2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 First Look

Diesel Debutant


What Is It?

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickup carries over largely unchanged except for a significant new option. The 3.0-liter Duramax diesel engine that Chevy previously announced over a year ago will finally be available. We were promised the diesel on the 2019 model, but it was pushed back due to delays in the certification process. It did briefly appear on the Silverado's options sheet, though, with a $2,495 premium over the 5.3-liter V8-equipped model.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Chevy opted to make the Duramax a straight-six rather than a V6 like competitive engines. The straight-six layout takes up more space in the engine compartment, but straight-six engines tend to run smoother and make more torque. Indeed the Duramax is expected to do well in this regard, with tentative ratings of 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. It will come paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, so this powertrain will likely have the right gear for any situation.

Why Does It Matter?

Diesel engines are sought-after options in the 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty end of the pickup market. Yet diesel offerings were absent from 1500 series "half-ton" trucks for years. The situation only began to change when Ram reintroduced one in 2014.

Diesel engines provide two things that truck buyers crave: more torque for smooth towing and better overall range and fuel economy. They are particularly good at doing both at once by providing respectable fuel economy and range while towing. For the moment, we cannot attach any numbers to these factors because fuel economy ratings have not yet been announced.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

What Does It Compete With?

Ford offers a 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V6 engine that makes 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg combined in two-wheel-drive fitments and 22 mpg combined in four-wheel-drive configurations. The upgrade costs $4,000 in an F-150 Lariat with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and $3,000 in a King Ranch with a 5.0-liter V8. It is not offered in any of the more popular and less expensive lower trim levels, however.

Ram introduced a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel in 2014, and it sold briskly for a couple of years until it ran into emissions certification problems. But an all-new diesel engine is scheduled to return in the 2020 Ram 1500 at about the same time this Chevrolet Duramax diesel arrives. The Ram will offer strong competition with 260 hp and a (currently) class-leading 480 lb-ft of torque. It's also rated to tow as much as 12,560 pounds, which is going to be tough to beat.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Edmunds Says

We lived with a long-term 2014 Ram EcoDiesel for 50,000 miles, and the fuel economy and torque benefits are real. General Motors may be a bit late to this party, but it's good to see a situation where truck buyers who want to go diesel can choose any of the Big Three brands. It will also be interesting to see if The General's choice of a straight-six diesel configuration pays extra dividends.