2019 Chevrolet silverado using your opponent’s max as a warm-up – the car guide

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming – The half-ton truck segment strangely reminds of the sport of bodybuilding. Like the ultra-muscular human beings that compete against each other for the best possible physique, the moment a new model arrives on the scene, it’s automatically the strongest, most modern and sophisticated one of the bunch. In this segment, everyone checks each other out, analysing what the other guys are doing, and learning from their mistakes. As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, the best way to beat your opponent at his own game is by focusing on his limits and weaknesses, to then use them as a warm-up during your training.

For the new Silverado, Chevrolet offers no less than six different engines and up to eight trim levels. We drove it in Wyoming, a State where pickup trucks constitute 36% of new vehicle sales.

For the Americans, Wyoming, with its ranches, fields and seemingly endless Rocky mountain range, is truck country. It was therefore fitting for GM to send journalists over there to drive its new rig.

The event mostly focused on the two available V8 engines, the 5.3 litre and 6.2 litre which will be available upon launch. I’ll get back to those in a bit. The big news is an all-new, 2.7-litre turbocharged four, an engine which should hit showrooms mid-next year, says GM. Power is expected to be set at 310 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft. of torque. The only available gearbox for that one will be an eight-speed automatic. Towing capacity is rated at 7200 lbs. (3265 kg), with max payload rated at 2280 lbs. (1034 kg).

What’s most impressive is that the small engine’s output isn’t too far from the 5.3-litre V8, which pumps out 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, and offers a 2190-lb. (993-kg) max payload capacity. As a matter of fact, the four-pot surpasses the base 4.3-litre V6 in the power department, which is rated at 310 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft. of torque. However, the V6 remains a bit better equipped for light-duty work thanks to its 8000-lb. (3628-kg) towing capacity and 2500-lb. (1133-kg) max payload.

On top of a wide range of available drivetrains, Chevrolet promises a lighter truck overall, 450 lbs. (204 kg) to be exact, thanks to the use of aluminum. But contrary to the Ford F-150, the Silverado’s bed is made from high-strength steel. GM believes aluminum isn’t solid enough for workers, so the material has been reserved for movable components such as the hood, doors and tailgate. Unfortunately, the Silverado does not incorporate carbon fibre, contrary to its cousin, the GMC Sierra, a truck we’ll also get to drive later this month.

On the road, the Silverado is surprisingly quiet, not as much so as the new Ram 1500, but significantly more than the current Ford F-150. I was personally impressed by the way this thing handles. While it’s still a body-on-frame truck with a rear leaf-spring setup, it’s rather compliant over the rough stuff, exhibiting handling characteristics almost on par with a unibody setup, such as on a Honda Ridgeline. Kudos to GM for calibrating such a rudimentary suspension. Never did the truck bob and weave from left to right, and cabin bouncing was kept at a minimum while we had it.

While the 6.2 is a familiar mill at General Motors, it now incorporates an all-new fuel management system capable of alternating between 17 combustion cycles in the name of fuel economy. On our end, we recorded an average of 14 L/100 km, which is competitive, but those numbers seem awfully similar to those of the last-generation engine. We’ll need to drive it a little more during a regular, week-long road test to better assess the changes.

That engine does nevertheless offer excellent pick-up acceleration and low-end grunt, especially when coupled to the ten-speed gearbox which downshifts quickly and upshifts smoothly. Equipped this way, the Silverado is by far the most refined of the group, and consumers can even equip it to the gills in the High Country trim level which boasts a more upscale interior and chrome trimmings here and there. If you want our honest opinion, we suggest sticking to the LTZ package for its value. We believe the GMC Sierra Denali does more to justify the inflated price premium. Hail to the Boss

Behind the wheel, the 5.3 litre instantly feels older and less refined than its big brother. It doesn’t offer the same linear power band, it’s somewhat slow to rev, doesn’t sound all too great and is simply not as smooth. At least the six-speed automatic, while less sophisticated than the ten-speed, does a great job of exploiting the engine’s power; a quality off-road fans should appreciate.

To sum it all up, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is, inevitably, a well-executed product, especially on a technological standpoint. It offers enough flexibility to satisfy virtually all utility needs, and while its spacious cabin isn’t as plush and well-put-together as in a Ram or even a Ford, and that there are still no talks of an eventual electrified model, the Silverado remains the most technically advanced half-ton pickup of the segment. After all, when you’ve been selling trucks for a century, you tend to understand how the market works. Share on Facebook