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  • We Do the Worst Thing Possible With a 2020 Chevy Silverado 3500HD

We Do the Worst Thing Possible With a 2020 Chevy Silverado 3500HD

Daily driving the 35,500-pound-capable dually!

Sep 8, 2020
We test different trucks all the time, it's just what we do around here. As any long-time reader is certainly aware, the majority of the pickups that we test are fully loaded crew-cab four-wheel drive models. This really isn't our choice, as the manufacturers determine what vehicles are sent to the various test fleets across the country. And we certainly can't blame them, since your run-of-the-mill automotive journalist is surely going to rate any vehicle more favorably if it's fitted with all the fancy bells and whistles.
We pride ourselves on being different, however. We love all trucks equally and will test them all to the same degree, regardless of what options are or are not installed. That's why we quite literally jumped at the chance to spend a week with a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD. But not just any 3500HD, this truck was a single-cab, WT trim, two-wheel drive with steel wheels and vinyl floors. Work truck enthusiasts will know what this means this truck is the unicorn rated to tow Chevy's maximum of 35,500 pounds.
Photo 2/33   |   002 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd Dually
Now, on the same note that we don't get to choose the model of truck available, we also don't have control over the accessories that are available. Thus, sadly, the towing beast came to us without a fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer hitch. The truck still has a generous tow rating of 20,000 pounds off the conventional hitch, but alas, the most standard trailer weight we had readily available was about 8,000 pounds. Being so light, we didn't bother with towing.
Instead, we did the most egregious thing we could possibly think of with this truck: We used it as a daily driver. That's right, over the course of a week we drove the daily elementary school carpool (though there's not a lot of kids riding in the single-cab, which is a blessing in itself), commuted into downtown Los Angeles for meetings, and hauled a load of groceries home from Costco. And we loved every minute doing these normal life things with a not-so-normal pickup.
The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado is all new from the bottom up, with only the 6.6L L5P Duramax diesel engine carrying over from the previous generation. The engine is backed by a 10-speed Allison transmission and produces 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. Once not interested in playing the same numbers game as Ford and Ram, Chevy unexpectedly crushed the competition by introducing this very truck, which is rated at a maximum of 35,500 pounds of towing. In addition to the 35,500 pounds of gooseneck towing, it's also rated at 32,000 pounds of fifth-wheel towing and 20,000 pounds of conventional towing (as previously mentioned). Payload for this particular truck comes in at 6,350 pounds with a curb weight of 7,650 pounds.
Photo 3/33   |   018 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd Dually
How do we know all of this? Well, GM also recently started adding trailering information labels to its pickups that are specific to the vehicle. Verified by VIN, these labels include such helpful information as vehicle-specific GVWR, GCWR, curb weight, payload, and SAE J2807-compliant towing figures. Why is this important? Most manufacturers quote only a maximum towing figure and GVWR, leaving it up to the end user to sift through the numbers and determine what their particular trim of truck is actually (safely) capable of towing and hauling. GM has taken all of that guesswork away.
We had very few complaints during our time with the truck aside from not getting a chance to tow anything heavy (we did order a fifth-wheel hitch setup from Curt upon agreeing to the test, but we didn't receive it in time for this particular truck). Yes, the interior was quite sparse, being a WT trim, but we liked it that way. Vinyl floors are easy to clean, and the cloth bench seat was very comfortable. It had an audio system, and the 7-inch color touchscreen was a great addition to such a work-grade pickup. The truck did not have provisions for satellite radio, navigation, or, surprisingly, OnStar. It did, however, have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is a huge plus for us and made it so we didn't miss those features at all.
Photo 4/33   |   021 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd Dually
The truck had two options installed, one being the WT Convenience package. This brought with it power door locks, remote keyless entry, power lock and release tailgate, deep tinted glass, rear window defogger, trailer mirrors, and power windows. Yes, folks, you can still get manual windows and door locks on a 2020 pickup. The second option was the gooseneck and fifth-wheel prep package that gets the mounting pucks, seven-pin trailer plug, spray-in bedliner, and trailer brake controller.
Naturally, the truck had an unforgivingly stiff ride. But that was fully expected from a truck built to haul a house and then some. Power from the engine was amazing, and the 10-speed transmission was buttery smooth. It was fun smoking sedans up the freeway on-ramp with a dually pickup—nobody ever expected it. Over the course of 176 miles we average 14.2 mpg, which isn't terrible for a 7,650-pound truck with only 700 miles on the odometer. Our biggest gripe, were we to actually tow a long distance, is the terribly small 28-gallon fuel tank. Crew-cab trucks get a 36-gallon tank, and while we understand the space constraints on a single-cab, there's got to be a better solution for the truck whose whole job is to tow heavy.
We fully enjoyed every minute of our time using this unicorn of a truck (Chevy is likely to produce only hundreds of this combination of pickup) and would love a chance to tow something huge in the future. But for now, we're just glad we got the opportunity and shed a little tear as it drove off.
Photo 5/33   |   004 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd Dually

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

Base price: $36,500
Price as tested: $51,175
Engine: 6.6L Duramax diesel V-8
Transmission: 10-speed Allison Automatic
Horsepower: 445 @ 2,800 rpm
Torque: 910 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Towing capacity: 35,500 pounds (gooseneck)
EPA fuel economy rating: N/A
Actual calculated economy, 175.6-mile trip: 14.16 mpg

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