Chevrolet Truck’s centennial celebration might end with a full-size bang. Not long after Chevrolet starts its second century of building trucks, the next-generation Silverado will make its debut. Likely arriving for the 2019 model year, the next Silverado will up its game in performance and capability after a generation that never really wowed us. During 2014 Truck of the Year testing, we said the then-new model only caught up to the competition in some ways but didn’t even do that in other ways.
Chevrolet’s midsize Colorado has twice earned our Truck of the Year calipers, and if you’re as curious as we are about the 2019 Silverado, keep reading for our best guesses (the outgoing Silverado is pictured below).
Not a Hard Decision
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will stick with a steel body, giving it an advantage for traditionalists not convinced by Ford’s expensive decision to build the F-150 with weight-reducing aluminum. Adding aluminum to development would have increased cost, diverting money that otherwise could be invested back in updated powertrains.
10 for All?
Speaking of updated powertrains, don’t be surprised to see Chevrolet use a 10-speed automatic transmission for V-6 and V-8 gas-powered engine options. Currently, the 2018 Silverado’s 4.3-liter V-6 produces 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque—that’s more torque than the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 but less horsepower than those two rivals. That engine or the more volume-oriented 5.3-liter V-8 might get downsized and add turbochargers, but the 6.2-liter V-8 should continue, giving Chevrolet a powertrain option with well over 400 hp.
A mild hybrid model is likely to make its return on the next-gen Silverado (yes, the eAssist model still exists), but Silverado customers looking for the best marriage of efficiency with capability might be more interested in …
Ford has confirmed a diesel-powered F-150 is on the way, and at Motor Trend, we’ve been impressed by the diesel on the Ram 1500, which was our 2013 and 2014 Truck of the Year. Chevrolet has been introducing diesels across its lineup, adding a 2.8-liter unit on the Colorado, and debuting diesel variants of the Cruze sedan and Equinox crossover. A Silverado diesel for the 2019 or 2020 model year is a real possibility.
But Will it Look Like a Camaro?
In a segment as important to Chevrolet as the full-size truck, the Silverado’s visual updates will clearly establish the 2019 model as new but maintain the current model’s boxy appeal. The split headlight design detail should return, complemented by a more modern LED daytime running light treatment. Those LED daytime running lights, by the way, could be paired with HID headlights on base models—already standard on every 2018 Silverado—or D-Optic LED headlights on higher trims (the feature made its debut on the 2018 Traverse). Updated headlights might improve the current Silverado’s IIHS headlight rating of Poor; the Ram 1500’s ratings go up to Marginal (one rating higher), and the 2018 F-150 also gets a Poor rating.
Ready to Haul
Ford increased the maximum towing capacity on the 2018 F-150 to 13,200 pounds, and the 2018 Silverado already maxes out at an impressive 12,500 pounds. Putting aside the omnipresent battle for top-towing bragging rights, we hope most engine/cab configurations on the 2019 Silverado get a little boost, too.
Rebel, Raptor, and …
Chevrolet offers the Z71 package for those who want more off-road capability than a standard four-wheel-drive system can provide, but the automaker might prepare an even more capable, halo-worthy Silverado model in the next couple years. Ram has the Rebel and Ford the Raptor; with the Colorado ZR2 leading Chevy’s charge in the midsize segment, could a full-size off-road offering be far behind?
When Chevrolet introduced the high-end Silverado High Country model, the automaker originally told us it was trying to fill the space between LTZ and the GMC Sierra Denali trim (a pre-refresh 2014 model is shown here). For the new Silverado, we’re curious to see if that will remain the strategy. Ford already offers three F-150 trims with base prices above $50,000, with the Limited cresting $60,000. Along with general improvements to the Silverado’s overall level of refinement, we expect Chevrolet’s luxury trim—or trims—to reach higher.
The new Silverado could offer a 360-degree multicamera system on higher trims, as well as the automaker’s rear camera mirror.
The outgoing Silverado hasn’t exactly been a Motor Trend favorite, placing third in a 2014 comparison against a Ram 1500 and Ford F-150. Even so, as Chevrolet celebrates an entire century of building trucks, we’re eager to see what the automaker has planned for the 2019 Silverado.