Hauls up to 35,500 pounds thanks to new 10-speed gearbox and revised internals

LISTEN 16:54

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD made its debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show as part of the third-generation lineage of Silverado-badged trucks. It follows in the footsteps of the Silverado 1500 revealed in 2018 in terms of technology and interior design, but features a unique exterior and enhanced capability. Both 2500 and 3500 versions are offered on the platform described as "the strongest, most capable ever."

Although it unveiled the HD’s design in late 2018, Chevrolet kept most of the important details in the vault. Now that it made its public debut, we know that it will be sold with a two-engine lineup and a new transmission. It’s also available in five trim levels, one of which is new, and 22 cab, bed, chassis, and driveline configurations. As of this writing, the Silverado HD offers best-in-class towing capability, but the upcoming Ford Super Duty, also set to break cover in Chicago, might take over with a better rating. We’ll be back with an update as soon as we know.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Exterior

  • New front fascia
  • Massive look
  • LED lights
  • Generic profile
  • Longer and wider
  • Five trims
  • Varied wheel selection
2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 820937

The Silverado 1500 was a pretty bold truck when it debuted back in 2018, but the HD takes it to a new level.

Apparently Chevy set out to make a statement with this truck and made it look even more imposing that the 1500.

Although Chevy claims that the HD and 1500 share only the roof, it’s pretty obvious that the heavy duty model is somewhat based on its smaller sibling.

It has the same horizontal trim that runs across the front fascia, separating both the grille and the headlamps into two distinct sections. The similarities stop here though. The trim doesn’t have the twin design seen on the 1500, while the headlamps are different toward the bumper. The upper section is thin just like on the 1500, but the lower part is taller and looks as if three thin headlamps were stacked on top of each other.

Chevy also created a new LED pattern for the truck. Both the upper and lower sections have L-shaped LEDs that flank the chrome trim fitted with either "Chevrolet" stamped lettering or the iconic Bowtie emblem.

The grille itself is tall and bold, while the bumper is sturdier than the 1500, signaling that this truck means business on any construction site.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 808557

The boldness fades away onto the sides, where the HD looks like every other Silverado truck from recent decades. This isn’t a bad thing though. It’s a design that works and Chevrolet improved it with new side mirrors and integrated side steps on each side of the bed. The same goes for the rear end, where the window, taillights, tailgate and bumper are reminiscent of the outgoing Silverado Heavy Duty. The reshaped lights and the bigger steps in the bumper stand out as new features.

Of course, some of the truck’s styling cues differ according to trim level. There are five models to choose from, starting with Work Truck (WT), which features the "Chevrolet" stamping on the grille, 17-inch wheels as standard, and 18-inch rollers on the options list. Next up is Custom, which is new to the Silverado HD and exclusive to the 2500 model. This trim offers 20-inch wheels and body-colored details.

The boldness fades away onto the sides, where the HD looks like every other Silverado truck from recent decades
2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 819886

The familiar LT trim features chrome grille elements and 17-inch aluminum wheels on the 2500HD and 18-inch rollers on the 3500HD version. Move up to LTZ and the grille becomes brighter thanks to a chrome surround and inserts, but you also get LED reflector headlamps and taillights, LED DRLs, and standard 18-inch wheels with an option to upgrade to 20 inches.

The range-topping High Country model comes with a Chevy bowtie emblem on the grille, which features two-tone metallic trim. It also includes LED lighting and 20-inch polished wheels as standard on all models.

The new Silverado HD is a bit bigger than its predecessor. The truck is 10.4 inches longer and 1.4 inches wider. The wheelbase is also 5.2 inches longer on Crew Cab models.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD exterior dimensions

Regular Cab Double Cab Crew Cab
Wheelbase (in. / mm): 141.5 / 3595 (long box) 149.4 / 3795 (std. box)
162.4 / 4127 (long box)
158.9 / 4037 (std. box)
172 / 4369 (long box)
Overall Length (in. / mm): 235.5 / 5982 (long box) 240.4 / 6107 (std. box)
256.4 / 6514 (long box)
250 / 6349 (std. box)
266 / 6756 (long box)
Overall Width (in. / mm): 81.9 / 2079 (SRW)
96.7 / 2457 (DRW)
81.9 / 2079 (SRW)
96.7 / 2457 (DRW)
81.9 / 2079 (SRW)
96.7 / 2457 (DRW)
Overall Height (in. / mm): 79.8 / 2027 79.8 / 2027 79.8 / 2027
Front Track (in. / mm): 68.1 / 1731 68.1 / 1731 68.1 / 1731
Rear Track (in. / mm): 68.3 / 1736 (SRW)
75 / 1905 (DRW)
68.3 / 1736 (SRW)
75 / 1905 (DRW)
68.3 / 1736 (SRW)
75 / 1905 (DRW)

