Chevrolet introduced its first trucks to customers in January 1918, then 80 years later introduced the Silverado pickup in 1998 as the successor to the long-running C/K line, taking the Silverado name from a previous trim level used from 1975 through 1998.
This year, the brand celebrates the 100th anniversary of Chevrolet trucks with the introduction of the newest Silverado 1500.
The fourth-generation Silverado has a longer wheelbase, more passenger room, class-leading cargo volume, and the most-functional bed of any full-size truck, and yet weighs up to 450 pounds less (comparing crew cab, V-8 models), thanks to mixed materials and mass-reduction strategies.
With a wheelbase up to 3.9-inches longer and overall length 1.6-inches longer, Silverado has more cargo and interior volume for all cab lengths. Weight reduction is due in part to its new aluminum doors, hood and tailgate. The fenders, roof, and bed are steel, with seven different grades of steel in the safety cage, engineered and tailored for the specific application.
Silverado offers eight models with distinct personalities to fit consumer needs.
Customers who want the capability of a full-size truck at great value can choose from among the Silverado Work Truck with blacked-out trim, steel wheels, and durable vinyl or cloth seats; Custom with body-color styling, and painted aluminum wheels; and Custom Trail Boss (new for 2019) with off-road equipment with locking rear differential, skid plates, Rancho shocks, and off-road tires.
For capacity with creature comforts, Silverado LT features chrome accents on bumpers, front grille, and mirror caps, LED reflector headlights and signature daytime running lights, an eight-inch color touch screen and available leather seating; RST (new for 2019) brings street-performance appearance with body-color trim, full LED lighting, and up to 22-inch wheels; and the LT Trail Boss (my tester, new for 2019), which adds off-road equipment with rear locking differential, skid plates, Rancho Brand shocks, 18-inch wheels and off-road tires.
High-feature customers want luxury-car refinement and appointments, along with capability and durability. LTZ brings chrome accents on bumpers, front grille, mirror caps, door handles; the hockey-stick beltline; power/heated outside mirrors; and leather interior.
High Country features an exclusive grille design with chrome/bronze finish, body-color accents, chrome assist steps, and power up/down tailgate. Base prices range from $39,395 for the Work Truck to $57,795 for the High Country.
Six engine/transmission combinations add to the range of possible choices for performance, efficiency, and value. New 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s feature industry-first Dynamic Fuel Management that actively shuts off cylinders in various combinations to optimize fuel economy. The result is instant power when needed, and impressive fuel economy numbers.
My LT Trail Boss with a 5.3-liter Ecotec3 V-8 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission was rated for 15 mpg city/20 highway/17 combined. Driving mostly on neighborhood streets and mountain roads, I averaged 16 mpg.
The 2019 Silverado combines Chevy truck heritage in the form of “CHEVROLET” stamped on the tailgate, with modern design preferences such as integrated dual exhaust outlets and 33-inch tires. The bold front (massive, square, thick) is actually aerodynamic, with long front functional air curtains that route air around the front wheel wells. A subtle integrated spoiler at the rear edge of the cab moves air to the tailgate lip to reduce wind drag from the bed.
The large, square grille of my Trail Boss was dressed in gloss black with a black Chevrolet “bowtie,” three large reflector LED headlights at the upper corners, LED daytime running lights just above the bumper, and LED fog lights integrated into the lower outer bumper alongside large red recovery hooks.
Silverado for 2019 offers best-in-class cargo volume, even with the short bed, which offers 63 cubic feet, up to 20-percent from a competitor’s short bed. The extra volume is due to widening the bed floor nearly seven inches.
Twelve fixed tiedowns with the ability to hold 500 pounds before bending (double the previous generation’s capacity), and nine movable tie points offer maximum cargo flexibility. Higher-grade steel is used in the bed floor for 2019 for optimal strength.
My Silverado had a lift assist/power-lock tailgate, LED Durabed lighting, and large corner steps in the rear bumper with a convenient hand-hold in the bed lip. Large stacked LED taillights butted up against the sides of the tailgate. A Bed Protection Package ($635) included Chevytec rugged, textured spray-on liner in the bed and rear wheel wells.
