New Chevy Silverado offers function without flair

New Chevy Silverado offers function without flair

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JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado may set a new industry standard for engineering and ride. It’s smooth and nimble, and the V-8 powertrains are a joy to drive.

Particularly impressive about the new Chevy truck are the use of mixed materials to lightweight the vehicle up to 450 pounds, advancements in its box and industry-first technologies such as Dynamic Fuel Management, an advanced form of cylinder deactivation.

All that should be enough to retain loyal Chevrolet buyers. However, the 2019 Silverado may have trouble attracting new truck buyers. Top-end Silverado models also will likely struggle to conquest luxury pickup buyers.

The Silverado lacks in special features and amenities — particularly on the interior. Both are keys for younger buyers and luxury buyers. To an untrained eye, it looks like a refreshed interior of the outgoing pickup.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado: Can it attract luxury buyers? Photo credit: MICHAEL WAYLAND

Where the new Silverado hits and misses

Other automotive scribes are weighing in on the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado, too. Here’s what they had to say about the 2019 pickup just now hitting dealerships.

“The steering is far more direct and accurate than pickups of yore, which could feel like sailboats when hauling down the highway.” — The Drive

“With either an eight- or a 10-speed transmission to keep you in the power band … there was plenty of pull. It was remarkable just how little the driving experience changes when hauling a load.” — Autoweek

The “larger cab primarily works out to three inches of added rear-seat leg room on four-door crew cabs (swelling from 40.9 to 43.9 inches). Whether you regularly ferry backseat passengers or not, that extra floor space will come in handy.” — Roadshow by CNET

“While there’s not much about it that’s truly fanfare worthy, Chevy customers will be happy.” — Automobile

The Silverado is “packed with new features and an impressive number of upgrades and improvements, but from what we’ve seen from the Silverado’s direct competitors, that’s pretty much the price of entry.” — PickupTrucks.com

“The new truck actually echoes the Camaro’s front end with its short headlights, bright LED daylight running lamps and substantial grille. The whole affair is less blunt and, well, nearly elegant.” — New York Daily News

“Don’t tell anyone at General Motors, but this latest-generation Chevrolet Silverado doesn’t look, you know, radically different from the company’s previous-generation pickup. Or the Silverado before that, for that matter.” — Car and Driver

A familiar interior was executed by design after customer clinics found that the outgoing interior was what people wanted. So, designers made tweaks and changed surfaces but kept the overall design.

“We go to clinic, our truck customers tell us they want what they already have,” said Kelly Craigo, of Chevrolet’s design team. “So we’re not going to give them the same interior over again. What you see is, architecturally, very similar, but everything is brand-spanking new. Every surface is brand new.”

That’s fine for traditional buyers; however, the Silverado falls short in interior advancements compared with Fiat Chrysler’s Ram pickup, which is also redesigned for the 2019 model year.

And it’s not just the optional 12-inch touch screen on the high-end models or reclining rear seats of the Ram 1500. All Ram 1500s feature an electronic knob gear shifter instead of a column shifter — a design many younger buyers (especially new to pickups) are completely unfamiliar with. The Silverado is exclusively equipped with a column shifter and even traditional keys in low-end models.

In targeting luxury buyers, the Chevrolet High Country needs to climb higher. Ford and Ram have significantly increased the amenities and materials in their highest-end pickups, while the High Country is essentially an LTZ with added standard features.

General Motors officials argue Chevrolet doesn’t necessarily need to play as high in the luxury segment because the company has the GMC Sierra; however, they’ll also say the brands attract different buyers.

Ram and Ford also offer adaptive cruise control on their big pickups, while Chevrolet doesn’t offer it at this point. (It looks like the pickup is equipped with all the needed technology aside from radar, so expect it in the coming model years.)

Overall, is the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado a great truck? Yes. Will it continue to get better? Yes. Could Chevy have added more flair to attract nontraditional truck buyers? Yes.

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