2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Review: A New Heavyweight Champion

by Adam Lynton

Fresh off the production line, the brand-new Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is ready to prove its mettle. With a new 401-horsepower V8 as standard under the hood, even the gasoline-powered pick-ups are sporting pretty impressive performance figures, but the Duramax diesel engine is still stealing the show. Backed up by a reinforced chassis and strengthened axles and joints, the 6.6-liter diesel V8, delivering an impressive 910 lb-ft of torque, is able to tow a class-leading 35,500 lbs in its optimal guise, beating out the previously class-leading Ram 3500 by over 500 lbs. This would be impressive on its own, but the Chevy isn't happy resting on its laurels. The Silverado also presents buyers with a comfortable, spacious cabin appointed with all the modern amenities. While you won't have to shell out too much for the base Work Truck Silverado at $35,300, you will need to pay a bit extra for the diesel engine and four-wheel-drive to get the most out of the truck. You can also expect frequent tank refillings.

Read in this review:

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Changes: What’s the difference vs 2019 Silverado 3500HD?

The Chevy Silverado range has been completely redesigned for the new year, with 2020 seeing the 3500HD receive a substantially reinforced chassis, more durable front and rear axles, a 12-inch ring gear, and heavy-duty universal joints. All of this combines to give the new Silverado unrivaled towing power. The old 6.6-liter V8 diesel engine remains as an optional choice, while the 6.0-liter V8 gas engine has been swapped out for a new 6.6-liter variant that provides class-leading horsepower.

Pros and Cons

  • Stronger, high-torque base gasoline engine
  • Excellent cargo and payload capacities
  • Exemplary towing capacity
  • High-tech modern features even on base model
  • Available advanced safety features
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Price climbs quickly up trim levels
  • Best safety features reserved for most expensive trims

Silverado 3500HD Exterior

Despite the many changes made to the foundation of the Silverado, the truck's appearance has only altered slightly. Resting atop the reinforced chassis is a bulky body that assures one and all of the pick-up's strength and durability. An enormous front grille, hosting bold horizontal bars and the manufacturer's name printed in bold caps (the golden Chevy bowtie is reserved for the top-tier High Country only), takes up most of the front fascia, with double-barrel headlights bringing up the sides. LED head- and taillights are available on the upper trims, and pair well with the LED fog lights that rest below in the aggressive lower bumper. With a choice between Regular, Double, and Crew cabs, the overall appearance of the truck can differ vastly, with extra customization in the form of two bed lengths. The rear wheels are also available in either single or dual setups.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Front View Driving Chevrolet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Front View Driving 1 Chevrolet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Front Angle View Chevrolet
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Dimensions

With its brand new design, the Silverado 3500HD is bigger and badder than ever, having gained at least an inch in just about every dimension, with its overall length increased by ten inches for an impressive total of 235.5 inches on the Regular Cab (RC) models. The Double Cab (DC) models stand between 240.4 - 256.5 inches, depending on the bed you choose (6.9 ft or 8.0 ft), while the Crew Cab (CC) models are between 250 - 266 inches in length. The wheelbases differ similarly, with the RC getting a 141.5-inch wheelbase, while the DC gets either a 149.4 or 162.5-inch wheelbase, and the CC a 158.9 or 172-inch variant. Across the range, height doesn't vary too much between 79.7 - 80.9 inches, while the width can be between 81.8 - 96.8 inches. With size varying so much, it's not surprising that the weight range is so broad. The lightest model, a single-rear-wheel, Regular Cab trim, starts at 6,231 pounds, while the heaviest Crew Cab with the long bed and dual rear wheels can be as heavy as 8,355 lbs.

Silverado 3500HD Performance

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Side View Driving Walker/Chevrolet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Side View Driving 1 Walker/Chevrolet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Front Angle View 1 JESSICA LYNN WALKER

Engine and Transmission

A new 6.6-liter V6 gasoline engine comes standard on every truck in the Silverado 3500HD range. Mated to a six-speed heavy-duty automatic transmission, the powertrain delivers 401 hp and 464 lb-ft to the rear wheels, while four-wheel-drive is available on every model. With this upgrade, the Silverado leads the segment when it comes to gasoline-driven torque. Nobody could say this isn't enough power to move even such a ridiculously heavy pick-up. But that's not to say you should expect quick acceleration; that's certainly not what the heavy-duty truck was designed for.

