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First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss Review

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With eight distinct models in the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado truck lineup offering nearly infinite configurations, there is a Silverado for everyone. For me, and many outdoor adventurers, the Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss Z71 is going to be the right choice.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss
2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss

I recently got a chance to get behind the wheel of a majority of the 2019 Silverado truck lineup in Jackson Hole, Wyo. While the base work trucks and much-anticipated 3-liter diesel engine variations were nowhere to be found, the LT Trail Boss Z71 configuration really stole my heart. It was a lot of fun getting the Trail Boss dirty off road.

Overall, you’re going to notice that the new Silverado trucks are bigger, packed with more technology, and offer impressive fit and finish. And Chevy improved ergonomics throughout the trucks. You’ll also notice — or rather won’t notice — the road noise, as the truck cab is really well insulated from the outside environment.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss
2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss; photo by Bryon Dorr

Chevrolet will offer the 2019 Silverado 1500 from about $30,000 all the way up to $65,000. There is a WIDE range of configurations, features, and luxury appointments on offer with this new pickup.

The Trail Boss starts at about $48,000. The Crew Cab LT model I spent a good bit of time in had a window sticker price of $54,095. Its upgrades mostly consisted of convenience packages, nicer wheels, and a trailer brake controller — all things you’d probably want in this truck.

2019 Chevy Silverado Powertrain

There will be a wide range of engine and transmission options on the 2019 Silverado. The most interesting being a 2.7-liter inline turbo four-cylinder with eight-speed transmission, standard on LT and RST models, and a 3-liter inline six-cylinder diesel with 10-speed transmission, available on LT, RST, LTZ, and High Country models. For now, though, little to no info has been released yet on the new diesel option.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss
Photo by Bryon Dorr

The engine you’ll probably want on your LT Trail Boss Z71 (say that 10 times fast!) is the 6.2-liter V8. But you can’t have it. The only V8 option on the Trail Boss, at least initially, will be the 5.3-liter with an eight-speed transmission. It’s a good engine and smooth transmission. But the 6.2-liter is noticeably stronger, more playful, and comes with a smooth 10-speed transmission. I could spin the tires on other Silverados with the 6.2-liter V8 on command!

I was only able to drive trucks equipped with the two V8 engine options. In both, I noticed a bit of throttle response delay. All 2019 Silverados have a variety of computer-controlled driving modes. The sport and tow/haul modes for sure offer better throttle response than other modes.

Truck Life on the Road

The new Silverado is designed to be more spacious, comfortable, and competent for everyday life. It’s a good daily driver and great road trip machine. The Trail Boss offers all that plus a little more off-road capability and tougher looks.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss

The first thing you might notice climbing into the driver’s seat is the entry/exit assist handle. Typically, that’s something reserved for the passenger side only on many trucks. Once you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ll notice that it has great adjustment, including lumbar, and good support throughout. The bottom cushion is a bit hard for me, but at 170 pounds I’m considerably lighter than the average American truck buyer.

You can set up the front seating configuration of your Silverado from the factory with a center console or a center sixth seat in the front row. The console looks higher-end and provides some nice tech features. The extra seat configuration provides more room for the driver’s right knee and has a storage bin under the bottom cushion. Both are great options. It really comes down to taste and passenger transport needs.

Once behind the wheel and cruising down the road, you’ll notice that the steering is very direct. With that said, I did find it a bit heavy and vague at times.

Most 2019 Silverados will come equipped with a 26-gallon fuel tank. While adequate, that is for sure on the smaller size in the full-size light truck category. But it should still provide well over a 400-mile range on the gas motors, so it won’t be an issue for most.

Off-Road Capability

As I already said, Chevy designed the 2019 Silverado to be an amazing on-road companion for everyday life. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t capable off road, it just means that it will be more at home on pavement than off.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss
Putting the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss to the test; photo by Bryon Dorr

You can outfit the Silverado with the Z71 off-road package, or go all in with the Trail Boss edition to find some off-road capability straight off the showroom floor.

The Z71 off-road equipment package is available on all models. It includes Rancho monotube shocks, Electronic Hill Descent Control, a two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential, front skid plates and a heavy-duty air cleaner. The Trail Boss comes with all the Z71 off-road goodies as well as; a 2-inch lift, Goodyear Duratrac Tires, red front recovery hooks, Z71 badging, the trailering package, and a variety of small tech, comfort, and styling features.

