Entry price: $47,600
Price as tested: $62,515
This week, we’re driving one of the most popular new trucks for 2020, namely the Chevrolet 1500 Silverado 4x4 with the new Inline-6 Duramax turbo diesel engine. This new engine is a 3.0-liter design that delivers 277 horsepower and an amazing 460 lb. ft. of torque. Four trims from LT, SRT, LTZ and High Country are available, as are cab configurations of either double cab or four-door crew cab. The 3.0 Diesel option costs just $2,495, which is more than reasonable, and couples to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
This new 1500 Silverado 3.0 sits in the center of diesels that Chevy offers. Included are mid-size Colorado pickup’s 2.8 Inline-4 cylinder turbo Duramax with its 7,700-pound tow capacity up to the heavy duty 6.6-liter turbo V8 Duramax, that has a 35,500-pound tow capacity. Our tester’s tow capacity sits at 9,300 pounds, lower than the competition at Ford and RAM for the lighter duty diesel trucks.
However, and this is a big “however,” Chevrolet designers and engineers have hit a home run when it comes to building a light duty 1500 series pickup that is perhaps the best mix of comfort, performance, fuel mileage, ruggedness and reliability with an entry price of $47,600 in 2-wheel drive (2WD) trim.
Another positive is the 460-lb. ft. of torque the new 3.0 Duramax delivers, which is the same as the 6.2-liter gasoline powered V8 that is a popular choice in the Silverado line. Considering the 4x4 Duramax delivers an EPA rating of 23 city and 29 highway versus the gasoline V8’s 16 city and 20 highway with the 4x4 underpinnings, it’s an easy sell. If you order the 2WD 3.0 Duramax, you would be looking at even better fuel mileage with 23 city and 33 highway, which is best in pickup class, overall. As for acceleration, zero to 60 arrives in 7.3 seconds and it will run the quarter mile in the 15-second zone.
Outwardly, the Silverado features a new design that is easy on the eyes. The only outside logo that lets you know a Silverado is a diesel is a Duramax letter badge on the hood. Other than that, the only sure fire sign it’s a diesel is when you press the start button and the engine fires up. It has the diesel sound, but Chevy did such a great job of keeping the interior quiet it’s hard to tell you’re riding in a diesel pickup.
Notables include the backup cameras that include tow hookup visibility, trailer guidance and a total of 15 different camera angles to assist whatever your backup endeavor may be. These trailering apps are perhaps also the best in class, and also notable is the “myChevrolet” app that allows starting your Silverado with your phone. There are also four driver selectable operation modes including normal, sport, off-road and tow. Just press a button and Chevy takes care of the rest.
A negative is the position of the DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid additive) container, which is right next to the fuel fill up. Chevy should move it back under the hood instead or right next to the fuel inlet. DEF can corrode paint and metal if it drips while filling. Additionally, if some knucklehead pours a container of DEF into the diesel fuel inlet, the engine will experience major problems. So, mounting the DEF filler tube right next to diesel fuel filler is just asking for problems.
Our tester included a $6,700 LTZ Premium Package, something that years ago was not available on any type of pickup truck. Included are heated leather seats, power rear vent window, power up/down tailgate (very nice), chrome 20-inch polished wheels, power moonroof, Chevrolet Infotainment with voice recognition and 8-inch monitor, Apple/Android capability, Bose Premium upgrade and then all of the high tech safety equipment including rear cross traffic, front and rear park assist, lane change alert, lane keep assist and front emergency braking, collision alert and lane keep assist. There’s even more to this option, and your Chevy dealer is waiting to explain everything.
Other options include a Technology Package that adds $2,125 to the price and features a high definition surround vision with trailer camera provisions, a rear camera mirror, a bed view camera and driver-info center. If you are going to tow anything from a collector car to a medium size boat, you need this option as it’s worth every penny. (Chevy is currently promoting this option with its disappearing, see through trailer advertisement).
A Z71 Off Road package for $1,805 adds twin-tube shock absorbers, skid plates, hill descent control, Chevy Tec spray on bed liner, automatic 2-speed transfer case, chrome dual exhaust tips, Z71 all-weather floor mats and Goodyear all-terrain tires. It’s another option highly recommended.
Notable standard equipment includes trailer brake controller, brake pad wear indicator, Stabilitrak with trailer sway, auto locking rear differential, OnStar services, SiriusXM Satellite, 120V outlets in cabin and bed, four USB ports, keyless open, lock and start, rear seat safety reminder, and remote start. Additionally, 10-way power seats, teen driving mode, rear 60/40 folding bench seat, heated steering wheel and under rear seat storage. The exterior highlights include12-fixed tie downs, bedrail protectors, rear wheelhouse liners, front recovery tow hooks and LED lighting all around.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 147.5 inches (short bed), 4,766 lb. curb weight, 7.89 inch ground clearance, 69.8 cu. ft. of bed cargo space, 5.3-gallon DEF tank and a 24-gallon diesel fuel tank.
Although this new Silverado 1500 3.0 turbo diesel doesn’t offer class leading towing, let’s end with the Silverado 3.0 Inline-6 Turbo Diesel class leading advantages, namely price and fuel mileage. The RAM 1500 3.0 V6 Diesel costs $4,995 more in 2WD dress and gives 21 city and 29 highway; the Ford F-150 3.0 Power Stroke diesel costs $4,000 more and delivers the same 21 city and 29 highway EPA as the RAM. The Silverado 1500 2WD 3.0 Inline-6 Turbo diesel delivers 23 city and 33 highway in 2WD dress at a cost of just $2,495 more.
These price and MPG advantages can’t be overlooked if shopping the full-size medium duty diesel truck segment. Check with your dealer for any price incentives currently in play.
Likes: Outstanding diesel fuel mileage, true multi-task vehicle, safety, apps.
Dislikes: Position of DEF filler, small headlight design, expensive options.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.