2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD 4WD Review – Duramax Turbodiesel Ready to Work and Play

By John Faulkner Clean Fleet Report; with photos and video by CarNichiWa.com

Well-Mannered at Work or in the City

The HD in the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD explains pretty much what you need to know about this work truck. In the long bed configuration with the crew cab, the Silverado 2500 HD is a whopping 266 inches–or 22 feet–long.

At eight feet wide and nearly seven feet tall, this heavy-duty truck is both commanding and imposing. Even the bold front end differs from the Silverado 1500, so not to confuse which is the truly heavy-duty truck.

Our walkaround video, from the CarNichiWa.com YouTube channel, takes a closer look at the Silverado 2500 HD’s exterior, interior, cargo bed, and engine compartment. 

Power, Torque and Towing

This 2020 Silverado 2500 HD test truck is powered by a 6.6-liter Duramax V8 turbodiesel engine, pumping out 445 horsepower and 910 pound feet of torque.

There is little rattle or “ball-bearings-in-a-can” sound, even on start-up or hard demand when climbing a step hill. With the Allison 10-speed automatic transmission, the Silverado smoothly slips through the gears in a remarkably quiet manner.

Weighing in at 7,886 pounds, the Silverado 2500 HD has a maximum payload of 3,597 pounds and can tow 18,500 pounds. These numbers are why the Silverado 2500 HD is so popular with those towing a boat, cars, construction equipment or horses, outfitting it with a camper, or using it in the building trades. It is a brute that does not require stepping-up to a dually.

Driving Experience: On the Road

Torque is grunt, and wow, does this truck have grunt. We didn’t try it, but it felt like it could easily pull a stump from the ground. However, where it will spend most of its time is not stump pulling, but cruising the open road.

With its smooth and even acceleration, it is easy to drive in town or on the freeway, where it is stable and quiet, even when the bed is empty. Southern California freeways are paved with concrete and have been grooved for water dispersion. The grooves work as designed, but this combination can make for a loud and bumpy ride, where it seems every seam is felt. None of that happened with the Silverado 2500 HD as road noise, harshness and vibrations were minimal inside the cabin.

The large, power and heated outside mirrors provided excellent rear visibility, and were quiet in the wind. The 275/65 Goodyear Wrangler Trail Runner tires, mounted on 20-inch polished wheels, added no noise either. The brakes required a bit of a learning curve, as the pedal was soft, so it took a firm foot to bring the truck to a stop. The hydraulic-assisted brake system included four-wheel anti-lock discs and electronic stability assist.

The hydraulic-assisted steering, with digital variable steering assist, had vague-to-good road feel. Pushing even slightly too hard on corners prompted lifting off the accelerator to let the truck settle into a more comfortable driving attitude. It is probably just a result of this Silverado being so long and wide, but the turning radius was as large as the truck. This is a good time to bone-up on your three-point turns.

Driving Experience: Exterior

Driving the Cajun Red Tintcoat Silverado 2500 HD in car-crazy Southern California drew comments on its looks. The main topic by unsolicited passersby was about the front grille. This is no normal grille, but one that people either like or say unprintable things about. For those voting nay, it was followed with a “What were they thinking?” comment. For Chevrolet, the answer is easy: when they put a HD on any of their trucks, then it must look heavy-duty. The optional LED roof maker lamps reinforced the HD status.

The all-new design for 2020 is what Chevrolet says has “dimensions that are framed with a chisel.” Chevrolet used focus groups to come-up with the Silverado HD’s design, and the result was a tough-looking truck. The stacked LED reflector headlights and fog lights, and massive grille may be polarizing to some, but then maybe that person isn’t a Silverado HD customer after all.

Chevrolet is drawing a line in the sand about whether a customer wants a tough truck that can tow and haul heavy weights, or a merely “competent” truck. If the latter, they sell the very popular Silverado 1500 full-size and the Colorado midsize trucks, which are highly capable in their own right and are more traditional in their design.

To make things even more robust, our test truck had the optional Z71 Off-Road package, that included upgraded suspension, skid plates and hill descent control. The towing upgrades in the Gooseneck/5th Wheel package included stamped bed holes, and a seven-pin electrical trailer harness. If you are new to trailering, heed this note from Chevrolet: “Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual.” Chevrolet wants you to get the best experience from your Silverado 2500 HD, so please follow their suggestion.

Chevrolet is proud about having what they say is “the segment’s most functional HD cargo bed.” Dissecting this begins with the bed features of the spray-on bed liner, LED lighting and multi-piece inner panels that replace a single panel design. The multi-piece design allows the usable width to be expanded by 6.7-inches.

They also tout 12 fixed tie-down rings, with the corner rings rated at 500 pounds. The 120-volt power outlet is a useful feature as are the integrated bed steps in front of the rear wheel openings, and the corner steps on the rear bumper outer edges. The tailgate can also be powered up and down by the key fob, an interior button or a touchpad on the tailgate.

