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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500

      ...Trying to figure out why GM's new trucks aren't doing so well in the sales charts...

    The news about the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra have been constant barrage about how they aren’t doing so well in the sales charts. In fact, Ram has taken second place in overall truck sales from the Silverado. General Motors is quick to point that Ram has been increasing amount of money on the hoods of the 2019 Ram 1500, along with the last-generation model being sold alongside. But could there be more to this slump? What if the new Silverado and Sierra didn’t move the needle as far as the competition?

    The new Silverado and Sierra continue to separate from one another in exterior design. The basic shape may be the same, but it is the details where the two begin to develop their own identities. On the Sierra, it goes for some polarization with its gaping maw of a grille and c-shaped headlights. Chevrolet is a bit more restrained with the Silverado featuring a split bar grille and separate headlight housings. More differences can be seen turning to the side as the Silverado has slightly more pronounced fenders than the Sierra.

    Both trucks arrived in their off-road trims: Trail Boss for the Silverado and AT4 for the Sierra. This is denoted by two-inch lift for the suspension, blacked-out trim pieces, and meaty off-road tires featuring some sharp-looking wheels. I tend not to like off-road models as they go overboard with the “LOOK AT ME” bits placed on it, which I get why a number of buyers absolutely love it. But the Trail Boss and AT4 find that nice point where they look the business without being too shouty about it.

    GMC is also trying to set itself apart in terms of the tailgate. My Sierra AT4 tester came equipped with the MultiPro tailgate which offers “six functions and positions.” They include, 

    • Primary Gate (Full Tailgate)
    • Primary Gate Load Stop: Panel that holds longer items in the bed
    • Easy Access: Flip the inner part of the tailgate to allow for better access for items in the bed
    • Step to allow for easy entry and exit from the bed
    • Inner Gate with Load Stop
    • Inner Gate as a work surface

    You will not find a physical tailgate handle. Instead, there are two buttons that sit between the backup camera. The top button releases the inner gate, while the bottom allows the full tailgate to open. Opening the inner gate wasn’t as smooth as the full tailgate, feeling like it was sticking at points. A lot of this I would attribute to cold temperatures during the week. Despite this issue, having the inner tailgate give way to allow for better access to the bed and a step does give a unique selling point. I do wonder how will this tailgate design hold-up in the long run.

    Moving inside, GM is still focusing on functional and practical aspects. This is evident with the large knobs and buttons controlling various functions, and a comprehensive gauge cluster. But this approach does put both trucks behind the pack in terms of interior design and materials when compared against Ford and Ram. I had to do a double-take getting inside the Silverado for the first time as the dashboard really didn’t change that much aside from the colors and slightly altered buttons. This isn’t helped by some of the material choices which look and feel out of place in trucks that carry price tags that are around the $60,000 mark.

    But the Silverado and Sierra’s interiors do claw some points back in terms of overall comfort. No one will have any issue trying to find a position that works thanks to a generous amount of power seat adjustments and a steering wheel that finally provides tilt-telescope adjustment. Space in the back of crew cabs is massive with loads of head and legroom.

    Both trucks came with an eight-inch screen (lesser trims get by with a seven-inch screen) and new software - Chevrolet Infotainment 3/GMC Infotainment. The interface looks like a simplified version of MyLink/Intellilink with simpler graphics and easier to read fonts. Moving around the system is easy thanks to the simple menu structure and quick responses for any command. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration comes standard. Both trucks were able to find my iPhone 7 Plus and bring up the CarPlay interface within seconds of plugging it in.

    There are four different engines on offer, including a new 2.7L turbo-four. There’s also a turbodiesel V6 that will be arriving for the 2020 model year. Both of my test trucks came with the V8s - Silverado packing a 5.3L and the Sierra using the 6.2L.

