2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 V8 First Drive | Edmunds

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado: A Redesign That Feels Familiar

It's a New Truck, but How New Does It Feel?


The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is proof that we've reached the top of the pickup-truck mountain. The current crop of full-size trucks is so capable, so comfortable and so refined that even an entirely new truck can feel like a mild update.

The 2019 Silverado has a new look, new powertrains and a new interior. It uses new materials in the body and frame, and boasts more interior space and more space in the bed, not to mention the first-ever power up-and-down tailgate. This is a completely new truck, with modern touches around every corner.

We got a taste of the new Silverado during an impromptu drive at a proving ground with a preproduction truck powered by a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine. But when Chevy invited us to the mountains of Wyoming to drive the new Silverado with the V8, we jumped at the chance. But upon closer inspection, this new truck felt very familiar.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

What Is and Isn't New
Under the hood, the base 4.3-liter V6 carries over. And just like last year, it's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 5.3-liter V8 paired with a six-speed automatic is also carried over. Then, there's a separate 5.3-liter V8 paired with an eight-speed automatic and a new version of last year's 6.2-liter V8 that is now connected to a 10-speed automatic.

The updated 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8s get Chevy's Dynamic Fuel Management system, which improves fuel economy by deactivating various cylinders in different driving conditions. The benefits in fuel economy, though, are marginal, with only a 1 mpg increase in EPA city ratings. Finally, two new engines join the Silverado lineup: a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder paired with an eight-speed automatic and a 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel paired with a 10-speed automatic, which will be available in early 2019.

Underneath, Chevy has replaced some of the steel suspension pieces with lighter forged aluminum parts. The doors, tailgate and hood are made from aluminum rather than steel. Thanks to updated processes used during its construction even the steel frame is now stronger and lighter. As a result, even though the 2019 Silverado is taller, longer and wider than the truck it replaces, it's as much as 450 pounds lighter than the outgoing model. That translates to a higher towing capacity and a higher payload rating. Chevy has also upped the number of tie-downs in the bed to 12, and each has a 500-pound capacity, up from 250 pounds.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

What About the Interior?
On the inside, everything is just as new, sort of. Chevy has updated the layout of the interior with a myriad of minor changes. For instance, the location of the trailer brake controller has changed. The four-wheel-drive controls are now a series of buttons instead of a knob. It's all switchgear you're used to from Chevy, with an updated layout. The quality of cabin materials is good, though most surfaces feel as if they're borrowed from the previous generation.

Updates to in-cabin storage features include a small cubby behind the rear seat that folds shut to hide personal items. In the back of crew-cab models, there's 3 additional inches of legroom, meaning any combination of full-size adults can fit inside this rig. You can have your tallest friend in the back seat, and they'll still be able to stretch out. The rear 60/40-split folding seats go up quickly and easily, without latches or straps required to do the folding.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Does It Feel Modern?
When it comes to technology, the new Silverado gets several new features worth talking about. A base-level Silverado WT (Work Truck) clocks in at $32,890, including destination, and it's relatively bare-bones. But lots of other trim levels above it offer several optional features. An optional tailgate goes up and down with the click of a button, which is a unique feature in any pickup truck. You can get a Silverado with a 360-degree camera, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian collision mitigation, and even a head-up display.

A new infotainment interface with improved graphics is available as well, but its 8-inch display looks small compared to the tablet-size screens in some competitors. For a utilitarian vehicle such as a full-size pickup truck, these modern safety features are tools to help a truck stay competitive. In the Silverado, that's exactly what they do.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

How Does It Drive?
Wyoming is truck country — 36 percent of the vehicles sold there are pickup trucks. The sky is as big there as it is in Montana, and there's just as much open space to roam around in your full-size pickup. Since that's where we drove the new Silverado, there were plenty of open highways, long uphill and downhill grades, and all the mountain scenery we could handle.

Our test truck was the midlevel Silverado RST ($49,070 as tested). That means it came with the new 5.3-liter V8 paired with the eight-speed transmission, and it was more than adequate for Wyoming roads. The eight-speed shifted well on both uphill and downhill grades, staying composed through curvy mountain roads and offering plenty of passing power to get around big rigs. In town, the transmission felt relatively intuitive, without wandering between gears or searching for power. Steering is, as you'd probably expect from a full-size pickup, relatively vague. But the wheel feels good in your hands, and there's a decent amount of steering effort. Handling was similarly adequate without any upsetting body roll or chassis instability around tight corners.

A notable improvement in the current Silverado versus the previous generation, though, was the serenity in the cabin. The ride felt more comfortable than the already comfortable outgoing truck, and engine noise seems to have been dampened down significantly. At idle, it may be one of the quietest vehicles on the road today.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Should I Buy One?
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is definitely an improvement over last year's model, but it doesn't feel like a monumental leap forward. This truck is more capable, more user-friendly, and available with all sorts of new tech. The list of advancements Chevy's made is extensive and impressive. We definitely recommend you go for a test drive in the new Silverado, as it's among the class leaders. But the full-size pickup segment remains a close three-horse race.

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