The 2-inch lift for sure improves ground clearance. It is much needed off road with the longer wheelbase of the new truck. The Rancho monotube shocks are okay, but you’re going to want to upgrade at some point if you want real off-road comfort, durability, and control.

The G80 self-engaging rear differential lock is nice to have, but a selectable locker found in the Colorado ZR2, for example, is more desirable for serious off-road endeavors.

The 4×4 controls have been moved to the upper left of the steering wheel on the 2019 Silverado. This is where these controls live on most trucks, so many drivers will appreciate this move on the new Silverado. They are more intuitive in this position and allow for a much more ergonomic center stack location for the electric brake controller module.

You can build a Silverado 4×4 with a single-speed transfer case, but know the Trail Boss only comes with a two-speed transfer case. The single-speed transfer case means you won’t have low-range gearing.

You will, however, get Chevrolet’s new Terrain Mode. This new system provides full-time computer-controlled braking, allowing for easy one-pedal off-road driving. Terrain Mode is basically a simulated low range, which also makes slow off-road driving that much easier for everyone. Expect to see this computer wizardry on all Silverado 4x4s in the future, including on two-speed transfer case models.

Chevy ‘Trail Boss’ Luxury

Modern truck buyers demand a certain level of luxury, especially when you get in the $50,000-plus price range. Chevrolet has listened and offers a host of luxury appointments on the 2019 Silverado.

Let’s start with the heated and cooled seat options. Both options are available on both the leather and cloth interiors. My only gripe is that the cooling fans in the seats, especially on the lower cushion, aren’t very powerful.

Maybe the ultimate in lazy/luxury appointment on a truck like this is the option to have the tailgate go both down and up at the touch of a button. Drop the tailgate from a button inside the cab, on the key fob, or on the tailgate itself. You can also get it with an optional power-assisted up option, which is actually quite slick.


Chevy packed the new Silverado with a myriad of technology features modern customers demand with any new vehicle purchase. The brand invested heavily to make sure it loaded its new offering with the latest technology.

The infotainment screen on the center stack, measuring up to 8 inches wide, is new and even easier to navigate than previous generations. The system looks very similar to the current Silverado pickup. It packs more features and has cleaner menus. Being able to navigate the system with only a few touches is key, as some systems are way too distracting and require lots of touches to get through the menus.

In the new infotainment system, you’ll get Apple Car Play, Android Auto, a trailering app (which you can also put on your smartphone), a hitch view camera, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, climate controls in-screen and through buttons/dials, and microphones for both driver and passenger for clearer hands-free phone calls.

One thing Chevrolet finally added to the Silverado is push-button start. This feature is expected on modern vehicles at this point. Not expected on a pickup, however, is a quality heads-up display (HUD). The 2019 Silverado has an optional class-exclusive HUD that’s easy to read and configure. I expect the competition to pick up the technology soon.

There are three levels of stereo on offer in the Silverado lineup. Bose systems are the top two. I experienced both of the top Bose systems and have to say I was a bit disappointed. The audio was clean enough, but it lacked the full range of sound, especially thumping bass, that you’d expect from a modern stereo.

2019 Silverado: Final Thoughts

The 2019 Silverado is a great truck that will be easy to live with every day. The seats are comfortable, and there’s a ton of storage room everywhere in this truck. The massive cargo volume in the truck bed is a truly impressive new feature unrivaled by the competition.

If you want to go off road in your new Silverado, you’re going to want everything the Z71 package has on offer. You might also appreciate the good looks and added features that come with the Trail Boss model.

If I were to buy this truck, I’d get a Trail Boss. But I’d quickly upgrade the shocks and fit a larger tire. I’d also upgrade to the heated and cooled leather seats, both for comfort and ease of cleanup. And I’d choose the V8 option over the I4. But I’d also be sure to test drive the new inline six-cylinder diesel option first.

Depending on upgrade charges and final specifications, the diesel might be the icing on the cake for this already impressive truck.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss review
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss off road; photo by Bryon Dorr

With the wide range of models on offer in the Silverado 1500 lineup, you’re sure to find one to fit your needs, desires, and style. Tell us what you think: How would you build your 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500?

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