Bigger and bigger pickups like Chevrolet Silverado all the rage

By Paul Borden

(August 15, 2020) Pickup trucks, especially full-size pickup trucks, have never been high on my list of favorites. In fact, if I had to list automotive vehicles by segment, the behemoths of today would rank at or very near the bottom among my desires, perhaps ahead of only all-electric vehicles with less than 100 miles of range.

It’s not that pickups aren’t great vehicles, because they are. The pickup truck of today is far ahead of the utilitarian haulers of the past when they drove slow, rode rough, and shook, rattled and rolled on their way around town. But I don’t do a lot of hauling so I really can’t appreciate their capacity, and their overhaul size make them a pain to maneuver in narrow streets and tight parking lots of urban environs.

Nor am I called on to bring along a boat or trailer so towing capacity is a non-seller with me as well. Plus they are just getting too darn big.

The hood expanse before me when I recently was behind the wheel of a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup merited its own zip code it was so high and wide, which is not unlike its main competitors and fellow top sellers, the Ford F-Series and Ram Pickup.

Depending on the cab (regular, double cab, or crew) the Silverado is either 229.5 or 231.8 inches long and 81.2 inches wide. Overall height varies from 75.5 to 78.5 inches tall depending on the trim, which makes for a pretty big step up or down, especially without a running board to ease the way.

As is common in the truck segment, it comes in a myriad of engine choices, trim, and box capacity and other features. My test Silverado was the RST trim equipped with a 3.0-liter Duramax in-line 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and Crew Cab configuration. It also was rear-wheel drive, which should come with a warning for those about to launch a boat: Beware of wet boat ramps.

The 3.0 Duramax is new on LT, RST, LTZ and High Country models for 2020 and is mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission. A new 2.7L diesel also is available on Work Truck and Custom models and is paired with an 8-speed automatic.

Diesel provides a couple of advantages over gas engines, most notably in power and fuel economy. With a modest 277 horsepower, the 3.0 Duramax is rated at 460 pound-feet of torque, which is a lot of pulling power, while producing class-leading fuel mileage figures of 23 miles-per-gallon city, 33 highway, and 27 combined with two-wheel drive, pretty impressive figures for a vehicle of this size.

It takes the 6.2L V8 version of the gas models to match the 3.0L diesel’s torque, and fuel economy for the 4WD 6.2L V8 is 16/20/17 mpg according to

Starting MSRP for the RST trim is $41,200. The Duramax diesel engine adds $3,850 and other optional packages that add such features as bucket front seats separated by a huge storage console, dual-zone climate control, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth streaming audio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bose Premium Sound, and a leather package that included front leather appointed seats and and rear folding bench with under-seat storage ran the bottom line to $54,385, including $1,595 for destination and delivery.

What I liked about the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado RST Duramax: The diesel engine provides plenty of power and is a comparative fuel-sipper. No typical diesel engine noise either. The cabin is spacious and quiet, making highway cruising very comfortable. There is plenty of legroom in the back. The tailgate can be lowered via a button on the key fob, and it is light enough that raising it back in place is a snap.

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado RST Duramax: It is difficult to maneuver through the tight squeezes of a mall parking lot. Getting into a tight parking spot is a tedious operation. While infotainment functions are easy to operate, the touchscreen is on the small side. A running board would be nice to ease getting in and out of the cabin.

Would I buy the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado RST Duramax? I have no need or desire for a full-size pickup truck, but there’s no doubt the Silverado would be a quality buy. With the diesel engine, it is a real workhorse, and the interior gives you the ambiance of a high-end SUV.