I’m writing my second book, which will come out sometime this fall, and it’s about the Ford F-Series pickup truck. In the book, I interview the legendary Hal Sperlich, who worked many years at Ford and Chrysler.
He gave me great insight about trucks and used the phrase, “the civilization of the pickup truck.” Why do I bring this up (other than to shamelessly self-promote)? This week, I get behind the wheel of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, which redefines “civilization” as it pertains to trucks.
General Motors has two full-size pickup trucks, the Silverado and the GMC Sierra (which I’ll review in a couple weeks). The Sierra is looked at as the more luxurious option to the Silverado. If that’s true, I cannot wait to see how swanky the Sierra I’ll test will be, because this week’s Silverado was incredibly nice and shows just how far today’s modern trucks have come.
They can be daily drivers and family vacation vehicles. Today’s trucks, like the Silverado, can function as a weekend warrior ready to handle towing duties and payload.
For 2019, the Silverado boasts all-new looks and is fresh off a complete redesign. GM did well distinguishing between the Silverado and the Sierra. The Silverado has its own styling with a strong-looking front end that features a lot of chrome on the grille. The styling on the hood is modern and is also consistent with similar indentations on the side panels, too, with the window frames trimmed out in chrome.
Running boards are both attractive and functional. The rear has the same styling cues, and Chevrolet is spelled out boldly on the tailgate. Just below are a chrome bumper and dual exhausts. The cornerstone rear notches on the bumper make accessing the truck bed easy. The shape of the rear taillights is distinctive. All-LED lighting gives the Silverado a modern look at night.
My tester came with a tonneau cover and also had tailgate lift assist, which was so cool. With the push of a button the gate opened and slowly closed. There have been some neat advances in tailgates in the truck industry.
There is a confusing amount of engine options including a V6 and two gasoline-powered V8s, as well as a diesel. My tester was the bigger of the two gasoline V8s. The 6.2-liter Ecotec3 engine is powerful. It felt like a diesel at times with all the power and torque. The 6.2-liter V8 makes 420 horsepower and 460 lbs.-ft. of torque.
My tester had the new 10-speed automatic transmission which was tremendous. Handling the shifts for this big truck and big engine, this transmission did its job flawlessly. There was available four-wheel drive. With this big V8 and a capable transmission, the Silverado can tow up to 12,500 pounds. There are side and hitch cameras as well as trailer braking to make towing easier. All in all, this Silverado is ready for whatever you want to use it for.
The interior of trucks is where the “civilization of the truck” can really be seen. Even on a non-luxury brand like Chevrolet, the Silverado feels lavish. First, the cabin is gigantic, boasting tremendous rear legroom, with comfortable seating for three adults in the back. All touchpoints are soft and high quality. This isn’t your grandad’s Silverado. In fact, most Chevy SUVs don’t have the level of luxury and high-quality materials that the Silverado does.
My tester was the LTZ trim which had heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and heated and cooled front seats. The center console, as part of the LTZ Plus Package, is gigantic. And there’s ample storage all over this truck. The 8-inch color touchscreen seems small in comparison to the rest of the cabin, but is part of a clean, simple and well-organized center stack. The infotainment system is easy to use. It’s one of my favorites in the entire industry.
The Silverado in the LTZ trim carries a standard vehicle price of $48,700. With options and packages, my tester had a final MSRP of $58,135. As part of the “civilization of trucks” the price tag has gone up as well, but this is a competitively priced pickup truck.
The 2019 Chevy Silverado with the 6.2-liter V8 has an EPA rating of 16 mpg/city and 20 mpg/highway. Anytime a big truck with a big engine can achieve that 20-mpg mark, it’s a success. In a week’s worth of driving, I averaged 18 mpg.
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado falls in line with today’s modern truck. It has the looks and performance that makes it a contender in the number-one selling segment in the automotive industry.