Towing with the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD & 3500HD

“Towing Can Be Stressful”

That is one of the first messages that greeted us when we arrived in Oregon to drive the new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD. According to their research, 57% of US pick-up drivers felt stressed while towing and the other 43% are probably lying. Chevrolet knows that towing is the most important factor for Silverado HD buyers, who purchase an HD truck either to earn a living or haul their prized possession. So for the launch of their Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD, they asked us to bring a guest with us who had absolutely no towing experience. Fast forward a couple of hours to a scene featuring my wife, who had never even driven a truck before let alone towed with one, towing a massive 35,500 lb. anvil with a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD, and loving it. 

How did we, and Chevrolet get there? They started by building her confidence with a cone filled parking lot obstacle course. Using the new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, I first completed the course successfully while towing a large box trailer. The caveat was that I was unable to use any of the 8 available cameras, and instead relied on mirrors and experience. Then my wife stepped behind the wheel and magically this view appeared on the screen. 

That is Chevy’s new “Transparent Trailer View”, which employs some impressive technology to stitch together a couple of different camera views into something quite useful. That isn’t the only camera view my wife was permitted to use either, as she had her pick of 15 different camera views constructed from 8 different cameras. With a few tips from a driving instructor, and plenty of visibility all around the truck, she made quick work of the obstacle course and I could see the confidence building in her. 

When she finished the course flawlessly, the last camera view was revealed, a look at the precious cargo she had been towing inside that box trailer. A gorgeous new Chevy Corvette inside was indeed unscathed, and she didn’t kill any cones either. We then moved to another exercise, where we utilized yet another camera view to hook-up a trailer. What was once a difficult task, that  no doubt has led to many divorces, is made downright simple with the addition of cameras and guides. 

These new features and introductory exercises combined to give my wife the confidence she needed to jump behind the wheel of the big boy and tow Wile E. Coyote’s ACME anvil around Bend Airport’s helipad with ease. The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD now has a ridiculous maximum towing capacity of 35,500 lbs, up 52% from the outgoing model, thanks to an all-new Allison 10-speed automatic transmission and Duramax 6.6L V-8 Turbo-Diesel engine.

Not everyone needs that crazy amount of hauling power however, so the bulk of our time was spent towing more reasonable loads, but up and down mountains. As you would expect, there are plenty of options when it comes to selecting a Silverado HD to purchase. We’re talking five distinct trim levels, Work Truck, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country – available across 22 cab, bed, chassis, and driveline configurations. There are also two new powertrains, the standard 6.6L V-8 direct-injection gas engine producing 401hp and 464 lb-ft or torque or the previously mentioned Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V-8 engine producing 445hp and an astounding 910 lb-ft of torque.

Which package you choose obviously depends on your needs for the truck, but those choices can also have a big impact on how much you can tow. So to help truck buyers understand thecapabilities of their new Silverado HD hauler, Chevrolet has pioneered a new door frame label for “Trailering Information” that is VIN specific. You can see an example of the label below, which was clearly designed by an engineer. Frankly it’s a no-brainer idea, but also somehow an industry-first. 

Those increased towing specs aren’t just enabled by the engine and transmission, there are numerous chassis and suspension enhancements that work to increase the capability and durability of the new Silverado HD.

An enhanced version of the Silverado HD’s sturdy, proven ladder-frame design, with boxed rails that improve strength and contribute to a smooth ride, is the foundation for the new truck. It’s a heavier-duty frame compared to the current model, designed to handle the truck’s higher loads, including a higher gross combined vehicle weight rating (GCWR) of up to 43,500 pounds on properly equipped trucks. To handle the increased towing capability, the upgraded driveline includes new, larger, more robust front and rear axles, a standard 11.5-inch ring gear on 2500HD models, and a massive 12-inch ring gear on 3500HD diesel models. Also, 30-percent larger-diameter prop shafts provide greater strength with the high torque output of the new 6.6L gas engine and the Duramax Turbo-Diesel. Helping cool the Duramax engine is a massive 28-inch diameter fan with variable fan speed – 2.5-inches larger than the current fan.

That robust construction combined with the power to get the job done was noticeable out on the road, where the Silverado HD got off the line quickly and never felt stressed by the loads we were pulling. 

This experience proved to us that “Towing Stress” is all about confidence, and having the right capabilities and technologies in a truck can help to alleviate that stress when towing even the heaviest and most expensive loads. Check out this list of standard towing features on the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD, most of which we haven’t event mentioned yet. 

  • VIN-Specific Trailer Label
  • Auto Park Brake
  • Park Grade Hold Assist
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Tow / Haul Reminder
  • Trailer Sway Control & Rollover Avoidance
  • Auto Grade Braking and Diesel Exhaust Braking
  • Enhanced Digital Variable Steering
  • Store up to 5 Trailer Profiles
  • Electric Trailer-Brake Memory
  • Tow Mirrors
  • Trailering APP
  • Trailer Light Test
  • Trailer Electrical Diagnostics
  • Trailer Tire Pressure and Temperature Monitoring
  • ASA In-Command Integration (pictured below)

Buying a Heavy-Duty truck is not a small investment, with a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD starting at $39,895 and maxing out at over $80,000 for the 3500 Dually. However Chevy pointed out that many people are towing something even more valuable behind their Silverado HD, so they are willing to make the investment to tow that valuable cargo safely and effectively. While we mostly towed heavy construction equipment and work trailers at the event, we know that the customer base who tow recreational vehicles like Fifth Wheels and Boats is growing, which makes the Heavy Duty segment and their towing capabilities even more important. If you need more confidence when towing your precious loads, the Silverado HD has you covered. It was also nice to hear that Chevrolet intends to share some of the towing technology investments they’ve made in the 2500HD/3500HD down to the smaller Silverado 1500 as well.

Philip Van der Vossen

Philip Van der Vossen founded and hosts the Trail Trek Tour, a traveling series of off-road events for automotive media. In 2020 he launched the off-road travel site,, as the content focused side of TrailTrekTour LLC. Philip has been an online publisher since 2008, and has covered the automotive industry since 2010. Prior to founding Trail Trek Tour, he served for three years as the Rally Director for the Washington Automotive Press Association.

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