Are you ready to r-r-r-rumble?!
Roaring onto the pickup gridiron opposite Ford, Chevrolet will take the wraps off an all-new Silverado on Saturday in advance of the Detroit auto show. The 2019 pickup is the first retooled Silverado since Ford shook the 2014 show with its lightweight aluminum-skinned F-150.
Ram is also introducing an all-new 1500 pickup at Cobo, but it’s the Silverado vs. F-150 showdown that’s shaping up to be a dog-fight. These two truck titans don’t send each other Christmas cards.
Chevy mercilessly attacked Ford’s aluminum choice with a series of ads, including a spot in which a dropped toolbox punctured the F-series’ bed. A similarly targeted Silverado bed came away unscathed. But with Washington tightening the fuel-economy noose, speculation was that Silverado would have to adopt an aluminum wardrobe, too.
But teasing the Silverado at its 100th-birthday truck celebration in Dallas last month, Chevy disclosed that a higher-grade alloy is “used in the roll-formed, high-strength-steel bed floor, contributing to a bed that is more functional and lighter weight.” R-r-r-rumble!
Beyond its steel bed, the Chevy is expected to be made of mixed metals. The last-gen Silverado was lighter than its Ford counterpart, though the F-150’s aluminum makeover brought it more in line with the GM model. Materials aren’t the whole story, though, as Ford has outfitted its F-series with an army of engines, including a 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel – the first time an F-150 has been outfitted with an oil-burner. Chevy promised more engine choices for Silverado in Texas without giving more details.
Ford made its diesel announcement Monday to pre-empt Silverado’s Saturday reveal which pre-empts Ford’s mid-size Ranger pickup unveil on Sunday. We told you they hate each other.
The Ranger is playing catch-up to Chevy and GMC, which have capitalized on a revived small pickup market with their successful Colorado and Canyon models.
Silverado’s Texas tease showed off an all-new LT Trailboss trim, one of eight 2019 Silverado models (the F-series offers seven). The Trailboss trim includes the off-road performance package found on the Z71 trim with a two-inch suspension lift.
The Silverado’s traditional sandwich grille is still huge and still dressed up with a Chevy bow-tie, but the headlights are narrower. The body, too, has changed – eschewing its predecessor’s blocky design for more sculpted doors and rocker panels. Silverado’s answer to Ford’s “dipped” side window for better visibility is to put its side-mirrors on the bodywork, sports car-style.
Around back, the Silverado maintains its vertical taillights and corner step for easy bed access. Ford has taken to stamping trim names in its rear tailgate, and the Silverado follows suit with “Chevrolet” carved into the Trailboss tuckus.
Chevy hopes to make a dent in the F-Series market share with its new pickup. The F-Series won the Pickup Bowl for the 41st year running in 2017 with almost 900,000 units sold – a 9.3 percent increase. GM’s tag-team, the Silverado and GMC’s Sierra (which will soon follow Chevy’s remake), held stable with just over 800,000 sold (585,864 of those Silverados).
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at email@example.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-1 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.