Today, we are taking our first look at the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Duramax diesel. This is GM’s first attempt at a half-ton diesel to compete with Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Ford F-150 Powerstroke.
Let’s start under the hood where you find an inline 3-liter six-cylinder turbocharged diesel hooked to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Together they put out 277-horses, but a powerful 460 pound-feet of torque, the most important number to diesel owners.
My review truck is a double cab, but you can get it in a full crew cab if you need more back seat room. This one is two-wheel drive, but 4-wheel is available.
This is the sporty RST package, which is next to the bottom of the line LT. You can go up from here to the LTZ or the ultra-luxurious High Country.
This Silverado sports the new front fascia that debuted in 2019. This design seems to polarize some people, while others actually like it. The only way you’ll know it is a diesel is on the hood, and as you go to the back of the truck, the rear bumper features Chevy’s very smart cornerstep on each side.
Moving to the inside, I have to admit the interior is fairly plain. The front bucket seats are comfortable, but the amount of plastic is a bit overwhelming. The only use of wood is a small area on the door panels and just a bit on the sides of the console. Stitching around the inside is sparse and does not contrast the seats.
I keep thinking GM designers will put a console shifter in this truck, or at least make it an option, but they opted instead to stick with the antiquated steering column shifter to give you more center console room. On the plus side, the console is very large, it has a couple of USBs inside, and a nice touch-is it has a light inside and there are lots of places to put your cell phone, but no charger.
On the dash is an 8” touchscreen that is easy to operate. It includes a Bose stereo, 4G LTE WI-FI, Bluetooth, HD radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
You will also find a trailering app, and swipe the screen to the left and you can program your own apps, operate OnStar, save your camera settings, and use the Marketplace app to order Starbucks or Domino’s pizza. That wouldn’t be distracting now would it? I also don’t really see the value to be honest. You still have to get in line at Starbucks, right?
Under the air conditioning controls is a row of buttons that lets you turn off the really annoying start/stop, turn on the 110-volt power source, and something really cool, you can lower the tailgate from inside. On the upper line trims, you can close it the same way. Just a small thing, but I do really like the dual glove boxes.
If you opt for the double cab like this one, be aware the back seat room is nowhere near as cavernous as the Crew Cab, but back seat passengers do get air vents, power supply, and USB ports.
Standard Equipment and Options
Standard equipment gives you keyless entry, remote start, LED headlights and taillights, and steering wheel controls.
Since the RST is a fairly basic truck, this one has $8800 in options, of which $3890 is the diesel engine. The leather seats run $760 and that is just for the front seats.
The balance of the options include: power heated seats in front, trailer towing package, heated steering wheel, and power sliding rear window.
Let’s talk towing for a second. Max towing on this truck is 9300 pounds with the 4-wheel drive option. That compares with 11,400 for the F-150, and 12,500 for the Ram 1500.
The fuel economy of this diesel is actually outstanding. It is rated at 23 city and 33 highway, and in stretches, I was getting 35 highway. FYI, Chevy says you can go 7500 miles without refilling the Diesel Exhaust Fluid tank.
The Duramax is whisper quiet in the cab, and the truck drives really well. Acceleration is strong and determined. The ride quality is good, too.
Total MSRP on this one is $48,685, which is the least expensive of all the half-ton diesels I have reviewed.
Versus the 5.3 V8 gas Silverado, when looking at the fuel savings of the diesel, it will take 15 years to break even at current prices and 15,000 miles per year. Bear in mind, too, diesel engines typically go twice as far as gasoline engines. If fuel prices rise, the savings will be greater and the breakeven shorter.
2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 RST Duramax Diesel
- What I liked most: Fuel economy and acceleration.
- What I would change: The rather cheap interior.
- MSRP: Base price $38,800 as equipped $48,685.
- Fuel Economy: Rated at 23 in town, 33 highway, 27 combined.
- Official Color: Silver Ice Metallic.
- Odometer reading when tested: 6900 miles.
- Weight: 4598 pounds.
- Spare Tire: full sized with steel wheel.
- Length-Width-Height: 231.7” long/81.24” wide/75.6” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 22 gallons with the filler on the passenger side.
- Towing Capacity: 9300 pounds.
- 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel in a few words: A great truck for fuel economy and moderate towing.
- Final Assembly Location: Roanoke, IN.
- Manufacturers website: www.CHEVY.com
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty with first maintenance visit for free, and courtesy transportation.
- Next up: 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport