- Big, versatile bed
- Excellent available trailering cameras
- Strong V-8s
- Most fuel-efficient diesel truck
- Easy-to-use infotainment
- Uninspired interior
- Bulky, blocky exterior
- Active safety tech on high trims only
- Less efficient overall
features & specs
The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado is a strong, solid truck with the largest bed in the class, but it’s not as well done as the new Ram 1500.
The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado is leaner, longer, wider, taller, and has the largest bed in the class. There are eight trim levels, seven powertrains, better available trailering equipment, more available safety features, and a long-awaited new diesel engine. Somehow, it all comes together in a less satisfying fashion than its rivals.
We rate the Silverado a 5.2 out of 10 overall for its versatility and wide-reaching capability. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Silverado is offered in Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, LT Trail Boss, RST, LTZ, and High Country trims, but advanced safety features and more efficient powertrains are only available on higher, pricier trims.
The powertrain lineup expands for 2020 with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel-6 with 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s the most fuel-efficient full-size truck on the market. Joining the diesel is a 2.7-liter turbo-4 with 8-speed automatic, and the familiar 4.3-liter V-6, 5.3-liter V-8, and 6.2-liter V-8. The new 10-speed is also offered on the V-8s.
The Silverado has a solid mix of power and efficiency, but it has an unladen bouncy ride that pales next to the refined Ram 1500. The bed is best in class in terms of volume, and available in three spacious sizes and three cab configurations, all offered with four-wheel drive.
The rear seats in the Crew Cab have more leg room, and the base Work Truck comes with vinyl surfaces and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Two Trail Boss models (Custom and LT) get the Z71 package with a 2-inch lift, Rancho shocks, a locking rear differential, skid plates, and 18-inch off-road tires. The High Country is loaded with full LED lighting, leather and heated and cooled seats, power up/down tailgate, but even the larger 8.0-inch touchscreen is on the small end of infotainment systems.
Towing in the Silverado has gotten easier, with two available trailering packages and an eight-camera system that provides 15 different views. An integrated trailer brake controller with memory is standard on higher trims but available on all others. The Silverado didn’t fare as well in crash testing as its peers, but has more advanced safety features available only on the higher trims, which bothers us.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Bulky and blockish, but leaner and longer, the 2020 Silverado is sticking with the squared-off style.
Leaner, longer, wider, and taller, the 2020 Chevy Silverado is what most Americans like out of their dimensions. Chevy made it appear even broader and bolder, with a more prominent crossbar and squintier headlights. From the front, it looks pulled and smooshed and as blocky as ever. The interior is solid but basic, and the new crop of full-size truck competitors are anything but basic. We rate it a 5, deeming it average inside and out.
Along the sides, the fenders bulge noticeably front and rear, and the square-cut wheel cutouts have given way to rounded ones. The integrated steps in the rear bumper are bigger to accommodate work boots.
Inside, the look is familiar, too familiar, all the way down to the column shifter. Some people might appreciate this. The blocky exterior carries over to the interior.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
With seven powertrains, the 2020 Chevy Silverado can be an efficient highway hauler or a smooth grunt of a work truck.
The big news for the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado is the edition of a 10-speed automatic transmission and a turbodiesel-6 to its array of powertrain choices. Those choices offer class-leading horsepower or class-leading fuel economy, and overall the truck has greater towing and payload capacity than the outgoing model. The Silverado is a strong, solid truck, with powertrain configurations for every imaginable need, as well as revamped cylinder deactivation to conserve fuel. This versatility rates at a 6 for performance.
The base engine in the base WT is the carryover 4.3-liter V-6 with a 6-speed automatic transmission making 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. It’s a basic proposition, with worse fuel economy than the outgoing model due to the new model’s larger size.
Then there is the turbo-4. In most cases, Chevy doesn’t even mention four cylinders, as if no truck buyer would take it seriously. Pickup trucks have changed, and the 2.7-liter turbo-4 with 8-speed automatic (310 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque) can handle the occasional heavy load or seasonal tow, while still delivering crossover-like fuel economy of 20 mpg combined in four-wheel drive. It can be loud and a little shaky over rougher roads, but it gets the commuter job done. (For more, read our first Silverado turbo-4 drive.)