    The 5.3L V8 has not been my engine of choice for the last-generation trucks. Not because of the power on offer, but more of the tuning of the throttle pedal. It made the V8 feel very sluggish and would make the driver push further down on the pedal to get it moving a decent clip. Thankfully, GM has addressed this issue and 5.3 now feel likes it has 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. You can lightly press on the accelerator and V8 doesn’t feel artificially overwhelmed. A new eight-speed automatic (standard on higher trims) helps keep the engine right in the sweet spot of power and provides smooth shifts.

    As for the 6.2L V8, it is a monster. With 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet, it moves the Sierra at a surprising rate. Making a pass or merging on to a freeway is no problem as there is an abundance of power waiting to be unleashed. A new ten-speed automatic (jointly developed with Ford) helps keep the engine right in the spot of power. Unless you need or want all of the power, the 5.3 is the engine I would recommend for either truck.

    EPA fuel economy figures for the V8s are 15 City/20 Highway/17 Combined for the 5.3 and 15/19/17 for the 6.2L AT4.  My averages for the week were 16.1 for the 5.3 and 15.2 for the 6.2. 

    Ram is still the gold standard when it comes to ride quality due to its rear coil spring setup. But GM isn’t so far behind with its solid rear axle setup. Most bumps and imperfections become mere ripples. Larger potholes didn’t upset either truck, but I would put that towards the off-road suspension. The standard trucks may bounce around. Handling is quite surprising as both trucks feel agile around bends. Noise isolation, for the most part, is excellent, though the knobby tires fitted to the Trail Boss and AT4 do ruin some of the tranquility.

    My feelings are mixed on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500. GM has either fixed or improved various problems that I have talked about in previous reviews. But it feels GM hasn’t done enough to fully set their trucks apart from the competition. I think this line from my journal says it all.

    “If General Motors wasn’t touting various aspects of these new trucks such as the aluminum body panels or multi-pro tailgate, I would have thought both models went through a dramatic mid-cycle refresh.”

    This could give the full explanation as to why the Silverado and Sierra are currently getting beaten out by Ford and Ram Trucks in the sales chart. Buyers may not see any real changes for both trucks when compared against the competition. GM has been on the offensive, saying to be patient. But that approach may not work and may cause the automaker to draw up some drastic measures.

    That’s the thing about the full-size truck market, you need to show up with the best. Anything less and you’re in danger of losing. 

    How I would configure a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra 1500.

    There are two options I would consider with the Silverado. First is the RST. I would order a 4WD crew cab with a short and opt for the 5.3L V8. From there, I would add the Convenience Package with Bucket Seats, Convenience Package II, Safety Package, and Trailering Package. That brings the final price to $52,745 excluding any discounts I could get. Second is the Trail Boss which gets the 5.3L V8 as standard. Options would mirror the RST and bring the final price to $54,285.

    If I was to order a Sierra 1500, then I would start with the SLT Crew Cab 4WD with a short bed. This comes with the 5.3L V8 as standard and I would only add two options; Dark Sky Metallic for $495 and the SLT Premium Plus Package for $6,875. This package combines a number of option packages such as the SLT Preferred Package and the two Driver Alert Packages. The final price comes to $60,460 with a $1,000 discount for ordering Premium Plus Package.

    Alternatives to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra 1500.

    • 2019 Ram 1500: Ram's redesign on the 1500 has helped make it a real challenger to both Ford and GM. The interior raises the bar of what a truck can be with an impressive design and high-quality material choices. It also boasts an impressive list of safety features such as adaptive cruise control. Ride quality is still class leading. What may put some people off is the styling as it looks a bit plain.
    • 2019 Ford F-150: Bestselling for reason, Ford has constantly improved the F-150 to keep it one step ahead of the competition. It features one of the largest selection of powertrains that help give it some impressive towing numbers. A number of trims also gives buyers different options to build their F-150 the way they want. But Ford trails Ram and GM when it comes ride quality.

    Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the trucks, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    (*Author's Note: Unfortunately, I lost the window sticker to the GMC Sierra 1500 I drove. I have built the truck as close as possible to my memory to get an approximation on price. -WM)

    Year: 2019
    Make: Chevrolet
    Model: Silverado 1500
    Trim: LT Trail Boss
    Engine: 5.3L VVT DI V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5,600
    Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4,100
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/20/17
    Curb Weight: 5,008 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Roanoke, Indiana
    Base Price: $48,300
    As Tested Price: $55,955 (Includes $1,495 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Convenience Package with Bucket Seats - $1,805.00
    Convenience Package II - $1,420.00
    Off-Road Assist Steps - $895.00
    Safety Package I - $890.00
    Bed Protection Package - $635.00
    Trailer Brake Controller - $275.00
    Advanced Trailering Package - $240.00

    Year: 2019
    Make: GMC
    Model: Sierra 1500
    Trim: AT4
    Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start
    Driveline: Ten-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5,600 
    Torque @ RPM: 460 @ 4,100
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/19/17
    Curb Weight: 5,015 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Roanoke, Indiana
    Base Price: $53,200
    As Tested Price: $64,955 (Includes $1,595 Destination Charge and $500 discount for the AT4 Premium Package)*

    Options:
    Off-Road Performance Package - $4,940
    AT4 Premium Package - $3,100 with a $500 discount
    Technology Package - $1,875
    Driver Alert Package II - $745

    Edited by William Maley

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    It is interesting to read this review and not ponder on those on this forum that have all blasted GM on their lack of moving the needle along with Black everything all the time interiors.

    One does have to wonder about the ability for a company that has in the past led with so many technology changes that they are being a bit gun shy on bringing their best to the gun fight.

    The O.K. Corral is no place to be second best!

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    The issues with sales have everything to do with calling it “new” but basically offering the same sub par interior as before (and especially against much stiffer attention this time around). Hell, even the Titan interior is far better looking than the GM twins. That should not happen when a full size truck costs as much, if not more, than your average luxury car. Do something with that interior and folks may start coming back. Until then, the RAM rightfully smokes it. 

    Edited by surreal1272
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    Well, it’s pretty clear what GM’s problem is here.

    Walking through the dealership Silverado section is like walking through worst part of a haunted hayride. It will send you out screaming! It’s not the truck’s fault they are so butt ugly.........

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    The monochromatic Silerados look good to me.

    I think this legitimately looks good but pretty much only in this or Trail Boss trim. Everything else looks pretty bad. 

    Silverado.jpeg

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    OK; I thought we debunked this whole 'headlight rating' thing before. We did... or I did.
    IIHS testing does not reveal any "poor" headlights, only RELATIVELY 'poor' headlights. They should all still eclipse headlights made just 10 years ago. This misleading rating will only spur automakers to release brighter and brighter and BRIGHTER headlights until we as opposing drivers are all legally BLIND. It WILL spiral out of control.

    IIHS should NNOOTT be ranking headlight 'performance'. 

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    It isn't just about how bright they are but where they are projecting the light. they could get a poor rating if they're blinding every vehicle coming towards them, too. It's more than just the drivers' visibility. 

    https://www.iihs.org/topics/headlights

     

    In my humble opinion, I'm extremely glad somebody is finally rating headlights. I'm tired of oncoming vehicles with their low beam-HID/LEDs blinding me. 

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    Saw an article recently about how bad headlights are in general in vehicles nowdays, esp the standard lighting. 

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    1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

    It isn't just about how bright they are but where they are projecting the light. they could get a poor rating if they're blinding every vehicle coming towards them, too. It's more than just the drivers' visibility. 

    https://www.iihs.org/topics/headlights

     

    In my humble opinion, I'm extremely glad somebody is finally rating headlights. I'm tired of oncoming vehicles with their low beam-HID/LEDs blinding me. 

    I really hate the auto high beam / low beam that the German autos have gone to. I think it is not needed for all auto's to run around with high beams on all the time till their system senses other on coming lights and switches to low beams.

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    40 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    I really hate the auto high beam / low beam that the German autos have gone to. I think it is not needed for all auto's to run around with high beams on all the time till their system senses other on coming lights and switches to low beams.

    My Lincoln does that and it works amazingly. It is very quick to turn them off at the sight of headlights. I've had them turn off for cars 1+ miles ahead of me coming towards me. 