The 6.6-liter V8 diesel engine carries over from the previous Silverado unchanged and is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. Developing 445 hp and a whopping 910 lb-ft, there's no doubt that this powertrain was designed to do the heaviest of labor. And, with the upgrades that Chevrolet made to the chassis of the 3500HD, the pick-up now leads the segment in terms of towing capacity.

When towing in a conventional manner, the Silverado 3500HD can manage between 14,500 and 20,000 lbs, while using the gooseneck method increases this to 16,180 to 35,500 lbs. This narrowly beats the recently redesigned Ram 3500, at 34,690 lbs, while besting the Ford F-350's 32,000 lbs by several thousand.

  • Engines
    6.6-liter Turbo V8 Diesel, 6.6-liter V8 Gas
  • Transmissions
    10-Speed Automatic, 6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

No matter how you set up you Silverado, this is not a truck designed for thrill-seekers. Even equipped with engines that throw out torque for days, the pick-up will never be as athletic as a sport truck. But that doesn't mean that the heavy-duty truck is lethargic by any means. The new gasoline engine, with class-leading torque output, gives the base-model pick-up a surprising amount of eagerness on the road.

The six-speed automatic transmission that complements the gasoline engine is well-tuned, although not as sensitive as the ten-speed that comes mated to the diesel powertrain. The extra gears give the engine a lot more room to climb in power, especially when towing heavier loads, so that the truck never feels underpowered.

The steering for the all-new Silverado seems to have undergone a serious overhaul. It has been tightened up considerably to give the large truck a relatively light feel without losing the heft you will need when off-roading or traveling at higher speeds. The wheels also communicate quite well, which is welcome when you can't easily see what is going on underneath or around you. This combines to give drivers a remarkable degree of confidence despite the lack of available advanced driver assistance features on all but the top-line model.

The brakes are equally well-tuned, with more than enough power to stop the truck and its load, while keeping everything stable. This is largely thanks to the electronic trailer brake controller, but the sturdy nature of the Silverado certainly plays its part. Overall, the truck handles well, with enough dexterity to maneuver around town and more than enough attitude to handle rougher terrain.

Silverado 3500HD Gas Mileage

On a vehicle designed to drag over a dozen tons' worth of cargo around the country, fuel economy could never be a primary concern. That kind of power comes at a cost, and the Silverado 3500HD is no different. Naturally, the EPA has not rated such a niche vehicle and there has not been extensive real-world feedback to get a reliable average figure. However, some testers have driven the truck for extended lengths of time and report an overall combined mileage of 14 mpg when using the Duramax diesel engine. This is on par with rivals like the Ford F-350. We expect the gasoline engine to offer even lower figures, though we wouldn't hazard a guess ourselves.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    36.0 Gallons
* 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD 2WD Crew Cab 159" Work Truck

Silverado 3500HD Interior

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Dashboard Chevrolet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Backup Camera Screen Chevrolet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Backup Camera Screen 1 Chevrolet
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Seating and Interior Space

The Regular Cab, which comes standard on the Work Truck and LT trims, provides seating appointments for three people, while the Double and Crew cabs each accommodate up to six passengers thanks to the front bench seat. The High Country replaces the front row with two bucket seats, reducing capacity to five passengers. Regardless of your choice of cabin, the front seats provide ample head- and legroom for adults of any size, even upwards of six-feet tall. In the Double Cab, rear headroom is sufficient, but legroom will feel quite cramped, even for a regular-size adult. The Crew Cab supplies a bit more breathing room by placing the rear seats further back, adding almost ten inches of legroom.

Front seats can be adjusted in four directions manually on the lower trims, with the LTZ and High Country getting ten-way power front seats with lumbar support. With the seats placed high within the truck, visibility is good, but the chunky hood can get in the way. Getting in and out can be a bit tricky, but the assist steps on the upper trims help with this.

