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2019 Chevrolet Silverado: Why Chevy Pickups Are Still Important

When I was a kid, my Dad had a 1952 Chevrolet pickup. It was already 25 years old by then, but my dad used it to drive to the handball courts at Long Beach City College every Saturday morning. He’d play handball for a few hours and we’d mess around doing kid stuff like smashing ants, playing dodge-ball or leaping off the fence onto the school’s high-jump mats. Then, trucks were primarily for work. Today, it’s a whole different story — and the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado wants to tell it.

Recently, Cox Automotive (the parent company to Autotrader) produced a series of slides on the topic of automotive sales, popularity by region and even a "Hot or Not" list by brand. At Autotrader, we made our own list of hot brands for 2018.

Room To Grow

Surprise! Trucks are still popular and are the best-selling vehicle type in many areas of the country with many different types of consumers. Chevrolet sold nearly 600,000 Silverados in 2017. Still, it feels like the Chevy Silverado gets less attention than the Ford F-150, simply because the Ford typically sells better. Truth is, the Silverado has been a great truck for a long time. In 2014, when the truck was redesigned, we said, "The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is the best truck on the market."

Naturally, when Chevy announced the introduction of an all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado at the North American International Auto Show, I had to be there to see it in person. First, here are a few notable points about the new truck:

  • 450 lbs lighter, depending on the version and trim level.
  • Six engine/transmission choices, including an inline 6-cylinder diesel
  • Eight models, so truck buyers can get the look or equipment that suits them
  • Best-in-class cargo volume in every bed length

One of the problems truck makers face is how to differentiate the line of trucks given the high volume. Eight models should help. Making their truck look different is something F-150, Ram and Silverado owners have been doing for years, mostly through aftermarket wheels and accessories. That will likely continue, but with new versions like the Custom Trailboss, RST and LT Trailboss, buyers can get something that feels unique without worrying about the warranty or cheesy look of some aftermarket pieces.

Chevrolet has been building pickups for more than 100 years. In that time, they’ve pioneered many features we take for granted today. As a side note, if you haven’t seen Chevrolet’s impressive truck display at the HQ building in Detroit, check it out. They have several cool old Chevy trucks that essentially look like new.

Big Looks

For 2019, crew-cab models get an extra three inches of rear seat leg room, and even the familiar gasoline-powered V8s get re-worked. But Chevy isn’t backing down from the use of steel. The bed has what they call a "higher strength steel floor." However, the truck does have some aluminum. Most notably the doors, hood and tailgate.

The one thing I can’t get past is that I just don’t like the way the new truck looks up front. I like the look of the 2014 model better. I get that the 2019 looks more modern and/or tougher or maybe even more capable, but I still prefer the clean lines of the previous version and the older trucks — many of which were on display at the truck’s unveiling.

But that look on the new truck is no accident. Tim Herrick is the chief engineer on the 2019 Silverado, and he says it’s nearly as important for a truck to look capable as it is for the truck to have actual truck-like abilities. Herrick said simply, "We want it to look powerful." Look at the thickness up front and around the hood — that’s definitely communicating a certain personality. But some appearance items have a practical purpose, too. Herrick added, "Having the wheels pushed out to the corners gives a strong, agile appearance. A short front and rear overhang helps off-road too."

One thing I really like about the new truck is the badges on the front fenders — it’s the kind of retro feel that nods at the Silverado’s history without getting bogged down in themes from yesteryear. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if I think the new truck looks too modern or cluttered — Chevrolet is still going to sell a bunch of them. More than Ford? Maybe.

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