2019 Chevrolet Silverado Full Line first drive

2019 Chevrolet Silverado is the biggest and best Silverado ever

Chevy has never offered more trim levels, more options for the entire line, or a better basic truck.
Chevy has never offered more trim levels, more options for the entire line, or a better basic truck.
Chevy has never offered more trim levels, more options for the entire line, or a better basic truck.

Highs

  • New engines provide plenty of power
  • New chassis and suspension are smooth and tough
  • Supremely quiet cabin
  • Three inches of additional legroom in the rear seats
  • New trim levels and options make configuration easy

Lows

  • No diesel engine until 2019
  • Limited trim range for 2.7-liter turbo engine
  • 6.2-liter engine available only on luxury trims

Chevrolet has performed a major redesign on the Silverado for 2019, and it has been rolling it out in stages. We drove the new 2.7-liter turbo and 5.3-liter engines in a test mule a couple months ago, and we recently got to spend time with the actual production versions of the new Silverado.

The company added features and offers the Silverado in eight distinct trim levels, including two brand-new ones called Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss, respectively. Loosely, Chevy is classifying its trim levels as high value for the lower-priced, less-featured trucks, high volume for the fat and happy mid-grade trims, and high feature for the top luxury trims.

The 2019 Silverado joins the 2019 Ram 1500, which recently got a complete overhaul, and the 2018 Ford F-150, which recently benefitted from a mid-cycle update. The Silverado will also compete against the aging Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan models, which were last refreshed in 2014 and 2016, respectively.

Pricing starts at $29,795 for the most basic Work Truck trim with a standard cab and long bed. But for the trucks people commonly buy, prices start at $36,095 for a double-cab Custom trim. Crew-cabs are the most popular models, and they start at $36,095 for Work Truck trim and range up to $46,895 for the high-feature LTZ trim. The LT Trail Boss trim we drove retails for $54,095 and the top-end High Country luxury model retails for $54,495, or as tested at $62,290 with the 6.2-liter engine.

Interior and tech

A modern truck is much more than a towing and hauling appliance; it’s a mobile office, a family wagon, and a sanctum of retreat for commuters. Chevrolet has consequently made every kind of driver convenience and assistance feature available on the Silverado. You can get a head-up display, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot and lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision mitigation, a haptic safety alert driver’s seat, and all the good stuff you expect to find in a modern vehicle.

Trucks often need to do more than drive around so there are two different trailering camera packages available on the Silverado. One gives you a guide-lined backup view for approaching the trailer, plus a look down at the hitch for final positioning. The more advanced trailering package builds on those functions with side views that look down the length of the truck and trailer, and a forward view that gives you a look at what’s next to the truck’s front tires, which is also handy for four-wheel drive adventures. Finally, you can get an auxiliary camera that mounts on the back of your trailer. It’s hard-wired through the truck’s rear bumper and allows you to see what’s behind the trailer.

There’s more for towing. You can get trailer tire temperature and pressure monitoring, you can set trailer profiles for different rigs, and if someone tries to steal a trailer connected to the truck, the built-in alarm will go off. The Silverado will even automatically test your trailer lights, which the engineers call the “marriage saver” function.

The new Silverado is bigger in every dimension.

Infotainment options are as expected. Most trims come with an eight-inch touchscreen with voice recognition, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Satellite, 4G/LTE with Wi-Fi capability, and six speakers. A Bose Audio sound system is optional. Plus you get OnStar.

Interior treatments range from basic vinyl seats in the lower trims, lots of cool cloth in the middle, and leather in the top trims. Heated front seats are available in most trims, with ventilation and rear seat heat in the top trims. The interior is well-made and well laid-out. Our test Trail Boss came with rubber mats instead of carpet, which is always appreciated. It’s a truck, after all. Carpets just hold mud and muck and they’re hard to clean. With the $1,805 convenience package, the cloth seats get 10-way power adjustment, lumbar support, and heat. The steering wheel is heated, too.

The new Silverado is bigger in every dimension, and most of that extra space was allocated to the cabin. There’s an additional three inches of legroom in the back seat of crew-cab models, and the cabin is 1.2 inches wider and 1.5 inches taller than the outgoing model. Overall, the 2019 Silverado is 1.7 inches longer, but with 3.9 inches added to the wheelbase.  

