Executive Editor, GM-Trucks.com
Chevrolet is slamming the robust 6.2L and 10-speed transmission combination into another Tahoe and Suburban trim. Now, in addition to the RST trim, full-size Chevy SUV buyers can opt for the "Premier Plus" special edition of either model.
The Premier Plus Tahoe and Suburban have a unique Black and Mahogany Interior, 22 inch polished wheels, magnetic ride control, a heads up display, 8-inch digital gauge cluster, and power chrome steps. Oh... and with 420-horsepower.
These special editions should be temping for anyone looking at grabbing up the current generation Suburban and Tahoe. Unfortunately, these features won't come cheap. The 2019 Chevy Tahoe Premier Plus will start at $74,100 while the Suburban starts at $76,900. Both require a $1,250 destination fee.
Executive Editor, GM-Trucks.com
Last week I traveled to Wyoming for an opportunity to drive the 2019 Silverado in a variety of situations, trim levels and engine/transmission combinations. Chevrolet was finally ready to let third party experts behind the wheel and I was ready to take them up on the offer.
Things I Liked About The 2019 Silverado
Butter smooth engines A smaller, more responsive driving feel Designed for function and usability above all A chassis ready take a beating
Things I didn't Like About The 2019 Silverado
Unloaded suspension float on bumpy roads Interior is functional but has a drab design Limited availability for 6.2L Enough trim levels to make a customer dizzy
If you’ve been following along with all of our 2019 Silverado news for the last year, feel free to jump ahead. If not, or you need a refresher, check out these prior topics to get primed for our impressions.
Here's A Photo Of Every New 2019 Chevy Silverado Trim With Features All-New 2019 Silverado Details: New Diesel Engine, Weight Savings, Steel Bed, 8 Trims, More Space Here's Your 2019 Silverado Trim & Engine Availability Matrix Official 2019 5.3L & 6.2L V8 Engine Specs Are Here The 2019 Chevy Silverado Will Come In These 11 Colors
And if you’re not aware that we’ve ordered a new 2019 Silverado as a GM-Trucks.com long term review truck….well, sit down and read up on that too.
Birth Announcement: Our 2019 Silverado Has Been Built Our 2019 Silverado Is Locked And Loaded At Event Code 3400 Our Long Term 2019 Silverado LTZ Has A Build Week And we've got a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Order Number We Ordered A 2019 Silverado Today And You Can Too!
After I touched down in Jackson Hole and had a moment to literally catch my breath while acclimating to an elevation of 7,000 ft, Chevrolet gave me some lunch and let me have a look around the new models.
On display for my arrival was a brand new LT Trail Boss and High Country, along with a frame/suspension mock-up and a body/materials mock-up. At the forefront of Chevy’s talking points to the media was the thoughtful use of high-strength steel and a “truck for every buyer” trim level strategy. It made sense... if the truck backed it all up on the road.
The next morning- the real fun began. After a quick breakfast, I jumped into a white RST with a 5.3L engine and 8-speed transmission. My co-pilot from Hagerty took the wheel first and we traveled up Wyoming Route 22.
Driving Impressions 5.3L & 8-Speed
Heading up 22, aka The Teton Pass Highway, winding back and forth through the mountains, our RST was rock solid and nimble on its feet. GM has put in significant work to decrease noise and vibration, stiffing the new Silverado far beyond the previous model. That translates into more communicative steering, less heft and weight, and a surprising nimbleness on the road.
In fact, Chevy has trimmed back up to 450lbs from the new model Silverado, depending on cab choice. That’s significant noticable behind the wheel. Sporty yet comfortable and without harshness. GM engineers were able to soften the spring rate on the new Silverado because of the lighter curb weight.
GM’s 8-speed transmission is also smooth, mostly in part to the new and improved 5.3L engine with Dynamic Fuel Management. The pair works well and provides the new Silverado with a tried and true option for owners who need a V8 but don’t want to support the fuel habits of a 6.2L.
How does Dynamic Fuel Management Work? See This Infographic
In our mix of mountain roads and long straight prairie flat-lands the 5.3L in our RST switched between 17-different cylinder firing modes in an imperceptible fashion. So while horsepower and fuel economy ratings stay largely the same and the 2019 Silverado 5.3L is rated similarly as the 2018 engine with AFM, the entire package is just a little smoother and quieter in the process.
