• Towing capacity as high as 12,200 pounds
  • Lighter, larger and more payload capacity
  • New engine options, including an upcoming diesel
  • Pricing starts at $29,795 including destination charges

 

The 2019 model year is going to be a huge one for truck shoppers. The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 just went on sale, with a mild hybrid version arriving at dealers next. America’s best-selling truck line, the Ford F-Series and its top-selling F-150, continues to improve and recently added a turbodiesel option. Which brings us to the Chevrolet Silverado, which, like its kin the GMC Sierra 1500, is all-new for 2019. In what is turning out to be one of the most important model years for light trucks, Chevrolet has introduced a pickup that is well-rounded, capable, and uses technology to make it easier to tow, even if you haven’t logged thousands of hours with a trailer hooked to the back of your truck.

New from the ground up

The new-for-2019 Silverado follows a pattern that is becoming more common: make the vehicle lighter and larger, and in the case of pickup trucks, make it more capable, too. In this case, the Silverado is up to 450 pounds lighter than it was in 2018, thanks to a 90-pound reduction in frame weight – via use of high-strength steel that’s even stronger than before, and some composites – and a body that weighs 90 pounds less, thanks to more aluminum and stronger high-strength steel. The rest of the gains came from careful attention to detail throughout the truck, including changes to the suspension. While making changes that decrease the truck’s weight, another key goal was to improve ride quality, as well as lowering the noise in what was already one of the quietest half-ton cabins available.

The new truck rides on a wheelbase that’s 3.9 inches longer. And, as an example of the truck’s new dimensions, the 1500 crew cab short bed is 1.2 inches wider, 1.5 inches taller, and 1.7 inches longer. Different teams that worked on the new Silverado also banded together to meet overall goals; for example, suspension and frame changes made the truck stiffer, to reduce vibrations, as did use of fully integrated front-end sheetmetal all the way to the A-pillar.

Wrapped around the new body is a crisp, attractive design that is still clearly Chevrolet, but a much fresher take on the brand’s century-long truck tradition. Even better, designers have expanded the number of available trim levels to eight, appealing to those who want chrome or those who prefer body color accents, and there are also more off-road-ready options than before.

Engine choices

When the full lineup rolls out, there will be six available engines, a number that includes two versions of the company’s 5.3-liter V8. At this event, only two were available: the updated 355-horsepower, 5.3-liter V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and the updated 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8, which also uses the new DFM system and a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Active Fuel Management is GM’s cylinder shutoff system that allows a V8 to run on four cylinders when there are lighter load demands. DFM goes a lot farther: instead of having either four or eight active cylinders, this new cylinder deactivation technology has 17 different cylinder patterns. Having that many combinations means there can be a much more precise balance between power needs and fuel economy. While Active Fuel Management still exists on the 285-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6 and 5.3-liter V8 offered in the Work Truck, Custom, and Custom Trail Boss, DFM is a much newer technology that is used on the new 310-horsepower, 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the 5.3 offered in higher trims, the 6.2-liter engine, and the upcoming 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbodiesel.  

The drive

We started in an RST model, which was equipped with the 5.3-liter engine with DFM. It had pushbutton start – new for the Silverado – and stop/start technology, but for the Silverado, your only transmission shifter choice is a column lever. The V8 has plenty of power for the truck, and the lighter truck with the same power as before makes the Silverado plenty spry. Adding to the power delivery is a transmission that has much quicker response than before. While past models had a transmission that would suffer from the occasional slow, clunky shift, response is much quicker and smoother. This engine will be a big part of the core of Silverado truck sales, and those buyers will not be disappointed, and we couldn’t tell when DFM was working. The truck feels taut and more accurate than before, with little body roll. Everything from steering to braking feels natural and linear.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase that a vehicle drives smaller than it is, the Silverado is an excellent example. The truck has an agreeable, easy-driving nature whether you are maneuvering in smaller parking areas or are on twisting mountain roads. Ride quality is excellent. While we haven’t had the chance to drive the new Silverado back to back with the Ram 1500, this is the closest Chevrolet has gotten to the current Ram’s comfortable ride. With the new Silverado’s lighter weight, the engineers could give the truck softer spring rates, which improved the ride. And as far as we can tell, the Silverado is even quieter than it was before.

We also drove an LT Trail Boss on road and off. The off-road course was short but filled with challenging obstacles that the Trail Boss handled with ease. On the highway, the extra two inches of suspension lift add ride height, which makes the truck feel bigger, but the differences in suspension only made the truck feel slightly less accurate.

The third truck we drove was the High Country, which came equipped with the optional 6.2-liter V8 and standard 4-wheel drive, the only configuration available on the 6.2, a change for 2019. The 6.2-liter engine has a rumbling exhaust note and is more powerful than the 5.3-liter, but it’s not as dramatic a difference as you would think. It’s a nice option, but unless you need to tow more than the 11,600 pounds you can pull with the 5.3-liter V8 but no more than the 12,200-pound maximum towing capacity, it’s not a must-have for most people.

Interior upgrades

The more things change, the more they stay the same. One of the best examples of this is the new Silverado’s interior, which looks an awful lot like a freshened version of last year’s interior. That there are so many improvements and changes to this excellent truck makes the lack of a dramatic change inside stand out in stark contrast. And while there are some storage spaces inside, including clever nooks in the front of the rear seatbacks and spots under the rear seats, other trucks offer more interior storage. There is still no power tilt/telescoping steering wheel. You use a lever to adjust both, even in the High Country. Having said that, there are some great additions to the Silverado’s interior.

For example, the truck’s longer wheelbase translates into a wonderfully spacious interior. The crew cab’s middle seat in the second row has a flat floor, making it easier for a third person to sit in the middle. Cloth seats have been treated with antimicrobial dirt repellent, and leather seats have a stain-resistant finish that also resists dye transfers from new jeans.

