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2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Tows Tons

Jason Fogelson

If you want to impress people, drive around towing a giant, 15-ton anvil behind your pickup truck. This was one of the available towing demonstrations at a recent launch event for the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD, and it certainly made an impression on me. I don’t know if an anvil that big has any practical use – maybe if the Incredible Hulk took up blacksmithing – but if it does, the new Silverado HD Diesel can move it. Every diesel dual-rear wheel variant of the new HD is capable of towing up to 30,000 lbs, and the most capable regular cab dually diesel peaks at a class-leading 35,500 lbs.

Capacity isn’t the whole story, as Chevy was eager to demonstrate. A suite of towing technologies is aimed at making the new pickup more accessible to novice and experienced owners alike. Eight available cameras with 15 camera views, including a very cool transparent trailer view, add a level of confidence that will empower owners to drag their trailers past obstacles that would have induced panic in earlier years.

I’m not an expert tower, by any means. I’m embarrassed to admit that I towed a teardrop trailer from Los Angeles to Detroit a couple of years ago without ever reversing – I planned every stop and parking maneuver to avoid that action, for fear of jackknifing or damage. I suspect that I’m not alone.

I was able to negotiate an obstacle course while towing an enclosed car trailer (carrying a Chevy Corvette), only knocking down a few cones in the final stretch. I drove up and down a route through the Mt. Bachelor area in central Oregon while towing a 14,000-lb trailer loaded with a John Deere backhoe without incident. The new 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8 engine puts out 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque and climbs grades with ease. The new 10-speed Allison transmission is smooth-shifting and helps to save the brakes on downgrades by allowing engine braking to keep the heavy load from pushing the rig too forcefully. Chevy may not win the torque comparison race, as the new RAM HD has pushed into four figures for 2020, but the well-tuned powertrain feels more than adequate for most medium-duty chores. Commercial users and fifth-wheel haulers may disagree, seeking the absolute maximum capability they can buy, but they may be outliers.

The new front-end design has begun to grow on me, especially in the more subtle body-color variations of the Chevrolet crossbar – the polished chrome version is still a bit overstated to my eye. But in a class of truck not noted for its subtlety, boldness is the price of entry.