The full-size Chevrolet pickup truck enters its second-century of progress as the first 100 years spanned 1918 through 2018.
The fourth-generation 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 sits upon a new-from-the-ground-up, lighter-weight platform and includes a dizzying array of mix and match opportunities. Don thinking caps as eight trim levels, six engine/transmission combos (including a, six-cylinder diesel), three roomier cab configurations, all-wheel drive or rear two-wheel drive and three bed lengths await.
Diesel engines, with fuel-extending characteristics along with bountiful low-end torque, have popularized medium duty (2500) and heavy duty (3500) pickup platforms for decades and have recently re-emerged in light-duty, 1500s marketed by the traditional domestic Big Three. Silverado's diesel arrives early in the 2019 calendar year.
Also joining Silverado in 2019: a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder, truck-specific turbo variant delivering 310 horsepower and 348 lbs.-ft. of torque, 14 percent better than an outgoing 4.3-liter V-6 it replaces. Silverado now offers four, six or eight-cylinder engine choices tuned with fuel-extending tweaks.
The 2.7-liter represents Chevy's first use of Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) within a four-cylinder blueprint, extending mileage during light-stress situations. Another similar sounding advance, Active Thermal Management quickly enables the engine to reach optimal operating temperatures. Adding to fuel efficiency is on-demand start/stop technology (SST), quietly shutting down engine operation at prolonged stops, then rising back to action once the right foot leaves the brake pedal.
The eight trims include the Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ and luxury-appointed High Country. Of the eight, Custom Trail Boss, LT Trail Boss (two off-road intenders) and RST are new for 2019.
While the 2019's hood, doors and tailgate employ lighter-weight aluminum, the remaining exterior body parts (fenders, roofs and beds) utilize traditional steel. All versions reduce overall weight. Crew Cab V-8 configurations tip the scale 450 pounds lighter than 2018 counterparts.
Newer editions (since the 2015 model year) of Ford's full-size F-150 light-duty pickup opt for aluminum-intense fenders, roofs and beds, a key differentiator between America's two best-selling vehicles.
The fourth-generation Silverado wheelbase (distance between front and rear axle) stretches four inches while the hood shortens and headlight housings slim down, now a long narrow band of bejeweled LED bulbs rather than a larger block.
Silverado now boasts the largest truck bed in the half-ton (1500) segment with some configurations growing seven inches in width and an additional inch of length when sized against Gen Three. Our tester's bumper included a built-in 'foot cove' at each corner, acting as a step and easing entry into the sturdy steel-frame bed.
Silverado's tail end performs double duty in 2019 when ordered with a segment-first power lift feature. Not only does the tailgate power down hands free, it now enjoys upward mobility ease as well. Two upper trims include the power up/down feature: LTZ and High Country.
Silverado has the most cargo volume no matter the bed length, with short beds (five-feet, eight inches) delivering 63 cubic feet, up to 20 percent more than a competitor's short-box. Additional volume was created by widening the maximum width of the bed floor nearly seven inches.
Short bed offerings easily accommodate a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of plywood lying flat (the industry bell-weather of capability). Side view mirrors incorporate a wide vertical stance rather than a taller, vertical design.
Fourth-generation pricing starts at $29,797 for a base regular cab (three seater) rear-wheel-drive Work Truck with long bed. The High Country top trim with six-passenger crew cab and short bed checks in at $54,495. Additional extras quickly add exponentially to the end price.
The high-volume LT Silverado with double cab starts at $38,395, a notable $700 less than a 2018 LT.
Chevrolet ramps up 2019 production with V-8 Silverado Crew Cab models arriving first to dealers. Our white Silverado LT Crew Cab tester checked in at $42,600. After an assortment of options (including $1,395 for an up-powered 5.3-liter V-8 teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission) and $1,495 destination charge, the bottom line ended at $50,720.
The optional, naturally-aspirated 5.3-liter V8 returns for 2019 with several updates, including the latest generation of eight-cylinder deactivation marketed at 'dynamic fuel management', maximizing power delivery and fuel efficiency through 17 different cylinder patterns. This system also adorns Silverado's returning 6.2-liter V-8.
Inside, the functional dash and instrument panel layout remains easy-to-interpret at a glance without unnecessarily overburdening pilots with tech-overload. Twist dials operating in tandem with the sound system are a different size and tactile feel the dial knobs controlling dual temperature zone settings. The ventilation system includes a twist dial to monitor fan speed, and push plates for direction and defrost.
Both Android Auto and Apple car play, popular Smartphone compatible interactors, come standard working in tandem with the in-dash eight-inch touch screen. Our full-size crew cab's back cushions included a 60/40 split, enabling seats to fold up against backrests, opening up many interior carrying options enhanced by a relatively flat floor.
Several recently redesigned GM offerings now include a driver-friendly secondary sound-system control design first popularized by Fiat Chrysler. Rather than placing secondary audio and station-select preset buttons on the steering wheel face, these options reroute to the back of the orb, where the hands natural grip place fingers on the back side. General Motors adds its own spin with larger panel-like controls rather than smaller, tactile buttons.
This move to the back opens opportunities up front as cruise control functions relocated to the steering wheel's 9 o'clock face space while 3 o'clock is home to push buttons interacting with the instrument panels digital window.
Thick, sturdy grab handles adorn inside A and B pillars assisting with the rather large first step inside. Shot-gun riders find decent-sized dual glove boxes directly in front. The electronic start-stop button resides to the right and below of the steering column (home to the transmission shifter), allowing for direct access without interference from steering column stalks. The front row houses up to three riders, with a fold-down center backrest, ready for action as an armrest/storage caddie if accommodating a party of two.
When refueling, a self-sealing lead negates the need for plastic, tethered twist-off caps. Just slip the gas pump's nozzle through past a thin plate, which self seals on the nozzles way out.
To ensure a smooth transition from Generation Three to Generation Four while keeping a goodly supply of product flowing into dealer lots, GM will continue assembling the 2018 platform well into the 2019 calendar year, pegging the Gen Three effort as "Silverado Legacy." Shoppers can compare and contrast both Silverado platforms and pricing.
Silverado continues as a big player for Chevrolet and parent General Motors. It consistently ranks as the best-selling vehicle at GM and the second-best-selling vehicles in the U.S. Silverado sales topped the half-million mark at 585,864 units in 2017 representing the outgoing third-generation), up a sizeable 1.9 percent from the previous year.2019 Chevrolet Silverado
Price as tested: $50,720
Wheelbase: 147.4 inches
Length: 231.7 inches
Width: 81.24 inches
Engine: 5.3-liter V-8
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway
Powertrain Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles
Curb weight: 5,008 pounds