2019 Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss First Drive
Chevrolet upped it's game this year with the launch of the all-new 2019 Silverado. While we haven't had a chance to give it the love it deserves, we did get a chance to play with it for a few hours earlier this fall. Our route was an odd one for a vehicle designed for dirty and dusty back roads though. Instead of going off road, we got the opportunity to experience how it handles on pavement, winding our way through LA traffic from Santa Monica up into the mountains and canyon roads of Malibu. All of this, while hauling a trailer loaded with a RZR.
The Silverado Trail Boss comes in two flavors - LT and Custom, with the principal differences being the rear axle ratio and available engine and transmission options. While the LT Trail Boss features a standard 3.23 rear axle ratio, 5.3L EcoTec3 engine with Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM), paired to a 8-speed automatic, the Custom Trail Boss steps down from that. Instead, you get a standard 3.42 rear axle ratio, 4.3L EcoTec3 v6, paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
There are a few cosmetic features as well, such as the dual-outlet exhaust, full-size spare steel wheel with black finish, and black bowtie on the front grille found only on the LT Trail Boss.
The Silverado Custom Trail Boss with Crew Cab and Standard Bed starts at $43,695 vs the LT at $50,095 (both with no options).
The first time you see the new 2019 Silverado, you'll notice that it has a much more aggressive posture. This is especially true for the Trail Boss, which boasts 18" Black Wheels with Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac Off-Road tires and a 2-inch lift as part of the Z71 Off-Road Package that also includes locking rear differential, along with skid plates and Rancho shocks.
While we sadly didn't get a chance to test out the suspension aside from street driving, I was excited to see that Chevrolet continues to pay attention to tires. Like with the ZR2 and sadly unlike most of their competitors they've included rubber here that matches the rest of the vehicle. While I'm sure they could have saved a few MPGs by going with all-weather tires, I appreciate that a buyer wouldn't have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars replacing their tires just to bring it up to spec with the rest of the truck. This is a truck meant for working hard and playing harder and these tires are up to the task at hand.
With regard to Fuel Economy and towing, the LT Trail Boss gets 15/20 mpg and 9,400 lbs of towing capacity with the 4WD Crew Cab on a standard bed. With the 5.3L V8, the engine is cranking out 355 hp and 383 lbft of torque.
While our load was probably less than 4,000 pounds, I found the ride - including stopping and starting to be much easier than I expected it to be. Unlike those "start and stop" fuel management systems of the past where the engine literally shuts down at a stop light, the DFM system here was smooth as silk. In fact, while in the past systems that I had experienced were generally 0, 4, or 8 cylinders active - this one has 17 different patterns to dynamically optimize for power delivery and efficiency.
This ease was equally true for driving in stop and go traffic as it was climbing hills and I'm sure real benefits will be evident on a long road trip while cruising on the highway.
Overall, this 2019 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss is a great addition to the world of off road trucks and I can't wait to take it for a spin on some trails as soon as my number comes up in the long list of media waiting in line for their turn to test it out!
- Written by James Hills
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