2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD LTZ: Pickup Truck of the Year Contender
Loaded and Luxurious
The competent-but-polarizing 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 wasn't the runaway critical success GM wanted it to be, so we weren't surprised the company pulled out all the stops when introducing the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD. The larger Silverado variant comes with a long list of features truck customers will likely appreciate, including an all-new standard gasoline V-8 (see page TKTK) and a carryover optional 6.6L Duramax L5P diesel, the latter of which is mated exclusively to an Allison-branded 10-speed automatic transmission. That powertrain found its way under the Cajun Red bodywork of this vehicle, a Silverado 2500HD LTZ crew cab.
Introduced for 2017 and unchanged this year, the Duramax L5P V-8 is the only diesel V-8 in this test not to feature a four-digit torque rating. Nevertheless, its 445 hp and 910 lb-ft are still wholly impressive stats in their own right, and the Allison 10L1000 gearbox has no trouble keeping the engine operating efficiently and responsively whether towing, cruising on the highway, or hot-shoeing through a passing lane. Indeed, towing seemed to be this truck's major forte over the other big haulers in this test, the Ford F-Series Super Duty and Ram Heavy Duty (both heavily updated for 2020).
Aiding this particular truck in its towing mission is a comprehensive suite of cameras with 15 different views, including a blind spot monitor that activates via its respective turn signal or when the steering wheel is turned a certain amount—helping avoid clipping curbs in the city or Cruzes on the highway. A bed view allowed us to monitor our cargo and would have assisted in hitching a fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer had we opted to use one, while four different hitch views were a huge help when mounting our conventional trailer. And once underway, the 2500HD was a smooth hauler, providing the right amount of feedback from the trailer while still being comfortable. Opinions were split on the Silvy's tow-haul transmission mode, with some of us wishing it downshifted more readily and others appreciating that it was able to hold speed on descents. A driver-selectable exhaust brake made the chore even more idiot-resistant.
The same could be said of the truck's interior—some of us liked its familiar ergonomics, but a majority found the Ram Heavy Duty's cabin a nicer place to spend time. Materials quality is fine in a vacuum, but relative to its fresher and higher-quality competitors, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD comes up short. At least the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system was easy to operate, particularly in conjunction with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto—we also enjoyed the head-up display.
What wasn't polarizing at all was the Silverado's exterior appearance in that it was universally reviled. Many of us disliked the flow-through chrome grille noticeably bereft of Chevy's signature gold bow tie—in fact, thanks to a stamped tailgate, there's not a single logo on the entire truck save the wheel centers. And the unusual headlight layout that looks fresh and modern on a Hyundai Palisade is straight-up ugly on a -ton truck. In terms of styling, the nicest thing we can say is the 2020 Silverado HD sure has a lot of it.
That's really a shame, because other than its appearance (and subpar interior materials), the Silverado HD has so much going for it. Its various towing assist technologies do a good job of helping drivers without distracting them, and thoughtful features like integrated bedside steps and useful cargo box tie-downs show Chevrolet did its homework in terms of who was using its big trucks and how.
That said, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD is one emergency refresh away from excellence, and we hear one is on the way for 2022. With a spacious and quiet interior, exceptional powertrain, useful towing aids, and pleasant driving dynamics, it could be the ideal pickup for folks who aren't as spoiled or shallow as us.