, and a head-up display.
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