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2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
August 5, 2020

Buying tip

The mid-level LT trim with the Duramax turbodiesel V-8 starts at $56,085 with four-wheel drive. That’s only a $3,225 jump in price from the base work truck and a strong value.

features & specs

2WD Crew Cab 159" Custom
2WD Crew Cab 159" LT
2WD Crew Cab 159" LTZ
MPG
NA
MPG
NA
MPG
NA
MSRP
$41,200
MSRP
$42,400
MSRP
$50,900

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD has made heavy-duty work easier, even if the bold design isn’t easy on the eyes.

Americans like big things and there’s no bigger thing on four wheels than the redesigned 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD. The heavy duty truck looks bigger, it feels bigger, it is bigger, and it tows bigger things. The only thing that hasn’t grown is the price: starting at $38,095 including destination, the Silverado heavy duty is $300 less than last year’s base model.  

You get a whole lot of truck and even more capability for that price. The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is a three-quarter ton heavy-duty truck meant for towing and for work but with five trims and plenty of cab and bed configurations, it increasingly doubles as a family car or everyday driver. The Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD are available in Work Truck, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country trims. High Country only comes with the crew cab, while crew and double cabs are available on the other trims. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but many trucks will be equipped with four-wheel drive. Bed size comes in standard (82.25 inches) and long (98.27 inches).

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD earned a 6.0 out of 10 overall rating. Its blend of size and spaciousness in the cab and in the bed, along with incredible towing capability and a smooth and comfy unladen ride are its best attributes. The bed, and its accessibility, is the best on the market. The competitors have more sophisticated interiors and the options pricing even on the already pricey top trims limited us from ranking it even higher. But overall the Silverado HD does a great job of balancing heavy duty work needs with all-around comfort and convenience. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Review continues below

But the Silverado 3500 HD full-ton truck is best suited for work—heavy-duty work. The 2020 Silverado 3500 HD fitted with dual rear wheels and a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 and new 10-speed Allison transmission makes 910 pound-feet of torque, good enough to tow 35,500 pounds. You can tow earth movers with that, or a garage full of cars, or a stable full of horses.

Chevy and its GMC Sierra mate still have some competitive advantages even if the numbers are pretty similar. Silverado and GMC boxes are a bit wider, and the bed steps are the best on the market. The volume-selling crew cabs are nearly three inches longer, with most of that space expanding the rear seat leg room. Overall, Chevy improves on what it was already good at it with the most spacious cabin and bed in the market. The available trailering technology provides 15 different angles, which makes even first-time haulers feel capable enough. 

But, also like the Silverado 1500, the fit and finish on the inside trail the competitors. And the steep, polarizing front bumper, which looks as much like a locomotive as a pickup truck, might turn off some undecideds.

5

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Styling

The exterior stands out as big and bold, as intended, but the Silverado 2500’s interior is just plain bland.

The broad vertical front fascia with stacked lighting was meant to look like a locomotive hauling a load. Drivers who see the 2020 Silverado heavy duty in the rearview mirror will instinctively let it pass. The Chevy truck’s presence is as commanding as it is commandeering, by design.

The HD was designed to stand out from the light-duty half-ton Silverado pickup truck that was redesigned for 2019. The heavy-duty truck is 4 inches taller than the light duty, and the only shared sheet metal is the roof. It grows in length, width, and height over the outgoing HD generation, adding nearly 3 inches of overall interior space in crew cab models.  

Function precedes form as every opening is meant to cool the massive 6.6-liter V-8 gas and diesel engines, including the hood vent. The lighting, which is stacked like an inverted staircase, was pushed to the corners for maximum airflow. Since it does what intended we give it an extra point.

But, like the half-ton Silverado, the interior is underwhelming. Bland. It has all the firm switchgear that can be operated with gloves, but the tiny 7-inch touch screen is a spec in a sea of plastic dash parts. For this reason, we dock the Silverado HD a point to come up with our 5 for styling. 

Review continues below

5

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Performance

Capable, comfortable, even quick at times, the Silverado 2500 HD balances the demands of the load while still providing comfort on the road.

The output is staggering. The 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 with the Allison 10-speed automatic transmission makes 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque at just 1,600 rpm. Unladen, the HD diesel hauls something other than cargo. It’s surprisingly quick in a straight line, moving much more like a light duty than a heavy duty. When equipped with dual rear wheels, optional turbodiesel, and rear-wheel drive, it can tow 35,500 pounds (an increase of 52 percent from the outgoing model). With the gas engine, dual rear wheels, and rear-wheel drive, the Silverado 3500 can carry up to 7,442 pounds in the bed and cab. There’s a giant 28-inch fan to cool the massive diesel engine, and the fan will run for up to 15 minutes even if you kill the engine while it’s still hot. 

If you’re going to tinker with that engine, you might need a ladder to access what’s under the vented hood. 

The gas model is no slouch, either, though it trails the competition by a small margin. The 6.6-liter V-8 gas engine with 6-speed automatic transmission makes 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. 

The cabin is sealed from road and engine noise while cruising, while the independent front suspension and stiffer body smooths out road imperfections, making it a softer, gentler, easier ride. Leaf springs in the rear are more stable when hauling, and bouncy when unladen. Overall, we give it a 5 for being able to haul the heavy load but it handles like the very large truck it is, even if the cabin is quiet. 

The differences behind the wheels of the 2500 HD models largely comes down to the transmissions. Towing about 12,000 pounds uphill in the Cascade Mountain range with the gas engine at an altitude of about 7,500 feet, the 6-speed has to hold gears longer and work harder to get the max 464 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. While coasting on the way down that same grade in tow haul mode, engine braking kept it at about 4,500 rpm until it leveled out. 

