TodayApril 15, 2022

2020 Chevy Silverado Heavy-Duty HD first look

Hold my beer

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Ram and Ford tried to rain on Chevy’s parade putting out press releases about their trucks. Mark Reuss might as well have tweeted a #holdmybeer to them as he unveiled the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD with 35,500-pound towing capacity. The Flint manufacturing plant will have 4,000 jobs in that plant next year. Reuss said that General Motors has made a $1.2 Billion investment in the plant so far and some of the workers will be from the unallocated plants. Reuss confirmed that no one from General Motors has talked to Tesla about utilizing any of their unallocated plants.

Flint, Michigan is known worldwide. Unfortunately, most people in the world know Flint because of the toxic water system. But the Mayor of Flint, Michigan has heavy-duty plans, and so does General Motors.

On the eve of the Chicago Auto show the Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD made their formal debuts at the Flint manufacturing plant. Both heavy hitters Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and Mark Reuss, President of General Motors, were at the debut of the 2020 Chevy Silverado Heavy Duty (HD) trucks and the Flint manufacturing plant. The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD is a game-changer to Flint, MI. and the bread and butter of General Motors.

There is a heart song globally for Flint to come back from its toxic water woes. Mayor Weaver is hoping that with the opening of the GM plant in Flint plant will bring Flint back to the success of yesteryear. Other companies and people, such as Elon Musk have helped with water filtration systems. Weaver talked about the new homes that will be built, the new pipes that will be put in, all because of the new jobs coming to Flint, MI. If there is a town deserving of a break, it is Flint, MI. With three eight hour shifts that will produce 250,000 Silverado HDs annually, that is a lot of money allocated to the city to improve the water and the foundation of Flint.

The Heaviest Duty hitter of them all

The star of the show is the new Silverado, complete with a 10-speed transmission and a 35,500-pound towing capacity. That is an amazing towing capability, a 52 percent increase over the previous generation’s maximum of 23,300 pounds.

Jaclyn McQuaid is the product engineer that drove thousands of miles test-driving the Silverado heavy-duty trucks finding nuanced trick items to adjust that will make all the difference. McQuaid got her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to test the vehicles under the extremes allowed with the new towing. Getting a commercial license to test the heavy-duty tells you how close General Motors is dancing to needing a commercial license. Depending on the payload one may need to get a commercial license. The Gross Curb Weight (GCWR) of the 3500 HD-DRW (dual-real wheel) regular cab diesel that can tow 35,500 pounds is 43,500. There’s not much leeway in the math till that a commercial license is needed. Jaclyn knows this and knows that ninety percent of the people that buy heavy-duty trucks tow and one out of four pickups sold is a heavy-duty truck. The bigger, the better. It’s long been known that sales of pickups are a good indicator of how good the housing economy is doing.

2020 Chevy Silverado HD Gross Curb Weight (GCWR)

2020 Chevy Silverado HD Gross Curb Weight (GCWR)

The one adjustment that was made that Jaclyn liked the most was making the exhaust brake automatic. Previously if you were towing and your brakes got hot the driver would turn on the exhaust brake. The increase in towing power commands that the exhaust brake needs to be minded more accurately.

Another addition to temper the heat is an after-run feature. If the Duramax is hot and could hurt the engine when you turn the truck off the engine will come back on. There will be a warning in the in-dash cluster to warn you. You can turn the engine back on, but it’s probably not a good idea.

McQuaid showed off trailering technology featured in the 2020 GMC Sierra HD, a back-up camera that allows you to “see-through” a trailer on the central dashboard screen. There are multiple screens to view the outside and inside of the vehicle.

The all-new 2020 Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models

A New Gas Engine

The base gasoline Silverado HD is crowned with a new overhead-valve direct injection 6.6-liter small-block V-8 that featuring a cast-iron block with aluminum heads, and a towing capacity starting at 17,400 pounds. Practically a mini-me of its older brother. Output increased from the previous 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 to 401 horsepower (+41) and 464 lb-ft of torque (+84).

Duramax, diesel, and a new transmission

The mondo engine is the 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 turbo-diesel with the new Allison 10-speed automatic transmission. The output is 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft—torque. On a small car, I would be concerned with a 10-speed automatic feeling like a bad CVT, but on this large of a truck, gearing is essential.

2020 Chevy Silverado HD trailering Duramax, diesel, and a new transmission

2020 Chevy Silverado HD trailering Duramax, diesel, and a new transmission

There are over twenty combinations from cabs to bed to chassis to drivetrain combinations. It is practically the Burger King of trucks; you can have it your way, and carry it out on wheels that range in size from 17 to 20 inches.

The models:

Work Truck: Distinguished with a unique, black “CHEVROLET” flow-through grille bar. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard on 2500HD and 3500HD with dual rear wheels (DRW); 18-inch wheels are standard on 3500HD with single rear wheels (SRW).

Custom: New to the Silverado HD lineup and exclusive on 2500HD, the Custom trim offers standard 20-inch wheels and body-color trim details for more of contemporary design expression.

LT: Featuring chrome-trimmed vertical grille elements and a bright grille bar with the flow-through “CHEVROLET” name. 2500HD models feature 17-inch aluminum wheels, 3500HD SRW models feature 18-inch aluminum wheels, and 3500HD DRW models feature 17-inch steel wheels.

LTZ: Takes bright trim to the next level, including a bright grille surround with the flow-through “CHEVROLET” bar and chrome-accented grille inserts. It also features LED reflector headlamps, LED daytime running lamps and LED taillamps. 2500HD and 3500HD SRW models feature standard 18-inch aluminum wheels with 20-inch wheels available. 3500HD DRW has standard 17-inch steel wheels, and 17-inch polished forged-aluminum wheels are available.

High Country: The most dramatic and expressive trim in the lineup, with a distinctive fascia featuring a grille with the Chevy bowtie and two-tone metallic grille trim, and LED lighting. 2500HD and 3500HD SRW models feature 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, and the 3500HD DRW features 17-inch polished forged-aluminum wheels.

The competition

The competition is stiff between FCA’s Ram and Ford’s heavy-duty. The new Ram Heavy Duty 2400/3500 pickup comes complete with a new Cummins engine and the capability to tow 35,100 pounds (400 pounds less than Chevy’s behemoth) while the Ford Super Duty has the biggest gasoline engine, and a trick knew tailgate that could be a game-changer.

The new Silverado heavy-duty trucks will be in your truck dealerships this summer. Prices have not been announced for the 2020 models, but the 2019 models ranged from $40,000-$70,000.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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