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    You can turn the setting off, like the other features you dislike that can be disabled. 

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    42 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    My Lincoln does that and it works amazingly. It is very quick to turn them off at the sight of headlights. I've had them turn off for cars 1+ miles ahead of me coming towards me. 

    Thanks, that is interesting to know, I know it will become standard, but I question the real need of this feature. If a person is having that hard of a time seeing, maybe they need new glasses or should not be driving at all.

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    On 7/12/2019 at 4:26 PM, dfelt said:

    Thanks, that is interesting to know, I know it will become standard, but I question the real need of this feature. If a person is having that hard of a time seeing, maybe they need new glasses or should not be driving at all.

    There is no need for it, like almost every single option on a vehicle ever. It's a luxury just like leather and cruise control. 

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    15 hours ago, 25ThTA said:

    The prices are out of control. High volume sales need realistic prices. Cars and truck are getting to the point where a 10 year note is needed just to make them affordable. That falls into the home mortgage space. 

    QFT.  The Average Vehicle Price on new vehicles is almost $40K.  Full-sized trucks are even higher.  When will this stop?

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    13 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    QFT.  The Average Vehicle Price on new vehicles is almost $40K.  Full-sized trucks are even higher.  When will this stop?

    When people stop buying new?   I don't know how prices can continue to escalate. 

    Edited by Robert Hall

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    Yeah, prices can only go down when sales slow down and they HAVE to decrease prices.

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    Out and about today and I saw a new Silverado 4x4 4dr in bright red w the blacked out front end. Really, really ugly in person.  

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    • By Drew Dowdell
      The X2 is BMW’s entry into the compact crossover vehicle segment. It’s based on the X1, but with a lower roofline and more car-like characteristics. While the base X2 28i comes with a 228 horsepower 2.0-liter engine with either front or all-wheel drive, I got my hands on one with the M badge at a meeting of the Mid-West Automotive Media Association at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet Illinois.
      The M badge brings a default of BMW xDrive and increases engine horsepower to 302 and the torque to 332 lb.-ft.  BWM claims a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds and 29 mpg. With that much power coming from a 2-liter engine, there was bound to be a bit of turbo lag and while rolling the small BMW minimizes the lag well. However, from a dead stop, there is a disturbing amount of lag that would scare me if I needed to pull out into fast traffic. Sprints from zero require planning.  When already at speed, the 8-speed automatic is quick to downshift and the engine is willing to rev. Putting the X2 M35i into sport mode does make the engine more lively.
      The suspension setup is stiff and you’ll feel all of the road imperfections except on the most glass-smooth of pavement.  That is the tradeoff for having very nimble handling.  It is rather fun to push this small front driver into the corners. My tester came with 20-inch wheels rather than the standard 19-inchers.
      This is not one of those cars that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. The interior is definitely snug and I wouldn’t recommend the driver’s seat to anyone much larger than my 5’10” frame. Because of the lower roof, headroom suffers, especially in the rear. Cargo room is small, but if you’re in the market for a car this size, it is to be expected.
      Still, in spite of its lack of size, the X2 is a comfortable place to sit with bold leather seats in Magma Red. The controls are well placed, though with a large number of buttons. BMW’s iDrive is here too, which always takes some getting used to.  Android Auto is not an option and BMW offers Apple CarPlay as a subscription service.  This is one thing I can’t get my head around as both are offered for free on much less expensive vehicles.
      Because of the smaller dimensions, rearward vision isn’t great and there are a few blind spots that can make things tricky.
      The BMW X2 competes with the likes of the Volvo XC40, Audi Q3, Range Rover Evoque, Cadillac XT4, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA.  All of those, save the GLA, feel roomier inside, making the X2 a more ideal fit for someone of diminutive size. However, the M35i can out power all of them except the GLA AMG 45.
      The as-tested price of my X2 M35i is estimated at $50,400 MSRP. Whether you can stomach $50k for a compact crossover with 302 horsepower is up to you.

      View full article
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