Army Testing: 2020 Silverado 1500 Makes Case For Half-Ton Diesel

With the EPA’s recent crackdown on virtually everything diesel-powered, it’s a wonder that big manufacturers are attempting new things like the idea of a half-ton diesel-powered pickup truck at all but here we are. I can honestly say that I am glad that they are because it gives us enthusiasts new trucks to see, try, and test.

After a recent ride and drive with GMC, we wanted to get our hands on one for a week and document our experience; What I am calling a “Week In The Life” of a 1500 diesel-powered Silverado. Before we dig into the details of our tryout, let’s cover some of the basics of what Chevrolet has to offer with these trucks and what you can expect.

What are your thoughts on the looks of these new trucks? We have heard mixed emotions but in my opinion, they look great. The color we got was very photogenic.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax- 5-Passenger, 4-door pickup, Base-$53,090

  • 183ci / 3.0-Liter Inline-Six DOHC 24-valve Duramax
  • Aluminum Block
  • Aluminum Cylinder Head
  • Direct Fuel Injection
  • 277-horsepower
  • 460 lb-ft of torque
  • 10-Speed automatic transmission

As a guy that has had plenty of hours piloting big brother diesel engines to this one, my first impression of Chevrolet’s attempt at a half-ton diesel was great. When the truck rolled into my abode, I was smothered with the smooth idle of the small diesel engine and a whole new look. You could tell that it was a diesel with that natural rumble but it was quiet enough that you felt you were in the presence of luxury.

Now I mentioned luxury and when the driver’s door opened, luxury certainly comes to mind. The interior of these trucks is on another level and once again, my impressions continue to get better. It was shaping up to a very nice cruiser that could pull almost anything I would ever need to pull. Speaking of towing, these credentials are rather impressive for a truck that offers great fuel economy.

Depending on how much you work on vehicles, you may be thinking what I am thinking. Look at all of that. They have certainly found a way to fit a lot into not much space. One thing is for certain though, it’s clean under there.

Gross Combination Weight Rating- 15,000-pounds (Vehicle, Trailer, Fuel, Passengers, etc.)

Max Gross Vehicle Weight- 7,200-pounds (Vehicle, Passengers, Fuel, Cargo, etc.)

Max Payload- 1,870-pounds (Carrying Capacity In Bedspace)-Carefully Inspect Vehicle Loading section in Owner’s Manual for more information)

Max Conventional Trailering- 9,300-pounds (Trailering weight, weight of passengers, cargo, and accessories can reduce amount capacity)

This little turbocharged 3.0-liter twists out a respectable 277-horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque and when you’re behind the wheel, you can tell it. I wanted to get a real feel for this truck and see what it had to provide in different categories. Fuel Economy, Performance, Braking, and Interior/Audio. With that being said, let’s begin.
Fuel Economy

Like their big brothers, you can tell if it is a diesel option by the hood emblems.

I drove this Silverado 1500 in the greater southeast Missouri are exploring all it has to offer which include flats, hills, and terrain. After a lot of stop and go traffic in town, hopping on the highway here and there, and doing normal daily-driven errands, this truck churned out an average mileage of 22.8 MPG which nearly matches its 23-MPG estimate via Chevrolet.
Understanding that the highway mileage estimate is 29-MPG, we attempted to reach that but was unable to. The truth is we didn’t take it on the highway nearly enough to hit that threshold but we manage to get 26-MPG on the dash display.

In my opinion, the majority of us do our driving in town and this made that information more valuable to me. I could tell on our highway journeys that the mileage was on the rise but the average driving was in-city which inevitably lowered it’s average to our 22.8.
You have a truck with great load capacity, it’s fun to look at, and has plenty of power in the tank, 22.8+ MPG not being easy on it is impressive no matter how you weigh it. Compared to the V8 gasoline engines they offer, the 3.0 stands its ground when it comes to keeping away from the fuel stations.

Although there has been some discussion about cooling issues under the hoods of these pickups but after our driving and inspecting, things never seemed out of control. With the COVID outbreak going on during all of this, we were limited on the trailers that could be used but did the best we could. For those who were asking about heating up when towing, these trucks are working perfectly in our opinion.

