Design Dynamics

Chevy's 2019 Silverado strategy expands to offer more truck models to match customer needs.

The 2019 LT Trailboss features off-road equipment, including a 2-inch suspension lift and the Z71 off-road package, Image provided by Chevrolet

Chevrolet’s first production truck was the 1918 One-Ton, a design inspired by a modified parts-moving vehicle used in its production plants.

The company describes that model as an example of form following function.

Following suit 100 years later, Chevy’s 2019 Silverado lineup philosophy is to offer more choice for customers in a broad array of capabilities wrapped up in a new design.

“Truck customers told us they want the perfect truck for them and not a ‘one-size-fits-most’ truck compromised for the masses,” says Mike Simcoe, vice president of global design, General Motors. “That insight shaped our design strategy with eight distinct models, each with a unique personality to fit different customers, from the affordable Work Truck to the luxurious High Country.”

The company introduced one version of its 2019 Silverado during a December event for media and its Truck Legends loyalty group. Chevy introduced this vehicle with much fanfare by placing the red Z71 Trailboss on the Texas Motor Speedway track in Dallas via helicopter.

The company more demurely launched three additional models--the LT, LTZ and High Country--at another media and Truck Legends ceremony prior to this year’s North American International Auto Show, in Detroit.

Engines. Chevy is offering six engine and transmission choices in the new Silverado lineup, including a new Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six diesel engine and new 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 engines. The 3.0-liter diesel and 6.2-liter engines feature Chevy’s new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission. Both the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter engines offer Chevy’s Dynamic Fuel Management that shuts off cylinders in various combinations to match engine load needs and to save on fuel.

Design Changes. The major shift for these new vehicles is in the design, which has intertwined a beefier look with structural enhancements and increased aerodynamic efficiency. Chevy made the 2019 Silverado larger than previous models, with a wheelbase up to 3.9 inches longer and an overall length increase of 1.6 inches. Designers increased the max width of the bed by 7 inches, giving its short box version 63 cubic feet of volume.

The bed now features 12 fixed tie-downs, which can handle 500 pounds each, and nine moveable tie points.

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This larger design also allows the driver to sit more than an inch higher than previous Silverado designs.

“The hood, roofline and overall profile are all about 1 inch taller,” Simcoe says. “An important practical benefit for all these changes is that it allowed us to increase the usable space of the cargo box and the cab.”

To match the bigger scale of the vehicle, the Silverado now features 33-inch tires.

Taking some styling cues from the sixth-generation Camaro, Chevy designers added air curtains to the front grille that route air around the front-wheel wells. To further the aerodynamics, the company added an integrated spoiler to the rear of the cab to direct air onto the tailgate lip. This addition aims to reduce wind drag from the bed.

More With Less. Chevy is using a mixed-materials approach with the 2019 Silverado, creating components with multiple grades of steel, as well as aluminum. This strategy allowed them to reduce the weight of the vehicles by up to 450 pounds compared to previous models, even with the increased size.

“We selected the right material for each application and to optimize every pound on it for mass, durability, safety and function,” says Mark Reuss, executive vice president, global product development, General Motors. “The fully boxed steel frame is 88 pounds lighter than its predecessor, while offering 10% greater torsional rigidity.”

Chevy says the safety cage around the passenger compartment uses steel of seven different grades. Steel is used in the fixed panels, such as the fender, roof and bed. Aluminum is used for all swing panels, including the doors, hood and tailgate.

“In each incidence, we did it without sacrificing safety, capability or durability,” Reuss says.

Model Configurations:

The eight Silverado models are available in three categories, with features aimed at specific target customers.

High Value. Chevy says these customers are looking for full-size capability at a value. Models in this category include:

• Work Truck: features the “CHEVROLET” graphic across the grille and tailgate, blacked-out trim, 17-inch steel wheels, vinyl or cloth seats, and 7-inch color touch screen.

• Custom: offers a body-color styling theme, 20-inch painted aluminum wheels, LED signature taillamps and integrated dual exhaust as an option.

• Custom Trailboss: includes the Z71 off-road package, 2-inch suspension lift, locking rear differential, skid plates, Rancho shocks, 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires.

High Volume. Calling them the “heart of the truck market,” Chevy says these customers want full-size capabilities and creature comforts found in passenger vehicles. High-volume models include:

• LT: offers chrome accents, LED reflector headlights, signature daytime running lights, 8-inch color touch screen and leather seat option.

• RST: features body-color trim, LED lighting (fog lights, headlights and taillights) and up to 22-inch wheels with all-season tires.

• LT Trailboss: adds Z71 off-road package to the LT.

High Feature. Truck manufacturers find these customers lucrative, as this segment of the market is the fastest growing. Chevy says these customers seek luxury features in their trucks but also want all the same power, capabilities and durability found in other models. Two models fit in this category. The two models in this category are:

• LTZ: offers chrome accents (bumpers, front grille, mirror caps, door handles and hockey-stick beltline), power folding and heated outside rearview mirrors, and standard leather interior trim.

• High Country: features two-tone chrome and bronze finish on the front grille, chrome assist steps, body-color accents and standard power tailgate.

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