2020 Chevy Silverado HD Brings Fight to Ford and Ram This Summer

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Ram and Ford have both unveiled their latest heavy-duty pickup trucks and now it’s Chevrolet’s turn to strike back. The bow-tie brand rolled out its redesigned 2020 Silverado HD at the factory where it’s built in Flint, Michigan.

Longer, wider and taller than before with a wheelbase that’s been stretched up to 5.2 inches, this new Silverado is stronger and more capable than ever. Something that’s clearly illustrated when you look at what’s underneath that in-your-face body.

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Compared to the Silverado 1500’s underpinnings, the HD model’s are noticeably beefier, with taller, thicker frame rails as well as more numerous and larger crossmembers tying them together. For long-haul durability in difficult conditions, the rear end can be fitted with up to a 12-inch ring gear.

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Appealing to a broad range of customers, the Silverado HD will be available in five trim levels including Work Truck, the most affordable version, then Custom, LT, LTZ and finally High Country, the proverbial cowboy Cadillac. Additionally, there will be a dizzying 22 cab, bed, chassis and driveline configurations.

Countering the blow recently landed by the folks in Auburn Hills, 3500 models, when properly equipped, can tow up to 35,500 pounds, a 52 percent increase compared to the outgoing version and, most importantly, a skosh more than the new Ram can drag, which maxes out at 35,100 pounds.

Behind that monstrous grille, there’s some exciting powertrain news to share. A brand-new 6.6-liter gasoline V8 is standard for model-year 2020. With a cast-iron block and pushrod simplicity, it’s built for years of trouble-free operation. Direct fuel injection and a 10.8-to-1 compression ratio help this powerplant crank out 401 horses and 464 pound-feet of torque. If you’re keeping track, that’s 21 percent more twist than provided by the 6.0-liter engine it replaces. It’s matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The up-level engine is, once again, a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel. GM is not keen in playing the numbers game like Ram and Ford, which is why it’s good for 445 horsepower and “just” 910 pound-feet of torque. Still, engineers are confident their truck will perform better than the competition in real-world use despite not offering four-digits’ worth of torque. Maximizing capability, this oil-burning turbo-V8 is paired with a brand-new Allison 10-speed automatic gearbox.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Ford Super Duty Trucks Get New Big-Block Gas V8, 10-Speed Transmission

Keeping temps in check, the Duramax is fitted with a gigantic 28-inch diameter mechanical cooling fan on that electronically controlled to reduce parasitic losses when possible. Diesel-powered rigs also benefit from an after-run feature that allows them to idle for up to 15 minutes after the engine is shut off to keep coolant circulating throughout, giving things a chance to cool off.

The 2020 Silverado is also available with an integrated, factory-installed Power Take Off. This makes it a snap to run certain vehicle accessories.

Heavy Duty models are fitted with a similar but even more rugged DuraBed, one that draws on the advantages of the Silverado 1500’s highly functional cargo box. Made of rolled steel, they’re nearly seven inches wider and about three inches longer for more storage capacity.

Improving access to, every Chevrolet Silverado HD is equipped with an innovative BedStep, a clever cut-out on the truck-side that’s large enough to accommodate two steel-toe boots and support up to 500 pounds. They make it a snap to reach items stored in the cargo box or climb back there if necessary.

Inside the new Silverado HD family appears to feature the same cabin as the 1500 model, which, unfortunately, isn’t all that great, at least compared to Ram’s latest offerings. Still, the interior is more spacious than before and fitted with some innovative features.

One of the coolest features is what these trucks offer in camera tech. there are up to 15 unique camera views including a 360-degree monitor and a camera that looks in the bed. Beyond that, there’s also a transparent trailer feature that, when properly set up with a remote camera, makes it look like you’re looking through the trailer you’re towing, a very innovative feature.

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Other helpful features the 2020 Silverado HD can be equipped with include Automatic Park Brake Assist, that makes it easier to hook up a trailer by preventing the truck from rolling once it’s put in park. There’s Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control, a new integrated trailer brake controller, Proactive Rollover Avoidance and more.

Further simplifying life easier for heavy-duty truck customers, engineers made numerous small changes to the new Silverado HD. They integrated the engine block heater into the driver’s side front bumper under a spring-loaded door so there’s no cord hanging out the grille. They’ve improved the side-view mirrors for easier, safer trailering and made it simpler to fit snow plows than before. Now, there’s no need to cut or otherwise modify the front bumper if you need to push snow.

The brand-new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty is packed with innovative features meaning it should give both Ram and Ford a Run for their money when it starts arriving at dealerships this summer. Pricing and related information will, of course, be released closer to its on-sale date.

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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