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2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

We road test the rarest heavy hauler in the work-truck segment.

Sep 11, 2020
As we continue to maneuver our way through "these unprecedented times," thankfully, truck manufacturers and vehicle-logistics professionals have implemented new operating procedures that once again enable media to safely receive vehicles to drive and evaluate. In early September, a very special rig joined Chevrolet's Southern California media fleet: the 2020 Silverado 3500HD that you see here.

Why Is This One Special?

OK, so, you're probably thinking, "It's a one-ton dually, what's the big deal?" Well, yes, six-wheeled pickups are popular rigs. However, this is Chevy's much ballyhooed heavy hauler; the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Work Truck (WT), is identified only by its regular cab, 6.6L Duramax L5P/ten-speed Allison powertrain, minimal frills (OK, so it does have power windows, door- and tailgate locks, as well as Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, and a few other goodies), 17-inch dual rear wheels, and of course, ability to tow a class-leading 35,500 pounds—using a gooseneck trailer—anywhere it needs to be dragged.
It's the bad-dude configuration for Chevrolet's lineup of heavy-duty pickups, but it's also not a rig that the masses are clamoring to buy; the truck actually gets more action when sold as a chassis cab. Today, trucks encompassing form (good looks, four doors, bells and whistles, etc.) and function (towing performance and comfort) are in higher demand by consumers, and thus, the vehicles manufacturers are eager to put us in. The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD WT dually being available for road testing was a pretty big surprise, and an opportunity we couldn't turn down.
Photo 2/12   |   002 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd
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Towing and Hauling

It can't be stressed enough how badly the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD wants to work. In addition to the big towing number with a gooseneck, the dually also tugs 32,000 pounds and 20,000 pounds respectively with fifth-wheel and conventional bumper-pull trailers. And, weight in the bed? No problem there either, as its maximum payload is 6,350 pounds.
Although those are the statistics, sadly, we did not get an opportunity to pull anything heavy during our time with the dually. The gooseneck/fifth-wheel package is onboard our tester, but we were not able to score a hitch. However, the capability was verified in June 2019, when I drove the exact same 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD setup with all the weight attached.
Photo 3/12   |   006 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd

Ride, Looks, Performance, Fuel Economy

Like TruckTrend's Jason Gonderman, who had the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD WT prior to my test drive, the lion's share of time was spent basically driving around, which quickly confirmed a point that Jason raised before handing the rig off: Keep a kidney belt nearby if "driving around" is all you're doing.
The truck's multi-leaf rear suspension and independent front suspension are tight as a drum, and without a load onboard, road imperfections are immediately transmitted to the 40/20/40 bench seat. The jarring isn't ridiculously uncomfortable, but it's definitely the No. 1 "difference"—from a ride-quality perspective—between the Work Truck and its LT, LTZ, RST and High Country siblings.
Appearance-wise, we think the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD WT looks pretty cool. Being two-wheel drive, there's a slight suspension rake (front is a few ticks lower than the rear), and the rear fenders scream "brawn" when you see the rig straight on or its profile.
Photo 4/12   |   008 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd
Inside, big but sparse is the most appropriate description. There's plenty of room, but you won't find anything fancy or of the creature-comfort variety in the WT trim (even the floor is basic vinyl).
More than enough has already been said about GM's 6.6L Duramax L5P turbodiesel engine and the ten-speed Allison it's connected to. The powertrain is awesome, and the engine's 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque are more than sufficient for handling general truck tasks. And, with the 7,650-pound rig being driven as a "cruiser" of sorts, the engine/transmission combination actually performs very impressively in spirited-driving instances. She moves out quickly.
My hammer foot might have been a bit heavy during freeway runs, as fuel economy calculated to 14.5 mpg (28-gallon tank) during our one-week/130-mile test window. Although that's not horrible by any stretch, we believe the 6.6L Duramax L5P-powered 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD WT should be able to nail down a tad-more fuel mileage without a payload.

Vital Statistics

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
Base price: $36,500
Price as tested: $51,175
Engine: 6.6L Duramax L5P diesel V-8
Transmission: Ten-speed Allison automatic
Horsepower: 445 @ 2,800 rpm
Torque: 910 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Towing capacity: 35,500 pounds (gooseneck), 32,000 (fifth-wheel), 20,000 (standard/tag)
Calculated fuel economy: 14.531 mpg, 130 miles driven (city and highway)
Photo 5/12   |   010 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd

Video

Of course, photos are a norm for reports like this, but we're going a step further with two short videos that provide a walkaround look at the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD WT, as well as additional insights on my experience with the rare rig.

Sources

Chevrolet
https://www.chevrolet.com

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