Pulling a load from a stop is no problem, thanks in part to the higher compression ratio and the increased displacement from 6.0-liters in the outgoing gas model. One hard brake event downhill before a 90-degree turn provided plenty of confidence to do it again. 

Even when hauling heavy loads in the gas and diesel models, the tail did not wag the dog and the steering stayed centered on straight roads. Turning from a divided highway to a single lane country lane required a wide berth to prevent the trailer from clipping a corner, but it was relatively easy because the steering stayed true to the intended angle. We even did a turnaround in a horseshoe-shaped parking lot ringed with cars without a problem. And that was our first time hauling such a load.

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9

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Comfort & Quality

Size, space, and comfortable capability define what the new heavy duty is all about.

The Silverado 2500 HD is even bigger than the outgoing version, adding nearly 3 inches of overall interior space in crew cab models. Rear seat riders benefit with nearly 3 inches of additional leg room than the outgoing version. While the crew cab will likely be the volume configuration, double cabs are available, and regular cabs are offered for fleets. Up front there’s enough space to double as a mobile office, or to take a nap waiting for the subcontractor to finally show up. That’s good enough for a 9 in our ratings, as the size and spaciousness extends into the bed as well.

GM’s bumper step on the Silverado and Sierra have always been a favorite for the simplicity and subtlety; there’s no folding steps or retractable pull handles. But the Silverado HD is so big, it might seem the step could be challenging for the old football (aka arthritic) knee. Not the case. The lift-in height is about an inch lower than the outgoing model, and the bed is a tad lower, too. There are now side steps in addition to the corner steps. The bed step is great for needing to adjust items near the cab, or help pull things up into the depths of the bed, while the rear corner step offers the same ease of getting up and down. The corner steps are larger, and Chevy says it can accommodate size-12 boots and up to 500 pounds. 

While the cargo box is based on the redesigned 2019 Silverado 1500, the HD boxes are larger, longer, deeper, and wider. The multi-piece inner panels make for slimmer walls, in effect. A two-tiered storage system and 12 tie downs make security and stacking easy. The standard 82-inch bed is 3.4 inches longer and nearly an inch wider, which increases cargo volume by 8.6 cubic feet to 69.6 cubes total. The long 8-foot bed is marginally longer than the outgoing model, but the use of the panels increases volume 7.1 cubic feet to a class-leading 83.5 cubes. 

Chevy has the big thing down. And since we’re in the bed, let it be known that Chevy offers a power tailgate that can be raised or lowered from the convenience of the gate, cab, or fob. The only way to make that tailgate better is to let Silverado customers buy the MultiPro tailgate offered on the GMC Sierra. 

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2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Safety

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD lacks an official safety rating.

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD has not been rated yet for safety.

The outgoing model earned four stars from the NHTSA, with a perfect five-star rating in side crash testing, but a middling three-star rating for front crash safety. 

The IIHS doesn’t test heavy-duty trucks, but the 2019 Chevy Silverado half-ton truck earned “Good” ratings on all but the small overlap front test on the passenger side, which simulates an impact on the front passenger side of a vehicle with a small, stationary object such as a tree or light pole.

Review continues below

5

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Features

There are as many available features as vehicle configurations, but there should be more standard equipment as the trim levels escalate.

Like the 2019 Silverado half-ton, Chevy didn’t innovate as much in the creature cabin comforts as it did everywhere else on the 2500 HD. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as familiar switchgear and placement could entice current Chevy owners to upsize to an HD. The undecideds might also like the relatively uncomplicated interface of the steering wheel controls and narrow 7.0-inch touchscreen, which is the only small thing in the truck. 

The downside is it doesn’t feel as fresh or modern as the Ram 2500, and if you’re shelling out $70,000, you might want that new-car vibe.  

The HD comes in five trim levels, starting with the entry Work Truck at $38,095, including destination. We’ll use the crew cab with standard bed in RWD with the gas engine as a point of comparison for the trims. 

The Custom trim is $42,395 and the LT is $43,395. The LTZ trim makes a huge jump in features and price at $52,095. Then there is the range and price topping High Country at $62,695. Four-wheel drive adds about $2,000, and the diesel adds about $10,000. For overall value, we recommend the LT with 4WD in crew cab and standard bed for $46,195. Get the diesel ($56,085) for frequent towing of heavier loads. 

The problem is even on the pricey LTZ trim, Chevy is going to upcharge the available features instead of including them in the high price point. The trim upgrades, then, are mostly aesthetic with nicer materials. The available features are great; the standard features are not. That’s why it only gets a 5.

The most notable available feature is the advanced trailering system, which uses eight available cameras to project 15 different camera angles. Two of the cameras would need to be installed inside the trailer and at the rear, while a third camera would be the rear mirror camera. Even without those, there are eyes everywhere, including an excellent transparent trailer view that shows tailgaters you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. The side camera view, activated by steering wheel position or turn signal indicator, shows the blind spots on both sides, then calibrates it from a 50/50 view to 60/40 to 80/20 based on steering wheel position, so you can see the trailer body and wheels while turning. Split-view angles, such as a birds-eye split with a front projection, help what you can’t see right in front, such as a parking block.

Review continues below

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD lacks official fuel economy numbers.

Even in this era of heavy-duty pickup trucks as everyday vehicles, the EPA still doesn’t rate fuel economy or make manufacturers meet fuel economy standards. A heavy-duty truck is not going to be fuel efficient but diesels are more efficient on the highway. The 36-gallon tank in the Crew Cab for gas and diesel should stretch out stops at the fuel pump even if the fuel cost stretches out the wallet.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$34,600
MSRP based on 2WD Reg Cab 142" Work Truck
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6.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 5
Fuel Economy N/A
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