2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Custom: 2020 Pickup Truck of the Year Contender
Back to the Basics
It's no secret that when we review trucks, the manufacturers most often will send the top-of-the-line, fully outfitted, most expensive vehicle they can. And we certainly can't fault them for that—after all, these companies offer a lot of great features, and the best way to experience them all is in a well-appointed pickup. However, we'd be lying if we didn't say that all of us here at Truck Trend get a little giddy when we hear that a more basic truck is being sent our way, and that's just what happened with the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Custom.
New for 2020, the Silverado HD Custom offers standard 20-inch wheels and body-color exterior trim, and it's only available with the new 6.6L gasoline V-8 engine. What it amounts to is a work truck with a touch of flair. Not quite the boss' truck, but close.
Unfortunately, when it comes down to the numbers in our judging books, it would seem we all like the idea of a stripped-down work truck more than the actual truck. The interior of the Silverado 2500HD Custom is a mix of hard plastic, vinyl, and cloth. In its own right, the interior is perfectly adequate. However, when placed next to a similar LTZ model, it's easy to see how the scoring comes up short. We appreciated the manual seat adjustment and the versatility of a front bench seat—the only one in the test, in fact. But we found ourselves a bit perplexed by the lack of any sort of center console storage.
For being a more basic model, the Custom had an interesting mix of features thanks to the inclusion of the Custom Value Package. Instead of the base radio, our tester was outfitted with the company's 8-inch touch screen. Though lacking navigation and other options, it was fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which made it so we hardly even missed that which wasn't there. The truck also had a power release tailgate, integrated trailer brake controller, power mirrors, remote start, and in-bed LED lighting.
Power for the Custom is provided by the aforementioned 6.6L gasoline V-8 engine, which is then routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. GM's newest gasser produces 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. This is a substantial upgrade over the outgoing and aged Vortec 6.0L V-8. However, while perfectly adequate and better than the outgoing mill, this new drivetrain failed to really impress our judges. Our working theory is that it has little to do with the engine and everything to do with the choice to back it with just six cogs. The Silverado Custom produced one of the slowest 0 to 60 times at the track and found itself near the bottom in every other performance-oriented test. Saddled with 10,000 pounds, the truck pulled the weight up our test grade and maintained the legal speed limit. However, there proved to be little left on tap should the need to overtake arise. We feel that if given more gearing options, this drivetrain would be a serious performer. Hopefully, someone at GM takes note and gets a 10-speed behind this engine posthaste.
Far from being a "penalty box," the Silverado Custom provided a great ride on the highway. The suspension is tuned adequately, steering feel is on point, and it has the bare minimum of creature comforts to keep the driver from going crazy. Off-road was a different story altogether. The combination of a firm -ton suspension, 20-inch wheels (read: less tire sidewall), and relatively unsupportive seats made the Silverado Custom a bit of a back-breaker when traversing rutted trails. But to be fair, it never claimed to be a backwoods basher.
The great redeemer for the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Custom was its price. Coming in at just $48,420, this truck was the second least expensive in the test. Only the Ford Ranger demanded less. And if we remove the gooseneck prep package and side steps, we can get it down to a little less than $47,000, which is quite the bargain for a crew-cab, four-wheel-drive, -ton truck.