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Review: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss

by: Mike Ginsca,

Redesigned for the 2019 model year, the Chevy Silverado 1500 is a big boy truck that rivals it’s 2500 and 3500 brother in size. It has a new exterior and interior look, new frame, and overall larger dimensions.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss

Performance

Engine – In total there are 5 engines that can be equipped with the Silverado but under the hood of this particular demo is the 5.3L V8 that carries over from the previous generation. It did receive some tweaks however to make it more fuel efficient. It now employs Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM) to systematically shut down cylinders under light throttle applications; when cruising on a highway for example. The previous generation had a similar feature but it could only shut down up to 4 cylinders. This new system can shut down up to 6 cylinders if it meets parameters. The result is a claimed fuel economy figure of 11.8 L/100km (19.9 mpg) on a highway and 15.3 L/100km (15.4 mpg) in a city for this demo as equipped. I’m my week with the truck, I averaged 14.5 L/100km (16.2 mpg) which is not bad for such a big truck.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail BossThe engine itself produces 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. When the truck is empty, the rpms hardly ever go beyond 2,000 when accelerating from a stop or overtaking on a highway. Chevy’s engineers managed to reduce the weight of the new Silverado by almost 400 lbs (180 kg) which is impressive on a truck that is this big. The result is a pickup that actually feels pretty light behind the steering wheel. Throttle response is good and it doesn’t take much to reach the speed limit.

As this demo is equipped, it can tow up to 9,500 lbs (4,310 kg). But opt for the more powerful 6.2L V8 and extended cab design, and the max tow rating jumps to 12,200 lbs (5534 kg).

Transmission – The 5.3L V8 is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and either 2WD or 4WD. This being the off-road focused Trail Boss trim, it’s 4×4. The 8-speed automatic is just like any other typical automatic transmission. Smooth to shift between gears and it does it at a reasonably quick speed.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail BossBrakes – When looking at the brakes, they seem to be undersized for such a big truck. But they do a good job of bringing the Chevrolet Silverado to a stop thanks to the reduced weight. New for 2019 are fixed calipers on the front wheels which helps provide better brake feel in the pedal. Emergency braking is not available on the Trail Boss but it is available on the higher LTZ and High Country trims.

Handling – Apart from the Dodge Ram SRT-10 and maybe Ford SVT Lightning of the mid-2000s, trucks are not the best vehicles for going quickly around a corner. That being said, the 2019 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss feels surprisingly composed and stable around corners even with the factory 2” lift. There is body roll and the Goodyear Duratrac tires will lose grip long before you get the feeling of tipping over, but you can comfortably go on twisty, single lane mountain roads without feeling like you’re going to go off them.

But if you do find yourself off the beaten path, the Trail Boss can take almost anything mother nature throws at it. The raised suspension, locking rear differential, 2-speed transfer case, and steel plate shields underneath keep the truck going on loose gravel, mud, rocks,… anything.


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2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss

Comfort

Ride Comfort – In general truck suspension is designed to be able to take the payload of whatever is in the bed. As a result, the riade can be quite bouncy when the truck is empty and the Silverado is the same over rougher roads. Unlike it’s little brother’s Multimatic DSSV shocks, the Rancho shocks are more tuned to deal with off-road obstacles as well as payload and trailering rather than having different valves for different road surfaces like the DSSV shocks in the Colorado ZR2.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail BossInterior Space – This crew cab configuration has grown by approximately 3” over the last generation. Majority of the gain can be found in the back where someone like myself at 6’4” feels lost and small in the cavernous back seats. For shorter occupants getting in and out can be a bit of a challenge but thankfully this demo vehicle has the off-road appearance package which adds side steps.

Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Due to the chunky off-road tires, road noise is very apparent inside the cabin. If you don’t do a lot of off-roading, opt for the standard LT trim instead of this Trail Boss trim as it can get tiring on a daily basis. Other than the tires, it’s a relatively quiet cabin thanks to the added insulation on this new generation of trucks. Under the hood, around the firewall and even in the wheel wells there is sound absorbing materials.

Interior Design – When Ram announced their new 1500, everyone was blown away by the 12” touchscreen. As was I. But i did have a chance to play with it a bit and it’s hard to change settings while driving. By comparison the Silverado’s 8” touchscreen and chunky knobs feel utilitarian. But they work. The interior of the SIlverado is not as nice to be in compared to the new Ram but everything has a familiarity about where it is and what it does.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss

Odds and Ends

Gadgets – The 2019 Chevy SIlverado doesn’t get very many new features over the outgoing generation. Ventilated front seats, 360 degree camera system, rearview mirror camera, and blind spot sensors are the biggest new features of the 2019 Silverado but you have to opt for the LTZ or High Country trims to get those features (with the exception of Blind Spot sensors).

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail BossThe updated Infotainment 3 has new graphics, is a bit faster than before, and has a couple of new features. The Trailering Assist feature gives you a step-by-step checklist of hitching nay number of trailer types. The new system can also work with 2 phones simultaneously and up to 10 in total. And finally Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across all trim levels.

Exterior Design – The Silverado Trail Boss not only sits on higher springs but is overall taller and wider than the previous generation. Depending on which trim you go for, the front end can be black, chrome, or body coloured. The bed is also wider and taller with more tie down points and a lighter, aluminum tailgate. The overall design is very striking to look at and can be polarizing to some. However if you don’t like it, there’s the 2019 GMC Sierra with similar features.

Overall the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is more of an update on a tried and true recipe. Chevy refined what worked and changed what didn’t. However I personally don’t see the point of having such a big truck in a city if all that you’re going to do is drive from the home to the city and not utilize it to its fullest capabilities. A mid-size truck like the Chevy Colorado or Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger are better options for daily city driving. However if you do use your truck for carrying things on a daily basis, the 2019 Silverado 1500 is definitely one to consider over the rest.

Thank you for Chevrolet Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Chevrolet.ca

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Mike Ginsca View All

Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.

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