The war rages on in the full-size ½ ton pickup segment. A must-have is a diesel engine and the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 now has one.
Last year, GM launched an all-new Chevrolet Silverado to mixed, although more positive than otherwise, reviews. As GM continues to roll out its new fleet of large pickups, the latest addition is a highly-anticipated Duramax diesel engine adapted for the 1500.
So far, I can’t say that I’ve been smitten by the new Chevy Silverado as I outlined in my review of a top-line High Country Silverado from earlier this spring. The truck-buying public seems to share this lukewarm appreciation for the truck as sales are less than stellar. Will the arrival of the Duramax powertrain, a fifth one, change the course of deliveries?
Should you now consider the Silverado 1500 with Duramax more than ever? More than the competition? Let’s look into the questions.
Why you should buy a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax:
- The 2019 and 2020 Chevrolet Silverado is extremely refined overall. The sole limiting factor to this seems to be wheel size which affects smoothness.
- The Duramax turbo-diesel straight-6-cylinder engine is the most powerful of its kind with 277-horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 rpm.
- Official fuel consumption numbers are not yet known however everything leads to believe that the Duramax will also return the lowest numbers in the segment.
- Mated to the standard 10-speed automatic transmission, the Duramax provides impressive passing power and remains very quiet even under heavy throttle loads.
- The new Silverado can be equipped with a battery of cameras and other towing technologies which can make the job far less stressful.
Why you should not buy a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax:
- The cost of acquisition remains high. Opting for the Duramax can drastically increase the purchase price possibly negating savings at the pumps. The reason being that the Duramax, depending on trim, includes a number of packages that you may or may not want.
- Relatedly, the 6.2-litre V8 delivers as much torque, will be an option on more trims shortly, should cost as much or less to acquire, can tow more, will be less expensive to maintain and run, and has a proven reliability record.
- The new Chevy Silverado itself is without a wow-factor, other than the drive. The front fascia is questionable at best and the interior is beyond plain.
With only a handful of very strong options in the full-size pickup segment, the world is your oyster unless you live by a strict code of brand loyalty. Even if you do, each truck is incredibly good and competent.
The diesel question, or situation, is an odd one. Buyers and the media have long requested a diesel-burner for the ½ ton truck and now that they’ve arrived, their desirability factor has faded.
The principal reason is cost. Be it Ford, RAM or the Chevrolet, spending north of $5,000 to benefit from better fuel mileage makes no sense. And this is without considering more expensive maintenance costs and refills of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) every 10,000-15,000km.
The Duramax 3.0-litre inline-6-cylinder is the smoothest-operating of the three (Power Stroke and EcoDiesel), most powerful and with its 10-speed automatic transmission, the quietest and fastest of the lot. This is high praise however I cannot justify why anyone should spend the money, with an exception: You intend to drive your truck a lot.
If you plan to tow regularly and/or drive well over 30,000km a year, then the fuel savings will make up for the greater up-front costs. Alternatively, I’d recommend the 6.2-litre V8.