It’s time to talk about the all-new 2020 Chevy Silverado HD truck lineup. How does it tow 35,500 lbs? How does the new 10-speed automatic transmission work in the real world? How does the new 6.6-liter gas V8 perform? Here are the answers in this first drive review.
2020 Chevy Silverado HD
First, let’s get some specs out of the way. There will only be two engine/transmission combinations available for the all-new truck. They are a 6.6-liter gas V8 with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and a 6.6-liter turbo-diesel with a 10-speed automatic.
6.6L Gas V8
This all-new direct-injected engine is rated at 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. It now has the highest HD gas engine torque among competition, but not the highest horsepower. It’s mated to an update 6-speed automatic transmission, which is based on the one previously available with the old 6.0-liter Vortec.
6.6L Diesel V8
This is largely a carry-over Duramax L5P turbo diesel. It has been updated in several areas and has a higher capacity cooling system. The output rating is still 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a brand new 10-speed Allison branded automatic transmission.
Towing 35,500 lbs
If you want to tow the maximum amount, you would have to get a Silverado HD 3500 base work truck with a regular cab and two-wheel-drive. This is very similar to the white two-door dually truck you see here.
Although, Chevrolet says that every 2020 Silverado 3500 HD dually will be rated to over 30,000 lbs. In fact, the crew cab dually 4×4 in the LTZ trim has a rating of 31,100 lbs according to the sticker in its door.
We have been waiting for a 10-speed automatic transmission in a heavy duty truck for some. It’s finally here and it makes this Silverado HD feel more like a half-ton truck than a big and heavy work truck.
The luxurious High Country model I drove in Oregon weighs about 8,350 lbs empty. The truck has about 3,000 lbs of payload. Chevy hitched a 14,000 lbs trailer to the back of it for us to test at higher elevations near Mt. Bachelor. The Duramax and Allison combination did not wow with fast acceleration with the trailer up a grade, but the transmission was ultra smooth on upshifts and downshifts.
We have big plans for the new HD truck. We will soon publish a 1,000-mile MPG review of the diesel. This is a road trip from Oregon to Colorado, and we also measured DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) usage on this long haul. We will also put the diesel on the Ike Gauntlet – world’s toughest towing test, and do a 0-60 MPH test as well. Please stay tuned.
How does the all-new 6.6-liter gas V8 drive? Is it a worthy successor to the old 6.0-liter Vortec V8 that is going away? The new big gas V8 has a good rumble. It offers a smooth and authoritative acceleration when the truck is empty. It is well matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission that backs it up. I think it will indeed be a good workhorse powertrain in the new truck, especially for fleet and commercial use.
We we hitched a 12,000 lbs trailer to the back of the gas-powered truck, you could definitely tell the trailer was back there. The new chassis is still solid as a train on rails on the highway, and there is no trailer sway to speak of. The gas engine took longer to get up to speed on the same grade where we tested the diesel V8. It’s not afraid to rev over 5,000 rpm and sounds very good doing it. While the diesel offered lots of downhill support with the new 10-speed transmission and the diesel’s exhaust brake – the gas engine could only rely on the transmission to help slow down. The downhill grade shifting was not as aggressive as I wanted. However, the braking system has more than enough capability to bring this new big truck and trailer to a halt.