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD - The Cargo Bed

  • standard 6.9-foot box
  • Optional 8-foot box
  • 83.5-cubic-foot volume
  • Bigger than the competition
  • 12 tie-down rings
  • 120-volt power outlet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 819848

Chevrolet designed a new cargo box for the Silverado HD. It’s called DuraBed and includes new functional system, including multi-piece inner panels that can be pushed closer to the box’s outer panels in certain areas, expanding usable width by 6.7 inches. The new bed is also about three inches longer on the standard 6.9-foot box. You can also go with the longer eight-foot box on certain models.

When this version is selected on the 3500HD model, maximum cargo volume grows to 83.5 cubic feet, a notable improvement over the competition.

Specifically, it offers an extra five cubic feet over the Ford F-350 Super Duty and an extra 8.8 inches over the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty.

Accessories include 12 fixed tie-down rings with corner rings rated at 500 pounds and an available 120-volt power outlet located at the rear of the box. New steps located in front of the rear wheel arches improve access to the cargo area from the sides. The corner steps in the rear bumper are also bigger now and designed to hold a pair of size-12 boots and up to 500 pounds, enabling you to load, unload, or move heavier items in the bed.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 808557

The available Power Up/Down Tailgate that raises or lowers using the key fob, interior button or touchpad on the tailgate is an exclusive feature in this segment.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD cargo bed dimensions

Standard Box (6’ 9”)
2020 Silverado HD 2019 Silverado HD Dimension Change
Box Length at Floor: 82.2 in. (2089 mm) 78.8 in. (2003 mm) +3.4 in. (86 mm)
Box Height: 21 in. (533 mm) 21.1 in. (536 mm) -0.1 in (2.5 mm)
Box Width between Wheelhousings: 51.9 in. (1317 mm) 51 in. (1296 mm) +0.9 in. (21 mm)
Max Box Volume: 69.6 cu. ft. (1970 L) 61 cu. ft. (1728 L) +8.6 cu. ft. (242 L)
Box Lift-In Height: 38.9 in. (988 mm) 39.8 in. (1010 mm) -0.9 in. (21 mm)
Long Box (8’)
2020 Silverado HD 2019 Silverado HD Dimension Change
Box Length at Floor: 98.3 in. (2496 mm) 97.8 in. (2483 mm) +0.5 in. (13 mm)
Box Height: 21 in. (533 mm) 21.2 in. (536 mm) -0.2 in (3 mm)
Box Width between Wheelhousings: 50.6 in. (1284 mm) 51 in. (1296 mm) -0.4 in. (12 mm)
Max Box Volume: 83.5 cu. ft. (2364 L) 76.4 cu. ft. (2162 L) +7.1 cu. ft. (202 L)
Box Lift-In Height: 38.8 in. (986 mm) 39.6 in. (1005 mm) -0.8 in. (19 mm)

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Interior

  • Roomier than before
  • Class-leading legroom
  • Raised seating position
  • New infotainment system
  • Next-gen SiriusXM
  • Trailering technology
2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 819852

Chevy says the HD now offers a roomier cabin with class-leading headroom and legroom for the driver and front passengers.

Crew Cab models also come with nearly three inches of additional legroom.

Chevrolet also mentions "innovative storage options," but it doesn’t provide specific details about them.

Because of the slightly taller profile of the truck, Chevrolet raised the seating position for a more confident view behind the steering wheel.

It also offers a head-up display on the options list, a feature you can't get from Ford and Ram.

