As a perennial runner up in the full-size pickup truck market, GM looked to shake things up a bit with the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 to put some extra heat on the Ford F-150. To do so, Chevy’s design team created a polarizing style for the all-new Silverado, and while the visual appeal of this truck might leave something to be desired, the powertrain team made sure that the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado offered plenty of reasons to love this truck. While we’ve already tested the sporty-looking Silverado RST loaded up with lots of tech and leather bucket seats, this test drive review puts us behind the wheel of a more basic mid-level 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT equipped with the Z71 off-road package.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado Exterior
Love it or hate it, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado might have the most distinctive pickup truck styling since the Dodge Ram introduced its big-rig look in 1994. The Silverado’s squinty-faced front end ensures this truck won’t be confused with anything else on the road, but it’s a missed opportunity to stand out (for the right reasons) against newer trucks like the F-150, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan. Ironically, this new design did away with one of the truck’s longest-lasting styling traits – the squared-off wheel openings, which dates back to the 1973 C10. This truck does get some cool styling elements, though, such as the C-shaped LED daytime running lights, vertical air intakes and the Chevrolet name stamped into the tailgate.
Compared to the sportier, monochromatic Silverado RST we previously drove, this 2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT has a brighter appearance with lots of chrome on the bumpers, door mirrors and grille. The Z71 package adds silver-painted 18-inch wheels and the dual exhaust with polished outlets cut into the bumper. Personally, we would liked to have seen a little more approach angle on the Z71 model as the aero-minded air dam looks very susceptible to damage in moderate off-road scenarios, so serious off-roaders should check out the Z71 Trail Boss instead.
If you’re looking for a regular cab version of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, you’ll have to wait as this model won’t be available until later in the year; for now, just Extended Cab and Crew Cab models are offered. The business end of the new Silverado might be this truck’s biggest standout feature, and it doesn’t even need a fancy tailgate step to do so; the standard CornerStep rear bumper is a simple solution to climbing into the cargo bed. Cutouts in the side of the bed allow the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado to offer best-in-class cargo volume (in both bed lengths), and Chevy also offers options such as lockable storage compartments and a class-exclusive power up and down tailgate. This tester was equipped with the LED bed lighting, spray-in bedliner and power locking tailgate along with a $1,750 option package that brought the tri-fold hard tonneau cover and side steps.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado Interior
Balancing the polarizing exterior, the interior of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has a design that is more familiar with other current Chevy products, yet thanks to a wheelbase that has been stretched by almost four inches, the cabin is roomier than ever. For rear passengers, that means 43.8 inches of rear legroom, which is three inches more legroom than the previous Silverado Crew Cab. Instead of upgrading to a center console with bucket seats, this truck retained the Silverado’s 40/20/40 split bench front seat opening up a six-passenger seating capacity and allowing for added storage under the middle seat bottom and inside the fold-down center console.
This 2019 Chevrolet Silverado had a utilitarian interior with cloth seating and rubber all-weather floor mats, but that’s not to say this cabin is basic. The LT trim level comes standard with an eight-inch diagonal touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as the OnStar 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot. This tester was also equipped with the optional $2,815 All Star Edition package, which included a lengthy list of added convenience features like the dual-zone climate control, 10-way driver’s seat, heated front seats, heated leather steering wheel, keyless doors with push-button start, remote start and a trio of mobile device charging options in the back seat (a power outlet and two USB charging ports).
2019 Chevrolet Silverado Powertrain
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is available with five different engine options, which doesn’t include the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel that will be offered later. This truck was equipped with the optional ($1,395) 5.3-liter EcoTec3 direct-injected V-8 that features GM’s industry-first Dynamic Fuel Management system. This advanced fuel-saving feature is an evolution in cylinder deactivation technology providing more than just a drop from eight- to four-cylinder operation – it actively shuts off any number of cylinders in 17 different patterns to optimize power output and fuel economy.
In terms of driving the new Silverado, the 5.3-liter has decent acceleration with its 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, and the Dynamic Fuel Management system is practically unnoticeable in operation. This engine pairs solely to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which despite being a great transmission represents yet another missed an opportunity for Chevy to offer more of its customers the advanced 10-speed automatic; this transmission is only available with the biggest, most expensive engine – the 6.2-liter V-8 – whereas the Ford F-150 uses this exact same transmission (co-developed between GM and Ford) and makes it available with most engine options. The V-8 and eight-speed automatic combine to give the 2019 Silverado EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway*.
The fully boxed steel frame is lighter than the previous truck yet has 10 percent greater torsional rigidity, which gives the truck excellent road manners without sacrificing off-road and towing capabilities. This truck added even more off-road and towing potential thanks to the All Star Edition package’s trailering package, trailer hitch, seven- and four pin trailer connectors and an auto locking rear differential, the $1,985 Z71 Off-Road and Protection Package with its beefed up suspension, skid plates and all-terrain tires and the $275 integrated trailer brake controller.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado Safety
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it does come standard with safety features such as rear vision camera, Teen Driver mode, StabiliTrak with trailer sway control and hill start assist. This tester was also equipped with the $890 Safety Package I, which added on rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert and front and rear park assist sensors.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado Overall
Pickup trucks continue to print money for automakers these days, and while it’s hard to see the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 turning away diehard bowtie enthusiasts or losing its number two sales spot, Chevy had too many missed opportunities on this truck to truly put any real heat on the F-150. And this truck better keep an eye in its rearview for the Ram 1500! Despite the awkward styling and limited use of the advanced 10-speed automatic, the all-new Silverado 1500 is a solid option in the full-size pickup truck segment.
Until the regular cab model shows up, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 carries a starting price of $33,695**, which as expected is pricier than base (two-door) versions of the F-150. Once you start checking option boxes, though, things got out of control quickly with this Silverado LT Z71 Crew Cab carrying an as-tested price of $52,205. Sure, that’s a $4,000 savings compared to the sportier RST model we’ve already tested, but it’s also just $2,000 less than the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali. There’s still the LTZ and High Country trim levels above this trim level.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Chevrolet dealership and test drive the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado today!
* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.