What we learned about the 2019 Silverado at the 2018 Detroit auto show
How’d Chevy hog out almost 7 inches of extra bed width without widening the bodywork? (Fun fact—trucks over 80.0 inches wide need clearance lights like the Raptor’s, so that’s how wide most of them are.) By changing the construction method. Old Silverados stamped the inner walls and floor as one big U-shaped piece, and there was a limit to how deep the steel could be drawn without tearing (mostly around the wheelwells). Now the walls and floor panel are three different stampings, so they can go way deeper. Fear not, there’s still plenty of air between the inner and outer panel, so pointy cargo flying around in the box shouldn’t dimple the exterior. Oh, and the 110-volt outlet back there can handle 400 watts (think circular saw).
Chevy’s signature corner bumper steps are now tall enough to accommodate a work boot and long enough to allow a better reach further forward into the bed. They also incorporate the side blind-zone radar sensors. Keeping these sensors out of the taillights (where Ford locates them) makes them WAY less expensive, and gives the stylists more latitude in sculpting the truck’s light signature.
Memorial Gurney Flap
The new Silverado’s drag coefficient is said to be improved by 7 percent, and one way of achieving this is this subtle (but rugged, to support oversized lumber that might rest on it) wickerbill or lip spoiler. This device is generally named for racing legend Dan Gurney, who proved its usefulness at improving aerodynamics in the early 1970s.
What’s a CHoiler? In Chevy Silveradospeak it’s a center high-mount stop light (CHMSL) that incorporates a spoiler. Rather than stamping the rear of the cab roof in sheet metal, this CHoiler is a molded plastic part so that the designers were free to sculpt difficult-to-stamp shapes into it. This design “talks” to the tailgate Gurney flap, managing airflow over the truck and contributing to the 7-percent drag-coefficient improvement.
Air Dam and Curtains
As on our long-term Colorado, the front air dam can be removed for off-roading, but customers may not find themselves doing so very often. Moving the front wheels 2 inches forward and trimming front overhang by that same amount greatly improves the truck’s approach angle even with it in place. Note that the front-end aero tricks include air curtains to smoothly route air across the spinning front wheels and tires.
1 Will Get You 3
The 4 inches of additional wheelbase obtained by pushing the axles toward the ends of the truck are apportioned like this: 2 inches in the engine compartment, 1 in the cab, and 1 in the bed. That extra inch inside becomes 3 inches of added rear legroom, thanks to some clever packaging. Raising the roof allowed the front seats to move up and forward without skimping on front legroom. Then a new, slimmer rear seat design lets it package much closer to the rear wall of the cab. Voila—ample knee room for all, even with the front seats slid fully rearward.
Up with Arms
Increasing the wheelbase by 4 inches should have increased the turning circle radius, further complicating the task of parking a Silverado. But redesigning the front suspension prevented this. The old upper control arm packaged down within the wheel area, and limited the amount the front wheels could turn. Lifting that control arm to above the wheel allows for greater steering angles (even on 4WD models) and hence smaller turn circles.
Surprise and delight: there’s room to store small items in the outboard rear seatbacks. The compartments aren’t very deep, but the seatback comfort doesn’t suffer either. Lift the rear seat cushions, and there’s a nice walled off area that can corral your rifle or collapsed fishing column. Need to carry a big bulky item on the floor instead? No worries—the front and side walls of this cubby remove.
Liberty and Rear A/C for All
Even the meanest, cheapest Silverado work trucks with a back seat will feature rear air conditioning ducts in the center console. This top-spec model also demonstrates the dual-format USB charging/content delivery options of normal and Type C connectors that are coming soon.