Chevrolet Silverado 1500: Better Than Ever

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The new Silverado borrows from its performance vehicle stablemates, particularly the sixth-generation Camaro.

One of the USA's biggest-selling trucks ever has just been updated: Chevrolet unwrapped its 2019 Silverado 1500 at the 2018 Detroit motor show.

The new Silverado will serve as the automaker's flagship. On an annual basis, Ford's F-Series sold almost 900,000 units in 2017, compared to about 586,000 units of the Chevy Silverado from GM. Only the Ford F-Series outsells the Silverado.

As always, ever more sophisticated computer modeling allows big auto companies to simulate their designs before a single prototype is built. Instead, the automaker focused on a strategic use of metals to shave weight. 80% of the frame consists of high-strength steel that varies in thickness from 2 to 5 mm. The doors, hood and tailgate are made of aluminum while fixed panels.

Chevrolet gave the world a closer look at its all-new full-size pick-up truck at a special media event in Detroit Saturday evening.

Cabin materials and functionality have been improved. As a result, the width of the bed floor increased by 6.75 inches, and cargo volume will be a class-leading 63 cubic feet.

The number of tie-downs has increased to 21.

Chevrolet will also introduce an industry-first power tailgate in the 2019 Silverado. The 2019 Silverado will be available with a power up/down tailgate that can be operated from the key fob, interior button or by hand. In addition to the available power liftgate, the Silverado offers 4G WiFi and smartphone app compatibility. The trucks will range from the most basic "Work Truck" trim all the way up to the feature-rich "High Country" model.

Under the hood the 2019 Silverado will be available with six engine/ transmission combinations, which includes new 5.3L and 6.2L V8 engines.

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Designers and engineers paid particular attention to aerodynamics for better fuel economy, GM said.

"I'm not going to go into the numbers today", Reuss said. This engine will come paired to a similarly new 10-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle maintains its familiar boxy cab and wide front fascia.

Chevrolet started producing pickup trucks in January 1918. The sides of a mean-looking front grille direct air around the front wheel wells to reduce wind drag, and there's a spoiler at the back of the cab roof to steer air over the bed. The 2019 Silverado has improved aerodynamic efficiency by 7 percent, according to GM.

The suspension at both ends of the Silverado has been redesigned with new forged upper control arms in the independent front suspension.

"The safety cage around the passenger compartment uses seven different grades of steel to provide passenger protection", he said.

"Chrome has become more polarizing, and more personal, than any other aspect of truck design", said Rich Scheer, director, Exterior Design, Chevrolet Trucks. For comparison, GM sold more Silverados in 2017 than all the Buicks and Cadillacs combined for the year. The system replaces the alternator with a motor and a 48-volt battery pack, which can shut down the truck at stop lights to save fuel and boost acceleration. Sales for the popular pickup dropped 4.3 percent, but GM still moved 574,876 trucks. Some experts believe the shift in customer preference from cars to light trucks is permanent.

But one spec we did get stood out: the 2019 Silverado is 450 pounds lighter than a comparably equipped 2018 model. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will launch the latest generation of its Ram 1500 pickup Monday.

Ford's new Ranger is an interesting vehicle.