The biggest selling vehicles in the US are full size pick up trucks, Americans bought just over 2 million of them in 2018 and it’s no surprise the big 3 invest a lot of money to get to the top spot, held by Ford for the last 36 years. Bear in mind though GM sells a lot of mid size trucks and as a result, GM’s total market share for pickups rose to 34 percent compared with Ford’s 32 percent.
So does GM have a chance to gain more ground with the all new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, the fourth-generation of this vehicle. It’s certainly comes in a lot of different trims and configurations, has many engine options including 2 V8’s a 6, a turbo 4 and a soon to be available turbo diesel.
Having already driven one of the lower trims my interest was the Trail Boss which GM were able to lend to me for 5 days, which gave me a chance to explore the unpaved sections of San Diego’s back country and as a bonus it rained!
The Trail Boss package gets you a two-inch lift, aggressive 18-inch Goodyear Duratrac tires and adding to the already aggressive looks and off-road capability; skid plates, a locking rear differential, a two-speed transfer case and Rancho shock absorbers. Power comes from the new 5.3-liter DFM V-8, which makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic.
In normal driving everyday driving, much like my boring commute to the office, the Trail Boss is well well-mannered and easy to maneuver and a nice place to be. Pick-ups are not really my thing so they need to drive as car like as possible and the Trail Boss even with a lifted suspension, behaves well and has a very good ride quality.
In a straight line it’s fairly quick, 0-60 in 6.1 seconds, but there is a pause in it’s giddy up until I found the Sports mode. This holds the revs higher and makes up for a slight lack of torque. I would prefer to see the 6.2 liter V8 in this truck, which is standard on the High Country. When I tested this engine in the 2018 Cadillac Escalade it was great.
The V8 does make a somewhat strange whine especially when coming off the throttle and I can only guess this has something to do with the Dynamic Fuel Management system, which I could get used to if it saved me money. That said driving, especially off road, for 5 days in 4 wheel drive mode hit hard at the pumps and I averaged 13.2 mpg during that time. Hey I was having fun.
Off The Beaten Track
Mother Grundy Truck Trail is a 5 mile unpaved road in South East San Diego County, with some elevation gain and large ruts in places. It was the road that cracked my wife’s 2003 Ram truck many years ago, so it was time for some revenge.
As luck would have it a storm had swept across the county and the trail was still damp and large puddles had not had a chance to evaporate, so it was as good a chance as any to see if this truck deserves its Trail Boss name. The first part is quite well manicured with DG, thanks to the newer homes that have been built since I was last here, but once you pass those its a whole lot of fun.
I selected 4 wheel drive and powered up the first slope, a few good things happened, the Trail Boss powered up with ease and the dash didn’t crack. Also the ride quality over the rough stuff is impeccable, even on washboard surfaces, and even though the truck is moving side to side its all very well controlled.
5 more miles of driving through some large areas of standing water, ruts, and some steep narrow passes and I made it to the end, unscathed. I didn’t need low ratio or hill descent control and there was never really a moment when I thought I would get stuck. One of the highlights is the steering which is very direct, at least for a truck, and has a good feel and weighting. I have to say this is a very a good truck indeed.
Inside there is plenty of upgraded technology, the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system has an 8-inch touchscreen with crisper and much better graphics. My tester had a seven-speaker Bose audio setup, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.
The system is intuitive, quick and easy to use and paring phones and such is very easy. The front seats are leather, 10 way powered and heated, a definite positive during this relative cold spell in San Diego, with temps down to 17 F in Mount Laguna. I could have use a slightly softer seat cushion which could become uncomfortable on longer trips.
Back seat occupants get acres of space and with them folded up there’s room for a full size dog crate. The only issue I have is with the Silverado’s slightly down market cabin which has some low-quality materials and cheap feeling finishes.
It is well laid out from an ergonomic perspective and has plenty of storage including hidden storage compartments under the front seats and within the rear bench. My tester had a whopping $9,000 of options taking it’s price to $56,790 including destination. At that price a better quality interior is needed.
The Trail Boss is the one I would have only I would probably check fewer options and I would like to choose the upcoming turbodiesel engine if available, simply for the torque it will provide. Overall this truck is great and is only let down by the cabin quality, something that should be easy to fix.
2019 Silverado Trail Boss Numbers
BASE PRICE: $48,300
PRICE AS TESTED: $56,790
VEHICLE LAYOUT: Front-engine, 2/4 wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
ENGINE: 5.3 liter pushrod 16-valve V-8 with direct fuel injection
POWER: 355 hp @ 5,600 rpm
TORQUE: 383 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
CURB WEIGHT: 5,155 lb
0-60 MPH: 6.1 sec
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON: 17/15/20 mpg
OUR OBSERVED: 13.2
PROS: Excellent on and off road manners, hugely improved steering.
CONS: Somewhat plain interior.