2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: New, But Is It Improved?
Chevy’s Volume Truck Gets First Comprehensive Redesign in Years
In case you missed it, Chevrolet surprised the world by revealing the all-new 2019 Silverado 1500 at the Chevy Trucks Centennial Celebration in Dallas, Texas. The event, which was open to members of Chevy’s Truck Legends ownership program, played host to not only the 2019 Silverado 1500, but also a mint-condition 1988 S-10 and its owner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Chevrolet is keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to the new truck’s specifications, saving those details for the 2019 Silverado’s official public reveal at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We weren’t able to get too close to the truck either, as Chevy whisked it away after a few minutes on stage. Still, let’s discuss what we do know.
Foremost, the truck gets completely new sheetmetal from stem to stern, betraying an all-new platform underneath—the so-called GMT T1XX architecture. T1XX-platform trucks will reportedly feature aluminum body panels in key locations, although Chevrolet boasted that the 2019 Silverado 1500 would still get high-strength steel for the bed floor, rendered in an even higher-grade alloy than the current truck. According to the company, this use of “mixed materials” will help the new Silverado lose weight compared to its predecessor, benefitting fuel economy, performance, and capability, much in the same way Ford did when it gave the F-150 all-aluminum skin for its sheetmetal and bed floor.
The new Silverado marks its fancy new construction techniques with likewise-revolutionary sheetmetal. The 2019 Silverado gets a sculpted body that’s a distinct departure from its slab-sided predecessors. There’s a strong character line starting from the trailing edge of the wraparound headlight, dipping down and fading through the front doors. Just above it is a shoulder line, generating from nothing just above the front door handle and extending all the way to the taillight. And gone are the outgoing truck’s box-shaped fender flares and rocker trim, replaced with smoother, less blocky styling elements. And for the first time since 1972, the fullsize Chevrolet pickup gets rounded wheel openings, a boon for the aftermarket but a bummer for die-hard Silverado fans.
There are a few other misses in the 2019 Silverado’s styling, at least in the Z71 Trailboss trim seen at Texas Motor Speedway. The front end is comprised of no fewer than four pairs of lighting elements; starting at the top are two banks of LED lights (high- and low-beam headlamps), with C-shaped daytime running lights underneath bookending the grille’s center bar. Below these are amber turn signal LEDs, with foglamps mounted down low on the bumper. The angular front graphic is a love-hate affair, with some of our staffers appreciating its aggressiveness and others likening it to Darth Vader or Predator. We also don’t love the blade-shaped piece of red plastic between the front fender and the front bumper.
The rear end is less controversial, with notched taillights that recall the fronts, and Chevy’s signature stepped bumper returns for 2019, this time incorporating cutouts for the new truck’s trapezoidal exhaust outlets. The tailgate is stamped with “CHEVROLET” script spanning the width between the taillights. And the rear three-quarter view that Chevrolet released in its batch of official photography makes the sculpted bodysides and well-integrated fender flares look very good indeed.
Other interesting styling touches are a greenhouse that looks directly inspired by the midsize Colorado pickup, only with larger rear windows to improve visibility and reduce rear-seat claustrophobia. Sideview mirrors move from just above the beltline to just below it, helping interior quietness (the current Silverado and its GMC Sierra twin are already among the most serene trucks in the entire industry). And, at least on the Trailboss cover model, there’s a distinctive rear window spoiler extending from the roof, likely improving aerodynamics and helping keep the backlight free from dust or snow accumulation.
Chevy hasn’t shown us the Silverado 1500 in any other trim level but Trailboss, but that model looks like it might return the Z71 name to its former glory. With a two-inch suspension lift, higher-clearance front and rear bumpers, and knobby tires, the Trailboss won’t quite rival the Ford F-150 Raptor for off-road supremacy, but it’ll likely give the Ram 1500 Rebel and lame-duck Toyota Tundra TRD Pro a run for their money.
(Sidenote: the tires on the truck shown at Texas Motor Speedway clearly show Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac branding on the sidewall, but the official photos released from Chevrolet show knobby tires with Goodyear Eagle branding. Is that an Easter egg previewing some kind of high-performance off-road Silverado, or is it just a Photoshop fail?)
We hope to learn more about the truck at the auto show next month (including details on Chevy’s promise of more powertrain combinations and expanded model range). But until then, what do you think of the 2019 Silverado 1500?