Fully redesigned for the new model year, the 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 full-size pickup truck is more refined and more practical than its 2014-18 predecessor.
In its latest form, the Silverado has lost a lot of weight, dropping up to 450 pounds, helped by use of mixed materials. Cabs are bigger. So are cargo beds, which offer more features. Crew Cabs have gained 2.9 inches of rear legroom. Buyers also have a wider choice of powertrains.
Road manners have improved, and more safety features are available. The model lineup has expanded to eight trim levels: Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, LT Trail Boss, RST, LTZ, and High Country. Most Silverados have the Double Cab (extended-cab) or Crew Cab configuration, but a couple of Regular Cab versions remain available. Cargo-bed length may be 5-foot-8, 6-foot-6, or 8-foot.
The base engine is a 4.3-liter V-6 that makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque, driving a 6-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet’s 5.3-liter V-8 now comes in two versions, both rated at 355 hp and 383 lb-ft. The base V-8 works with a 6-speed automatic and includes Active Fuel Management, which shuts down four cylinders under light load conditions. The new V-8 version mates with an 8-speed automatic. GM’s new Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM) system can shut down one to six cylinders when appropriate.
Topping the power spectrum is a 6.2-liter V-8 that generates 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet, with 10-speed automatic and DFM.
Two powertrains are new for 2019. Rated at 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque, the 2.7-liter turbo-4 mates with 8-speed automatic. The 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6, whipping up 277 horsepower and a vigorous 460 pound-feet, joined during the 2019 model year.
Silverados may have rear-drive or four-wheel drive with low-range gearing. In automatic mode, the 4WD Silverado can be driven on any road surface.
Safety-feature availability has grown, but the most valuable items are offered only for upper-trim models. A Safety package, standard on High Country and optional for LT trim and above, includes blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and front/rear parking sensors. Safety Package II, available for LTZ and High Country, adds forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and active lane control.
Crash-testing by the IIHS resulted in “Good” scores, except for “Marginal” in the small-overlap frontal test on the passenger side. Headlights were rated “Poor.” The NHTSA gave the 2019 Silverado a four-star rating overall and for frontal impact, but five-star for side-impact.
Prices do not include $1,595 destination charge.
Regular Cab Work Truck V-6 ($28,300 with rear-wheel drive, $32,900 with four-wheel drive) on 126.5- or 139.5-inch wheelbase has 4.3-liter V-6, blacked-out trim, vinyl flooring, vinyl (or cloth) bench seating, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and 17-inch steel wheels.
Double Cab â€“ 147-inch Wheelbase
Work Truck V-6 ($32,200 with RWD, $35,500 with 4WD) is equipped similar to Regular Cab Work Truck.
Custom V-6 ($34,600 with RWD, $37,900 with 4WD) gets cruise control, LED taillights, and 20-inch alloy wheels,
LT Turbo-4 ($36,900 with RWD, $40,200 with 4WD) gets a chrome mesh grille and body accents, 8.0-inch touchscreen, automatic LED headlights, heated power mirrors, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
RST Turbo-4 ($38,800 with RWD, $42,100 with 4WD) includes body-color trim, full LED lighting, foglights, and details that convey a tough street-performance look.
LTZ V-8 ($43,000 with RWD, $46,300 with 4WD) with 5.3-liter V-8 includes power-folding heated mirrors and leather upholstery.
4WD Custom Trail Boss V-6 ($39,500) comes only with four-wheel drive and incorporates the Z71 package, including a 2-inch suspension lift, Rancho shocks, locking differential, skid plates, and 18-inch off-road tires.
4WD LT Trail Boss V-8 ($45,900) gets a two-speed transfer case with Z71 off-road suspension and equipment, including skid plates and 18-inch wheels.
Crew Cab â€“ 147-inch Wheelbase
Work Truck V-6 ($34,600 with RWD, $37,900 with 4WD) is equipped similar to Work Trucks above.
Custom V-6 ($37,000 with RWD, $43,000 with 4WD) is equipped similar to Double Cab Custom.
LT Turbo-4 ($39,300 with RWD, $42,600 with 4WD) is equipped similar to Double Cab LT.
RST Turbo-4 ($41,200 with RWD, $44,500 with 4WD) is equipped similar to Double Cab RST.
LTZ V-8 ($45,400 with RWD, $48,700 with 4WD) is equipped similar to Double Cab LTZ.
High Country V-8 ($53,000 with RWD, $56,300 with 4WD) comes with navigation, heated/cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats, chrome assist steps, 20-inch wheels, chrome/bronze-finish grille, and a power up/down tailgate,
Crew Cab – 157-inch Wheelbase
Work Truck V-6 ($34,900 with RWD, $38,200 with 4WD) is equipped similar to Work Truck on 147-inch wheelbase.