Performance
Are you going to get the extreme torque you would out of the 6.6-liter Duramax engine? No. This truck isn’t intended for that. The point of these trucks is to hit those of you who are wanting to pull a camper, side-by-side, equipment trailer, etc. and have the luxury of a car/SUV but have the durability, capability, and power of a 3/4 or 1-ton pickup.
In the week of ownership, I had originally planned to take this truck to the local dragstrip and get in some track times to compare to other half-ton diesel trucks but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I was unable to make that happen. I was forced to get creative and that meant seat of the pants feeling somewhere on the backroads of Mexico.

I was impressed at the feel of what 460 lb-ft of torque felt like.

Using an app on iTunes, we did the best we could on measuring out the 0-60 and quarter-mile times for this unit. Per the app, we’re closing in on 7.2-seconds on the 0-60 time and just under 15.64-seconds in the quarter-mile. It is outgunned by its 6.2-Liter V8 rival but it still feels plenty powerful for a day-to-day machine.
Another note to mention is that I offered rides to a few known engine-loyal (6.2-V8) guys local and they couldn’t believe the power and torque the truck offered. After our little journey, one even mentioned that he could see himself trading up for one someday.

Interior
Comparing the interiors of the trucks I’ve tested prior to this and this one, they are all really phenomenal. The interior design team, as always, just knocked it out of the park on the subtle changes. Every time I would look, there would be a new gadget or new small detail added to this truck. There are multiple color options in these to hone in your exact wants.
For those of you who are into audio, I’m telling you honestly that they don’t need any add-ons. The provided sound system in this truck was outstanding. The bass, treble, and volume at a neutral setting are crisp and clear. Once I started to realize the radio was too loud, I also noticed that we were only halfway to its capabilities. I’m a person who loves a good sound system and this fits the bill.
Exterior
Our truck was a pretty Northsky Blue Metallic that as you’ve seen, looks stunning during the day and at night. If it was mine, I’d say a set of nice polished wheels and an aggressive-looking all-terrain tire would really just icing the cake.
For those of you who are loyal to the older square-body trucks, just give these new bodies a chance. The new noses are different and honestly, I wasn’t so sure at first but they are certainly growing on me after this week. The interior lighting, the exterior lighting, the front end with air ducts on the edges are all really just adding up to a nice package.
Just a few notes as we wrap up here, I’d like to point out a couple of things. I noticed that the CAC/Intercooler seem very close to the hot side components. I’m sure that everything is okay as is but it’s just something that I noticed that I think could be changed. Again, this is all my opinion. Lastly, the big one that everyone has asked about is the oil pump belt.
On this engine, the oil pump belt is routed partially into the belly of the oil pan. This raises concern for those of you who are concerned with job difficulty and expense. GM says that the belt has a minimum of a 150,000-mile service life so if you’re in it for the long haul, you will be here at some point. This job, because of where the oiling system is placed, is in the back of the engine.
The transmission will have to be at least disconnected to reach the said belt and other components on the backside. It doesn’t look like a terrible task for those of you who are pretty mechanically inclined but for someone green, this could be a good size job.
So to sum up, the trucks from LTZ all the way up are going to offer a great truck. I loved every second I had with this truck and coming from someone that is pretty biased to another brand, I would own one of these in a second. If anybody asked me what I thought about these trucks or which I’d prefer, I would 100-percent tell them about the 3.0-Liter Duramax-powered Silverado.
If you want to check out all of the packages, colors, and options for your Silverado, check out the Chevrolet website here. With these trucks continuing to raise the bar, at what point will it stop? How many options can these things have? For more truck testing, parts reviews, and event coverage, stay tuned right here to Diesel Army.

 

 

 

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
Read My Articles

Enlist in the Diesel Army newsletter.

Receive the latest newsletter with the content you love from Diesel Army, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Diesel Army NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Diesel Army

We'll send you the most exciting Diesel articles, news, truck features, and videos every week.

Diesel Army

Diesel Army NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Diesel Army

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Off road, Jeeps, 4x4s

Engine Tech

Drag Racing

Diesel Army

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Off road, Jeeps, 4x4s
  • Engine Tech
  • Drag Racing

Diesel Army

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Diesel Army

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading