2019 Chevrolet Silverado Adds Tech, Drops Weight, Snarks F-150

Chevrolet has whipped the covers off the new 2019 Silverado 1500, the company's latest pickup and arguably the most important truck in the American automaker's line-up. An eight-strong line-up, spanning work-focused through to performance, with premium features and advanced driver-assistance along the way, it's Chevy's retort to the F-150 and the product of more than 7m miles of testing by the time it arrives in dealerships.

The new Silverado has a longer wheelbase, more passenger volume, and more cargo volume than the outgoing truck, yet is 450 pounds lighter. The combination of lower weight and a refinement in aerodynamics adds up to a better performing truck on the road, according to Mark Reuss EVP of global product development at Chevrolet, but should also improve on economy, too.

"Developing an all-new structure gave us an opportunity to examine the proportions of the truck," Mike Simcoe, VP of global design, says. "The result is a truck that's bigger, bolder, but a lot more functional and efficient." The wheelbase is 4-inches longer, though the truck itself only grew by 1.5-inches overall. The driver sits more than an inch higher, as are the hood and roofline. That means more space in the cargo box, and in the cab.

Up to 33-inch diameter tires can be spec'd, while there are now integrated dual tailpipes at the back on every model. The sensors that were once integrated into the taillamps have been repositioned to the rear bumper so that there are no dead spots in the 2019 Silverado's lamps. A spoiler on the back of the cab helps with airflow, boosting aerodynamics and efficiency.

There's a fully boxed steel frame, which is now 88 pounds lighter than in the old truck, despite offering 10-percent greater torsional rigidity. Chevy used seven different grades of steel around the passenger compartment, for strength, while the swing panels – the doors, hood, and tailgate – are aluminum for lighter weight.

There's independent short/long front arm suspension, together a live axle car suspension with composite second-stage springs on select models, a light-weighting approach borrowed from the Corvette.

As for the bed, there Chevrolet has some fighting talk for Ford. "I don't think you'd get much work done with an aluminum hammer," Reuss pointed out at the 2019 Silverado's reveal event, aiming some snark at Ford's aluminum F-150. Away from the fighting talk, there's a 63 cubic feet short box, while there are lockable storage bins over the wheel arches. There are now 21 tie-down points, twelve of which are fixed in the corners – each capable of handling 500 pounds, twice what the current model can deal with – and nine of which are movable.

The steel bed is now a stronger grade of steel alloy, for extra strength without adding weight. A power tailgate – operated from the key fob, inside the cabin, or on the gate itself – is an industry-first, while the step-up cornerstep pockets on the tailgate are larger so that people with big, steel-toed boots can still get a firm step. 120V AC outlets are optional.

There's no denying how important the Silverado is to Chevrolet. The automaker surveyed more than 7,000 people to figure out the priorities of the new pickup, finishing up with more body variants and more engine and transmission combinations. For the 2019 model year, there'll be eight Silverado models, in fact.

For existing, there's the 2019 Silverado LT Trailboss, which includes a two-inch factory lift and the off-road equipment of the Z71 package. On the engine side, there's a new 3.0-liter inline-six Duramax diesel, which Chevrolet – while not revealing numbers today – claims will outperform what the recently-announced F-150 diesel can do. The 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 gas engines are getting revamped for more performance and economy, like the dynamic fuel management which can deactivate between one and seven of the cylinders depending on the load on the truck at any time.

The 6.2-liter V8 and the 3.0-liter Duramax will come with Chevy's 10-speed automatic transmission as standard. Inside, there'll be Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless charging for your smartphone, and the option of 4G LTE with a WiFi hotspot. The knobs and controls have been enlarged and textures, to give more grip when you're wearing gloves, and there are hidden storage cubbies around the cabin, including a tray under the rear seat.

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will be produced at the automaker's Fort Wayne Assembly Plant. As for when it will go on sale, and for how much, the automaker hasn't said.