Custom V-6 ($37,300 with RWD, $40,600 with 4WD) is equipped similar to Custom on 147-inch wheelbase.
LT Turbo-4 ($39,600 with RWD, $42,900 with 4WD) is equipped similar to LT on 147-inch wheelbase.
RST Turbo-4 ($41,500 with RWD, $44,800 with 4WD) is equipped similar to RST on 147-inch wheelbase.
LTZ V-8 ($45,700 with RWD, $49,000 with 4WD) is equipped similar to LTZ on 147-inch wheelbase.
4WD Custom Trail Boss V-6 ($42,200) is similar to Double Cab Custom Trail Boss on 147-inch wheelbase.
4WD LT Trail Boss V-8 ($48,600) is similar to Double Cab LT Trail Boss.
High Country V-8 ($53,300 with RWD, $56,600 with 4WD) is similar to High Country on 147-inch wheelbase.
Always big, the Silverado has become even bigger. Specifically, it’s 1.7 inches longer, 1.2 inches wider, and 1.5 inches taller. Wheelbase has expanded by 3.9 inches. The 2019 model’s cargo bed is larger, too: an inch taller and longer, and almost 7 inches wider inside. Cargo capacity has grown by some 20 percent.
Bolt-upright styling starts with a blocky front end, dominated by a massive grille. Headlights form small slits. Front and rear fenders bulge substantially. Wheel cutouts are now rounded rather than square-cut. Integrated rear-bumper steps have grown, to accommodate steel-toed work boots.
Details vary according to trim level. Work Trucks have black trim, mid-level models turn to body-color, and top trim levels display considerable chrome.
The 2019 Chevy Silverado’s interior is a model of simplicity. Though orderly and businesslike, laid-out carefully, its cabin has expanded and improved passenger room in what was already a spacious Crew Cab, in particular.
Front seats are roomy and comfortable. The back bench in Double or Crew Cabs is wide enough to seat three passengers. Rear seat bottoms fold upward to reveal storage space. Switches are ready for use by gloved hands.
Soft-touch surfaces cover the dashboard, center console, and door tops, and all controls are large and sensibly positioned. A 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen on the center stack works with the easy-to-use infotainment system. Power outlets are easy to access.
Bigger than before, the cargo beds are deep and versatile â€“ a notable bonus for a large pickup truck. A dozen fixed tie-downs are included, each able to withstand 500 pounds of force, along with nine movable tie-downs. The aluminum tailgate can have lift assist and a power up/down feature.
The Silverado’s new body and chassis, both made lighter in this generation, contribute to a well-controlled ride. Suspension revisions make the big pickup’s already-smooth ride even better â€“ exceptionally comfortable on the road. Some bounding motions occur, especially with an empty cargo bed.
On-road dynamics also have improved. Though larger than before, Silverados have controlled handling, thanks in part to substantial weight loss. Direct steering is nicely weighted. While a Silverado leans in corners like any tall vehicle, it responds well to driver inputs.
Parking, logically enough, can be a challenge. An available surround-view camera system includes multiple trailer views.
Pleasant to drive, a Silverado is amply powerful with either V-8 engine, though many buyers are likely to consider the base V-6 to be adequate. Each V-8 accelerates smoothly, emitting a pleasant rumble, but the 6.2-liter is noticeably more willing. All automatic transmissions provide smooth shifts with V-8 power.
Compared with rivals from Ford and Ram, the turbo-4 is short on power, payload, and towing capacity. However, it carries EPA-estimated 13-percent better fuel economy than the V-6 it replaces, helped by a smooth-shifting automatic. Because the turbo-4 generates plenty of torque at lower speeds, it’s smooth-natured and powerful in city driving. A turbo-4 LT gripped the pavement well, though undulating surfaces challenged its suspension.
Fuel economy is better than it used to be. With rear-drive, 6-speed automatic and 5.3-liter V-8, a Silverado is EPA-rated at 17/23 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined. Four-wheel drive lowers the estimate to 16/22/18 mpg. An 8-speed automatic lowers the rear-drive estimate to 15/21//17 mpg. The 6.2-liter V-8 is EPA- rated at 16/20/17 mpg with four-wheel drive.
The new turbo-4 is EPA-rated at 20/23/21 mpg with rear-wheel drive, and 19/22/20 mpg with four-wheel drive. Rear-drive V-6 Silverados are EPA-rated at 16/21 mpg City/Highway, or 17 mpg Combined, dropping to 15/20/17 mpg with four-wheel drive.
Even more than before, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado meets the definition of an all-American pickup. Strong capability mixes with a versatile cargo bed and smartly-designed cabin to create a workhorse that’s high on utility and usable space. The top choice might be the LT, though off-roading fans might lean toward an LT Trail Boss. For a sleeker, trendy “street” look, RST trim takes the prize.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.