2019 Chevrolet Silverado: lighter, stronger, and smarter

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss

It was a helicopter that delivered our first look at the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, but General Motors’ best-selling pickup was really delivered on the wind of change.

The new Chevy Silverado pickup broke cover Saturday night ahead of the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and gave us our first in-depth look at the next-generation truck.

Along with sharper lines and shaplier sheet metal, the Chevy Silverado boasts more fuel-saving features than the last iteration, starting with a diet that shed 450 pounds from the overall mass, including 88 pounds cut from the frame alone. An available 3.0-liter turbodiesel will be available in the Silverado 1500 later, officials said.

Engineers at Chevy used weight-saving materials throughout the pickup, including extensive use of high-strength steel for much of the body structure, including a roll-formed bed that’s 7 inches wider. Chevy also used aluminum in the hood, doors and other small panels to shed more weight for better fuel efficiency.

Under its skin, the pickup uses more high-strength steel in its ladder frame for weight savings and a 10-percent stiffer body.

Like the current pickup, the Chevy Silverado will be available in myriad configurations, including regular cab, extended cab, and four-door crew cab, with an improved short and long beds among them. Last week, Chevy announced it would increase production of its crew cab body style to meet buyer demand.

A new inline-6 turbodiesel will be offered in the Silverado, which Chevrolet will brand Duramax. Officials at GM didn’t disclose power or fuel economy figures but said the diesel engine would be among the tops of its class, which includes Ram, Ford, and Nissan.

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Two V-8 engines return to satisfy traditional truck buyers looking for a V-8 rumble. Chevrolet said the 5.3-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter engines will be offered in the Silverado and would include cylinder shutdown technology that could deactivate up to seven of the truck’s eight cylinders.

Chevrolet will offer the new Silverado in a dizzying eight trim levels, including the new LT Trailboss version that made its debut in Texas. Other trim variants include WT, Custom, LT, LTZ, Custom Trailboss, and High Country.

The Trailboss represents the top off-roader for Chevy and sports a 2-inch factory lift, chunkier tires, and the Z71’s suspension. It’s Chevy’s closest competitor to the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 Rebel.

From the outside, the Chevy Silverado sports squintier headlights and an updated front fascia that changes with trim levels. The new Silverado skips the squared-off wheel flares from the previous generation and door-mounted side mirrors that should cut a more efficient hole in the wind.

The tailgate gets “Chevrolet” stamped across the back, which returns for the first time since the 1990s.

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