First drive: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado in the UAE
Chevrolet recently launched the all-new 2019 Silverado pickup truck in the Middle East, as well as adding two exclusive models just for our region. The new Silverado is not only longer, wider and taller than the outgoing model, it is also lighter thanks to the partial use of aluminium for the first time in its construction.
The Silverado Trail Boss and Silverado RST trims will be available in a regular-cab standard-bed body style exclusively in the GCC. The regular-cab Silverado has been a popular option as a lifestyle truck, apparently selling more than the crew-cab version in some markets, hence the investment in unique models for the Arab market. All models are available as 4-door crew-cab versions except the basic work truck trim.
Looking at the Silverado, it certainly has an imposing front fascia. The Trail Boss looked the meanest of the bunch, getting rid of all the chrome from the front and replacing it with just a sea of black. The RST gets body-coloured bumpers and grille. The Work Truck (WT) trim has deliberately been given a simpler front grille and bumper to differentiate from the higher trims.
The larger grille is not just all show either as it provides better cooling to the engine, while some of the higher models get aero shutters as well, which improves aerodynamics. The sides and the rear look more traditional Silverado, with the steps in the bumper corners made even deeper now for easier access to the bed.
The base engine is a 4.3-litre V6 engine found only in the WT, which produces 285 hp and 413 Nm of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The regular cab models, available in WT, LT, Trail Boss and RST trims, can be had with a 5.3-litre V8 connected to a 6-speed automatic. This motor churns out 355 hp and 518 Nm of torque.
The crew cab models, which includes the LT, Trail Boss, RST and LTZ, get the 5.3-litre with a newer 8-speed automatic, along with “Dynamic Fuel Management” which can cut down the number of cylinders running to just two when extra power is not needed.
The top 6.2-litre, available only in the top High Country trim, also gets the dynamic fuel management system, along with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. This engine produces 420 hp and 624 Nm of torque.
Another brand new intro to the lineup is a 2.7-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. This engine produces 310 hp and 471 Nm of torque, and is standard on the LT and RST models.
The 5.3-litre V8 is nice and torquey with acceleration inputs quite responsive when we drove the RST version. The 6.2-litre High Country stood out for us though, providing more than adequate power to move its 2.5-ton weight. Gear shifts are smooth enough, and there is not much delay when shifting using the manual mode. Both engines feature cylinder-deactivation to save fuel, and we hardly noticed it in action.
We drove a regular cab with the 2.7-litre turbo engine and it wasn’t too bad either on the road. We did a short basic off-road course track with all three engines and they all managed fine.
The ride quality on road was more or less acceptable on the crew cab but expectedly bumpier in the regular cab due to the shorter wheelbase. Interior noise is low, with engine noise from the V8 only filtering through under hard acceleration. Wind noise becomes apparent at speeds above 90 kph.
Looking inside, the interior hasn’t changed much from the outgoing model. Chevrolet claims that according to their research with focus groups around the world, the results overwhelmingly said they were happy with the interior.
Still, some improvements have been made, along with additional equipment. The crew cab models now get rear A/C vents, which was the main concern from Middle East customers. Also, deactivation of the side airbags has been made easier. It is now just a button in the centre console which you just hold for 8 seconds to deactivate. Another new interesting feature is the wireless charging option with cooling. This helps to keep the phone battery cool, so the phone does not slow down charging due to heating up.
In the regular cab, there is just about room behind the seat to keep a small backpack. The crew cab variant is very spacious for rear passengers, as the new model adds an additional 3-inches of legroom over the outgoing model. In the higher trims, the rearview mirror activates as a backup camera, which Chevrolet claim has a 300-percent wider view than a normal mirror.
A host of safety features are available on the new Silverado. Some of the optional equipment include lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitor, forward collision alert, low speed forward automatic braking, front pedestrian braking, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear park assist, and safety seat alert system which send haptic seat-bottom vibrations instead of audio alerts.
The Chevrolet Silverado has come at the right time in the market, with the recent introductions of the all-new RAM 1500 (only in crew cab form) and the facelifted Ford F-150. The new look and updated tech should continue to keep it a segment-leader in the lifestyle truck market thanks to its competitive pricing and appealing regular cab offerings.
Photos by GM Middle East.