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2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.6

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado mixes the old with the new following its redesign. You still have a reliable V6 base engine and two powerful V8 options, but now the Silverado will also offer a turbo-four engine and a turbodiesel. The new Silverado has a smoother ride than ever before, though some rivals feel more comfortable out on the road. This Chevy truck also feels capable and composed around turns.

  • "The new 2.7-liter four-cylinder is a clean-sheet design that was envisioned as a truck engine from the outset with the goal to make it as smooth as a V engine. We drove it before we knew what it was and pegged it as a turbo, but never figured it was a four-cylinder. Chevrolet's hit the bull's-eye on that score." -- Edmunds
  • "Even when driving on curvy mountain roads, it was easy to forget how large this truck is, both inside and outside." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Silverado was poised on a serpentine road above the aptly named Snake River." -- The Detroit Free Press

Acceleration and Power

The number of engines available in the Silverado can make your head spin. It comes standard with a 4.3-liter V6 engine that puts out 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. This V6 and the standard six-speed automatic transmission work well for daily driving as well as light towing and hauling jobs. However, you'll want one of the two V8s for serious heavy lifting.

The smaller of the two V8s is a 5.3-liter unit that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with a six-speed automatic, but an eight-speed automatic comes with models featuring stop-start, available on LT and higher trims. The larger V8 is a 6.2-liter that puts out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission. These two engines feel noticeably more powerful than any other Silverado power plant. They can pull heavy trailers without breaking a sweat, and the larger V8 delivers energetic acceleration.

As part of the 2019 redesign, the Silverado adds a new engine to the lineup – a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Don't shy away from this engine just because it's a four-banger; it moves this big truck with surprising verve. Finally, later in the model year, the Silverado will offer a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The six- and eight-speed transmissions work well enough, though the eight-speed hesitates to downshift at times. The 10-speed transmission has no such issues, and it pairs extremely well with the engine.

You can get stop-start technology with any engine but the V6. The V8 engines also offer cylinder deactivation technology to improve fuel economy. The deactivations are smooth and undetectable, and they don't make the truck feel less powerful.

The smaller V8 earns 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, and the larger V8 gets 16/20 mpg city/highway. V8-equipped Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 models get similar fuel economy ratings to the Silverado with its V8. The turbo-four engine gets up to 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The V6 engine slots in between its siblings, getting 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. 

  • "Where the 5.3L V8 got the job done just fine, the 6.2L is an absolute gem. It pulled much harder than its 10-percent power advantage would suggest, and it felt and sounded much better doing it. Even with the Dynamic Fuel Management system working in the background, it never put a foot wrong, and it delivered better than 20 MPG during the course of our drive." -- Left Lane News
  • "When empty, the 6.2-liter makes the Silverado an unlikely rocketship. Even at elevation, acceleration felt like 0-60 runs would register around six seconds, suggesting low-to-mid fives might not be out of the question at sea level. … Despite having so many options at its disposal, the 10-speed gearbox rarely felt indecisive." -- CNET
  • "The 2.7-liter four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic combination will nevertheless be the base drivetrain for most customers. This package comes on the bread-and-butter LT and the destined-to-succeed LT Trail Boss and RST trim levels. Don't be fooled by the cylinder count. This engine generated impressive thrust during our brief test drive, and the announced SAE-certified ratings of 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque feel right on the money." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The new Silverado provides a comfortable ride that's better than the outgoing model, but it still doesn't ride as smoothly as the Ram 1500. This Chevy pickup handles well, especially given its large size. It also performs well in off-road situations. Rear-wheel drive comes standard and four-wheel drive is available.

  • "The truck feels surprisingly lithe on the road, building on its predecessor's solid dynamic repertoire. There is none of the jouncing and bouncing once associated with driving an unladen pickup. And at long last, the Chevy's steering column is finally squared to the driver, after years of being angled slightly to the left. Appropriately heavy for a vehicle this size, the wheel responds smoothly and accurately to inputs and feels even slightly heavier in the Silverado's new Sport driving mode." -- Car and Driver
  • … the ride seemed to suffer from the same jiggle and reverberation over rough pavement that is typical of most pickups. (The Ram 1500 is somewhat of an exception in this regard, likely due to having coil springs in back instead of traditional leaf springs.) But if you're already used to the jitter, you'll probably find that the new Silverado rides quite well. Likewise, handling is fine for a pickup, though tall front fenders and large overall size means it's tricky to slot into parking spaces." -- Consumer Guide
  • The ride is solid and, considering the capabilities, pretty comfortable. The live axle at the rear causes some expected sidestepping at highway speeds over angled bumps and dips. We didn't expect much steering feel from the Silverado, but were pleasantly surprised by the slight tightening up of the wheel when the truck is switched into Performance. … Performance mode, which is new for 2019, also adjusts the programming of truck's transmission for a slightly sportier feel." -- Autoblog

Towing and Hauling

The Silverado provides everything you could want when it comes to towing and hauling. It can pull multi-ton trailers with ease, and it has some of the highest maximum capacities of any full-size pickup: 12,500 pounds for towing and 2,590 pounds for payload. The Silverado’s two V8 engines are especially good for towing.

There are a slew of helpful features to make hooking up and pulling a trailer easier, including side- and hitch-view cameras, a trailer brake controller, and a trailering app that can help with everything from monitoring tire pressure to setting maintenance reminders.

  • "We're happy to report that both the 5.3L and 6.2L tow like a champ. With 6,000-pound trailers, we headed up a mountain grade and both powertrains handled the job with poise and confidence. The course was short, but it gave us enough time behind the wheel to confirm that towing ability was not sacrificed. Steering was controlled, brakes confident, and power adequate." -- Truck Trend
  • "In Alpine (about 600 feet lower than Jackson), we grabbed a 5.3L LTZ model with a 6,000-pound load behind it and took it out on US-26 for a taste of towing. Between the elevation and the load, the 'little' V8 was working hard, but managed to negotiate curvy roads with 55- and 65-mile-per-hour speed limits with very little drama. Acceleration was a bit leisurely, but, all things considered, it was more than adequate." -- Left Lane News
  • "We towed a 6,000-pound cargo trailer with a Silverado LTZ powered by the 6.2-liter V8. As you'd expect, considering that this weight wasn't anywhere near the maximum load the truck is capable of pulling, the Silverado basically just shrugged off the test. Even if we didn't have the chance to push the truck to its trailering limit, we did appreciate Chevy's latest suite of towing aids." -- Autoblog
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