One of the most popular Chevy trucks for sale, a blue 2024 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 is shown driving up a rocky desert road.

Transmission Options for Your Chevy Truck

If you’re checking out Chevy trucks for sale, chances are it’s because you’re aware of their stellar reputation for producing some of the best, toughest trucks on the market. Chevy is a powerhouse for manufacturing truck transmissions, with properly maintained vehicles reaching upwards of 200,000 miles. When drivers want a truck for every area of their lives, from work to offroading, they tend to count on the Chevy truck lineup to make it happen.

Chevy’s truck lineup currently includes the best-selling Silverado 1500, Silverado HD, and midsize Colorado. Each has its own selection of engine and transmission combinations, so drivers can pick and choose their preferred level of performance for their vehicle.

But what if you need a truck, but you just don’t know that much about transmissions? Do you want an eight-speed transmission, or do you need a ten-speed? These are valid questions if you’re not so savvy regarding the technical side of driving. We get it. Sometimes, you just want to get in and drive—and maybe you just like the comfort that a Chevy truck offers, or you enjoy the convenience of the available Multi-Flex tailgate, and you just never really thought about the transmission.

Well, you don’t need to stress. We’ve got you covered. Let’s look at Chevy’s truck transmissions and what they’re all about. And don’t worry—we’ll keep things simple and easy to follow so that you’ll be able to figure out exactly what transmission you need for your future truck.

The Evolution of Chevy’s Transmissions

At the beginning of the 1980s, the US was trying to clean up its act concerning pollution and car emissions. That, plus the ongoing fuel crisis, prompted Chevy to take action and redesign their truck’s automatic transmission systems. Their goal was to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions, all without losing power. They traded in the three-speed TH350 for the 700-R4 transmission or Turbo Hydra-Matic; this was thought to be one of the best transmissions produced by GM at the time.

This was a four-speed transmission that was used in trucks as well as rear-drive cars in the early 1980s through the 1990s. The 30% overdrive delivered better fuel economy, making Chevy’s trucks more affordable to drive.

In 1990, the 700-R4 was renamed the 4L60E. This transmission remained largely the same except for a few tweaks here and there over the years. It was a steady transmission that delivered what Chevy and GM needed at the time: a fuel-efficient system with noteworthy advanced performance. Over the years, changes were made to address certain minor issues, like redesigning and installing a retainer over the front pump seal to prevent it from blowing out.

Since then, Chevy has launched several more modern transmissions for its trucks—but still, the roots of their design can be traced back to the original 700-R4 transmission, to an innovative design that was created to stand the test of time.

A blue 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown driving up a desert road.

Chevy Truck Transmissions Today

So what about transmissions that are offered on Chevy trucks today? After all, chances are whether you are buying a new or pre-owned Chevy, you’re going to encounter similar transmissions. So, what’s going on with Chevy’s truck transmissions today? What can you expect to find between the wheels?

First, let’s check out the popular midsize Colorado truck. For 2023, this truck was available with a Hydra-Matic 8L80 eight-speed transmission. Why the eight-speed and not the ten-speed? There is a method to Chevy’s madness; they decided to go with the eight-speed automatic transmission because, when paired with the torque of the 2.7L turbocharged engine, drivers get a high amount of torque that would make the other gears unnecessary. It’s safe to say the 2.7L Turbo engine and the eight-speed Hydra-Matic 8L80 are paired to deliver the ultimate performance and torque for drivers.

What about the best-selling Chevy Silverado 1500? There’s plenty going on with Chevy’s most popular and versatile truck, and all of it looks great. For the upcoming year, Chevy’s transmission will make the leap to a new and improved Hydra-Matic 8L80; this is an update from the 2023 model’s previous eight-speed transmission, which had been employed in this truck since 2019.

The redesign for this transmission is a welcomed one because, while this transmission is normally smooth and long-lasting, it has been prone to issues like lurching. Chevy hopes to address the issue head-on by adding the new Hydra-Matic 8L80 to all 2024 Silverado 1500s.

We think this is a positive step forward, considering all the great things we’ve heard about the refreshed Hydra-Matic 8L90. This eight-speed transmission isn’t just saving on fuel costs but pairs well with the 2024 Silverado 1500’s four engine choices, including the newly-standard 2.7L Turbo I-4 L3B engine that brings with it 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. Other engine choices for the upcoming Silverado include a gas 5.3L V8 L84 engine, the 6.2L V8 L87 gas engine, and the 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel I-6 LZ0, all of which deliver the ample power and performance that drivers have come to expect from a brand like Chevy.

If you’re looking for a smoother ride, some of the current Silverado 1500 trims come with the option to level up to a ten-speed transmission. This means fewer gear jumps for an improved, more powerful ride that helps your truck reach its full potential.

If your days consist of hard work, you might want to look at the Silverado HD as it pairs tough engines with the high-performance Allison ten-speed transmission. This is one of the best Allison transmissions to date and takes the original six-speed up to a ‘ten.’

Not only does it offer exceptional fuel economy, but it doesn’t compromise when it comes to industrial strength. This is the transmission you want on your truck if you normally find yourself towing and hauling big loads or taking things off-road and beyond the treeline. The Allison ten-speed transmission was designed to withstand whatever your day demands; if you want heavy-duty, you’ll find it in the impressive Allison ten-speed transmission. Pair it with one of the bold gas or diesel engine choices to take your driving to all new levels.

A red 2024 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 Bison is shown from the front at an angle.

Receiving the Power You Need

Chevy and GM transmissions were designed to do a few things well. From the start, we can see GM had fuel economy and performance on its mind. So, they designed a hardworking transmission that didn’t compromise power—and from there, things only got better.

Since then, newer and better transmissions have been designed and redesigned to keep driver’s needs in mind. These great transmission choices have made owning a truck affordable. Not only that, but whether you’re getting a truck for work or play, there’s a great pairing of engine and transmission options to ensure you get the level of power you need from your Chevy truck.

The latest eight-speed Hydra-Matic 8L80 is impressive, to say the least. While offered on the Colorado midsize truck, drivers can expect the latest and greatest on the upcoming 2024 Silverado 1500; combine that with one of the four available engines and get ready to unleash your truck’s power. When heavy-duty is the name of the game, the Silverado HD’s Allison ten-speed transmission will help your truck get the job done.