One thing we would have liked to see on a truck this highly optioned was running boards to help access the cabin, which was a healthy 24 inches from the ground.

Driving Experience: Interior

For all of the notable towing, hauling and off-road capabilities of the Silverado 2500 HD, the interior is where you will spend your time.

And it is a very nice interior as it is large and welcoming. Our Silverado was dressed with the LTZ Premium Package, that took the base cabin experience up a notch or two.

The leather-trimmed seats were firm and comfortable with the heated, ventilated and power front buckets separated by a center console large enough to hold a laptop.

The 60/40 folding rear seat, with heat for the outboard passengers, can easily hold three large adults. The power rear-sliding window was a nice feature, as were the power up-and-down tailgate, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel and wireless charger for compatible mobile phones.

The standard rear vision camera worked well, providing clear, wide images on the 8.0-inch color touchscreen that also was home for navigation, OnStar® and the Bose® Premium Sound System. The seven speaker system filled the cabin with sounds from the AM/FM/HD radio, Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ or SiriusXM®. Bluetooth handled voice communication for hands-free phone and audio and Siri Eyes Free. Multiple USB ports and an auxiliary power outlet kept everything charged and ready to go.

The instrument panel gauges were easy to read, and the radio passed our minimum driver safety test as it had volume and channel selection knobs.

A note regarding OnStar: a simple push of a button connects you with a friendly General Motors representative to handle emergencies, directions and general assistance to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable. This is one area where GM is the industry leader and, after the trial service plan expires, it is well worth renewing.

Also our Silverado HD was the 4G LTE Wi-Fi® hotspot that can connect multiple devices and has a 50-foot range. Because of a newly designed more powerful antenna, the system is capable of video streaming even while the truck is in motion. After the initial trial period, the subscription cost is based on the duration ordered; one-day, one-month or annual, and the gigabytes desired. We’re big fans of the Wi-Fi we find on General Motors cars, SUVs and trucks. If you’re taking the family for a road trip, then the Wi-Fi is a must to keep the backseat crew happy, occupied and quiet.

Safety and Convenience

The Silverado 2500 HD has six airbags, electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, trailer sway control, hill start assist and a tire pressure monitoring system. The standard ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) include Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Front and Rear Park Assist, Lane Change and Blind Zone Alert, and Rear Cross-traffic Alert. Even the driver’s seat vibrates to let you know something about your driving isn’t just right.

Other safety features included surround vision with two trailer-view camera views, a bed-view camera, a rear camera mirror and the multi-color 15-inch diagonal head-up display. The latter is a safety feature that we feel should be standard on all cars. If auto manufacturers and the government are serious about reducing distracted driving, then the head-up display is a proven technology that will help greatly.


Our 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD Duramax Crew Cab LTZ 4WD had a base MSRP of $53,300. With $19,780 in options, the bottom line came to $73,150. Prices do not include the $1,595 destination charge.

Wrapping It Up – Final Observations

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD Duramax Crew Cab LTZ 4WD is all about power. In a few non-scientific runs it was only taking 6.5-seconds to go zero-to-60 mph. Remember, this is a heavy truck with 4WD that was accelerating like a sporty car. The 6.6L V8 Duramax Turbodiesel is a beast, but one that does not need to be tamed for city and freeway driving. As a work truck, it would easily be up to the tasks of hauling and towing.

The cavernous cabin is so nicely appointed that you will not be questioned for sitting in the driveway listening to the Bose sound system. The Z71 package adds eye-catching design touches, while the rear seating and storage options round-out the interior versatility.

So if you are ready for a heavy-duty pickup, make sure the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 with the Duramax engine is on your shopping list. If you do not need all the grunt and brute strength of the 2500, the Silverado 1500, which now also has a diesel option, might be what you are looking for.

Baby Brother Diesels

The Duramax name has been around for almost two decades, most of which was spent as the name of the big 6.6-liter V8 in heavy-duty Silverados and similar vehicles. In recent years the Duramax name has become the diesel brand for General Motors so Chevrolet and GMC trucks now feature smaller displacement Duramax engines, such as the 3.0-liter inline six now offered in the Silverado 1500 — which we just reviewed — and the 2.8-liter four-cylinder in the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups that we road tested earlier.

John Faulkner is Road Test Editor at Clean Fleet Report. He has more than 30 years experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent’s Studebaker. He is a journalist member of the Motor Press Guild.

Silverado press fleet vehicle provided by Chevrolet Division of General Motors. Prices and vehicle information applies to U.S. models at the time of publication, not including destination, taxes, license, etc. All product information, including prices, features, and specifications, is subject to change without notice.

Story (text) © 2020 Clean Fleet Report – This review is reposted with permission on CarNichiWa.com

Photos and video © 2020 CarNichiWa.com