Chevrolet Silverado adds tech, drops weight, snarks F-150

GM President Dan Amman expects 2018 to be a virtual repeat of 2017 financially meaning big profits

The two major changes to next year's models are the 3.0 liter Duramax diesel engine and the prolific use of aluminium for hinged components that brings down the weight by nearly 450 pounds.

When it arrives, the 2019 Chevy Silverado will have eight different trim levels, including an off-road-oriented Trailboss. The RST is new and could be considered the sport truck trim. Parts that swing, including doors, the hood and the tailgate, are lighter aluminum, but stationery parts such as the bed, are still steel. Last year, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler and General Motors combined sold more than 2.2 million full-size trucks, controlling 93 percent of the segment.

"The Ram and Silverado are two of the highest volume vehicles in the country", said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst at IHS Markit.

GM employed a new manufacturing process that reduces the space between the inner and outer sidewalls of the bed. The LT Trail Boss and lower priced Trail Boss Custom are the off-road models. It's also 88 pounds lighter than the old one and has 10 percent greater torsional rigidity. At that reveal, Chevrolet said they gathered feedback from 7,000 people when designing the new truck, which the company says is the most research it has ever done ahead of a new model. Under the hood of the Silverado is an upgraded version of the 4.3 liters and 6.2-liter V8 engine.

"Truck customers told us they want the ideal truck for them and not a "one size fits most" truck", said GM design boss Mike Simcoe. Both V8s will use a new technology called Dynamic Fuel Management which can shut down any number of cylinders between one and seven. The engine will be offered with the new 10-speed automatic transmission. Chevy didn't mention any horsepower or torque figures but did hint that its diesel would not be overshadowed by any other light-duty diesel (like, say, Ford's new Power Stroke V6) in terms of output.

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On the tech front, the 2019 Silverado will gain new safety and convenience features that will be announced later this year. Out back, there are new live axles and a revised leaf-spring suspension design.

The frame, cab, and bed remain steel, with various individual structural pieces and running-gear components of other materials, including second-stage springs made of composite material-just as they are on the Corvette sports auto. And those springs save 12 pounds per side. "Others feel a truck isn't a truck without a chrome bumper, but feel extra chrome can be too 'flashy.' Others want as much chrome as they can get". Yield strength increases from 340 to 500 megapascals of pressure through the use of higher grades of steel; the tie-down hooks now handle 500 lbs. of force. 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.

While maintaining its signature, horizontal "sandwich grille" - anchored by the Chevy bow-tie logo - the Silverado exterior drops its boxy look for a much more sculpted exterior.

All told, the new Silverado is 450 pounds lighter than the one it replaces when comparing Crew Cab trucks with V8 engines.

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