2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

Liz Kim | Nov 19, 2018

Introduction

Pickup trucks exist for one purpose: to make it easy to transport big, bulky items that a car, an SUV, or a van cannot. Then come other considerations, such as whether or not you like the way it looks and drives, whether or not it can fit your whole crew, and whether or not they’ll be comfortable and entertained.

Regardless of which full-size pickup you choose, you’ll have an endless array of decisions to make about how you want to tailor the truck to fit your specific needs. But first, you have to pick the one you want. And that can be such a difficult task that many truck owners are notoriously loyal to a single brand.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss

It doesn’t matter what the competition does, or what technology the competition debuts, or what towing numbers the competition announces. Lots of full-size pickup owners stick with the brand they know. Life’s easier that way.

Chevy may have relied too much on this loyalty in the past. Now, with the redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado light-duty truck, the company is hoping that its all-new pickup will retain Chevy devotees while winning over new fans. Bigger, lighter, and stronger than ever, the new 2019 Silverado demands careful consideration.

For this review, J.D. Power evaluated a Silverado LT Trail Boss crew cab with a standard bed. It came equipped with a Convenience Package, a Convenience Package II, a Leather Package, a Safety Package, a Bed Protection Package, and an Advanced Trailering Package. Additionally, it had off-road assist steps, for a total price of $57,090, including the $1,495 destination charge.

What Owners Say…

Before we discuss the results of our evaluation of the Chevrolet Silverado, it is helpful to understand who bought the previous version of this large light-duty pickup and what they liked most and least about their Silverados.

According to J.D. Power data, Silverado owners are primarily male (89%), with a median age of 56 years and a median annual household income of $98,659. At the segment level, the data says that 91% of large light-duty pickup owners are male, with a median age of 55 years, and a median annual household income of $108,095.

Based on J.D. Power information, in comparison to all large light-duty pickup owners, Silverado buyers are less interested in performance (10% vs. 15%) and more likely to identify as retired (26% vs. 20%). Among Silverado owners, 93% agree that they prefer to buy a vehicle from a domestic company (vs. 85% at the segment level).

For the most part, Silverado owner sentiments align with those at the segment level. Chevy owners are more likely to agree that a first consideration in choosing a vehicle is fuel economy (58% vs. 52%), and they are more likely to agree that to them a vehicle is just a way of getting from place to place (35% vs. 30%).

Owners report that their favorite things about the previous Silverado were (in descending order) the exterior styling, interior design, driving dynamics, visibility and safety, and storage and space. Owners indicate that their least favorite things about the previous Silverado were (in descending order) the engine/transmission, seats, climate control system, infotainment system, and fuel economy.

What Our Expert Says…

In the sections that follow, our expert provides her own perceptions about how the redesigned 2019 Silverado measures up in each of the 10 categories that comprise the 2018 APEAL Study.

Exterior

Crisp and clean, the new Silverado’s styling oozes authority and capability. Sharp, creased lines complement subtle curvatures on the front fascia and around the wheel wells. Complex headlights give the truck a high-tech appearance, and the LT Trail Boss gets a lifted suspension and blacked out trim, adding to its mean and aggressive look.

First and foremost, existing Silverado owners love the look of their truck, and this new design should keep fans excited about owning a Chevy.

Interior

The test vehicle had a Jet Black leather interior, which turned it into a black hole of sorts. What little silver trim that exists cannot provide the kind of color contrast necessary to prevent the cabin from mimicking a cave. At least it didn’t feel claustrophobic, though, as everything inside a Silverado is enormous in scale.

While other recent truck redesigns have resulted in palpable improvements in terms of refinement, Chevy chose to stick with a preponderance of hard, glossy plastics inside the cab. This would be OK, if not for this LT Trail Boss’s $57,000 price tag.

Seats

Once you clamber in using the beefy step rails and the windshield pillar-mounted handles, the driver’s seat provides a nice perch from which to pilot this beast. Thanks to 10-way power adjustment, I was able to find an ideal position behind the steering wheel.

Riding as a passenger was less satisfying, because the low-mounted right front seat supplies no height adjustment. There were no power adjustments at all, in fact, just a manual bar to scoot it back and forth, and another lever for reclining the seatback.

In the rear, my children were agog at just how spacious their accommodations were. Headroom, shoulder space, leg room – everything is as vast as a Kansas prairie. Yes, the back seat was also as flat as a Kansas prairie, but with that much elbow room to go around, complaints were far and few between.

Climate Control System

The Silverado’s dual-zone automatic climate control system is easy to use via clearly marked controls. It also proved effective at keeping smoky air out of the cabin during a noxious Southern California weekend when wildfires threatened to swallow the state whole.

Curiously, this expensive version of the truck didn’t come with ventilated front seats, but the seat heating system offered a separate backrest-only setting, which is perfect after a hard day’s work. It also had a heated steering wheel, an appreciated feature on cold winter days.

Infotainment System

A new Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system features impressive graphics, a useful design, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection technology. It’s a good thing Apple CarPlay was aboard, because the test vehicle didn’t come with an embedded navigation system. It’s only offered with LTZ or High Country trim.

Everyone appreciated the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, which is part of an OnStar services package. Unfortunately, Chevy provides just one free month of trial service to OnStar, and then after that Silverado owners must choose a monthly or annual payment plan. So if you want things like automatic crash response and stolen vehicle location services, you’ll pay for them sooner than later.

Chevy deserves praise for including Teen Driver technology as standard equipment, and at no extra charge. It spits out a report card to parents of teenaged drivers who have borrowed the vehicle, giving Mom and Dad an overview of how the Silverado was driven while in Junior’s possession.

Storage and Space

Chevrolet claims that its new Durabed cargo box holds more stuff than those on competitive trucks, and brags about its roll-formed, high-strength steel bed floor. Larger corner steps are designed to accommodate a wider variety of footwear than before.

The test truck also had a power-down tailgate, released using a button on the key fob. Higher trim levels also supply a power-up function. The test truck had a factory spray-in bedliner designed to keep the box’s interior more pristine, as well as a 120-volt power outlet.

Inside, the Silverado provides plenty of bins, trays, and nooks in which to keep smaller items organized, along with a generous center console storage area and a two-tiered glove box.

Visibility and Safety

From the LT Trail Boss’s vertiginous driver’s seat, you can see clear ahead of traffic, and the squarish hood makes it clear just where the vehicle’s nose begins. Everyone riding in the Silverado enjoyed the view out from the tall truck, except for the front passenger, who was sitting on the floor.

If you’re planning to tow a trailer, know that the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system includes a high-definition reversing camera that can be enhanced with two camera viewpoints that are helpful to getting lined up with a trailer, and then getting it hitched.

A blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert came in handy while wheeling the big Trail Boss around Los Angeles. The test truck also had forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. Some of these features came standard, while others were part of the optional Safety Package.

New to the Silverado, a standard Rear Seat Reminder system is designed to prevent owners from leaving children, pets or anything else important in the back seat after parking the truck. It works well, grabbing your attention any time you exit the Silverado after completing a trip that started with opening one of the back doors.

As this review is written, neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had performed crash tests on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

Engine/Transmission

Providing motivational force for the Silverado LT Trail Boss test vehicle, Chevy’s new 5.3-liter V8 makes 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm. It’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and can tow up to 9,500 lbs. Maximum towing for a new Silverado is 12,200 pounds, depending on how the truck is equipped.

Acceleration proved to be strong and brawny, and aside from occasionally harsh driveline lash when upshifting from lower gears, it was delivered seamlessly to the push-button Autotrac automatic 2-speed transfer case.

Fuel Economy

Chevy Silverado owners are more likely to want a truck that’s fuel-efficient, but are consistently disappointed by their vehicles. As a result, gas mileage is the least favorite aspect of Silverado ownership, according to the people who own this model.

To solve for this, the new 5.3-liter V8 is equipped with new Dynamic Fuel Management technology, which is supposed to run the truck seven or fewer cylinders the majority of the time. The goal is to save gas, and in LT Trail Boss specification to return 17 mpg in combined driving.

My experience aligns with Silverado owners, not EPA estimates. I averaged a disappointing 13.8 mpg on my test loop, driving the truck in 2-wheel-drive mode with just one person aboard. No payload. No trailer. Just me.

Driving Dynamics

You might think of trucks as rough-riding, difficult-handling, hop-along vehicles, but modern pickups make it easy to forget that you’re driving something with a vastly unbalanced weight distribution. Of course, the phrase “for a truck” must modify all descriptors of a full-size pickup’s dynamics, as driving one is very different from driving a car or SUV with a lower center of gravity.

So, with that in mind, “for a truck” the Silverado’s handling is impressive thanks to fairly precise steering, responsive brakes, and an off-road suspension that didn’t feel terribly stiff except on certain sections of L.A. freeway.

If the steering, suspension, and brakes instilled confidence, it is always important to be mindful of any truck’s high center of gravity. Nevertheless, regardless of the kind of road, this Chevy’s driving dynamics instilled trust in its ability to remain calm, cool, and collected on most every kind of surface.

A brief off-roading sojourn in the lifted Silverado LT Trail Boss demonstrated how easy it is to use the Autotrack 2-speed transfer case, and the rugged Goodyear Duratrac tires overcame rocks and ruts with ease. But like all full-size trucks, the Silverado crew cab’s long wheelbase and large proportions kept it from going too deep into the backcountry.

Naturally, around town, those same bulging dimensions are a liability at any destination with tight parking spaces.

Final Impressions

The new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is a clear improvement over the truck it replaces, providing loads of capability and supplying a variety of choices to serve customer needs and satisfy customer wants.

Other trucks, however, boast bigger tow ratings, provide greater payload capacity, and feature more luxurious cabins. Value is a challenge with the new Silverado, too, given the short trial period for OnStar and lack of expected equipment at the LT Trail Boss test truck’s price.

As a result, Chevrolet might not attract new customers from competitive brands. But it will likely keep its core owner base happy and coming back for more.

Chevrolet supplied the vehicle used for this 2019 Silverado review

 

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