On the safety front, there’s lane-keep assist with lane departure warning, low-speed forward automatic braking, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and rear cross traffic alert. There is a variety of cameras to help with parking and trailering (more on that below), and a driver seat that vibrates to warn the driver of a possible hazard, as well as where it’s coming from. But the truck doesn’t come with adaptive cruise, and the blind-spot monitor doesn’t account for a vehicle in your trailer’s blind spot.

Infotainment

For the new Silverado, infotainment is a different creature than you would find in a car. While there are some elements of it that are familiar, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Silverado comes with a standard 7-inch screen that can be upgraded to an 8-inch touch screen. High Country models have a cool digital screen between the main gauges in the instrument cluster, and all models come with pushbutton start. New for 2019 is the availability of a USB-C port (standard on LT-and-higher models), said to be the future standard.

But the most interesting part of the infotainment system is the towing features. You can get up to four cameras on the truck: one at each side mirror, and one in the rear. That rear camera makes it easier to see how close your hitch receiver is to your trailer as you align the two when hooking up your trailer. If you want to add an accessory camera that mounts to your trailer, Chevrolet replaces the 4-pin connector with a coaxial cable, and you run the cable and mount the camera to your trailer.

There’s a big focus on trailer and towing safety for drivers at all experience levels. There’s towing app with a handy checklist, and you can store up to five trailer profiles. You can use the infotainment system to monitor the pressure of your trailer’s tires, and you can also do a trailer light test, which is usually a 2-person job, through the MYChevrolet Trailering App. In addition, an available rear camera mirror that can show you what’s behind your truck and there’s a theft alert that sounds the truck’s alarm if your trailer is disconnected while your truck is locked.

Towing and hauling

We used the new Silverado to tow a 6,000-pound trailer, a popular size, and found there was plenty of power to get the job done without stress or hassle. Again, the 6.2-liter has a little more gusto, but the 5.3 will make most people happy. The truck was easy to maneuver and park with the trailer in tow and braking still felt good. The trailer brake controller has been relocated, and tow/haul mode is now part of a drive mode dial to the left of the steering wheel. And every truck has a VIN-specific towing label, located on the driver-side door jamb.

Chevrolet didn’t just focus on the Silverado’s towing. Its changes to the materials used throughout the body give the truck a notably larger truck bed. For example, the short bed, the most popular bed length, offers 63 cubic feet of volume, more than the competition. The bed uses a stronger higher-strength steel floor and comes with 12 stronger fixed tie-downs plus nine available movable tie-downs. The corner steps are larger, to better accommodate boots, and for more storage, you can get in-bed storage bins that contour around the wheelwells. You can get four tailgates: standard, standard with lift assist, power lock and release, and a power up/down tailgate.

 

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab Short Bed Specifications

Drivetrain: Rear- or 4-wheel drive

Wheelbase: 147.5 inches

Length: 231.7 inches

Width: 81.2 inches

Height: 75.5 inches (78.4 inches for the Trail Boss)

 

Models and Features

Silverado production will start with the crew cab V8 models and should arrive at dealer lots within the next month or so. After that, Chevrolet will roll out regular cabs and double cabs (which have four doors but a smaller rear seat than the crew cab), plus the 2.7-liter turbo 4-cylinder and the 4.3-liter V-6. The diesel will be available in early 2019. When the line is complete, there will be eight trim levels, with pricing and standard features listed below. All prices include destination charges.

 

Work Truck

Starting MSRP: $29,795 (lowest-priced layout is regular cab)

4.3L V6, available 5.3L V8

Blacked-out “Chevrolet” bar with black grille

17-inch steel wheels

Vinyl or cloth seats

Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system

7-inch screen

 

Custom

Starting MSRP: $36,095 (lowest-priced layout is double cab)

4.3L V6, available 5.3L V8

Body-color styling

20-inch painted aluminum wheels

LED taillights

Available dual exhaust

 

LT

Starting MSRP: $38,395 (lowest-priced layout is double cab)

2.7L turbo I4, available 5.3L w/DFM, 3.0L diesel

Chrome bumpers, grille, side mirrors

LED reflector lights, daytime running lights

8-inch color touch screen

Available leather

 

RST

Starting MSRP: $40,295 (lowest-priced layout is double cab)

2.7L turbo I4, available 5.3L w/DFM, 3.0L diesel

This is essentially a street-performance version of the LT, with body-color trim instead of chrome

Full LED lighting

Up to 22-inch wheels

 

Custom Trail Boss

Starting MSRP: $40,995 (lowest-priced layout is double cab)

4.3L V6, available 5.3L V8

Custom features, plus:

Z71 off-road suspension

2-inch suspension lift

Rancho shocks

Locking rear differential

Skidplates

18-inch wheels

Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires

 

LTZ

Starting MSRP: $44,495 (lowest-priced layout is double cab)

5.3L w/DFM, 3.0L diesel, 6.2L V8

Chrome bumpers, grille, side mirrors, door handles, accents

Power-folding, heated side mirrors

Leather seating

 

LT Trail Boss

Starting MSRP: $47,395 (lowest-priced layout is double cab)

5.3L w/DFM, 3.0L diesel, 6.2L V8

LT features, plus:

Z71 off-road suspension

2-inch suspension lift

Rancho shocks

Locking rear differential

Skidplates

18-inch wheels

Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires

 

High Country

Starting MSRP: $54,495 (crew cab only)

5.3L w/DFM, 3.0L diesel, 6.2L V8

Two-tone chrome and bronze grille

Body-color accents

Chrome assist steps

2-way power tailgate

22-inch wheels

 

More New and Redesigned Models for 2019

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