2020 Chevy Silverado HD – Durability Testing, Assembly, Trailering Technology. General Motors first showed us the look of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup truck in December, and now, we finally have all the important details. The biggest number concerns towing, which, at up to 35,500 pounds, has increased a whopping 52 percent over the last Silverado HD. That’s slightly more than the new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty (35,100 pounds) and also bests the outgoing 2019 Ford Super Duty (35,000 pounds), though Ford’s figure is likely to climb for 2020 very soon. The Silverado HD’s maximum payload ratings are also up to 7,466 pounds.
Towing capability is, of course, closely related to the beefy powertrains under the hood of the new Silverado HD. The base engine is a new, 6.6-liter, direct-injected Vortec V8 rated for 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque. That beats the outgoing truck’s base 6.0-liter V8, which was good for 360 hp and 380 lb-ft. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The upgrade option is a Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8, which continues to be rated at 445 hp and 910 lb-ft. That’s a bit behind the curve now that the Ram HD is offering a whopping 1,000 lb-ft with its diesel engine. Still, the Duramax is now mated to a new Allison 10-speed automatic transmission, which helps it bolster the aforementioned towing ratings.
In fact, Chevy engineers beefed up all the critical components needed for the Duramax to tow 35,500 pounds. Compared with last year’s HD trucks, the new models’ boxed ladder frame is tougher, the axles are larger, the prop shafts are enlarged and even the Duramax’s cooling fan has increased by 2.5 inches in diameter.
Chevrolet’s data show that 90 percent of its heavy-duty truck buyers use their vehicles for towing, so it’s no surprise the automaker has included lots of high technology to make that simpler — and safer — bundled under the brand name Advanced Trailering System. For starters, the Silverado HD can be equipped with cameras that provide up to 15 different camera views, including an accessory camera mounted to a trailer that allows drivers to “see through” what they’re towing. The feature will also be offered on the Chevy’s sibling, the 2020 GMC Sierra HD.
It’s worth noting, however, that the Silverado HD does not offer adaptive cruise control, offered by both Ford and Ram’s HD trucks, or lane-keep assist. Chevrolet told Roadshow that adaptive cruise is “coming,” but it’ll likely debut on the Silverado 1500 first.
The Silverado HD also is compatible with a Trailer App you can use to verify lights, tire pressures and other critical check-ins before setting off with a trailer. Each truck also has a customized Trailering Information Label, which reveals that specific model’s curb weight, gross vehicle weight rating, gross combined weight rating, maximum payload, maximum tongue weight and gross axle weight ratings — in other words, all the stats you’d want to know before hitching up your wagon.
Other tech features include Park Grade Hold Assist, which can use all four of the truck’s service brakes (rather than just the parking brakes) to keep truck and trailer in place on a slope. The truck will stay in Tow/Haul mode if it was driven in that mode within the prior four hours. And a new after-run feature helps automatically cool down the Duramax diesel when necessary. If the engine is hot after heavy hauling, a message in the instrument cluster will advise the driver to leave the engine running. If he or she ignores it and exists the truck, the remote-start system will activate for up to 15 minutes so the Duramax can cool itself down properly.
There will be five different trim levels, starting with the basic Work Truck and moving up through Custom, LT, LTZ and the flashy High Country. Chevy also says the truck is offered in a total of 22 cab, bed, chassis and driveline combinations.
Other engineering tweaks focused on improving usability for truck owners. The diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) filling port has been relocated, next to the diesel fuel filler, and there’s now a DEF level readout offered in the Chevy’s instrument cluster. A head-up display, a heavy-duty truck exclusive, provides more driving info at a glance. A redesigned block-heater plug, integrated into the bumper, is easier to reach and doesn’t require owners to pop the hood or leave cords dangling out of the truck’s grille. And Chevy says a redesigned snow-plow prep package is easier to install, without the need to drill holes in the truck.
The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD goes on sale this summer, with pricing set to be confirmed closer to that time.
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