A Convenience Package II ($1,420) brought a 120-volt bed power outlet and a power sliding rear window with defogger. The outlet is placed near the tailgate, handy for power tools, air compressors, electric coolers, cookers and more.
The standard trailering equipment included a hitch, seven-pin and four-pin connectors and hitch guidance, which adds a backup view with dynamic guidelines to enable careful maneuvering to connect quickly and accurately.
An Advanced Trailering package ($240) added trailer tire pressure and temperature monitoring, hitch guidance with hitch view (a zoomed-in overhead view with guideline, image adjustment, pan/zoom/tilt; automatic parking brake when shifting from reverse to park; and a camera view to check the trailer when driving), and Advance Trailering System (in-vehicle components and controls). A Trailer Brake Controller ($275) allows the driver to adjust the amount of braking applied to the trailer wheels.
A standard Z71 off-road package included hill-descent control, the recover hooks, a high capacity air cleaner, brushed metal sill plates, an Eaton heavy-duty automatic-locking rear differential, gloss-black painted 18-inch aluminum wheels, all-terrain tires, and a Z71 badge on the grille. Hill-descent control is especially useful when trailering to maintain a steady speed.
The Jet Black interior included a Convenience Package ($1,655) with front bucket seats (replaced the standard bench), front center console (with shallow tray on top; USB and auxiliary ports, and file-folder rails in the large bin; two forward cupholders and two rear cupholders with small areas between, suitable for a phone or other small item), dual-zone climate control, power driver’s seat adjuster (including lumbar), heated front seats and steering wheel, manual tilt/telescopic steering column, and two charge-only second row USB ports.
A Leather Package ($985) added leather seating and a storage package for the rear 60/40 split bench seat. The storage package included a 24-liter storage tray under the seats (fishing gear, tools, walking sticks, etc), which folded up, and two 10-liter rubber-lined cubbies behind the back cushions of the outboard seats – good for small items such as work gloves, lunch bags, hard hats, or tie-down straps. With the seats folded up, large items or lots of small items could be hauled inside out of the weather.
Off-Road Assist Steps ($895, flat black, one-piece steel) added protection for the rocker panels, lower door panels, and underbody when off road, and protection from door dings when parked near other vehicles, while allowing this short driver to enter the vehicle with ease.
The Convenience Package II also brought a universal home remote, a front 120-volt outlet (center stack), Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus with eight-inch diagonal color HD touch screen, voice recognition, two USB ports, SD card reader, SiriusXM all-access radio for three months, HD radio, HD rear-vision camera, and a Bose Premium Sound System with seven speakers.
All infotainment systems feature OnStar turn-by-turn navigation. An OnStar advisor searches the destination and sends direction to the vehicle, which reads aloud and displays on-screen prompts.
Infotainment also includes Teen Driver technology and Bluetooth audio streaming for two devices. Infotainment 3 Plus included voice-recognition navigation, which alerts the driver to gas stations, food stops, and other points of interest.
Silverado was the first pickup to offer 4G LTE Wi-Fi (supports up to seven devices), Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and OnStar safety and security features.
Standard safety included Stabilitrak with trailer sway control and hill-start assist, and a rear-seat reminder. A Safety package ($890) added front and rear park assist, lane-change alert with blind-zone alert and rear cross-traffic alert, and perimeter lighting.
My Silverado Trail Boss had comfortable seating, front and rear, lots of interior cargo space and personal storage (bins, map/bottle pockets, trays), easy-to-use controls, and lots of legroom – 44.5 inches in the front and 43.8 in the rear.
The interior was attractive as well as functional, with satin aluminum on the doors and center stack/console, and wood on the doors and console. The wood was light and dark with an overlaid geometric design – reminiscent of the 1950s.
Options totaling $6,995 and destination charges of $1,495 added to the base price of $48,300 brought the delivered price of my Silverado LT Trail Boss to $56,790.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.