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Entry price: $47,600

Price as tested:  $62,515

Likes: Outstanding diesel fuel mileage, true multi-task vehicle, safety, apps.

Dislikes: Position of DEF filler, small headlight design, expensive options.

This week, we’re driving one of the most popular new trucks for 2020, namely the Chevrolet 1500 Silverado 4x4 with the new Inline-6 Duramax turbo diesel engine. This new engine is a 3.0-liter design that delivers 277 horsepower and an amazing 460 lb. ft. of torque. Four trims from LT, SRT, LTZ and High Country are available, as are cab configurations of either double cab or four-door crew cab. The 3.0 Diesel option costs just $2,495, which is more than reasonable, and couples to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

This new 1500 Silverado 3.0 sits in the center of diesels that Chevy offers. Included are mid-size Colorado pickup’s 2.8 Inline-4 cylinder turbo Duramax with its 7,700-pound tow capacity up to the heavy duty 6.6-liter turbo V8 Duramax, that has a 35,500-pound tow capacity. Our tester’s tow capacity sits at 9,300 pounds, lower than the competition at Ford and RAM for the lighter duty diesel trucks.

However, and this is a big “however,” Chevrolet designers and engineers have hit a home run when it comes to building a light duty 1500 series pickup that is perhaps the best mix of comfort, performance, fuel mileage, ruggedness and reliability with an entry price of $47,600 in 2-wheel drive (2WD) trim.

Another positive is the 460-lb. ft. of torque the new 3.0 Duramax delivers, which is the same as the 6.2-liter gasoline powered V8 that is a popular choice in the Silverado line. Considering the 4x4 Duramax delivers an EPA rating of 23 city and 29 highway versus the gasoline V8’s 16 city and 20 highway with the 4x4 underpinnings, it’s an easy sell. If you order the 2WD 3.0 Duramax, you would be looking at even better fuel mileage with 23 city and 33 highway, which is best in pickup class, overall. As for acceleration, zero to 60 arrives in 7.3 seconds and it will run the quarter mile in the 15-second zone.

Outwardly, the Silverado features a new design that is easy on the eyes. The only outside logo that lets you know a Silverado is a diesel is a Duramax letter badge on the hood. Other than that, the only sure fire sign it’s a diesel is when you press the start button and the engine fires up. It has the diesel sound, but Chevy did such a great job of keeping the interior quiet it’s hard to tell you’re riding in a diesel pickup.

Notables include the backup cameras that include tow hookup visibility, trailer guidance and a total of 15 different camera angles to assist whatever your backup endeavor may be. These trailering apps are perhaps also the best in class, and also notable is the “myChevrolet” app that allows starting your Silverado with your phone. There are also four driver selectable operation modes including normal, sport, off-road and tow. Just press a button and Chevy takes care of the rest.

A negative is the position of the DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid additive) container, which is right next to the fuel fill up. Chevy should move it back under the hood instead or right next to the fuel inlet. DEF can corrode paint and metal if it drips while filling. Additionally, if some knucklehead pours a container of DEF into the diesel fuel inlet, the engine will experience major problems. So, mounting the DEF filler tube right next to diesel fuel filler is just asking for problems.  

Our tester included a $6,700 LTZ Premium Package, something that years ago was not available on any type of pickup truck. Included are heated leather seats, power rear vent window, power up/down tailgate (very nice), chrome 20-inch polished wheels, power moonroof, Chevrolet Infotainment with voice recognition and 8-inch monitor, Apple/Android capability, Bose Premium upgrade and then all of the high tech safety equipment including rear cross traffic, front and rear park assist, lane change alert, lane keep assist and front emergency braking, collision alert and lane keep assist. There’s even more to this option, and your Chevy dealer is waiting to explain everything.

Other options include a Technology Package that adds $2,125 to the price and features a high definition surround vision with trailer camera provisions, a rear camera mirror, a bed view camera and driver-info center. 

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.


Auto Bits

What in the world is a frunk?

Automobiles are changing more rapidly and more dramatically than ever. The days of a conventional engine in the front of the “car” are going away quickly. Heck, engines and cars are words that are starting to lack meaning as the industry moves towards electric motor driven crossovers. One big benefit of many modern designs is that the front of the car can now be used as cargo space. If you owned a vintage Beetle or Corvair you are hip to what we’re getting at. If not, a frunk is a front trunk.

Three of the most important new vehicles launched in the past three years have frunks. Chevrolet’s new rear-mid engine Corvette, Mustang’s all-new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, and the segment-blasting Tesla Model 3. Each of these three vehicles is critical to its company for one reason or another. 

The only common part of all three of these vehicles is their frunks.

With the engine now no longer in the front of the vehicle, the compartment ahead of the occupant cabin is now available for cargo. That cargo area can be quite large. GM’s Corvette frunk can carry a decent size overnight bag. Ford’s 4.8-cubic-foot frunk can handle a large cooler. Or it can be a cooler. The frunk has a drain at the bottom. 



Did You Know

According to the Hagerty Price Guide, the average value of a 440-powered 1968 Dodge Charger is $49,100.