The Silverado HD also comes with a new infotainment system, of which we don’t know anything about so far, a next-generation SiriusXM, and new trailering technology. The new, larger door-mounted trailering mirrors are standard on all models and now extend and retract via a four-bar-link system operated with power or manually. The larger mirror area provides a greater field of view compared to the outgoing model. New forward-facing spot lamps on each mirror illuminate at a 45-degree angle, providing additional light on the job site.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 820993

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD interior dimensions

Regular Cab Double Cab Crew Cab
Headroom (in. / mm): 43.1 / 1095 43 / 1093 (front)
39.9 / 1013 (rear)
43 / 1093 (front)
40.1 / 1019 (rear)
Legroom (in. / mm): 44.5 / 1131 44.5 / 1131 (front)
35.2 / 895 (rear)
44.5 / 1131 (front)
43.4 / 1102 (rear)
Shoulder Room (in. / mm): 66.1 / 1678 66 / 1677 (front)
64.9 / 1648 (rear)
66 / 1677 (front)
65.2 / 1655 (rear)
Hip Room (in. / mm): 61.2 / 1554 61.2 / 1554 (front)
60.2 / 1530 (rear)
61.2 / 1554 (front)
60.2 / 1530 (rear)

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Trailering Technology

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 819863
The new camera system for the trailer offers up to 15 camera views, including an industry-first transparent trailer view

The Silverado HD comes with a cool new in-vehicle Trailering App that makes hauling cargo and trailers easier. The feature includes a trailer light test, trailer electrical diagnostics, trailer tire pressure and temperature monitoring, maintenance reminders, and pre-departure checklist.

The new camera system for the trailer offers up to 15 camera views, including HD Surround Vision, Bed View, an accessory view, and an industry-first transparent trailer view. The latter provides visibility through the trailer as if the trailer was not there, which helps when navigating into parking lots, merging into traffic, or when making tight turns.

The system includes a tailgate-mounted camera and an available accessory camera mounted on the rear of the trailer and provides a wide display that helps you "see" through and alongside the trailer.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Drivetrain

  • 6.6-liter gas V-8
  • 6.6-liter diesel V-8
  • Up to 445 horsepower
  • Up to 910 pound-feet
  • 10-speed automatic
  • Tows up to 35,500 pounds
2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 821027

There’s big news under the hood of the Silverado HD, starting with a brand-new 6.6-liter V-8 that replaces the old 6.0-liter unit. The new mill features direct injection, a forged steel crankshaft, forged powder-metal connecting rods and other high-strength components, which contributed to a power and torque increase of 11 and 22 percent, respectively.

All told, the new V-8 cranks out 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque, or 41 horses and 84 pound-feet more than the old V-8.

The 6.6-liter powerplant mates to the familiar six-speed automatic gearbox, now fitted with a Tow/Haul mode for increased capability. The engine is offered with dual alternators to better support electric needs for trailering or snowplowing.

The 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 carries over unchanged and delivers the same output at 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of twist. However, the old Allison six-speed automatic was replaced with a brand-new 10-speed unit from the same company. The new gearbox allows more torque to be put to the ground in lower gears, enhancing trailering with smoother gears. It has smart engine braking which reduces brake wear In addition to the new gearbox Chevy upgraded every component between transmission and the wheels, which helped enable an up to 52-percent increase in maximum towing capability.

The 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 carries over unchanged but mates to a new 10-speed gearbox

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD drivetrain specifications

Type: 6.6L V-8 gasoline Duramax 6.6L V-8 Turbo-Diesel
Bore & Stroke (in / mm): 4.06 x 3.86 / 103.25 x 98 4.05 x 3.89 / 103 x 99
Block Material: Cast iron with nodular iron main caps Cast iron
Cylinder Head Material: Cast aluminum Cast aluminum
Compression Ratio: 10.8:1 16.0:1
Valvetrain: Overhead-valve, two valves per cylinder, variable valve timing Overhead-valve, four valves per cylinder
Fuel Delivery: Direct fuel injection Common-rail direct fuel injection
Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm): 401 / 299 @ 5200 (SAE certified) 445 / 332 @ 2800 (SAE certified)
Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm): 464 / 629 @ 4000 (SAE certified) 910 / 1234 @ 1600 (SAE certified)
Transmission Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic Allison® 10L1000 10-speed automatic
2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 819843

The Silverado HD is now rated at a whopping 35,500 pounds in Regular Cab form with two-wheel drive and the diesel engine. That’s 12,500 pounds more than what the outgoing Silverado HD is capable of. Compared to its rivals, the Silverado HD will tow 1,500 pounds more than the outgoing Ford F-350 Super Duty and 400 pounds more than the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty. However, the revised F-350 Super Duty was upgraded for the Chicago Auto Show and Ford promises "its highest-ever conventional, gooseneck and fifth-wheel towing and payload ratings." Specific figures aren’t yet available, but given that Ford’s diesel V-8 engine delivers more power than Chevy’s, the truck’s rating could go beyond 35,500 pounds. We’ll be back with an update as soon as Ford spills the beans.

