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A black 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD High Country is parked in front of a river after winning the 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD vs 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 comparison.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado: 2500/1500 Makes for Easy Math

When looking for a truck, Chevy is always a name that comes out on top. The Silverado is a household name when it comes to truck-lovers, and its durability is well known. But what should you consider when looking at a Silverado? What are the differences between the current 2020 Silverado models? By diving into the engine, specs, maneuverability, and luxury features of the 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD and the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500, we can get a big picture of what the 2020 Chevy Silverado line has to offer.


Chevy has been an industry leader in engine design for powerful and heavy-duty vehicles for decades. With optimized transmissions and so many high-performance options that maximize fuel economy and smoothness of the ride, it can sometimes be overwhelming to decide what engine best fits the job. For some, it’s easy; go with the biggest, most powerful engine that has as many cylinders functioning at full-throttle to achieve maximum horsepower for the thrill of the ride. But with Chevy, there are even more options to consider.

Since Chevy added the DFM engine option to the 2019 1500 Silverado––which was ground-breaking for the heavy-duty, non-commercial Chevy Line-up—the consumer can maximize power and save money while optimizing performance. The AFM or Active Fuel Management engine available in the 1500 WT, Custom, and Custom Trail Boss models has been around Chevy as early as 2005; but the DFM (Dynamic Fuel Management) was only added to the Silverado lineup in 2019. Although the DFM maximizes fuel economy and is an excellent choice for any family or truck enthusiast––the real go-getters are going to want to focus on torque. In this comparison, the most powerful and fully loaded muscle-truck in the 2020 Silverado lineup is clearly the 2500HD.

The 2500HD offers drivers the choice between two engines. The first is a 6.6L EcoTec3 V8 engine that produces up to 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. The second engine option is a 6.6L Duramax turbo-diesel V8 engine that can yield up to 445 hp and an incredible 910 lb-ft of torque. To put this into perspective, the maximum that this truck can tow is 18,500 pounds.

With the Chevy Silverado 1500, there are five engines available. The one that will get you the best performance is a 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 that produces up to 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. When properly equipped with this engine and a max trailer package, the Silverado 1500 can tow up to 13,400 pounds.

To sum all of this up, what exactly does the 2500HD have that the 1500 doesn’t? With the 6.6L Duramax turbo-diesel engine and a 10-speed transmission, the 2020 Chevy 2500HD brings more power, more durability, and more flexibility, which means maximized towing capacity and more stable performance on the job for a lot longer.

A red 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 TrailBoss is driving on a dirt road.

Model Differences

Before getting into detailed specs, it’s best to start with the MSRP when breaking down the different models and where they clock on the scale as far as add-on availability and package potential. The starting MSRP for the base 2020 Silverado 1500 is $28,300, which is great for a truck of this size. However, a fully loaded 2500HD can cost over $60,000. So why the huge difference in price? What does the consumer and truck-lover really want, and what is the best bang for your buck when it comes to the 2020 Silverado? When trucks are involved, load capacity volume, box size, and (depending on the intended use) max passenger capacity and comfort are key.

Towing and Payload Capacity

The towing and payload capacity vary largely from model to model, body style to body style, and engine to engine. You can get away with the base WT 1500 and its 1,750 lb capacity––which isn’t much, but is primarily for the short bed build with the smallest 6-cylinder engine and 6-speed transmission. However, a Silverado 1500 has a maximum payload capacity of 2,250 pounds, which will certainly get the job done. But what if you need even more payload capacity? The 2500HD is an excellent option because of its ability to carry up to 3,715 pounds. That is absolutely nothing to scoff at.

The max towing capacity across the 1500 models also varies greatly. Starting at 6,600 and capping out at 13,400 pounds for the 1500. This allows for people to get the right amount of power for the jobs they need to be done. As for the 2500HD, the Silverado tows up to 18,500 pound, which is almost unbeatable. That said, the Silverado 2500HD is better suited for heavy duty work that requires a lot of heavy lifting and towing trailers or supplies of a higher caliber.

Luxury Safety and Tech Features

The grey interior is shown in a 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Z71.

Most safety and tech features are available across all models, if not standard. The High Country comes fully loaded for both the 2500HD and the 1500, but there is a bit of breakdown through the models when it comes to park assist features, audio and entertainment packages, and truck bed features (such as built-in covers, extra towing equipment, and extra cargo safety features). For the most part, however, all of the essential and most relevant safety and tech enhancements come standard. Included in the standard tech are such things as Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. This is a fully integrated guidance and lane-maintaining system that aids in steering away from obstacles and keeping the driver on target by alerting them of surrounding obstacles and gently aiding with auto-steering when necessary.

Other available systems include Hitch Guidance with Hitch View, a Head-Up Display, a Rearview Camera, and enhanced towing packages to make the most out of your trailering experience. There is certainly no shortage of features to make the most out of your Silverado regardless of which model you choose.

Why Choose a Chevy Truck?

Suppose the power, affordability, reputation, and smooth handling wasn’t enough to convince you that Chevy is the way to go when it comes to heavy-duty trucks. In that case, it’s very likely that stepping down to a Chevy SUV is the more viable option. For any Chevy truck owner or truck enthusiast, it’s clear why Chevy is such a versatile and accessible option that is top in performance for the industry and the car-loving community.

However, which model is the right one for you? The 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 or the powerful 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD? From the specs alone, it’s clear why an upgrade from the 1500 to the 2500HD is worth the money, but the reality is, it depends on the job you need to do. If you’re enjoying your truck for family use and really just need a step up or a little bit more fuel efficiency, moving the 1500 is a great choice; but if you are truly seeking the horsepower and torque that truck owners dream of and want to be able to brag about, the 2500HD is the only way to go, and we haven’t even mentioned the 3500HD model yet.