The new Chevy Silverado can tackle all the though jobs except convincing more discerning truck buyers to take one home.
I’m a big Spotify fan and because I’m too cheap to spend money to go Premium, I’ve exposed myself to ads and fittingly, there’s one on loop about the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. It goes on about Canadians, and work that needs to get done and how the Silverado will get it done…
All this talk about working trucks, and hard-working, and work, work, work has me thinking about what else truck owners do with their prized possessions. Because let’s face reality: The majority of these big pickups do more than just haul and tow – thing is we seldom ever hear about a GMC Sierra or Ford F-150 driving the kids to soccer practice or taking a big bite out of a trip to Costco.
I put it to you, as an urban-dwelling, non-towing yet often hauling family man with two kids that serving as the family’s principal mode of transportation is easily as important as towing the boat or trailer once or twice a year.
They’re all capable
All the adverts I hear, see or read on these trucks boast how they’re the best at this, the most capable that and other such claims. But the bottom line is that, be it a Ford F-150, a Chevy Silverado or RAM 1500, they can all tow roughly 10,000 lbs. As far as hauling, they can do a couple thousand pounds and as such, they’re all capable.
Their capabilities diverge slightly when it comes to their capability to handle the daily grind. There are numerous required requirements in order to answer the call of the family and to be fair, they all can manage kids, gear, and boring parents with relative ease.
Any crew-cab-configured pick up supplies just as much, or more, interior volume as the average midsize sedan. The beauty is that the cab’s upright-ness makes it easy to roam about on the inside when setting up or storing.
The Silverado’s Crew Cab is absolutely spacious but where GM messed up is up front, more specifically the dashboard. Despite my loaded top-line High Country’s lovely two-tone leather seats, door cards and dash trim, GM has failed to follow through with a sense of occasion and opulence befitting such as expensive unit.
The center-stack comes apart not only for having too many or too few controls, but there are acres of plain matte-black plastic. The ergonomics are good but a less pricey RAM 1500 looks far more upscale where fit, finish and design are concerned.
The RAM offers a spectacular 12-inch screen which should have also found its way in the GM – there’s plenty of room for it. We think we’ve just predicted one of the first upgrades that will be dropped into the GM trucks.
Beyond these issues, the seats are wonderfully comfortable and huge. I did have difficulty finding a sorted driving position where the pedals seemed too far forward in relation to the adjustable steering wheel. In the end though, there is plenty of storage and room for everything and everyone.
On the road
Continuing with the idea that these trucks are meant for far more than work, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 once more slips behind its major rivals. These trucks must now behave like large luxury sedans of yore and RAM and Ford have answered the call.
A comfortable, refined and quiet ride are a must. While the new 2019 Silverado is all these things, it does not deliver the same level of refinement that can now be expected from these vehicles. The suspension suffers the road surface’s imperfections, or in other words, the dampers fail to completely soften the blow. It may seem strange to say but the GM trucks behave more like trucks than the others which is no longer acceptable.
Beyond the still too truck-like driving experience, the Chevy’s got all the powertrain options one can want. My near $80k High Country featured the wonderful 6.2-litre V8. With 420-horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque and accompanying standard 10-speed automatic transmission, the Silverado is massively quick and powerful.
The 6.2-litre is butter-smooth while the 10-speed is faultless no matter the driver’s requirements. Powertrain-wise, the 6.2-litre is on par with the RAM’s 5.7-litre and Ford’s 5.0-litre.
Truck-people have spoken
In the first quarter of 2019, the RAM 1500 outsold the Chevy Silverado, albeit by a slim margin. The reasons for this vary between the two-truck strategy (selling both old and new simultaneously) and heavy incentives. Fact of the matter is that where there was once a gap, the #3 has become the #2 overall.
Once beyond brand loyalty, truck buyers are still looking to get the most out of their money. The average transaction price for a new pickup in the US in 2018 was just shy of $50,000. For this kind of money, buyers can expect the very best of everything, from technology, performance and design. The latter has become key as it speaks volumes to onlookers and owners alike and unfortunately, the controversial front fascia and lacklustre cabin are hurting its appeal. This is yet another reason, we think, why the Silverado has slipped to 3rd place. As you can see, it’s not all about working hard.