Story and photos by Mark Elias. Additional photography courtesy of General Motors.
All cards were on the table as Chevrolet rolled out their 2019 offerings in Sin City — Las Vegas, Nevada. There was virtually something for every customer as the "bow tie brand" showed off a new Spark, Cruze, Malibu and Camaro. Mind you, they’re not all new cars, but instead, mid-cycle refreshes of some of their existing best-sellers.
And lest anyone who’s a fan of the brand’s trucks feel left out, company brass were there to reiterate how fully-involved they were with their truck offerings. Constantly evolving, there’s a 3-truck strategy, including the mid-size Colorado, the half-ton Silverado LD (Light Duty) and the Full-size HD offerings, the Silverado HD (Heavy Duty) and Silverado 6500HD Ultra Heavy Duty.
Chevy is celebrating 100 years of trucks and has a history that stretches back to over 85-million trucks sold since they started the lineup. This latest venture was introduced at the State Fair of Texas during the reveal of the new Silverado line, with eight models possessing "distinct personalities." Upgrades for 2019 (available in Fall 2018) included a new material strategy that Chevy Truck marketing director Sandor Piszar says has what they are calling the "most functional standard bed." It now uses a stronger grade of high-strength steel, and along the way has managed to shed 450 pounds over the current Silverado.
Other new features include a bed that has been widened by seven inches for more cargo volume. It now features 21 tie downs, and an available 120-volt power outlet in the bed. Also new on the 2019 Silverados are an LED task light and a bigger bumper step than before to better accommodate work boots. Higher-end models can include an available power tailgate, with power retraction as well as power release. The tailgate can be operated by buttons on the instrument panel, tailgate or key fob.
Focus On Cars
With everyone seemingly buying Sport Utility and Crossover vehicles, you’d think that most manufacturers were ready to give up the ghost on the lowly passenger car. But not so fast — the company pointed out that four million passenger cars were sold in 2017 and another four million are projected to be sold in 2018. With compact and mid-size cars accounting for around 25 percent of the market, the brand doubled down, at least when it came time for their 2019 mid-cycle refresh.
Chevy realizes that the 2019 Chevrolet Spark mini-car typically is, for new and first-time buyers, the portal into the rest of the company’s product portfolio. As a result, it too constantly needs to be refreshed. The 2019 version receives a tidying up from front to rear, including a new front fascia and grille. Technology wise, the Spark will have an available low-speed front automatic braking option to hopefully prevent an impending shunt, as well as an upgrade to the Chevy Infotainment 3 system. New wheels and colors, along with updated lighting treatments, will help to keep it visible in an increasingly crowded field.
It continues to be powered by a 1.4-liter DOHC engine, and a choice of continuously variable or manual transmission.
The 2019 Cherolet Cruze has the distinction of being the brand’s best-selling car. It, too, receives a new front fascia for a more premium look, with new wheels and colors, along with a few new variations on trim levels. New for the Cruze Hatchback is an LS model, complete with an option package with improved wheels, cruise control, and a remote start fob. For 2019, the RS model will include a blackout appearance package. Chevy has consolidated the Cruze lineup to include fewer build combinations for more ordering simplicity.
Inside, it will feature a new 7-inch touchscreen display and automatic climate control, along with a remote key fob starter which is standard on the LT and Premier trim levels.
The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu returns with a new, more involved grille, with chrome accents, a new front and rear fascia, new wheels, colors and new lighting treatments. They have expanded the lineup to now include a new RS model to slot in with other RS models throughout the Chevy lineup. Butched-up, the Malibu RS will bring a certain performance-oriented look at what company officials say is a "competitive price." Key features include a black grille with a black "bowtie," 18-in wheels, a spoiler, dual exhaust finishers and a leather appointed steering wheel and shifter lever. Starting at around $25,000, it will slot between the Malibu LS and LT versions.
New for 2019, the Malibu will feature a standard 8-in diagonal touchscreen that operates around the new Infotainment 3 platform. A new continuously variable transmission is now mated to the 1.5-liter turbo engine, while the 2.0-liter Turbo with 9-speed automatic transmission continues to power the Malibu Premier.
A critical part of the Chevy performance portfolio, the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro slots in just below the brand’s Corvette Stingray halo car. As the faithful will likely not sit around to be content with simple upgrades like new paint options, brand officials see the need for constant vehicular improvement. For 2019, these will include the 2.0T with 1LE Track Package. Powered by a version of General Motors’ 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and available exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission, it will include plenty of go-fast parts from the big-brother 1LE parts bins, including the FE3 suspension from the V6 1LE.
The rest of the Camaro lineup receives unique and new front fascias and hoods for the LS/LT RS and SS trim levels. The most radical of the bunch is the grille found on the 2019 Camaro SS. Perhaps inspired by recent "spindle-style" grilles, it includes a "flowtie" open bowtie emblem optimized for increased airflow and aero-enhancing air curtains, specific headlamps with a new LED signature and an extractor-style hood. Still, if we were gamblers, we’d bet on the grille found on the Camaro RS.
The Camaro’s rear fascias have been redone as well, and now include new LED taillights. Of course, there are the requisite new colors and new 20-in wheels, but there’ll also be a new LS model that will be priced starting at $26,000. The SS performance model will be available with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which includes a racing-inspired launch control and line lock for standing-start accuracy.
More safety content is included as well. In an answer to complaints about compromised rear visibility, the Camaro now offers a new rear camera mirror with up to 270-degrees of wide view. It joins an available forward-collision warning system to alert of an anticipated hit. On the technology front, the new Camaro includes the new Chevrolet Infotainment 3 audio system.
To gain access to this information, Autotrader attended an event sponsored by the vehicle’s manufacturer.