Driving the All-New 2019 Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Forum drives the all new Silverado, Chevrolet’s most important new product in a long time.
This has been a big year for pickup trucks. Not only are there updated versions of the Ram 1500 and GMC Sierra, but the Chevrolet Silverado has been newly updated for 2019. Chevrolet Forum recently went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to test out the various new versions of the Silverado to see if it meets the high demands of today’s truck buyers.
The new Silverado has eight different trims for 2019. There’s the Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country. Chevrolet wants there to be a pickup truck for every buyer, and all of the trucks are packed with more features and capabilities than before.
There are also a ton of engine options for 2019, but our drive primarily focused on the updated 5.3L V8 and 6.2L V8 that have dynamic fuel management. These trucks are hitting the marketplace first (they should be arriving in dealerships now), and are the ones Chevrolet brought out to Wyoming.
By utilizing lightweighting and high-strength steel, Chevy managed to reduce the weight of the new Silverado by up to 450 pounds. Additionally, they made changes to the bed to offer the most cargo volume of any pickup truck bed in the short bed configuration.
There’s also more technology available. For the first time, push-button start is available. Blind spot monitoring finally makes its way to Silverado. A 360-degree camera system with trailer hitch zoom is available to make hooking up to a trailer a piece of cake. A segment-exclusive heads up display is also an option.
Living the High Country Life
While we sampled several versions of the truck, our time was mostly spent in the top-end High Country with the technology package including the heads up display. It’s powered by the 6.2L V8 and controlled by a new 10-speed automatic transmission. This transmission was co-developed with Ford, but built by Chevrolet and is also in the new Camaro.
With a sticker price of over $65,000, the High Country isn’t a cheap truck, but it feels premium inside, loaded with tons of stuff you want. Seats are heated and ventilated. A new touch screen has a new trailering app and includes a trailer light check. A digital instrument cluster can be configured however you like. The interior is Cadillac-esque.
The only thing really missing, and something the competition offers, is adaptive cruise control. We aren’t sure why it’s not there, considering the truck’s price and competition, but it’s the only bit of serious tech that notice lacking compared to Ford, Ram, and Toyota.
Out on the road, acceleration is brisk from the 6.2L V8, but what’s more impressive is the smoothness of the 10-speed automatic. Shifts are hardly noticeable, even when pulling a 6,000 pound trailer. A great deal of time was spent on the refinement of that transmission.
At no point were we at less than 6,000 ft of altitude, which means the V8 likely wasn’t working at its peak efficiency, but it was still enough grunt to get up to speed and handle traffic. It also sounds nice. Who doesn’t want a Corvette V8 in their pickup?
One thing that is extremely clever about the new Silverado (and is surprising that it hasn’t been done yet) is the trailer towing sticker on the door jam. It’s linked to the VIN of your vehicle, and provides you with the exact towing specifications of your truck. No longer do you need to go online to see what the tongue weight of your truck is. It’s all right there for you to quickly find.
That’s the underlying theme of the new Silverado: Making towing easier. To start, the built-in checklist for people to follow ensure their trailer is connected safely. The app that also activates the light check is another. The additional cameras, including one that can be mounted on your trailer, make it easier to see. People towing with the 2019 Silverado are going to be safer than ever.
Off-Roading the Trail Boss
We also participated in a small off-road course with a LT Trail Boss to sample their off-road spec. The Trail Boss uses Rancho shocks and sits 2-inches higher than a regular Silverado. Skid plates protect the underside from damage as you crawl over rocks.
It’s capable off-road, and if you are someone who finds themselves off the beaten path, the Trail Boss is a great way to go. Due to the tuning of the shocks for off-road use, the ride quality on-road is solid. The softer suspension helps riding over bumps, and would be a boon to anyone who has to drive on Michigan roads.
With the 10-speed auto, the 6.2L V8 is rated by the EPA to get 16 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway, or 17 mpg combined. The previous-generation of this truck with the 8-speed auto and the old cylinder deactivation system was rated at 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, or 17 mpg combined. Hopefully in the real world, with the lighter truck and more gears, the Silverado will get better than window sticker numbers.
If you’re a Silverado fan, you’ll love the new truck. It’s the best Silverado they’ve ever built. If you currently own a 2017 or 2018, there might not be a reason to go out and immediately upgrade, unless you really want the new technology or the new design. But the new truck does have the Silverado winning formula: Options and capability you need, with the reliability and longevity you expect from Chevrolet.
The 5.3L and 6.2L versions of the truck are on sale now.