New for Silverado and new for 2020, the 277-horsepower 3.0-liter turbodiesel-6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission churns out 460 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. Available on the top LT, RST, LTZ, and High Country trim levels, the turbodiesel is plenty capable but is intended for fuel economy. It gets an impressive 25 mpg combined in 4WD, and beats out the competition with a 33-mpg highway rating in rear-drive configurations. (For more, read our 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel first drive.)
Three versions of GM’s 5.3-liter V-8 are offered, with either a 6-speed, 8-speed, or 10-speed automatic transmission that is new for 2020. The base version has Active Fuel Management that can shut down four cylinders under light load conditions. The V-8s with the 8-speed and 10-speed have a new feature that can shut down one to six cylinders. Both are rated at 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque and can get up to 19 mpg combined in 4WD. With rear-wheel drive, the V-8s can tow up to 11,600 pounds in double cab configurations.
The top dog is a 6.2-liter V-8 with 10-speed automatic that churns out 420 horses and 460 lb-ft of torque. The 4WD Double Cab can tow up to 13,400 pounds.
Both V-8s are strong, but take their time delivering power; the 10-speed helps. The 6.2-liter is more willing. The turbodiesel falls well short of the competitors and other Silverados, but can haul up to 9,300 pounds in 4WD in both extended and crew cabs.
An integrated trailer brake controller, a new towing checklist in the instrument panel, a new towing app, and the available 15 camera views make the towing experience easier for noobs and veterans alike.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Comfort & Quality
Large beds, big space, clever storage areas distinguish the 2020 Chevy Silverado.
There is nothing too flashy or exceptional about the interior of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado, but the interior spaciousness, large controls, and even larger bed adds value where truck buyers most appreciate it.
The Silverado earns a 7 for its utility, roominess, and having function dictate form.
Even in top High Country trim, it’s not as luxurious as the Ram 1500, but that’s just fine for shoppers who prefer their expensive truck to feel less like an expensive truck. Black soft-touch materials and a good balance of chrome gives the basic interior a sense of refinement.
Big switchgear and large square buttons keep the interface simple, and the various electrical plugs are easy to access in the center stack. But even the larger 8.0-inch touchscreen is cramped.
Chevy improves what was already a spacious Crew Cab cabin, adding 2.9 inches of rear leg room. The front seats are roomy but pretty basic, and the truck has enough width to fit three across in the second row. Fold-up rear seat bottoms and storage pockets in the rear seatbacks add storage space.
The bed is offered in 5-foot-8, 6-foot-6, and 8-foot lengths, and is at least 10 cubic feet larger than the predecessor. All three bed sizes are 7 inches wider, which enables laying flat 4-by-8 sheets of plywood or what have you, and results in largest in the class. A power-folding tailgate can be operated from the fob, outside, or inside the truck, and 12 fixed tie-downs makes the hauling safe and secure.
All of these features, plus the bed steps mounted in the bumper, make the Silverado’s bed king of the hill.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Crash-test results for the 2020 Chevy Silverado trail the competition.
The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado has some optional safety features, earned a four-star safety rating from the NHTSA, and crew cab configurations are not as strong as the competition in IIHS testing. We give it a 3 out of 10.
The NHTSA has given the truck a four-star overall rating, while the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 received five-star overall ratings in certain configurations. The “Poor” headlight rating and “Marginal” results on small frontal overlap protection on the passenger side have left the Silverado and GMC Sierra lagging behind the 2020 Ram 1500, 2019 Ford F-150, and 2019 Nissan Titan in IIHS crash testing.
Standard safety features are basic, too, including six airbags, trailer sway control, and hill start assist.
Even though automatic emergency braking and other essential active safety features are standard on only the Toyota Tundra, Chevy’s insistence on making it available only on higher priced Silverados is confounding. We do appreciate that rear-seat reminder is standard.
Standard on the High Country and optional for LT and above is the Safety package with front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Offered only for LTZ and High Country is Safety Package II with forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings with active lane control, automatic high beams, and GM’s Safety Alert Seat that vibrates in the direction of potential hazards.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
With eight models, seven powertrains, four bed and body styles, and all the packages imaginable, the 2020 Chevy Silverado casts a wide net to catch truck buyers.
