Test Drive: New Chevy Silverado a franchise player

Test Drive: New Chevy Silverado a franchise player

February 3rd, 2019 by Mark Kennedy in Business Around the Region

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado carries on as one of the best-selling vehicles in America.

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.

Ask any Chevrolet dealer to name their franchise product and they'll no doubt nod to the Silverado.

Chevy sold about 585,000 Silverados last year. (The mechanically similar GMC Sierra, meanwhile, accounted for another 219,000 units sold.) Around Chattanooga, Chevy Silverado and Ford F-series trucks are practically indigenous species.


Model: 2019 Silverado 4WD LT Crew

Exterior color: Northsky Blue Metallic

Interior color: Jet Black

Engine: 5.3-liter, V-8

Horsepower: 355

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Fuel economy: 22 mpg highway, 16 mpg city

Local Dealers: Integrity Chevrolet, Mountain View Chevrolet

Price (as tested): $52,205

Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

Chevy has updated the half-ton Silverado pickup for 2019, using more light-weight parts here and there to lower the curb weight and improve driving dynamics. The diet resulted in a 450-pound weight reduction. There are also some new folds in the sheet metal and a refreshed front-end treatment. All in all, though, the design changes are muted.

Chevrolet is marketing its refreshed pickup with TV ads featuring the 1976 Donnie and Marie Osmond song: "I'm A Little Bit Country, I'm a Little Bit Rock and Rock and Roll."

All right, then. Back to trucks.

We'd say our Silverado 4WD LT Crew tester was about 80 percent country, and about 20 percent rock 'n' roll — give or take. It needs a better sound system to climb up the "rock" charts. And the "country" roots of pick-up trucks are undeniable. Yep, 80-20 sounds right — a whole lot country, and an itty-bitty-bit rock 'n' roll.

The 2019 Silverados are available in abundance at area car stores, with both Integrity Chevrolet on Chapman Road and Mountain View Chevrolet on East 20th Street showing dozens in digital inventory as of late this week.


Chevrolet provided a mid-trim Silverado 4WD LT Crew cab with short bed for a one week test drive in the mountains and valleys of Hamilton County. The truck has pretty, Northsky Blue Metallic exterior paint with jet black interior. The four-door, crew cab configuration is a good choice for families who may use the vehicle as primary transportation. Our tester was assembled at Roanoke, Indiana.


Our test truck has an MSRP of $52,205 — not the most expensive Silverado you can buy, but certainly not the cheapest, either. There are eight trim levels in the Silverado line, ranging from the stripped-down Work Truck to the lux-level High Country edition. Our test vehicle included about $10,000 in options including the Z71 offroad package ($1,985), a tri-fold hard tonneau cover ($1,750) and an upgraded engine. The 5.3-liter, V-8 in our tester is a $1,395 upgrade.


The engine upgrade includes Chevy's Dynamic Fuel Management system which automatically shuts down cylinders when power is not needed. The massive Silverado has a highway fuel economy rating of 22 mpg. In city driving you can expect 16 mpg, according to government testing.

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For all its size, the Silverado is a comfortable vehicle to drive. The engine is suprisingly quiet and steering is relatively light. The cabin is airy and roomy, with plenty of storage space all around. There's more knee room in the back seat than in previous-generation models, and all the climate and touchscreen controls are delightfully simple. Apple Carplay and Android Auto come in handy.


A light coating of sleet and snow created havoc with our Silverado's parking sensors. The snow-binded sensors thought they were about to hit something, setting off a chorus of warning beeps.


With so much as stake, GM takes pains to make every system and component of the Silverado the best that it can be. The 2019 redesign results in important evolutionary upgrades without any over-the-top design flourishes that would turn-off traditional Chevy lovers.

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Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.

The Chevy Silverado was redesigned for 2019.

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.