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Chevy Silverado: A Boss for the Trails

By Sue Mead, December 22nd, 2018

Chevy is bullish on keeping its brand-loyal customers, plus trying to cull new buyers, so different trims have been designed to appeal to a wide variety of truck buyers who use their pickups for different jobs, such as work, play, and to ferry their family.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Silverado lineup offers more choices, including six engine/transmission combinations that give customers different combinations of performance, efficiency and value, as well as increased towing and payload capabilities
Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Silverado lineup offers more choices, including six engine/transmission combinations that give customers different combinations of performance, efficiency and value, as well as increased towing and payload capabilities

The new 2019 model is bigger and improved outside, under the hood, and in the cabin; it's priced starting at $29,795 for the Work Truck and tops out at $54,495 for the High Country.

Silverado carries over some heritage looks, but has a bolder design with aerodynamic enhancements like air curtains that help improve efficiency and give it an updated presence. Its wheelbase is up to 3.9 inches longer and overall length is 1.6 inches longer, enabling both more cargo volume and more interior room for all cab lengths. It weighs 450 pounds less than today's truck (comparing crew cab V-8 models).

Chevrolet says it offers the most cargo volume in every bed length, with the short box offering 63 cubic feet of volume; most of that volume was created by widening the maximum width of the bed floor nearly 7 inches. A 4x8-foot sheet of plywood can now lay flat on the steel bed floor. All exterior swing panels (doors, hood, and tailgate) are made of aluminum, fixed panels (fenders, roof, and bed) are made of steel, and the bed floor is made of roll-formed high-strength steel.

"Woman buyers in the full-sized truck segment are an interesting subset," said Kelly Cusianto, director of Chevy Communications. "They account for about 11 percent of buyers -- and in addition to using their truck for work -- some are purchasing them for extracurricular and passion activities."

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Silverado lineup offers more choices, including six engine/transmission combinations that give customers different combinations of performance, efficiency and value, as well as increased towing and payload capabilities

"The new Silverado is a well-done execution of a big truck for functionality and space, but drives smooth, quiet, and agile; much more like what you'd expect from a smaller truck," she told me while driving together in the all-new 2019 Chevy Silverado.

It comes in eight trim levels and three groups: High Value, High Volume, and High Feature. High Value Silverados are available in Work Truck, Custom, and Custom Trail Boss configurations; High Volume Silverados come in LT, RST, and LT Trail Boss variants. Also new is a high-performance RST trim, as well as a street-performance look for the LT with body-color trim, full LED lighting, and 22-inch wheel options. High Feature Silverados are available in LTZ and High Country trims.

I concentrated my drive on the LT Trail Boss 4WD Crew Cab that has been set up with a collection of bells and whistles for buyers that use their truck for work and need the added traction to drive, haul, or tow on slick surfaces or in the backcountry.

Powered by a 5.3-liter eight-cylinder that puts out 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, it has an eight-speed automatic that seamlessly shifted gears, plus an industry-first Dynamic Fuel Management system that actively shuts off cylinders -- in a variety of combinations, depending on immediate needs -- to optimize fuel economy, as well as driver-selectable stop/start technology that helps save fuel in stop-and-go traffic. Of note, Chevy will offer a variety of engine/transmission combinations, including an all-new Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel.

My favorite takeaways were its plentiful power, comfortable ride, and linear steering that made its ton and half-ton mass move with ease up and over high mountain passes, along snaking roadways, and over an off-road course with tough obstacles to navigate. I also liked the updated cabin, with plenty of elbowroom and top technologies -- particularly for towing.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Silverado lineup offers more choices, including six engine/transmission combinations that give customers different combinations of performance, efficiency and value, as well as increased towing and payload capabilities

Chevy says the pickup has best-in-class cargo volume, box depth, box length at floor, plus a segment-leading 12 fixed tie-downs and exclusive power up/down tailgate; of note, the CornerStep bumper is larger. Also new are an impressive collection of towing features; the myChevrolet mobile phone app and Advanced Trailering System add capability and even have a training program for buyers new to towing; the Trailering Camera Package works with both of these technologies, bringing a more comprehensive trailer view; and an industry-first trailering label helps to take the guesswork out of calculating the combined weight of customers' truck and trailer combinations.

Roominess, convenience, and comfort are taken to the next level with a cabin that has more rear leg room, more storage space, and enhanced climate controls. The cab has been stretched, with crew-cab models now offering 3 inches of additional rear-seat legroom. I loved the new interiors where every surface has been designed for function and ergonomics, from the rotary knob textures to the infotainment screen angle. Your home-away-from-home is also a veritable office, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charging, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, and OnStar safety and security features.

Specifications

Base price $45,900 (as tested: $48,300)
Curb weight 5,105 lbs.
Displacement 5.3-liter
Engine type OHV V-8 w/DI
Epa mileage rating 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 24 gal.
Horsepower (net) 355 at 5600 rpm
Overall length 231.7 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 383 at 4100 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 6-passenger 4x4 pickup
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