  • Seating capacity
    6-seater

Silverado 3500HD Trunk and Cargo Space

Maximum cargo capacity on the Silverado varies thanks to a choice of two bed lengths. The standard bed measures in at 6.8 feet, or 82.25 inches, while the long bed is 8.2 feet or 98.27 inches. Each bed offers a maximum width of 71.4 inches and a wall height of 21 inches. Thus, the standard bed can handle up to 69.6 cubic feet of cargo, while the long bed can fit 83.5 cubic feet. This is more than rivals like the Ford F-350 or Ram 3500 provide, and should accommodate just about anything you can think to load in there. The available EZ liftgate and power liftgate upgrades make it even easier to load cargo, which is low enough to access with ease thanks to the bed steps. Depending on body configuration, overall vehicle weight, and engine choice, the maximum payload capacity of the Silverado can be anything between 4,013 and 7,442 lbs.

Inside the cabin, there is naturally less capacity, but the Chevy isn't stingy. Two glove compartments are present in front of the driver's seat and a large armrest storage bin is provided just behind the two cupholders. Ahead of the cupholders is a recessed storage tray capable of safely holding your phones or other loose items. Only the door pockets disappoint, as they are relatively shallow and narrow. While there is no conventional trunk inside the cabin, the rear seats do fold down in a 60/40 split (only with cabins that provide rear seats) to allow you to store larger items you may not want to leave out in the open on the cargo bed.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Side View Driving 2 Walker/Chevrolet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Side View Driving 3 Walker/Chevrolet
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Front Angle View 2 JESSICA LYNN WALKER

Silverado 3500HD Infotainment and Features

Features

For a truck that focuses primarily on heavy-duty performance, the Silverado doesn't skimp much on features. True, the lower trims are a bit sparsely appointed, but the upper trims are nearly luxurious. The WT's seats come upholstered in vinyl with four-way manual adjustment in front, gets basic air conditioning and a 3.5-inch driver-information display, and is equipped with a rearview camera, a teen driver system, and a rear-seat reminder. The driver-information display is enlarged to 4.2 inches on the LT, and cruise control and keyless entry improve convenience, while cloth seats make the interior slightly more comfortable. The LTZ upgrades to leather seats, with ten-way power heated front seats. The steering wheel also gains heating while keyless ignition and remote start improve comfort. An HD rearview camera replaces the version in the cheaper trims. The premium High Country gets ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and an eight-inch driver information display. The safety suite is further enhanced with front and rear sonar, lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Infotainment

The infotainment suite in the Silverado is on par with the best Chevy sedans have to offer. The base system may only support a two-speaker audio system, but this increases to six speakers on the Double and Crew cabs. Controlling the speakers' output is a seven-inch touchscreen interface, with a larger eight-inch model available on every trim above the WT. Bluetooth compatibility, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay all come standard even on the entry-level model, while Chevrolet Connected Access and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot require you to upgrade to the LT. The LTZ further expands the offering by adding HD Radio and Sirius, while the top-tier High Country replaces the standard sound system with a seven-speaker Bose premium audio option. A wireless charger also comes standard on the top trim.

Silverado 3500HD Problems and Reliability

As a brand new entry to the market, the Chevy Silverado has not been rated for dependability and has received no consumer complaints. However, the 2020 model has been recalled once already due to a fault with seatbelt pretensioners, which could lead to a fire within the cabin. Chevrolet offers a standard warranty on new purchases, covering the powertrain and roadside assistance for 60,000 miles/60 months, while the bumper-to-bumper warranty is valid for 36,000 miles/36 months.

Silverado 3500HD Safety

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has rated the heavy-duty pick-up for crash-testing, to date. Basic safety features on every model comprise ABS, stability and traction control, a heavy-duty auto-locking rear differential, and six airbags: dual front, front side, and side curtain. Hitch Guidance comes standard with Hitch View on the upper trims. Standard advanced safety features include a rearview camera, a teen driver system, while rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision avoidance, and front and rear parking sensors are available.

Verdict: Is 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD a good Truck?

If you need a truck capable of moving absurd amounts of cargo or towing small houses, then the new Silverado should be near the top of your shortlist. In the past, the 3500HD struggled to compete against more capable rivals like the Ford F-350 Super Duty and Ram 3500HD. With only about two-thirds of the towing capacity of these titans, the Chevy Silverado was more in line with the 2500 range. All that has changed for the brand-new 2020 iteration of the heavy-duty truck. Calling the Silverado 3500HD anything but a monstrous powerhouse would be an understatement. With serious thought and effort put into reinforcing just about every element of the chassis, the pick-up is now near-indestructible. Even the recently redesigned Ram 3500HD can't compete with the Silverado's maximum towing capacity of 35,500 lbs, which is bested by a mere 250 lbs on the new Ford F-350 Super Duty.

