The Chevrolet Silverado has a long history of being one of the toughest and most capable full-size trucks on the market. And for the 2020 model year, it has just gotten even better, with a complete ground- redesign of its heavy-duty variants – the Silverado 2500 HD and the 3500 HD. Not only are these new three-quarter-ton and one-ton trucks bigger and more powerful than the outgoing models, but they also introduce new advanced technology and a smoother ride. Even better, the price of the new trucks is actually lower, and the new Silverado HD now starts at $34,100 instead of the $37,600 price tag of the older and less powerful models. All in all, these are the best Chevy trucks yet and offer an impressive no-nonsense towing performance without sacrificing the comfortable driving experience expected from a modern vehicle.
While there are technically three versions of the Chevy Silverado, the differences between the Silverado 1500 and the heavy-duty Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD are significant enough that they may as well be two different vehicles and are listed as such on Chevrolet’s website. While the Silverado 1500 is an excellent general-purpose truck with plenty of power and a large bed, it is still significantly smaller and weaker than its big brothers. This makes the Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD the versions of choice for the people who need a Chevy truck that can pull a heavy trailer without breaking a sweat. Chevrolet realized this, and with the 2020 model year redesign, they focused on turning the heavy-duty Silverados into the ultimate towing machines.
However, if deciding between the Silverado 1500 and a Silverado HD is a relatively simple matter, the differences between the Silverado 2500 HD and the Silverado 3500 HD are much smaller. Both variants share the same engines and body, but the Silverado 3500 HD is available in a dual rear wheel configuration while the Silverado 2500 HD is not. And even when configured with only one set of rear wheels, the Silverado 3500 HD still has the sturdier suspension, and its stiffer springs result in noticeably higher payload and tow ratings. But while this upgraded suspension does allow for more performance, it also means that the Silverado 3500 HD has worse ride quality. This means that unless you really need the extra performance of the Silverado 3500 HD dually, you will probably be better off with the lower-rated (but just as powerful) Silverado 2500 HD.
What Makes a Silverado HD?
Starting with their engines, the Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD are a step above the smaller Silverado 1500. The base engine for the bigger Chevy trucks is a powerful 6.6L gasoline V8 delivering 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. This is a massive improvement over the outgoing Silverado HD’s 6.0L gasoline V8, which had just 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, and helps make the new 2020 Silverado HD a vastly more capable vehicle. However, as capable as the new gasoline engine is, the real choice for hard use is the available 6.6L diesel V8. Although this is actually the same diesel engine that was offered in the 2019 Chevy trucks, with its impressive 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque, it is no wonder that they decided to keep it around for the new 2020 model. But that does not mean that Chevy did not make any improvements – instead, they went ahead and upped its performance by pairing it with a brand-new ten-speed automatic transmission. With the added gears, the new diesel trucks are now smoother and more responsive than the outgoing model. So no matter which powerplant best suits your needs, you will feel a real upgrade over its previous incarnation in the older Chevy Silverado HD.
But a powerful engine is not enough on its own to make for a top of the line towing experience. The Silverado HD also has heavy-duty leaf spring rear suspension and a redesigned stronger frame so that it can support the heaviest loads. The rear axle also has an automatic locking differential standard on all trims to provide maximum traction. It is the combination of all of these mechanical features that give the new Chevy trucks their impressive performance numbers. The 2020 Silverado 2500 HD can now pull up to 18,510 pounds, while the 2020 Silverado 3500 HD maxes out at either 21,500 for the single rear wheel version or 35,500 when it has dual rear wheels. This phenomenal towing power puts the 2020 Chevy Silverado HD front and center if you need a vehicle that can handle the toughest of jobs with ease.
Advanced Towing Electronics
However, well-engineered mechanics and raw power are not the only things the new Silverado HD brings to the table. What is equally impressive is the amount of thought that Chevrolet put into designing the advanced electronic features of the new Silverado HD. Of course, these features include all of the basics to be expected of any modern truck, such as a tow/haul transmission mode to optimize gear shifts and an automatic trailer sway control system built into the truck’s electronic stability control. However, the advanced towing features of the new Chevy also includes a number of genuinely cutting edge items.
Among these features is Chevrolet’s 15-camera view vision system. Not only will this set up help you effortlessly hitch up without needing a second pair of eyes to assist you, it will also help you when you are driving with a trailer by providing better all-around vision than can be obtained with your mirrors alone. Particularly valuable is the system’s “transparent trailer view,” which combines cameras to effectively allow you to “see-through” your trailer and know exactly what is behind you. The new Chevy trucks also have a special trailering app as part of their infotainment system. This app can be used to create custom trailer profiles, maintenance reminders, and checklists, as well as perform trailer light tests, electric diagnostics, or tire pressure checks. Many of these features are even available as part of Chevy’s myChevrolet mobile app and can be accessed on your phone even when outside of your truck.
The myChevrolet app and the vehicle’s infotainment will also now integrate with ASA Electronics iN-Command control systems, giving you access to additional features on trailers equipped with smart systems. Finally, some trims of both the Silverado 2500 HD and the Silverado 3500 HD come with Enhanced Digital Variable Steering Assist. This system subtly modifies steering inputs to reduce the amount of effort needed to control the vehicle and its trailer. Although nearly unnoticeable when driving, the result is reduced driver fatigue and increased safety during long trips. The work Chevrolet has put into designing advanced systems such as this is what truly sets the Chevy Silverado HD apart from the competition and makes it an excellent choice for anyone who pulls a trailer. No matter if you need to tow a small boat out to the lake on the weekends, or spend every day hauling heavy equipment around for work, the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD offer unprecedented performance and features to make your job easier.