The main thing to know when it comes to the 2020 Silverado HD pickups is that Chevrolet is offering more truck than ever before.
With this new lineup, the truck maker has introduced its first 10-speed transmission, the highest maximum towing figure in the HD segment to date in 35,500 pounds, and the longest, widest and tallest Silverado HD body design yet with 3 inches of additional cabin space.
You can read more about the new transmission and towing figures in our initial coverage of these trucks’ debut. But for all the details on the new exterior design of the trucks, we talked with Brian Izard, their lead designer.
You can watch our video interview and walk around with Izard below. In the video, Izard discusses just about we’ll go over in this story, but you’ll get to see him talk about those details with the actual trucks on hand. In this story, we’ll discuss a few extra things that aren’t in the video, so watch and read on for the full story behind the new design.
Chevy says the design of its 2020 HD pickups “feature[s] the most differentiation from the Silverado 1500 ever,” noting that “the roof is the only shared sheetmetal” between the two lineups.
“HD customers told us that they want their truck to look different from the light duty,” Izard says. “They also want a truck that conveys the power that the vehicle has.”
Izard says that many of the designers on his staff would drive by a Caterpillar dealership each way on the way to work. He says those machines provided a lot of inspiration for the look of these new trucks.
“With the front end, a lot of the influence comes from the things that our customers use day in and day out like heavy machinery on a job site or on a farm with a giant combine,” he says. “This needs to fit in in those spots…It fits in but without some of the same shapes.”
Izard says the front end design—which has been quite controversial among critics—started with that bold new grille. Izard says both the grille and the functional hood scoop on these trucks are larger than before and bring in the additional air flow needed to cool the engine in order to hit these trucks’ higher towing numbers.
The front bumper also has a new design, boasting a bottom portion that easily detaches along with the air dam and skid plate thanks to forward facing fasteners. Izard says this makes installing a snowplow much easier than before since you no longer have to drill holes in the fascia to do so.
Moving around to the new door design, Izard notes that customers told Chevy that they wanted a profile that looked different from the light duty Silverado while also giving them a clean surface for applying graphics like their company’s logo. Chevy delivered both with a door design that is squared off, flat and features no forward or upward facing surfaces that will catch light or disrupt graphic applications.
Izard notes that the new design of the trucks’ profile also serve to visually lift the truck higher, giving it a more commanding stance.
Like the doors and front end design, the new HD cargo boxes are also completely unique from the light duty trucks.
Chevy says that are “designed specifically for the HD with unique dimensions,” while still incorporating “the multi-piece inner panels design” new to the light duty segment. The automakers explains that these multi-piece inner panels allow them to “be pushed closer to the box’s outer panels in certain areas, expanding the usable width by 6.7 inches on the standard box,” while increasing the box length by 3 inches. The long box remains the same length as before at 8 feet, but gains the same 6.7 inches of width as the standard box, giving it a class-leading 83.5 cubic feet of volume.
“As the truck’s gotten bigger we want to make sure it’s even more usable than before,” Izard says of the bed improvements. And with that added bed space, Chevy designers thought it would be a good idea to expand on a feature that’s already saving contractors and landscapers a lot of hassle when loading and unloading their trucks: the corner bed steps.
Now, in addition to the bed steps at each corner of the tailgate (which have gotten larger), Chevy has added two additional steps, one on each side of the truck, just forward of the rear wheel well. These new steps can accommodate boots up to size 12 while holding up to 500 pounds. They make grabbing stuff and climbing into and out of the bed even easier. Plus, they come standard on every HD model and trim.
Another change with the trucks’ increased size in mind deals with the bedrails and the belt line of the trucks, Izard says. Though the trucks are taller than before, Chevy kept the bedrails the same height while lowering the belt line (the height of the truck below the windows), Izard says, in order to improve visibility while driving.
Here are a couple more improvements to these trucks thanks to the new design: