We take the latest truck from GM right up to the Arctic Ocean.
TUKTOYAKTUK, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – After carefully evaluating the last crop of trucks from the three big American automakers, we came to the conclusion that the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado reigned kings of the segment. The previous-generation models were refined, comfortable, and did everything a truck needed to do properly. This year marks the debut of the brand new models, and GM invited us to the Northwest Territories, right on the Arctic Ocean, to test the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.
Chevrolet is offering the new Silverado in eight trim levels and with six different powertrain combinations. The latest model also changes the dimensions slightly to deliver significantly more interior volume, cargo space, payload and towing capacity. Despite all of these changes, in the right setup, it also gains efficiency by means of a five percent improvement in city fuel efficiency. From a visual standpoint, the “Chevrolet” name is stamped right onto the tailgate to evoke nostalgia from models of the 50s and 60s. The front grille has air curtains to reduce drag, and certain trims also come with active aero shutters.
A new “Trail Boss” model makes its debut, adding a 2” suspension lift, locking rear differential, skid plates, Rancho shocks and Goodyear Duratec off-road tires. This functional kit is complemented by visual enhancements that compete head-on with the Ram 1500 Rebel (reviewed here). This thing looks properly bad-ass and would be my pick of the litter.
The six powertrains available on the Silverado start with the 4.3L V6 (285hp) and 5.3L V8 (355hp), both with six-speed automatics and Active Fuel Management (AFM). A 5.3L V8 with an eight-speed and Dynamic Fuel Management is available, along with our personal favourite, the 6.2L V8 with 10-speed automatic. It’s good for 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque – this is the engine to have. A new 2.7L Turbo and 3.0L inline-six diesel will join the Silverado lineup very soon.
We spent most of our time in the 6.2L truck, and we’ve spent quite some time in this powertrain setup already with the current Yukon. It’s buttery smooth and the power delivery is exactly what most truck buyers will want. High-speed passes are effortless, and city speed manners are also good. The 10-speed automatic is a joint venture with Ford, and while it does tend to hunt gears quite a bit, its operation is mostly unnoticeable. In models like the Yukon XL (reviewed here) with this powertrain, we actually have observed fuel economy numbers below the 10L/100km mark with ease.
Our drive consisted of roughly 370km on dirt and soft gravel on the new highway between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, which means we used the truck for the purpose for which it was designed. All Silverado models are equipped with fixed dampers, which still made the relatively poor road quality feel like child’s play. The High Country models on 22” wheels rode considerably harsher on the gravel, while the Trail Boss with the 18” setup and the Rancho shocks took all bumps and ruts like an absolute champ. The biggest takeaway from this drive is just how sublime the ride quality is on the new Silverado, and it appears to be a notch above the competition from Ford and Ram.
Luxury-oriented trims (High Country) on the Silverado get a premium interior, one we enjoyed sampling on its sibling, the Sierra (reviewed here). Even the Trail Boss’ simplistic layout makes everything very easy to find and access, with function over form as the priority. The seats in all trim levels are supremely comfortable and kept my driving partner and I relaxed and alert. A large storage bin between the front seats along rear seat-back storage bins help to keep your daily items stowed away when not needed. The driving position is perfect for a pickup truck, and we never found ourselves fatigued while exploring the area around the Arctic Ocean.
Active safety and tech on board the new Silverado includes Surround Vision, a safety alert driver’s seat, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, low speed forward automatic braking, front pedestrian braking, rear cross traffic alert, and more. These features work alongside the standard rear-view camera. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity are all standard. Those who previously craved a heads-up display in their pickup truck can now opt for a 3×7” HUD on the Silverado.
The Silverado’s new “Durabed” offers a powered tailgate, task lighting, and a built-in power outlet. Combine this with cargo volume that’s higher than anything in the segment, reinforced tie-downs, and corner steps that have been made larger, the high-strength steel bed is one of the most versatile light duty pickup truck beds available right now.
Those who tow will be pleased to see a plethora of towing technology that will make hauling whatever it is you’re carrying a cinch to hook up and pull. The Silverado can be equipped with up to four cameras including a hitch view, as well as side-view cameras in the towing mirrors that engage with the turn signals. An auto parking brake assist system sets the parking brake when the trailer is hooked up and the vehicle is placed in park, to eliminate roll. This all comes together with features like Trailer Theft Alert, Trailer Light Test, and tire pressure/temperature sensors for the trailer.
Chevrolet’s new Silverado is available in a series of trims, including the Work Truck, Custom, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country. Each of these incorporates its own unique style and features, but they all pack the same rugged and capable chassis. The luxurious High Country is easily one of the most premium trucks available today, with gorgeous wheel designs, a leather-lined interior, and the magnificent 6.2L + 10-speed combination.
Overall, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is approximately 450 pounds lighter than the model it replaces, and is notably faster in a straight line as well. Rear legroom has been increased by three inches, cargo volume by 20%, and payload by 14%. The new Silverado is meant to work, and after spending a considerable amount of time behind the wheel, it’s quite obvious how much potential it has. There really is a Silverado for legitimately every light duty truck customer. If you ever want to dip your toes into the Arctic Ocean, we can’t think of a single vehicle more suited to the job.