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2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 LTZ: Pros and Cons

It’s a big, red, go-fast, play-dirty diesel truck.

The 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 LTZ received a suite of upgrades, making it more equipped than ever to tame heavy loads and trails. Read on to see how it fared during the 2020 Pickup Truck of the Year test.

What's Hot

  • 6L of growling diesel power
  • New Allison-branded 10-speed transmission
  • BedSteps and CornerSteps grant easy access to the cargo area

What's Not

  • Hard-to-digest mugshot
  • Rattling side mirrors when off-road

What's New For The 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 LTZ?

Under the hood of the 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 LTZ, General Motors matched its Duramax L5P 6.6L V-8 to a clean-sheet, GM-built, Allison-branded 10-speed gearbox. The 10L1000 comes with a list of features designed to get all of the Silverado 2500 LTZ's 910 lb-ft of torque straight to the ground, including a variable-rate pump, high-performance clutch packs and solenoids, a factory-installed PTO pump option, and a stiffer, one-piece housing that bolts directly to the transfer case instead of having to use an adapter like the previous Allison six-speed. Keeping the big Duramax V-8 cool was of the utmost concern to GM engineers.

For us, that meant not only higher towing numbers but features including a hood scoop, active aero shutters, and an attention-grabbing upper grille area opened up to maximize airflow. Out back, the bed has been redesigned, separating it from the beds of the lighter-duty models. Repositioning of the multi-piece inner panels gained the Silverado 2500 LTZ more than 8 cubic feet of cargo volume over the outgoing model, and with its increased length (3 inches), made space for longer loads.

How Fast Does It Go?

We heard the words " stupid fast!" trailing off through the smoke behind the red 2020 Chevy as one judge ripped down the strip, getting the Silverado 2500 LTZ up to 60 mph in a best-of-the-test 6.9 seconds, while covering the quarter-mile in 16 seconds at 91.6 mph. Braking told a different story, as the four-wheel ABS system got the 7,721-pound rig to a halt in 149.4 feet, the longest stopping distance of the lineup. The Silverado 2500 LTZ was out-flexed by five of the trucks with a score of 340 on the 22-degree RTI ramp.

What We Thought About The Exterior And Interior

Getting face-to-face with the 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 LTZ's frontend garnered as many shrugs of approval as it did raised lips of distaste. However, when judges got off their fashion designer high horses, the mix of Cajun Red Tintcoat, reimagined airflow schematics, and chrome, as penned by one tester, "looked cohesive and fit the part." Judges counted the BedSteps and CornerSteps and postulated that four size-12-footed individuals could, at one time, step or reach into the 2500 LTZ's cargo area. While in the Silverado's Durabed, we also enjoyed the 12 fixed tiedown points, including 500 lb.-rated rings in the corners. When the sun went down, the LED marker lamps also gained positive marks in the scoring books under the "visibility and just-because-they're-cool categories."

"Familiar" was a common description of the Silverado 2500 LTZ's interior. Judges who held GM's choice of materials, placement of knobs, and infotainment arrangement near and dear to their hearts weren't disappointed. Judges harboring gripes when they stepped inside, however, weren't given much reason to switch sides. We enjoyed the ample USB charging ports and the 120V outlet built into the center stack, and Bluetooth connectivity between wireless devices and the truck's infotainment system was said to be "spot-on."

Highway Performance

"The 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 LTZ is finely crafted for the passing lane" said one judge, referencing the turn-signal-actuated blind-spot cameras appearing on the infotainment screen, as well as the "wicked power at the ready" when it came time to get around that jalopy blocking the climb. A handful of comments revolved around the new Allison-branded 10-speed and its "I can't even feel the shifts!" smoothness. We liked the head-up display for keeping tabs on the truck's vitals while driving and found ourselves adjusting its position and dimness at stoplights to suit our respective likings. Judges who frequently travel with humans or cargo stacked in the rear seats accepted the ocular learning curve required by the Rear Camera Mirror, which shows an enhanced digital view of what's happening behind the truck. Those who preferred the traditional reflective surface could flip a tab and disable the digital screen.

Off-Road Performance

In trail situations where pedal-to-the-floor power makes up for low-speed precision, the Silverado 2500 LTZ showed off. "Tons of power in the sand" and "point and squirt" were comments we found after our session in the dunes, but other off-road situations tested the big Bow Tie. Navigating rocks was "made palatable" by the camera views and the "somewhat biggish" tires, but judges were left asking "are we there yet?" after driving the craggy canyon sections of our test. Fitted with mild all-terrain tires, the Silverado caused judges showed some concern over the risk of sidewall damage (though none was sustained). Raw power from the V-8 was an "absolute hoot" in the snow, at least until the traction control tried to get between our feet and the horsepower. After sections of trail strewn with washboards and whoops, judges "felt battered" by the suspension response and as a whole were concerned for the integrity of the side view mirrors, which rattled violently at their mounts to the body.

Our Take

The 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500 LTZ checks the boxes of Bow Tie enthusiasts who need power and payload but want to take the heavy-duty a bit further into the rough stuff. This certainly is not your out-of-the-box trail taming rig. However, it's well-equipped to haul your trailer to the trailhead in style even if that trail is a bit too rough for the standard HD machine.

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