Like the truck itself, the Silverado lineup gets even bigger for 2020, with eight models, seven powertrains, and all sorts of options and packages. The Silverado earns a 7 out of 10 for its wide range of choices and easy-to-use infotainment system and cabin controls.
Available in regular cab with long bed, crew cab in short bed, or extended cab and crew cab in standard bed, the model lineup consists of Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LTZ, LT Trail Boss, High Country.
The Work Truck is exactly as it sounds, basic and good for fleets or the worker who just wants a basic, no-frills truck. With how luxury-loaded some trucks are, a basic work truck is a compelling option. It has vinyl seats, vinyl floor, manual seats and steering column, and basic 17-inch wheels. Tech goodies include a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, rear-seat reminder, and Teen Driver, which enables owners to customize settings and limit certain functions for new drivers.
The Custom steps it up with LED taillights and 20-inch alloy wheels, while the Custom Trail Boss comes standard with the Z71 off-road package, which includes a 2-inch lift, Rancho shocks, a locking rear differential, skid plates, and 18-inch wheels with off-road tires.
LT models add cosmetic touches such as a chrome bar across the grille and chrome bumpers and mirror caps; LT includes LED headlights and daytime running lights, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen.
The RST gets matching body color accents, full LED lighting, remote start, keyless ignition, standard 18-inch wheels with options up to 22 inches.
Our choice would be the LT or its mid-range siblings the LT Trail Boss for those who like the off-roading equipment or the RST for the sleeker street look. The larger infotainment is useful, the LED lighting provides better illumination, and pricing shouldn’t shoot too high, though at these prices, automatic emergency braking should be standard, not reserved as an option on the highest, priciest trims.
LTZ buyers get power folding and heated outside mirrors, and leather upholstery, while High Country customers receive the kitchen sink of features, including navigation, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a power up/down tailgate.
The Z71 package is offered on all models, as is a four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing. The higher trim Silverados come available with adaptive cruise control and the HD’s excellent Advance Trailering Package, which includes a 15-camera view to give the cabin eyes all over the trailered load. and adaptive cruise control.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The Silverado offers a powertrain for every need, but its turbo-4 and volume V-8 lag the competition. The Silverado’s new diesel-6 beats them all, however.
There’s a lot to digest when it comes to fuel economy, but the biggest takeaway with the Silverado is the diesel is the best, the 10-speed helps, but the other powertrains cede 1 mpg here and there to the competitors.
The addition of the 10-speed automatic transmission on higher trim Silverado V-8s complements new efficient powertrains such as the turbo-4 and turbodiesel-6 new for 2020.
Even though the diesel tops the competitors at 27 mpg combined, most Silverado consumers choose the V-8 with the 8-speed automatic, which lags the competition. We rate the Silverado 3 out of 10.
The 5.3-liter V-8 mated to the new 10-speed automatic in four-wheel drive is rated at 16 mpg city, 22 highway, 19 combined, which is 1 mpg more than the similarly equipped 8-speed.
The Ram 1500 with the more expensive eTorque mild hybrid system is 17/24/19, but the regular 5.7-liter V-8 in 4WD is rated at 15/21/17.
The eTorque system is more expensive and more efficient than the Dynamic Fuel Management system offered in 6.2- and 5.3-liter Silverados with the 8-speed; the active cylinder deactivation can shut down cylinders when they’re not needed, such as on highway cruising, to save fuel.
The Silverado 3.0-liter turbo-6 diesel in 2WD is a tad more efficient than the Ram as well, at 27 mpg combined versus 26 mpg combined in the Ram. The 2.7-liter turbo-4 is 20/23/21 mpg with rear-wheel drive, and 19/22/20 mpg with four-wheel drive. It doesn’t save that much fuel for what is lost in towing capacity and overall power.
The 5.3 with the 6-speed and rear-drive available on lower trim models is rated at 15/22/17, while the 4WD version gets a 15/21/17 rating, which lags the Ram and Ford F-150.
V-6 Silverados check in at 16/21/17 mpg in 2WD form or 15/20/17 mpg with 4WD, slightly lower in Trail Boss editions.
With the 6.2-liter V-8, the Silverado is rated at 16/20/17 mpg. It comes only with 4WD and a 10-speed automatic.