Although we don't yet have all the specs and information about GM's new 2020 heavy-duty pickup trucks, we do know what the top-of-the-line models look like and have a pretty good idea about the major changes underneath.
While the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 are almost identical structurally to the GMC Sierra 2500/3500 models, they differ significantly when it comes to styling, packaging and cost. In this story we'll focus on exterior and interior design, beds and powertrains.
We were told that Chevy and GMC customers were quite clear about what they wanted from a new HD pickup truck: They wanted them bigger and stronger — and from the looks of the trucks, they also wanted better split-level towing mirrors.
From the front end, the has a much more traditional, horizontal look with a massive chrome bar running through smaller chrome slats. The Chevy bow tie is prominent (lower trim levels will sport a spelled-out nameplate). The hood itself has a taller power dome with a rather subtle intake slat for the split air intake.
The makes a bolder statement with its familiar chrome grate grille and C-clamp crystal headlights. And there's no missing the flared nostrils of the hood intake that gets a bigger opening and more chrome accent surrounds. Our favorite feature is the carryover vertically mounted tow hooks.
Inside the new heavy-duty trucks, you can expect some recognizable details, especially if you're familiar with what Chevy and GMC have done with their new half tons.
Expect the Silverado High Country interior to reflect the same modestly upgraded and restyled interior we've already seen in the , with its reshaped and more ergonomic center console, plush seating and hidden storage in the rear crew-cab area. All HD cabs will be bigger and provide more storage.
The GMC Sierra Denali HDs also get the identical treatment found in the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500, meaning more accent colors and materials surrounding the climate vents and a larger touchscreen along with softer leather choices and leather-wrapped steering wheels for a better tactile experience. Expect much more in the way of advanced safety systems and a massive color head-up display as well.
No other part of a pickup is likely to continue experiencing upgrades more than the work end of the truck as new vehicles hit the market with higher-tech beds.
As with their half-ton counterparts, Chevy and GMC are completely changing how they form and bond the side and backing walls of the HD beds to provide several inches of more volume. Of special note, the Chevy HDs now offer an integrated side step in front of the rear wheel well to provide easier access into the back of the bed.
The GMC Sierra HDs have the same bed construction changes and offer the exclusive MultiPro Tailgate for the entire HD lineup. Of note: If the tailgate detects a trailer connection, you will not be able to automatically drop the inner tailgate with the one-touch button. That measure is designed to prevent the tailgate from dropping onto the trailer hitch equipment and causing damage. Also, carbon fiber beds will not be available for the GMC HD models (but that could change in the future).
Although we don't have all the details yet, the strategies here are pretty clear. We expect an all-new gas engine will be available for all the HD pickups but (as we've seen with the half tons), and there could be some exclusive use issues on certain GMC trim levels that would tilt toward the brand's aura of exclusivity. Using the half-ton trucks as models for HD possibilities, the off-road-oriented can be optioned with a 6.2-liter V-8, while the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss does not offer it (yet). We'll assume that the GMCs may get across-all-trim-level use of the new HD Allison 10-speed transmission no matter what the motor, while there may be another transmission option for the fleet-friendly Chevys. We'll know more soon.