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2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 review

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

by Chris Chase — 4.3/5.0

The full-size pickup truck segment is one of the auto industry’s most competitive, and North America’s domestic brands own it. Ford’s F-150 is Canada’s best-selling vehicle overall, and the Ram 1500 and General Motors’ GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 twins are regular top-10 sellers.

Understandably, those brands work at a furious pace to come up with features and tech innovations that will keep buyers coming back and, if they’re lucky, draw shoppers away from their competitors.2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Chevrolet redesigned the Silverado 1500 in 2019 with the kind of bold, over-the-top styling that defines today’s full-size truck segment. There’s also lots of technology conceived to save fuel and make towing easier and more convenient.

For 2020, Chevrolet has added a 3.0L diesel six-cylinder engine and a 10-speed transmission to the Silverado 1500’s options list. Our test truck had both under its broad, tall hood.

In GM’s portfolio, the Silverado is positioned as a more straightforward truck than the GMC Sierra: Chevrolet offers neither the GMC’s carbon fibre cargo box nor its multi-function tailgate. And while the Ford F-150 sports a body made entirely out of aluminum, the Silverado uses that lightweight metal only for its hood, tailgate and door panels. The exterior is shaped from more conventional steel.

Diesel performance and fuel economy

Chevrolet’s 3.0L Duramax diesel has the least-impressive horsepower rating of any Silverado motor, at 277 hp. However, its 460 lb-ft of torque matches that of the most potent engine, a 6.2L gasoline V8.

You can feel that torque working at lower speeds as it effortlessly moves the Silverado away from a stop. But when it’s time to pick up speed to pass slower traffic, for example, the diesel runs out of breath at higher revs. It’s best to be patient with this engine and let the torque do the work with its well-matched 10-speed transmission.

Go easy on the Silverado’s accelerator and you’ll see where the Duramax really shines: fuel economy. Our 4WD tester averaged 11.5 L/100 km in a week of city driving, including a couple of days slogging through rush-hour traffic in temperatures close to minus 20 degrees Celsius. Warmer weather and lighter traffic would have moved us closer to the Silverado 4WD diesel’s fuel consumption estimates of 10.4/8.0 L/100 km (city/highway).

The Duramax diesel’s greatest drawback might be its price. It added $3,245 to our test truck’s MSRP, which was already well over $66,000 in top-end High Country trim. Our truck’s other options pushed the price to about $80,000.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 InteriorInterior design and comfort

As is typical for a full-size, crew cab pickup, the Silverado’s cabin is spacious and accommodating. The front seats are wide and supportive and the large console means driver and front passenger never have to fight over space on the central armrest.

Bring along two more friends and they’ll enjoy vast amounts of space in the rear seat, and a third passenger won’t have much to complain about either. Those in the High Country’s rear outboard positions get standard seat warmers, too. On the downside, the rear seat’s bottom cushion is relatively low to the floor and doesn’t provide much support under the thighs.

If you want to seat six people, move down one trim to LTZ, which comes with a three-place front bench.

Those upfront get the expected assortment of storage spaces. There are two glove boxes, cupholders, door pockets, a huge covered console bin, and bin at the base of the centre stack that included wireless smartphone charging in our test vehicle. There’s a neat trick in the rear, where Chevrolet puts storage spaces in the outboard seat backrests large enough for a tablet or small parcels. That’s clever in a vehicle lacking the privacy of an SUV’s enclosed cargo area.

The Silverado’s interior isn’t all good news, at least not at our High Country test truck’s elevated price.

Our tester had unconvincing gold-toned plastic trim on the steering wheel and centre stack, and that glossy material highlighted the dull, flat back finish surrounding the stereo and climate controls. Some of those dash buttons felt cheap to the touch, and they’re mounted on a flimsy-feeling panel. All of that was out of place in a truck that starts well over $60,000 — never mind our tester’s $80,000 tag.

Handling and ride comfort

It’s hard to dial a smooth ride into a suspension designed to handle more than 850 kg and 4,250 kg of payload and towing capacity in High Country trim, but Chevrolet has done a good job finding that balance. The tall seating position conspires with rough roads to jostle those in the cabin, but still, this is one of the most comfortable-riding full-size trucks we’ve tested.

We were more surprised by the heavy steering, which makes maneuvering the Silverado in tight parking lots an upper-body workout — and there’s a lot of maneuvering to do with a truck six meters long.

Standard features and pricing2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Second Row

Silverado pricing starts at $30,998 for a regular cab 2WD model in basic Work Truck trim. By the time you reach our High Country tester’s $66,400 price, you’ve moved through Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss and LTZ trims and a double cab body configuration. And for another few hundred dollars, you can augment our tester’s short cargo bed with a standard-sized cargo box.

Exclusive to High Country trim are a power tailgate, 8.0-inch digital driver info display, Bose stereo, navigation, front and rear park assist, heated rear seats, lane change alert with blind-spot monitoring, a power sliding rear window, rear cross-traffic alert, ventilated front seats, and wireless smartphone charging.

Those features come on top of items included in lesser trims: LED taillights, locking rear differential, auto-dimming/power-folding side mirrors, power-adjustable front seats, a 120-volt bed-mounted power outlet, an 8.0-inch infotainment display, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, perforated leather upholstery, and satellite radio.

Features conspicuous by their absence in a $66,000 vehicle are power-adjustable pedals (General Motors used to offer those in its full-size trucks) and electric steering column adjustments.

Our truck’s options included High Country Deluxe and Technology packages (features are detailed below), and a set of black-painted 22-inch wheels.

Conclusion

Between last year’s redesign and 2020’s new diesel engine and 10-speed transmission, it’s clear Chevrolet is keen to keep the Silverado near the top of Canada’s sales charts. This is a well-done truck with a smooth ride, impressive diesel fuel economy and some clever interior features.

What Chevy hopes you won’t notice are the cheap dash details that look and feel out of place in the Silverado’s pricey high-end trim levels.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado High Country

Vehicle category: Full-size pickup truck

Engine: 3.0L six-cylinder, diesel, turbocharged; 277 hp, 460 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Notable standard features (High Country Crew Cab 4WD; MSRP: $66,398 (Base price: $30,598)): Power tailgate, 8.0-inch digital driver info display, Bose stereo, navigation, front and rear park assist, heated rear seats, lane change alert with blind-spot monitoring, a power sliding rear window, rear cross-traffic alert, ventilated front seats, and wireless smartphone charging.

Notable options (As tested; MSRP: $80,008): High Country Deluxe package (Forward collision alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, safety alert seat, sunroof, 22-inch wheels); Technology package (surround vision, rearview camera mirror, head-up display, bed-view camera, 8.0-inch driver info display); 22-inch black wheels

Fuel economy, ratings (l/100km, city/highway): 10.4/8.0

Fuel economy, observed (l/100km): 11.5

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