To handle the truck’s increased towing capability, the new driveline includes new, larger, more robust front and rear axles, a standard 11.5-inch ring gear on 2500HD models, and massive 12-inch ring gear on 3500HD diesel models. The 30-percent larger-diameter prop shafts provide greater strength with the new 6.6-liter gasoline engine. Helping cool the Duramax engine is a new 28-inch fan, which is 2.5-inches larger than the old fan, with variable speed.

Max Trailering - Conventional(lb.)

Regular Cab Double Cab Crew Cab
2500HD 14500 – gas
14500 – diesel
14500 – gas
14500 – diesel
14500 – gas
18500 – diesel
3500HD - SRW 14500 – gas
14500 – diesel
14500 – gas
14500 – diesel
14500 – gas
20000 – diesel
3500HD - DRW 16800 – gas
20000 – diesel
16400 – gas
20000 – diesel
16300 – gas
20000 – diesel

Max Trailering – 5TH Wheel/GOOSENECK (lb.)

Regular Cab Double Cab Crew Cab
2500HD 17400 – gas
18600 – diesel
17000 – gas
18200 – diesel
16900 – gas
18500 – diesel
3500HD - SRW 17200 – gas
21500 – diesel
16700 – gas
21500 – diesel
16700 – gas
21500 – diesel
3500HD - DRW 16800 – gas
35,500 – diesel
16400 – gas
31500 – diesel
16200 – gas
31400 – diesel

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Driving Assist Features

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 808565

Despite being a work horse, the Silverado HD is as advanced as they get if you’re willing to spend extra on driving assist features. You can get a Auto Park Brake Assist which automatically initiates the electronic parking brake to help hold the truck in place when hitching a trailer, as well as an all-new Park Grade Hold Assist. The latter enhances hill hold to keep the vehicle in place for an extended length of time.

Once activated, the Tow/Haul mode remains engaged on the next key-on cycle, for up to four hours, and includes a reminder that the feature is engaged. Like most trucks and SUVs out there, the Silverado HD is equipped with Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Trailer Sway Control, and Proactive Rollover Avoidance. It also has an Exhaust Braking feature on diesel models and a Digital Variable Steering Assist system, which dynamically optimizes power steering according to driving conditions.

Diesel engine transmission Allison® 10-speed 6-speed 6-speed
Factory-integrated, engine-driven Power Take Off Available Not available Not available
Automatic 2-speed transfer case Available Not available Not available
Max cargo box volume (8’ box) 83.5 cu. ft. 78.5 cu. ft. 74.7 cu. ft.
Power Up/Power Down Tailgate Available Not available Not available
BedStep cargo box-integrated side steps Standard Not available Not available
120V power outlet in the bed Available Not available Not available
Head-Up Display Available Not available Not available
Class-leading 15 camera views including transparent trailer Available Not available Not available
Vin-specific trailer label Standard Not available Not available
Trailer tow mirrors Standard Available Available

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Prices

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 808561

Pricing for the new Silverado HD is not yet available, but the truck should be marginally more expensive than the outgoing model. The old HD starts from $34,400 in 2500 form and from $35,500 in 3500 specification.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Competition

Ford F-Series Super Duty

2020 F-Series Super Duty Promises to Offer Highest Towing and Payload Ratings
- image 819658

The current Super Duty truck has been around for a few years, but Ford brought a revised version to the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. Extensive performance data isn’t yet available, but we know for a fact that the Super Duty can be had with one of three engines. Ford continues to offer the 6.2-liter V-8, but it also introduced a new 7.3-liter unit. The largest V-8 in this class, it should deliver more than Chevy’s 401-horsepower mill. The previous 6.7-liter diesel in the Super Duty was already slightly more powerful than Chevy’s 6.6-liter, and Ford claims the revised oil burner will have even more oomph. This means that the Super Duty could match or ever surpass the Silverado HD’s impressive 35,500-pound rating. Ford also introduced a 10-speed automatic transmission, cancelling Chevy’s bragging rights to having the only gearbox of this kind in this segment. What’s more, while Chevy offers the 10-speed only with the diesel engine, Ford’s transmission is available on both the oil burner and the new 7.3-liter gasoline V-8. Notable tech for this truck includes Trailer Sway Control, Trailer Brake Controller, Hill Start Assist, Smart Trailer Tow Connector, Tow/Haul mode with engine-exhaust brake, Trailer Reverse Guidance, and Dynamic Hitch Assist. The Super Duty starts from $33,150 in F-250 trim and from $34,320 in F-350 trim.

