With Americans buying more trucks than ever before, you might be thinking about owning a pickup yourself, even if you don't really need one. That's all well and good. This is the land of opportunity, after all, so go ahead and indulge yourself.
But if you've never driven a heavy duty truck before, there are a few things you should know. Full-size 3/4 and 1-ton pickups are substantially different than light duty half-ton trucks. Not only can they carry more — as the payload figures reveal — they are larger in every respect, including length, width, height and weight.
In short, they are really, really big, which complicates downtown driving and even shopping center parking. But if you need to tow something heavy, they can't be beat when equipped with the most powerful engines and today's advanced towing-assistance technologies.
Our test 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Crew Cab was a case in point. It was much bigger than the equivalent 1500 version we tested in the past, requiring a keen eye and steady hand when driving through crowded streets. It even came with oversized side mirrors that could be remotely folded flat against the cab when parked to increase side clearances.
But it also came with the optional 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8 with 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. Properly equipped, that increases maximum payload capacity to nearly 7,500 pounds and maximum towing capacity to 35,500 pounds. That's more than twice what Oregon law allows with a regular driver's license. Needless to say, if you need to tow a large boat or camper on a regular basis, it's going to be up to the job.
But new technologies also makes such towing much easier and safer than in the past. Advanced features include trailer profiles, downgrade braking, pre-travel checklists, and more. Chevy also offers up to 15 different camera views, including a near-magical "transparent trailer" view that stitches together the side views with an optional camera mounted to the back of the trailer to give you a seamless view on the display screen as if the trailer wasn't there.
The Silverado HD is offered in a wide range of configurations and trims levels. It can be ordered as a classic regular cab with an 8-foot bed, but you can also get an extended cab or full four-door Crew Cab like our test version. The base engine is a 6.6-liter gasoline V8 rated at 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque. You can choose rear-wheel or four-wheel-drive, and you can get a dually rear axle in the 3500 version.
Inside, our fully-loaded tester was a mix of practical plastic and upscale leather surfaces and seats. The combination makes sense of you want something nice but are also getting in and out with muddy gloves and boots. And speaking of getting in and out, we appreciated the optional running boards that helped us get in and out of the high cab.
Prices for the Silverado 2500 start at under $40,000, but if you want all the options and upgrades, expect to pay closer to $75,000. That might sound like a lot, but given the incredible capacities of the most serious version of the 2020 Silverado HD, it's not at all unreasonable. Just make sure you really need it. Otherwise, Chevy will be glad to sell you something a little more practical for your day-to-day needs.
But the bottom line is, if you need serious towing capacity and control, check out the 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD. It's never been more up to the task.
2020 Chevy Silverado HD LTZ Crew
Base price: $39,895
Price as tested: $72,445
Type: Full-size pickup truck
Engines: 6.6-liter V8 or turbo-diesel (401 hp, 464 lbs-ft or 445 hp, 910 lbs-ft)
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic or 10-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: Not EPA rated
Overall length: 250 inches
Curb weight: 6,105 to 8,355 pounds
Final assembly: Flint, Michigan
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