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2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Custom: Pros and Cons

This Chevrolet ¾-ton is a “work truck with attitude.”

The 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Custom came to us with a gas-powered 6.6L V-8, 20-inch wheels, body-color exterior trim, and a six-speed automatic transmission, and we put it to work on the highway, dunes, mud, snow, and more over our week-long 2020 Pickup Truck of the Year test.

What's Hot

  • Lots of truck for your money
  • 40/20/40 bench seats = three passengers in front row
  • Steel bumpers and accessible recovery points

What's Not

  • Harsh ride, even for a -ton
  • Fuel-thirsty (13.7 mpg observed)
  • Interior design is as exciting as bargain bin slacks

What's New For The 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Custom?

The 6.6L V-8 engine in the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Custom is said to give the truck an 11 percent increase in horsepower, 22 percent more torque output, and an 18 percent increase in towing capacity over the previous powerplant. The 6.6L features a forged steel crankshaft, forged powder-metal connecting rods, and a suite of high-strength components, along with an increased compression ratio (10.8:1) and a longer stroke (3.86 inches) compared to its 6.0L relative. The six-speed 6L90 automatic gearbox comes with Tow/Haul mode, and dual alternators can be found under the hood to support snowplowing, trailer pulling, and other high-draw tasks.

Silverado 2500 HD Custom Off-Road

The Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Custom has enough ground clearance to keep the underbelly far enough away from obstacles and a steel front bumper to repel oncoming trail traumas. One judge underlined a comment about the truck in the judging book "adequate." Judges thought a manual transfer case shift lever (not an option, here) would certainly fit the truck's feng shui and seemed to agree that the tires lacked a bit in the trail-gripping department. However, the package got the job done. Judges described the truck's performance on most off-highway surfaces as "baseline," as the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Custom bounced through whoops, vibrated "mercilessly" on washboards, and required careful line choice through larger rocks. We were fans of the brawny recovery points, would have liked to see a few more skidplates, and we felt the roar of the V-8 gasser was not commensurate with the distance traveled up our snotty, muddy, snowy, hillclimb.

What's Holding It Back?

While watching the 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Custom's speed and RPMs rise and fall on an analog needle display, judges were happy to put the truck's 401 horses and 464 pounds of torque to work on the test's highway pushes. However, when they found the inspiration to stomp the gas, they wondered if the truck was tuned more for longevity of the drivetrain rather than delivering power to the ground. We observed the least-efficient fuel economy score of the week in the Silverado Custom, which by our measurements squeezed an average of 13.7 miles out of each gallon.

Our Take: Work Truck With Attitude

Our 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Custom came with a sticker price of $48,420 and for that, the amount of truck we got was commendable. We'd have no problem loading the bed down with gravel and lumber, motorcycles and 4x4 parts, or a weekend's worth of gear while sticking a handful of passengers in the cab and hauling down the trail or highway to the tune of the gasser V-8. However, we might not be doing any of those things in top-notch comfort. To counter that, swinging our muddy boots back up into the rig after a day on the job hurts a bit less with the stripped-down cloth interior and lack of hand-honed wood trim and embroidered leather on the inside. Is this our next dedicated off-road trail truck? No. Does it grant us control over its transfer case with a manual lever? Also, no. Do we want to fold down the 40/20/40 front bench seat, twist the actual keyed ignition, and have some fun? You bet.

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