Read more about the 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty

Ram Heavy Duty

2019 Ram Heavy Duty Looks Menacing, Pumps out 1,000 Pound-Feet! Exterior
- image 814465

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Ram Heavy Duty looks menacing and features loads of new technology. You can get an infotainment display of up to 12 inches, a digital screen in the instrument cluster, and a tech package similar to that in the Silverado HD. Two engines are available, starting with the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 rated at 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet. If you’re a fan of oil burners, the new 6.7-liter inline-six by Cummins delivers a whopping 400 horsepower and a segment-leading 1,000 pound-feet of torque. A detuned version of this mill cranks out 370 horses and 850 pound-feet of torque. Thanks to the new diesel, the Ram Heavy Duty tows up to 35,100 pounds. Ram’s truck was the best in its class for a month or so, but it now fell behind the Silverado HD by 400 pounds. Pricing for the Ram 2500 starts from $33,045, while the Ram 3500 version comes in at $34,445 before options.

Read our full review of the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty.


2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 808564

Although we have yet to see the truck’s interior and we don’t know much about its new infotainment system, it’s pretty obvious that the new Silverado HD is well prepared for the market. The arrival of a brand-new Ram Heavy Duty forced Chevy to go big on this truck and needless to say, GM brought out all the bells and whistles. However, the revised Ford Super Duty might bring a few surprises to the table so we’ll have to wait for the full details from the Chicago Auto Show. Meanwhile, the Silverado HD is the most capable heavy duty truck on the market and it looks pretty menacing too.

  • Leave it
    • Upcoming Ford Super Duty might tow a bit more
    • No info and shots of the interior

Further reading

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 808558

2020 Chevy Silverado HD Debuts with New Engine, Massive Towing Rating

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- image 819843

14 Things You Have to Know about the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD

2019 Chevrolet Silverado
- image 785430

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

When the 2020 Silverado HD debuts in February 2019 it will be the most capable and most advanced Silverado HD ever. It will also be the third all-new Silverado model from Chevrolet in just 18 months — each designed for different customers.

“We know the needs and priorities of heavy-duty customers are different than those of either light-duty or medium-duty customers,” said Jaclyn McQuaid, chief engineer, Silverado HD. “As such, we built a heavy-duty truck tailor-made for them that has more differentiation than ever before from light-duty models, offers advanced towing technologies to improve towing confidence and includes new features such as the integrated Bedstep, which makes it easier to access the bed while pulling a fifth-wheel trailer.”

Built at the Flint Assembly plant in Flint, Mich., the new Silverado HD’s design has a bold, sculpted form that follows its enhanced heavy-duty function, differentiating it from the light-duty Silverado. In fact, the 2020 Silverado HD exterior shares only the roof with its Silverado 1500 stablemate — every other piece of sheet metal is exclusive to Silverado HD.

“We set out to make a statement with the 2020 Silverado HD and wanted to visually capture the power and capability of the truck,” said Brian Izard, lead exterior designer for Silverado HD. “The result is a truck that looks like a piece of heavy machinery with modern, chiseled finishes and customer-focused details.”

The interior benefits from similar architectural changes made to the all-new Silverado 1500, including an additional 3 inches of legroom on crew cab models and a taller, more comfortable seating position.

Under the 2020 Silverado HD’s hood is a choice of two new powertrains: an all-new gasoline engine with direct injection mated to a six-speed transmission, or the Duramax Turbo-Diesel V-8, which delivers 910 lb-ft of torque through an all-new, Allison 10-speed transmission.

The 2020 Silverado HD also will offer all-new customer-focused trailering technology, significant increases in towing and payload capabilities and a host of technologies and features designed specifically for heavy-duty truck customers.

GM’s focus on understanding truck customers has helped build the most successful truck franchise in the industry over the last four years. Since introducing the industry’s first three-truck strategy with midsize, full-size light-duty and full-size heavy-duty trucks in 2014, GM has been the best-selling truck manufacturer for four consecutive years. The company has sold more than 600,000 pickups than the closest manufacturer from 2014 through the first three quarters of 2018.

That momentum is expected to continue with the launches of the new Colorado ZR2 Bison, all-new Silverado 1500, the all-new Silverado Medium-Duty trucks and now the all-new Silverado HD models.

The 2020 Silverado HD goes on sale in mid-2019, stay tuned for more details about the all-new 2020 Silverado HD.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release

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