The fully redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 made a big splash when it was first revealed, and since then we’ve had a chance to drive versions of it all over the country in a variety of scenarios, including towing, hauling a heavy payload, on a drag strip, over highways and winding roads, and even off-road.
There’s a lot to like about the new Silverado, starting with just how much choice it offers consumers. The upgrades weren’t just under the hood, as the interior also received attention from Chevrolet engineers and designers. Were those upgrades enough to make it stand out in a crowded field that also includes an all-new half-ton offering from Ram?
To help you decide that for yourself, here are four things we like about the new Silverado 1500 — and three things we think could be better:
Things We Like
With eight trim levels, six engine choices (eventually), three cab styles and three bed lengths, there’s a Silverado 1500 to suit just about everyone’s needs. Functional models like the Work Truck and Custom trims may largely end up with fleets and small businesses, but there’s still a mid-level selection among the LT, RST and LT Trail Boss for those not looking to spend the significant coin for the LTZ or High Country models.
The most powerful engine option for the Silverado is the 6.2-liter V-8 engine with dynamic fuel management that produces 420 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque. While a Silverado placed just second in measured drag-strip testing during the 2018 Best Half-Ton Truck Challenge from Cars.com sister site PickupTrucks.com, it was bested only by its nearly identical sibling, a GMC Sierra 1500 with the same engine and transmission but a slightly different rear axle ratio. The power produced by the 6.2-liter is immense and turns the Silverado 1500 into a bit of a sport truck no matter the equipment.
The new Ford-GM developed 10-speed automatic available in the Silverado 1500 is also stellar, snapping off quick shifts while being willing to hold onto lower gears when the throttle gets mashed. The addition of adaptive transmission settings to the 10-speed, particularly the Sport mode, adds to the hot-rod feel of the 6.2-powered versions.
The new suspension on the redesigned Silverado 1500 is also impressive, improving the truck’s handling chops considerably. But don’t let its sporty feel fool you; remember that this is still a truck, so lower your expectations for stellar handling accordingly. Still, it does handle much more nimbly than its predecessor. Improved steering feel and improved power application out of corners help, too.
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Things We Don’t
1. Interior Quality
The Silverado 1500’s interior quality, particularly on higher trims, is just not as good as what can be found in the Ford F-150 or Ram 1500. That’s not to say that the Silverado 1500’s cabin is a terrible place to be — far from it, in fact, and longtime Silverado owners will be impressed by the upgrades. But top trim F-150s and especially Ram 1500s beat the Silverado in terms of materials and quality, and even GM’s ostensibly nicer GMC Sierra 1500 lags behind those two.
2. Braking Feel
The same can be said of the new Silverado’s braking feel, which is also much improved but not without issue. In our review, we noted: “Brake-pedal feel is vastly improved, delivering a much stronger initial bite at the beginning of the pedal travel and a solidly progressive feel as foot force increases. We should note, however, that some of our editors still found the brake-pedal feel a bit too numb (a common criticism of past Chevy half tons), blaming the new brake-by-wire system and software. Many of those complaints went away or lessened when more weight was loaded into the trucks during our various drives.”
3. Evolution Over Revolution
One of the chief concerns about the new Silverado 1500 and its complete redesign is whether it really goes far enough. A key factor in pickup truck ownership and purchasing is brand loyalty, and it doesn’t feel like the redesign does enough to convince Ford or Ram owners that the grass is greener in the Bow-Tie brand’s pasture. Silverado loyalists are likely to be impressed — though the exterior look remains polarizing — but owners of other makes may not be as wowed.
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