Cars.com photos by Evan Sears
By now, you've probably heard that Chevy is claiming the max towing title in the heavy-duty truck wars with 35,500 pounds thanks to the 2020 Silverado 2500/3500's lightly revised turbo-diesel 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 engine, but mostly to everything else in the powertrain and chassis. Everything from the transmission, now a 10-speed Allison heavy-duty model, to the rear axle and everything in between has been beefed up considerably, allowing for a 52 percent bump in the Silverado HDs' maximum towing rating.
This truck, which I took for a quick spin on a limited closed course, is now rated to tow 35,500 pounds when properly set up — significantly more than you can tow on public roads without a commercial driver's license — which is why Chevy limited us to driving it on an airport helipad, in a circle, at no more than about 30 mph. But what does "properly set up" mean? What kind of Silverado HD gets this rating?
A Very Specific Truck
Only one specific configuration of the Silverado HD is rated to tow 35,500 pounds, and this is it: a two-wheel-drive, regular-cab, long-bed dually 3500 with the 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 and a gooseneck hitch package. Like all HD pickups, the Silverado is not exactly light — the model described here weighs 7,445 pounds, which combined with the 35,500 tow rating gives you a of 42,945 pounds. Given that the Silverado 3500's maximum is 43,500, I hope you and your maximum of two friends skipped the Old Country Buffet for breakfast, as you can average only 181 pounds between the three of you to keep under that GCWR limit.
What if you need to carry more than three people? Well, your limits drop — the heavier the truck, the lighter that trailer has to be. A double-cab or crew-cab model would see the trailer tow limit fall to 31,500 pounds for the double cab or 31,400 pounds for the crew cab.
What'll this rig run you? Well, seeing as how you can only get the regular cab on the 3500's two lowest trim levels (Work Truck or LT), not as much as you might otherwise suspect. Base price for the 3500 2WD regular-cab dual-rear-wheel Work Truck is $38,095, including destination fee, or the LT can be had for $41,995. The Duramax 6.6-liter diesel engine is not cheap, however. Chevrolet says that option pricing hasn't been finalized just yet, but a spokesman gave us a ballpark figure of about 10 grand for the diesel engine and fifth-wheel prep package, meaning you can expect to get one of Chevy's max towing trucks for about $50,000, plus or minus a couple grand. Now all you'll need is your CDL, and you're set to start hauling cars, horses or giant 20-foot-tall anvils to the ACME corporate Christmas party.
More From PickupTrucks.com:
PickupTrucks.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with PickupTrucks.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of PickupTrucks.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.