In The Rough With A Trail Boss
After a few hours behind the wheel of the RST we arrived at our lunch stop. Chevrolet had set up a few ways for us to explore the new Silverado at this location, so we settled in, grabbed a bite to eat and headed toward the mud.
The all new Trail Boss models is a factory warrantied 2-inch suspension lift and appearance package. What really matters is that those extra two inches add a lot of capability to an otherwise capable pickup.
Chevrolet had setup a small off-road course for us to try out the Trail Boss on. It included a row of logs to traverse, a ditch to descend into, a hill to climb, rocks to cross, and a mud pit to let loose in.
The only rule was there was no rule. “Do anything you want, it won’t break”, said the GM engineer next to me as I slammed the skid plate off a boulder. After a half dozen laps an a true honest effort to not give a crap, I’m inclined to agree.
After watching a line of other journalists do their worst right after me, I’m also inclined to think that Chevy has baked one heck of a platform together. Solid and ready for a beating.
The best part about the Trail Boss is that you can get it in an affordable Custom Trim or in a more mainstream LT trim. From a basic ranch truck with cloth seats to a leather trimmed LT that can take you out on the town, the Trail Boss is a great option for anyone who wants a Silverado that has more attitude.
That said, you can’t get the 6.2L in the Trail Boss. It’s a glaring omission to be sure and one that pushed us to buy an LTZ. But not all hope is lost as the all new 3.0L Duramax will be available in the LT Trail Boss later on this model year. Unfortunately, Chevy didn't have a new 3.0L diesel for us to drive yet.
Towing 6,000lbs of Quickcrete with a 5.3L
Next up I listened to an overview of Chevy’s new advanced towing system and then took some weight for a spin.
The brand has baked in a lot of customer-centric features for those who do a lot of trailering. When equipped, the Silverado can track trailer tire pressure and temperature, find wiring faults, alert you if someone disconnects your trailer via app, and keeps a log of fuel economy per trailer. Customers who opt for the trailering camera package get under mirror and cargo bed views, along with a trailer camera to hook up to their rig.
Chevrolet had setup a few Silverado with trailers for me to drive. These enclosed trailers had been filled with 6,000lbs of concrete. I know this because I had to look for myself. And I had to look for myself because pulling that much weight in the new Silverado is just no big deal. Such a non-event I absolutely had to confirm there was anything in the trailer at all. Smooth shifts, no gear hunting, and no feeling of being dragged down with all of that small block torque.
Driving Impressions - 6.2L & 10-Speed
After having some fun getting dirty with a Trail Boss, comparing every single one of the eight 2019 trim levels, and pulling around some concrete, it was time to head back to the ranch. Our ride for the afternoon was a 6.2L LTZ with a 10-speed transmission.
At idle, the 5.3L and 6.2L share no difference in vibration or exhaust note. Only when you step on the accelerator does the difference become apparent. Very apparent.
Rated at 420-horsepower, the 6.2L is 65-horsepower more stout than the 5.3L. Just like the 5.3L, its rating from the previous generation has not changed. Horsepower and fuel economy are basically the same.
Where things really get interesting is with Chevy’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. This new transmission option is clearly a cut above the 8-speed, offering a nearly imperceivable shift and 10 gear ratios ready for anything.
Even cruising a mile above sea-level the larger engine simply digs in and provides endless torque at throttle. No downshifts and no delays. This just might be the best engine and transmission combination from General Motors we’ve ever driven.
Final “First” Thoughts
With just one whirl-wind day behind the wheel, it was hard to experience everything that makes the 2019 Silverado better than its predecessor. The list is just too long.
However, the first impression was clear. Chevrolet has used the opportunity of a clean slate to design the most practical, customer oriented, feature rich truck possible. Not flashy, not gimmicky, and not for the short term.
While I came away with an overwhelmingly positive impression and incredibly excited for our LTZ to arrive, it’s hard to overlook a few negatives. Mainly, prices of the 2019 Silverado are the highest ever. A fully loaded High Country will get darn near close to $70k. Also, it’s hard to overlook a lack of increased horsepower or fuel economy over the previous model. We’re also pretty jealous of the 2019 Ram’s 12-inch touch screen display.
But with all weights factored in, it’s still clear that Chevrolet is bringing to market the most useful truck ever. No discussion. Ford and Ram are going to eat it in 2019.
This is just the beginning of our time with the 2019 Silverado! Stay tuned for the full ownership experience as we take delivery of our Northsky Blue Metallic Crew Cab in a few weeks.
See Our Full 2019 Silverado First Drive Photo Gallery
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