At just above 3,600 feet, Bend, Ore., had the elevation, curvy roads, and scenery needed to test the all-new 2020 Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD trucks thoroughly. Members of the media test drove the all-new Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD via a variety of trailer and driving activities around Central Oregon.
“There is constant truck news coming from Chevy today,” said Sandor Piszar, director, Chevrolet marketing at General Motors.
Towing with Ease
We were given a chance to test the trailering capabilities of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HDs in a big way — towing an oversize anvil (watch out Roadrunner!) with metal plates weighing down the truck to a total 35,500 pounds. The truck’s ability to hit peak torque in low gears allowed us to pull the trailer with ease.
“Towing can be stressful! In a recent study, 57% of respondents agreed. The other 43% were lying!” commented Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer for Chevrolet Trucks.
The automaker increased max towing by 52% to reach the max gooseneck tow rating of 35,500-pounds. When properly equipped, the trucks feature a GCWR of up to 43,500 pounds. All Duramax diesel dually models are capable of towing more than 30,000 pounds across all trims.
Chevrolet has added in a trailering checklist as well as a towing label matched to the VIN of the truck to ensure drivers know the exact weight the truck was spec’ed to tow. The truck’s computer can store up to five trailer profiles with the trailer brake gain programmed to help change from towing a trailer with your bobcat on it to a toy trailer without the additional time spent programming.
Next, the eight cameras with up to 15 camera views were put to the test — along with the media’s driving prowess — as we towed a trailer through an obstacle course using the camera views to avoid the cones. The invisible trailer view came in very handing when backing the trailer up to a specified spot. When pulling forward, forward viewing guidelines helped ensure we were right where we wanted to be.
A tow/haul reminder ensures you have the truck in tow/haul mode when trailering. At the end of the course, media was shown the interior trailer view camera showing the precious cargo we had just been towing (a Corvette!).
Chevrolet also worked hard to ensure the towing capacity does not degrade for their trucks at altitude.
Finally, the trailering camera views were utilized to line up the tow hitch with a trailer quickly and easily. A tow guideline made maneuvering simple, and the automatic park brake and motor-on-caliper braking system helped keep the truck right where it stopped when you take your foot off the brake.
Powertrains & Exclusive 10-Speed
The new trucks are longer — 5.2 inches longer on the crew cab models — and are available in five trim levels, from the basic Work Truck trim to the top of the line High Country.
“Today’s fleets want a real HD truck, not just a scaled-up version of light-duty,” Piszar said. The Chevrolet 2500HD/3500HD only share the roof sheet metal with the smaller 1500 model.
Today’s fleet and commercial market is comprised of 61% gasoline engines, according to Chevrolet.
With this breakdown in mind, two powertrains are offered — a standard 6.6L V-8 gasoline engine with direct-injection (compared to port-injection from competitor models) that achieves 401 hp and 464 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The gasoline engine provides 11% more hp, 22% more torque, and up to 18% more towing when compared to the previous 6.0L gasoline engine.
The available 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V-8 engine can achieve 445 hp and 910 lb.-ft. of torque when mated to the all-new Allison 10-speed automatic transmission. Also, the diesel powertrain is quiet! When driving the noise level was equivalent to a modern gasoline powertrain.
Beneficial Tech & Features
Additionally, the trucks feature a standard DuraBed that has 83.5 cubic-feet of cargo capacity and is made of a higher-grade of high-strength steel than before. This added strength allows more materials to be stored and hauled without damaging the truck bed.
The truck bed is not shared with the light-duty model, designed specifically for the HD lineup. The truck features 12 fixed tie-down rings with corner rings rated at 500 pounds and up to nine additional accessory tie downs that can be added.
The available power up/down tailgate makes loading and unloading the truck easy (it can be operated with the key fob or a button, interior, on the tailgate), and the available 120v power outlet provides the power needed at just about any job site. Additional ergonomic considerations include the BedStep and larger CornerSteps, which can hold up to 500 pounds and fit a size 12 work boot.
Keeping these trucks cool is a challenge, so the 28-inch diameter fan with variable fan speed works hard in combination with the working hood scoop to keep engine temps low. Diesel models feature a larger hood scoop to assist with increased cooling needs.
For fleets looking to mount a plow on the truck during the winter season, Chevrolet designed the front end of the truck for easy removal of the air dam and skid plate. This design eliminates the need to drill additional holes in the bumper and makes it easy to restore the truck to its original look when the season is over.
Additional technology include a head-up display, standard trailer tow mirrors, and a factory-integrated power take-off (PTO) unit.
Finally, the engine block heater (standard on the diesel models) was relocated, which helps eliminate the need for cords hanging out of the front grille or having to open the truck for plugging in.
The trucks go on sale this summer with pricing starting at $35,695 (including the $1,595 destination fee).