The Epic Tailgate Wars!

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 4WD LTZ Z71 Crew Cab

Welcome to the latest round in the pickup truck wars. Tailgates are the new battleground in the pickup truck war. I think Ford started the tailgate phase with their fold down step and grab rail a few years ago. You’ve probably seen the GMC TV ad for their MultiPro Tailgate (it’s kind of like the Swiss Army Knife of tailgates) with throngs of people throwing away their old style tailgates to Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”. I’m not sure who has been clamoring for a multi-dimensional, multi-function tailgate but they are here. Personally as I get older and pickup trucks get taller I want a tailgate that turns into a lift gate to ease loading heavy items.

In the past couple of years I’ve driven the other major pickups so it was time for one from Chevrolet. The LTZ is the penultimate model; the High Country tops it in price. But the 4WD LTZ Crew Cab is no stripper, no sir. This is one nice place to spend time in. If you’re a contractor of any kind you couldn’t have a nicer office.

Being a Crew Cab, which denotes four doors, there’s plenty of room for five, and I mean five grownups (six can fit – 3 up front and 3 in back). The split front bench seat is big and comfy, the rear seat is comfortable and has plenty of leg room. Being a 4WD it does sit up high. There are grab handles and running boards to help hoist yourself in. (Something I’ve noticed on many of pickups is that the running boards are not wide enough for my big feet.)

Styling is a personal choice and frankly I find some pickups too much alike. And I don’t understand why they all have to present such a massive face. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Silverado’s style but I kind of find it a little too au courant, too derivative.

Under the hood of the test Silverado lives Chevy’s biggest gasoline engine, a 6.2-liter ‘monster’ (it’s only a monster in today’s world). It is rated at 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It is a very smooth engine. The engine drives through a 10-speed automatic transmission. It is also equipped with ‘Dynamic Fuel Management’ and Stop/Start. I could live without the Stop/Start (on any vehicle not just the Silverado). Stop/Start shuts the engine off when the truck comes to a stop like at a stop light. It starts up automatically when you take your foot off the brake. The idea is that it saves fuel and lowers emissions, both good ideas. But sometimes, if I got off the brake and onto the gas quickly, it kind of slams to life. You can turn the feature off but the default position is on (meaning it resets itself to being on whenever you start the truck).

The 10-speed is a joint venture with Ford (EGAD!). I’ve driven a Ford pickup with the transmission and now the Chevy and my impression is that it is an excellent transmission. Unless I really concentrated I couldn’t feel all the shifts.

I wish I could say the same about the 4WD system but I can’t. Not because there was any problem but because like the vast majority of you I never used it. “They” (years ago the Smothers Brothers did a sketch on the anonymous “they”) used to say that something like 95% of 4WD vehicles were never used off-road. I grew up in Connecticut and lived in Southern Ontario, Canada where the winters can be brutal. I can honestly say the number of times I wished I had 4WD were non-existent. I also never had to ‘chain up’. We used snow tires. But I digress.

Finally the planets were in alignment when I had a pickup. I needed to get some lumber, three 10 foot four by fours! Can’t say that they changed the ride or overloaded the Silverado. One of these days I’m really going to put a truck to a test.

Did I find any nit to pick with the Silverado? Other than the too narrow running board I did not. I could complain about the fuel economy but at 16 mpg city and 20 mpg highway it isn’t bad for a big truck that weighs 5,000 lbs. It has a maximum payload of a tad over a ton and can tow up to 12,200 lbs. So it can do all the things you want a truck to do.

The test Silverado 4WD LTZ Crew Cab was $58,630. Given that it was fully loaded and had almost ten grand in options that’s reasonable. Especially if it is your office and work truck.

Silverado prices start at $28,300 and go up from there. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with any of the full-size pickups. It comes down to personal preference. The Silverado should be on your list.


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