Driving experience

In our prior report, we detailed the new 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque and shifts through an eight-speed automatic transmission. This time, we drove the new 5.3-liter V8 equipped with Chevrolet’s new dynamic fuel management (DFM) system. This fuel-saving innovation keeps power ratings intact at 355 hp and 383 lb-ft. while allowing the V8 to deactivate and reactivate individual cylinders in 17 different smooth-running patterns to respond to power needs in a fraction of a second.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado Full Line review
Jeff Zurschmeide/Digital Trends

The same deactivation technology is present on the optional 6.2-liter V8. Take note that the dynamic fuel management system is present because you’ll never notice it in operation. You’ll forget it exists five minutes after you get in the Silverado.

The main thing you’ll notice about the 2019 Silverado is that it’s whisper-quiet inside when you’re driving. It’s not just quiet for a truck; it’s the kind of quiet cabin luxury automakers strive for and generally don’t achieve. Even on rough pavement, you have to turn everything off and listen carefully to hear noise from the tires. There are a few features to thank for that. First, the frame and the suspension have been updated for a smoother ride, plus all the engine mounts are hydraulic. Chevrolet also made new cab mounts. Mission accomplished.

You’ll be happy with performance if you select the 2.7-liter engine or one of the V8 options.

There will be a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel option for the Silverado arriving in early 2019.

The lower trims offer the 4.3-liter V6 or the 5.3-liter engine with Chevrolet’s old active fuel management (AFM) cylinder deactivation system, which simply turns off one of the V8’s cylinder banks. That works, but the dynamic fuel management is better. The 2.7-liter engine has the least towing capacity of all of the options at 7,200 pounds, compared to 8,000 pounds with the V6. The 5.3-liter with the old AFM can tow 11,000 pounds or 11,600 pounds with DFM, The mighty 6.2-liter tows up to 12,200 pounds.

One important note: there will be a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel option arriving in early 2019. Everything about that engine is still under wraps, so we’ll probably have yet another drive event with the Silverado when it makes it becomes available.

The transmission options are equally diverse. The V6 and the old 5.3-liter V8 get six-speed transmissions, while the four-cylinder and the new 5.3-liter receive an eight-speed. The 6.2-liter and the upcoming diesel both benefit from the newer 10-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive is an option on all trim levels. Buyers can choose between a light-duty, single-range system and a true dual-range setup with an all-wheel drive mode in high range.

The 5.3-liter V8 with DFM returns 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway when it powers the 4WD LT Trail Boss crew-cab model. The High Country crew-cab powered by the 6.2-liter engine returns 16 and 20, respectively. Chevrolet hasn’t released fuel economy figures for the 2.7-liter.

Warranty

Chevrolet issues the 2019 Silverado with its standard warranty of three years or 36,000 miles on the entire vehicle, plus a five year/60,000-mile warranty on the powertrain.

Our Take

The bottom line on the 2019 Silverado is that Chevrolet is working hard to get your business. It has never offered more trim levels, more options for the entire line, or a better basic truck. You can find a 2019 Silverado that meets your needs, your desires, and your price point. Play with the configurator and you’ll easily build a Silverado that hits two – or even all three – of those points.

Right now, the 2019 Silverado and the 2019 Ram 1500 are the top contenders in the pickup segment. The F-150 has a little catching up to do, though it’s the only one currently available with a turbodiesel engine. Toyota and Nissan’s entries need their next refresh to play at this level.

How DT would configure this car

Configuring a truck is a deeply personal matter, but we liked the new Trail Boss trims. These include a factory-warrantied two-inch suspension lift, Rancho monotube shocks, skid plates, a locking rear differential, and hill descent control. You can choose the more basic Custom Trail Boss with the V6 engine at $43,395 or the more feature-rich LT Trail Boss with the new 5.3-liter V8 at $49,795. You can save a few bucks off those numbers by getting the double-cab, but once you see the crew-cab you’re going to want it.  For our money, we’d get the LT Trail Boss and add the convenience pack because heated seats have made us soft and weak.

Should you get one?

If you’re considering a new full-size truck, put the 2019 Chevy Silverado at the top of your test-drive list.

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