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2019_Chevy_Silverado_First_Drive_38.jpg

Zane Merva

Executive Editor, GM-Trucks.com

8/13/18


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. 

 

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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. 

 

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. 

 

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. 

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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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:lol: Well, I don't think Ram is going to eat it in '19. GM has it's work cut out for it if it thinks it's going to compete with them on a level field.  They've got GM beat just on price alone.

 

I spent a week in a '19 Ram last month. Very little to hate in that truck. My main gripe was the safety lockout on the navigation, so not even your passenger can fiddle with the GPS while your  under way. That was INFURIATING. When I'm on the road, I want to MOVE - pulling over and stopping to ender GPS information is friggin ludicrous. They could at least have enabled that using the passenger presence sensor that they all use today ...

Edited by Jsdirt
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Please.....You want the flash in the pan?  Get the FERD...the pan will not be around in 10+yrs.  Fiat, Chrysler, Daimler what is it now RAM?  There is a reason they cost few thousand less than a CHEVY!  GO get you one and find out?

 

These trucks are ROCK! 

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Nice review. I agree with you on the price, there will be incentives on these trucks though - it will only be a matter of time. My interest is piqued on the 10-speed, especially if they are going to pair it to the diesel, that could make a great combination! Wish it was offered on the 5.3L though.

Was there any mention of adaptive cruise control?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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:lol: My rock sits in the barn, because it's not legal to drive in MA ... thanks to the poorly engineered electronics on it.

 

Only 94k miles on it.  Ball joints failed at 38k, engine started burning oil at 50k, and the rest of the front end failed as well at that time. Now my rockers and fenders are blistering with rust. Garaged every day since day 1. 

 

Like a rock! :rollin:

 

Edited by Jsdirt
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Honestly I would go RAM if I had to buy a brand new 2019.

 

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

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fullsizeoutput_966.thumb.jpeg.ebbac02fe7aebadb89f38874acbd8c18.jpeg

Edited by Jsdirt

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Every review I've read today expressed much enamor for the Ram's 12in display.  Guess I don't get the hype LOL. 

 

Zane, what impressions do you have on material qualities and feel on the various trims interiors?  A couple other reviews I read seemed to wish for a more luxurious interior, mentioning Ram and Ford as both being better. 

 

Having personally strolled around some new F-150, I'd have to disagree with the Ford being better than GM. 

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I'm new here and will be new to GM trucks. I currently own a 2016 Ram and wish to replace it within the next few months. I'll be getting me a new Silverado as it seems to offer more of what I want in a truck. The new Ram just doesn't do anything for me considering its rather drab styling and carryover engines (my Ram certainly hasn't been overly dependable either) It does have an awful nice interior in the higher trims though, in all honesty FCA electronics are iffy and a huge display screen does not make the truck any more functional imo.

 

I'd like a 6.2/10a combo for sure, but that inline diesel is also interesting. Sucks that they probably won't have them till spring. Also, is it possible to see some incentives come late fall early winter? Crystal ball I know but nothings worse than buying a truck only to see 10K off two months later! I know my local Ram dealer is already discounting his 19's as sales haven't been all that great at MSRP.

 

Can't wait to drive one of these trucks. My local dealer expects a few by months end so I'll be ready to try and possibly buy!

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No adaptive cruise, no magnetorheliological suspension, and a face that looks like a Star Wars Storm Trooper in white.  I had the first two in a GMC Denali and grew to like those features.  No reason Chevy can't do the same.  I'll bet it's some kind of corporate decision.  I'd like to hear Bob Lutz expound on this.  

Other than that, the 10-speed and less weight would be nice but not enough to tempt me away from my current ride. 

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8 minutes ago, captain chaos said:

I'm new here and will be new to GM trucks. I currently own a 2016 Ram and wish to replace it within the next few months. I'll be getting me a new Silverado as it seems to offer more of what I want in a truck. The new Ram just doesn't do anything for me considering its rather drab styling and carryover engines (my Ram certainly hasn't been overly dependable either) It does have an awful nice interior in the higher trims though, in all honesty FCA electronics are iffy and a huge display screen does not make the truck any more functional imo.

 

I'd like a 6.2/10a combo for sure, but that inline diesel is also interesting. Sucks that they probably won't have them till spring. Also, is it possible to see some incentives come late fall early winter? Crystal ball I know but nothings worse than buying a truck only to see 10K off two months later! I know my local Ram dealer is already discounting his 19's as sales haven't been all that great at MSRP.

 

Can't wait to drive one of these trucks. My local dealer expects a few by months end so I'll be ready to try and possibly buy!

My dad traded a '16 for a '19 Ram -  thing is night and day different. Over $10k less than a comparable GM, too. Nothing carried over on that one. All LED lighting, even the headlights! Thing is amazing. Seats are some of the most comfortable I've ever sat in. Thing got 24 mpg out of the 5.7 Hemi at one point on our trip from MA to OH! Not even broken in yet.

Edited by Jsdirt

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Everything new is the next best thing since sliced bread....until it isn't. How long does that take? Yea...like minutes.  

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Seems to get shorter every model year, Grumpy. :lol:

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19 minutes ago, Jsdirt said:

My dad traded a '16 for a '19 Ram -  thing is night and day different. Over $10k less than a comparable GM, too. Nothing carried over on that one. All LED lighting, even the headlights! Thing is amazing. Seats are some of the most comfortable I've ever sat in. Thing got 24 mpg out of the 5.7 Hemi at one point on our trip from MA to OH! Not even broken in yet.

Tried a 19 Ram and it's a nice truck for sure. It's all new except the engine/trans which is identical #'s to my 2016. After sampling a 18 Denali with the 8 speed I doubt I could ever be happy with the current hemi. Also the Ram doesn't do anything for me style wise, its even hard to tell its an all new truck from the rear/sides. My 2016 outdoorsman with color matched bumpers/grill has a more aggressive look. The new ones are just so bland to me, the front styling just lost that certain pizazz that Rams have.

 

I tried a new F150 last week too. That was one impressive truck (much moreso than the 19 Ram) the turbo V6 is a rocket. Too bad my past experience with Ford still has a bad taste in my mouth (had a self destructing 5.4 in my 2007 F150) and the body panes are noticeably wavy witch would bug my OCD till no end. I keep my trucks 8-10 years and typically put on 20k per year so reliability is a big deal for me. New Chevy checks most of my boxes (will know more after sampling one) and its the first GM truck to interest me in a long time.

 

In the end It's safe to say they ALL build great trucks these days! Competition is great for consumers.

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No test truck with the new base engine?  That's the truck I want to see tested. Don't care how a $100kCAD truck runs or drives, it will never sell in Canada. The Ford Raptor is up to $30k less. 

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