2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 4WD LTZ Crew
Class: Large Pickup
Miles driven: 202
Fuel used: 13.1 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||B|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||445-hp 6.6-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbodiesel V8|
Real-world fuel economy: 15.4 mpg
Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: NA
Fuel type: Diesel
Base price: $53,300 (not including $1595 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel ($9890), LTZ Premium Package ($7805), Gooseneck/5th-Wheel Package ($1090), power sunroof ($995), chrome assist steps ($795), Z71 Off-Road Package ($175), Snow Plow Prep Package ($150), trailer tire pressure monitor ($50), LTZ Premium Package Discount (-$1000)
Price as tested: $74,845
The great: Spacious cabin, power of turbodiesel 6.6-liter V8 engine
The good: Long list of available comfort, safety, and technology features
The not so good: Diesel engine is a bit noisy, options drive up bottom-line price, extra-large dimensions make parking a challenge
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Ordinarily, you don’t expect discussions of heavy-duty full-sized pickups to start with fuel economy. However, the opportunity to compare a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 with the optional 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 and Allison 10-speed automatic transmission to one with the new standard 6.6-liter gasoline mill and 6-speed auto is hard to miss—or pass up.
Consumer Guide’s first turn in the current Silverado HD 2500, which is fully redone for ’20, was in a 4-wheel-drive crew cab with the 401-horsepower gas engine. Our second taste of the ¾-ton 2500 came in another 4×4 crew cab, but this with the 445-horse Duramax. With 40 percent of total test miles run in city-style driving, CG editors collectively averaged almost 15.5 mpg with the diesel. (With 35 percent city driving in his stint, this reviewer got 16.8 mpg after going 67 miles.) That’s a solid improvement over the 11.1 mpg they booked in the naturally aspirated gas-fueled 6.6, albeit with a greater proportion of city-style operation. By the way, both tests were conducted free of towed or carried loads.
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What, then, is the discussion-starter for HD trucks? Often, it is torque. The horsepower spread between the two 6.6-liter Chevy V8s seems downright negligible viewed against their torque differences. The gas job develops 464 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm; when the Duramax does the twist, it is to the tune of 910 lb-ft at 1600 rpm. A standard 3.73:1 axle ratio is used in the gas-fueled model to improve its accelerative capability. With all the low-rpm grunt baked into the turbodiesel V8, Silverado 2500s equipped with it can get by with “relaxed” 3.42:1 cogs that may play a part in that better fuel economy.
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Neither engine makes for a quicksilver Silverado. Sustained strength, not fast-twitch muscle, is what’s important here. The 2500 with Duramax rolls into its considerable power, but once there keeps going strongly. It’s not afraid of highway speeds, and the decagear transmission responds well to the call for a downshift under hard throttle. The test truck did seem to raise an inordinate amount of intake noise in surface-street driving, and unlike the inline diesel six available in lighter-duty Silverado 1500s, the V8 more obviously sounds like an “oil-burner” at idle or under load. Maximum towing capacity with the turbodiesel is 18,500 pounds. To assist in that work, the transmission is outfitted with a “Tow/Haul” mode to reduce shifts (delaying upshifts under acceleration and downshifting under deceleration) and Auto Grade Braking that automatically downshifts to enable engine braking on downhill grades. The engine incorporates an exhaust brake to help slow the truck without as much reliance on the service brakes.
Duramax might comes at a commensurately stout price. The turbodiesel V8 and 10-speed autobox added $9890 to the Silverado LTZ test truck that topped out at $74,845. (Way back before the options started piling up base price—with delivery—was $54,895.) What the buyer doesn’t need to dig deeper for are an automatic locking rear differential, trailer-sway and trailer-brake controls, and a trailer-hitch package with hitch guidance that shows on the in-dash display screen. Four-wheelers come with a 2-speed transfer case with electronic push-button controls.
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The Silverado HD suspension layout—independent in front with a solid axle suspended by leaf springs in back—isn’t up to the comfort level of its half-ton 1500 relatives. A bump or dip in the road surface can rock truck and passengers, and even coax a hop out of the unoccupied back end. That said, the test truck might have been a little more prone to this: It was outfitted with optional 20-inch alloy wheels and 275/65R20 all-terrain tires (part of the LTZ Premium Package option), extra-cost Z-71 off-road suspension, and the Snow Plow Prep Package that includes stiffer front springs.
All of the freshly styled Silverado HDs come with larger cab and cargo-bed dimensions than their predecessors. Two bed lengths are offered. The test truck had the shorter of them, but both include steps in the bumper corners and ahead of the rear wheel wells for handier working conditions. The LTZ is the second from the top in Silverado HD’s 5-layer salad. In addition to the chrome grille bar and bumper picked up from the LT, its appearance distinctions are chrome-accented grille inserts and chrome mirror caps, door handles, and lower air-intake finisher. LED lighting is used around the truck.
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All but one of the paint colors available for the LTZ can be paired with a choice of interiors: solid Jet Black or two-tone Gideon/Very Dark Atmosphere. The latter, which sounds like it could be a hipster’s new favorite craft beer, features lighter neutral Gideon on the seats and door armrests. It made an attractive complement to our Northsky Blue Metallic truck. Front seats are covered in perforated leather and heated. The extensive LTZ Premium Package added ventilated front buckets and heated outboard rear seats, as well as a center console with wireless charging bay. Dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and starting, satellite radio, 10-way power seats (with driver’s-seat memory), heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and front tow hooks are other standard items.
Even at the higher trim levels, Silverados lack state-of-the-art plushness. However, there’s no fault with the passenger space in crew cab models. Cushions in the 3-wide rear seat easily fold up in a 60/40 split, exposing a standard storage tray in the LTZ. Accessory side steps are virtually a must for easy entry and exit. Unfortunately, fairly wide pillars at the front and sides reduce driver vision. A full array of legible virtual gauges confronts the driver, and the Infotainment 3 unit with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility is easy to program and use. Personal-item storage is handled by upper and lower glove boxes, a big console box, compartments in the rear seat backs, and large map pockets with cup holders in all doors.
Ultimate power is the raison d’etre for the Silverado 2500 with Duramax. That’s just what you’ll get—but at what might seem a price to match in an LTZ.
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