But Chevrolet hasn't ignored the other aspects of the truck. With available advanced safety features and comfort options, the Silverado can pass as an everyday vehicle, although its fuel consumption figures might dissuade you from using it as such. But such fuel efficiency is common in the segment, and with similar starting price tags as its nearest competitors, the new Silverado 3500HD runs alongside the pack leaders.

This is a niche market, where the qualities that make a vehicle good differ from the norm. But, for the job it was designed for, the Chevy Silverado is most definitely a good vehicle.

What's the Price of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD?

Getting behind the wheel of the Silverado 3500 won't set you back as much as you may think, at least not at the lower trim levels. The base Work Truck, with a Regular Cab, will only cost you $35,300, while the similarly equipped LT raises this price by only $3,900 to $39,200. The higher-tier LTZ starts out with the Crew Cab, and has a base MSRP of $51,700, while the top-tier High Country also shares the same restriction and will cost you a hefty $62,300. The lower trims can be upgraded with the Double or Crew cabs at additional cost, and equipping four-wheel-drive will add $2,800 to your bill. Swapping out the base gasoline engine for the Duramax diesel will set you back between $9,750 and $9,890, depending on your trim. These prices do not include tax, registration, licensing, or Chevy's $1,595 destination charge.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Work Truck (WT)
6.6-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$35,300
LT
6.6-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$39,200
LTZ
6.6-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$51,700
High Country
6.6-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$62,300
See All 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Trims and Specs

What Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Model Should I Buy?

If you need maximum towing capacity (35,500 lbs), then you are limited for choice. Only the Regular Cab body configuration can reach this figure, and only the Work Truck and LT are compatible with this body. At such a low trim level, the Silverado comes sparsely equipped, with little to no advanced safety features and only the fundamentals in terms of creature comforts. If you plan on using the pick-up for long-distance hauling or for longer workdays, we would suggest going for the LTZ model. With this, you get comfortable leather seats and a variety of infotainment upgrades. You can also equip the Safety Package if you want the features available to the High Country without paying the extra $11k. While this kind of truck would probably not be used as a daily family vehicle, we won't tell you that you can't do just that. In such an instance, we would still suggest the LTZ with the Safety package.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Comparisons

Ram 3500 Ram
Ford F-350 Super Duty Ford

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD vs Ram 3500

Fresh off a redesign in 2019, the Ram 3500 is holding strong as a segment-leader in the heavy-duty market. However, the new Silverado 3500HD should provide far more competition than its previous iterations. The base gasoline engine in the Chevy delivers 35 lb-ft more torque than the Ram's 429-lb-ft engine, but where all know diesel engines are where the real power lies. The diesel powertrain in the Ram 3500 may look more appealing with 400 hp and 1000 lb-ft, vs the Silverado's 445 hp and 910 lb-ft, but when you take into account all the enhancements the Chevrolet has received beneath the surface, it's the Silverado that wins out in total towing capacity, pulling 400 lbs more than the Ram truck. Each truck has near-identical cab and bed options to choose from, but the Chevy is more spacious inside, and it comes with more modern standard features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It may be a close call, but the Silverado 3500HD comes out on top.

See Ram 3500 Review

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD vs Ford F-350 Super Duty

While the Ford F-350 Super Duty isn't receiving a full redesign like the Silverado 3500HD and Ram 3500 have received over the last two years, it is undergoing some pretty impressive changes. The most relevant update is the newly available 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine, delivering class-leading outputs of 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft. This impressive power, combined with the already durable chassis and body, allows the F-350 to best the 35,500-lb towing capacity that Chevrolet had hoped would make the Silverado 3500HD a class-leader. However, the Ford pick-up only beats the Chevy by 250 lbs in its optimum guise. When you take into account all the modern enhancements made to the Silverado's interior, such as standard smartphone integration and a spacious, well-appointed cabin, the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD may still be the better pick here.

See Ford F-350 Super Duty Review

Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Popular Comparisons

$35,300 - $62,500
Price Range (MSRP)
Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
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