Chevrolet unveiled its full line-up of HD trucks at the Flint Assembly plant where they're produced.

Ahead of its public debut at the Chicago Auto Show later this week, Chevrolet has pulled the wraps off its all-new 2020 Silverado HD.

The heavy-duty pickup will go up against an assortment of all-new or upgraded models in what has become one of the industry’s most competitive, albeit most profitable, market segments. The bowtie brand is hoping to nonetheless “conquest” buyers away from competitors Ford and Ram by offering up a truck that is longer, more powerful and offers an array of new features, including a “Transparent Trailer” system that makes it possible to see the road behind even when towing a boat or camper.

“We set out to make the best HD trucks on the market, bar none,” said Jaclyn McQuaid, the chief engineer for both the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado, as well as the Sierra HD recently unveiled by sibling brand GMC.

The HD model will come to market about a year after the launch of the all-new light-duty Silverado 1500, with GM also now offering a medium-duty truck, as well. It’s critical, stressed McQuaid, to not only “offer a truck for everyone,” but to have a model that fits each individual buyer’s needs. All told, there are 24 different Silverados, from the base version of the 1500 up to Silverado 4500 chassis cab models that can be converted into tow trucks, shuttle buses and for other applications.

(Chevrolet amps things up in heavy-duty war with Silverado HD. Click Here for the story.)

Chevrolet Silverado HD Lead Engineer Jaclyn McQuaid shows off the chassis of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty.

The goal was to not just beef up the existing Silverado 1500 but to come up with a truck tailored for heavy-duty applications, Chevy officials explained. The truck is taller and longer – Crew Cab versions now stretched 5.2 inches over the older HD – and taller.

There’s a massive new grille that is likely to intimidate anyone there’s for a good reason, allowing better cooling, especially for demanding towing situations, the diesel-powered version of the 2020 Silverado HD rated at up to 35,500 pounds, a 52% increase. The gas engine can handle as much as a 17,400-pound trailer.

For heavy-duty trucks, explained chief exterior designer Rich Scheer, “design is as much about function as it is about form.”

Two engines will be available:

  • A 6.6-liter V-8 that is the first direct-injection gas engine offered for a Chevy HD. It makes 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission;
  • A 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel that makes a slightly higher 445 hp but bumps torque all the way up to 910 lb-ft. It’s also paired with a 10-soeed gearbox, and GM officials emphasize efforts taken to ensure all that torque “will make it to the ground.

Both powertrains can be ordered in either two- or four-wheel-drive configurations.

(Click Here for details about Ford’s new heavy-duty trucks unveiled today.)

The new Silverado HD can be configured as a workhorse or a luxury vehicle now.

Heavy-duty truck buyers tend to be among the industry’s most loyal, but they can be won over with the right mix of features, according to industry analysts. That includes not just towing power but other functional features. Chevy’s list includes built-in steps, both on the bedside and bumper, to make it easier to reach the cargo bed.

Then there are the optional cameras, up to eight, in total, that offer as many as 15 different views. They can even make the trailer appear to disappear so a driver can see traffic behind.

The stock trailer mirrors extend out, either manually or electrically, to further enhance visibility when towing.

While it might seem as if heavy-duty trucks are designed for contractors and other commercial users, the reality is that two out of three are private owners, noted GM President Mark Reuss. They have their own unique needs and that includes having a more upscale interior since these big rigs often serve as an alternative to a luxury car. While Chevy won’t release pricing on the 2020 Silverado HD models until closer to the summer on-sale date, the automaker didn’t dispute reports that a well-equipped version of the 2500 HD High Country edition could push into the $80,000 range.

(To see more about the Silverado HD, Click Here.)

The Silverado HD will face some real competition when it comes to market. That includes not only the new heavy-duty version of the Ram pickup, but an updated F-Series Super Duty that Ford also announced Tuesday morning. And Chevy’s sibling brand GMC late last month rolled out its own new truck, the Sierra HD. Its Denali edition is expected to push even more up-market than the new Silverado HD High Country.

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