First Drive: Big, Burly 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and GMC Sierra 2500HD

These redesigned work trucks have more power, towing capability, and interior room

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD pickup truck, front

General Motors has redesigned its large 2500HD truck line for 2020. (The 2500 references a three-quarter ton payload capacity. This is a historic reference; modern trucks in this class can haul much more than that. The HD is shorthand for heavy-duty.) In any parlance, we can tell you that these Chevrolet and GMC behemoths are bigger and tougher than ever.

GM has supersized these trucks in just about every way, marking the first time the GM HD trucks are truly bigger than their light-duty counterparts.

These new trucks are 10.4 inches longer, ride on a wheelbase that's 5.2 inches longer, stretch 1.4 inches wider, and stand 1.6 inches taller. And there's an extra 3 inches of legroom for second-row passengers in crew-cab models. Leave no doubt: These are substantial trucks.

The standard engine is a 401-hp, 6.6-liter V8 with a six-speed transmission. The other choice—and what we drove—is a 445-hp, 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 engine mated to an Allison 10-speed transmission. This tow-ready engine produces a prodigious 910 lb.-ft. of torque.

When properly equipped, GM claims that the new HDs can tow up to 35,500 pounds.

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We rented two of GM’s new crew-cab trucks: a Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD LTZ and GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD AT4. Here’s what we’ve learned during our time and miles with these titanic trucks.

What we rented: 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD LTZ and GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD AT4
Powertrain: 445-hp, 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 engine; 10-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel drive
MSRP: $53,300 (Silverado); $57,700 (Sierra)
Major options include: LTZ Premium package; Z71 Off-Road and Protection package; Gooseneck/5th-wheel package (Silverado). AT4 Premium package; Technology package; sunroof; Driver Alert package II; Gooseneck/5th-wheel package (Sierra).
Destination fee: $1,595
Total cost: $73,265 (Silverado); $77,155 (Sierra)

CR's Take

Don't bother with an HD truck unless you’re towing enormous, heavy trailers. Ford, GM, and Ram all offer diesel-powered 1500 models that have smoother rides and easier-to-access cabins. And depending on the trim line and options you choose, the smaller trucks are a heck of a lot less expensive. 

But if you’re going big, these beasts are more than capable and more livable than ever. Kudos to GM for making lots of safety features available, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic warning.

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