GM is introducing an “all new” line of Chevrolet Silverado pickups for the 2019 model year. And not to forget, its cousin, the GMC brand, is also introducing “next generation” Sierras. While both versions get some overall exterior and interior design changes along with some specific options unique to each brand, the basic truck and drivetrain are the same.
Arguably one of the most notable additions will be the 3.0 litre in-line, six-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine, which means diesel power is now available in both the HD models, and Silverado and Sierra 1500 trucks.
The new 3.0 litre Duramax engine, which will be built at GM’s Flint, Michigan, plant, gets paired to a new Hydra-matic 10-speed automatic transmission (as does the 6.2 litre). In all there are a total of six different engine options.
And like both of the other Detroit Three automakers (Ford and Ram) have done, GM has made the Silverado lighter. 450 pounds (204 kilograms) lighter, to be exact.
“It has a longer wheelbase, more passenger and cargo volume, and yet, thanks to our mixed materials strategy and mass reduction expertise, the new truck is 450 pounds lighter than the current model,” said Mark Reuss, executive VP of global product development, purchasing and supply chain.
The Sierra sheds a little less at 360 pounds (163 kilograms).
But that said, it looks like GM can still criticize Ford’s F150 aluminum bed floor and drop a heavy toolbox through it on those TV commercials. GM will use “higher strength steel” on Silverado bed floors. But GM will use aluminum components too, in places such as the forged upper control arms on the suspension.
One notable use of alternative materials on the Sierra only is the CarbonPro carbon fibre box, which uses that material on the inner panels and floor. Carbon fibre can be significantly stronger than an equal amount of steel by weight.
“In 116 years of making GMC pickup trucks, our industry-first carbon-fibre box is the toughest and most durable pickup box we have ever made,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC.
The trucks grow a bit for 2019 as well, getting a 3.9-inch (100 millimetre) longer wheelbase and an overall length increase of 1.6 inches (41 millimetres). The cabs get stretched too, offering three additional inches of rear seat legroom.
Silverados will bet a fully boxed steel frame that is 40 pounds lighter than the previous design but has 10 per cent more torsional rigidity.
To improve fuel mileage numbers, the new 5.3L and 6.2L V-8s will get Dynamic Fuel Management, which actively shuts off any number of cylinders, in a variety of combinations, depending on immediate needs to optimize fuel economy. This, claims GM, will result in instant power when called for. And although GM has had a cylinder shut-off system on earlier models, the company claims this version of the technology is an industry first.
2019 sees a throwback design feature from ‘50s and ‘60s models incorporated into the new Silverados: “Chevrolet” is stamped into the tailgate for that nostalgic touch. But it will also pair that retro vibe with some modern consumer preferences like dual exhaust and available 33-inch diameter tires as options.
Of course, there are the usual digital components like onboard Wi-Fi and, well, all the other technology stuff.
There will also be a brand new trim level for 2019 Silverados, the Custom Trailboss. It gets a two-inch suspension lift, the Z71 off-road package and a spiffy set of Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires.
As usual, next year’s models will go into production this fall.