General Motors has officially unveiled the fourth-generation 2019 Chevrolet Silverado before the 2018 Detroit auto show, revealing a bigger truck that will be offered in eight models with six powertrain combinations, more technology, and new features compared to the outgoing model when it goes into production this fall.
New from the ground up and riding on a new platform, the 2019 Silverado also gets a redesign after criticism the outgoing generation did not make enough of a splash.
There will also be greater differentiation from the 2019 GMC Sierra, which will be shown later this year. Both pickups will go on sale at the same time late this year. The 2019 Silverado’s eight trim levels include Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trailboss, RST, LT, LT Trailboss, LTZ, and High Country.
The Silverado is 1.6 inches longer with a wheelbase stretched by 3.9 inches, and is also wider and taller. And even though it still uses a lot of steel, it has dropped up to 450 pounds and promises better fuel efficiency.
Ford reinvented the F-150 in 2015 with an aluminum body replacing steel for a weight loss of as much as 700 pounds, enabling smaller and lighter engines as part of an overall package that is more fuel-efficient. But GM prefers what it calls a mixed-materials strategy. The truck keeps its steel body and frame but uses lightweight, high-strength steel as well as aluminum, magnesium and other metals and composites liberally. Keeping a steel body avoids having to redo the body shop and buy all-new equipment to work with aluminum, which Ford had to do at great cost and time, resulting in a temporary loss of production and profits.
The engine lineup will include a 3.0-liter inline six turbodiesel–taking direct aim at the Ram 1500 and 2019 F-150 that both have 3.0-liter diesels as well. Mark Reuss, head of global product development, would not provide mileage figures for the GM engine but said it will be better than the competition, which suggests it could get 30 mpg on the highway (or more). The Silverado will also be offered with the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s with industry-first technology that can disable up to seven cylinders when not needed, which would improve fuel efficiency (read about the tech here).
The expectation is that the 2019 Silverado’s base engine will be the 3.6-liter V-6 but Reuss would not share details on any V-6s and declined to say whether a four-cylinder is planned. A four-cylinder could be part of a hybrid option in the future as well, but GM is not providing details at this time.
The trucks will get the new 10-speed automatic with start-stop technology, but Reuss wouldn’t say if all models will get the transmission. It was developed with Ford and is in the F-150–GM already has the 10-speed in a number of its large SUVs including the Chevrolet Tahoe RST, Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali as well as the Camaro ZL1. Reuss would not say if all models will get the 10-speed. Lower trim levels such as the Work Truck or Custom might be equipped with GM’s eight-speed instead.
The overall look is bolder and bigger. Mike Simcoe, head of global design, called it revolutionary because the new architecture allowed for the proportions to change dramatically, with a short overhang and longer wheelbase giving more room the cab and bed. Each front end has its own look, the headlamps are narrower to look meaner. Chevrolet is boldly stamped into the tailgate above the integrated dual exhaust. There is a larger corner step to access the bed and 21 tiedowns. There is more storage including two bins integrated into the back of the rear seats.
The 2019 Silverado boasts the most cargo volume in every bed length, with the short-box offering 63 cubic feet of volume, which officials say is 20 percent more than the competition. The bed floor is nearly seven inches wider. The accessories bin will offer storage bins that fit over the wheel wells, offering nearly seven cubic feet of lockable cargo space for short-box models while still accommodating a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood laid flat.
Reuss said when the current Silverado came out, GM was coming out of bankruptcy and needed to get the truck out quickly. This fourth-generation is the truck he really wanted to make.
Last month, GM teased us with a look at the 2019 Silverado LT Trailboss, an off-road variant with equipment from the Z71 package and a suspension raised an additional two inches. The dramatic preview—the truck arrived dangling from a helicopter—was part of an event in Texas for pickup owners to celebrate the Chevy truck centennial. The Trailboss is one of the eight models.
GM has high expectations for the new truck and is boosting capacity to make more of the popular crew cab versions that account for the majority of sales and where supply has been constrained, Reuss said. Crew cabs for both Silverado and GMC Sierra (with four large doors) are built in Silao, Mexico while regular and double cab pickups are made in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Heavy-duty pickups are made in Flint, Michigan. GM reportedly spent $3 billion to retool its plants for the 2019 pickups.
GM sold 585,864 Silverados in 2017 (including heavy duty trucks), up 1.9 percent from the previous year, and 217,943 GMC Sierras, down 1.7 percent. But the segment as a whole increased almost 6 percent with F-150 as the dominant player (F-Series, including heavy-duty trucks, sales ended the year at 896,764, up 9.3 percent) and Ram 1500-3500 sold 500,723, up 2 percent and gaining share.
FCA is showing a redesigned Ram 1500 at the Detroit auto show on Monday and Ford is adding a diesel option to the F-150 lineup. The auto show has a heavy emphasis on trucks with Ford also planning to unveil its new 2019 Ranger.
Silverado 2500HD and Silverado 3500HD heavy-duty models carry over from the 2018 model year with a few small changes and updates.
In March, Chevy will show the new 2019 Silverado 4500HD and 5500 medium-duty trucks at the Work Truck Show. GM got out of the medium-duty segment as part of its downsizing during the 2009 bankruptcy but is getting back into the segment with trucks coming later this year that were developed in partnership with Navistar and will be built in Springfield, Ohio.
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