- By Mathieu Godin Instagram @pathfinder_overland

Redesigned for 2019, the new Silverado now has an “in your face” stance and an aggressive looking front end. My tester was the Silverado 1500 High Country 4x4 in the Crew Cab Short Box configurat­ion. The High Country is the top of the line Silverado and mine came with the optional 6.2L V-8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmissi­on.

In the optional colour, Iridescent Pearl Tricoat, the High Country looks even more luxurious, with plenty of chrome on the front end. The optional 22-inch black wheels also stood out for a nice final touch. If there is such a thing as a Silverado wearing a tuxedo, this is it.

Entering the cabin however, you’ll find

that there’s nothing to get excited about. Everything is functional, but the dash and touch screen are not going to win any beauty contests, but on the upside the cabin is comfortabl­e, quiet and provides lots of convenient storage. The heated and ventilated front seats, in addition to the heated steering wheel, made for a less painful cold week. Passengers at the back will be just as cozy, with plenty of room, and in the High Country, the two outboard rear seats are also heated. Although the Silverado has an optional sunroof, the option for a panoramic sunroof is missing.

An interestin­g feature is the optional rear camera mirror. While it looks odd at first, compared to a traditiona­l mirror, it provides a better field of view. However, when activated, you have to make sure it’s properly adjusted, so the reflection doesn’t give you a mixed view from both the camera and the mirror. The available heads-up display is also a nice feature as it projects informatio­n like your speed, navigation and active safety informatio­n onto your windshield so you can keep your eyes on the road. This also takes a little getting used. You can scroll through a number of informatio­n/viewing options or deactivate it completely.

While the power that comes from the 6.2L V-8 might seem too much for typical day to day use, more power is better than not enough. I found the gas pedal very responsive, and the 10-speed transmissi­on changes gears smoothly and quickly. The cabin is quiet under normal driving conditions, but if you go pedal to the metal, you will get pushed back in your seat, and the growl of the V-8 will be a delight to your ears. Passing maneuvers are effortless for this full-sized truck and the braking system performs well.

Driving the truck around town and on some backcountr­y roads, I found the suspension has just the right amount of softness. It bounces around a bit on rough roads, but that’s normal for a truck when

empty. Other than that, it essentiall­y drives like a big sedan, and it’s a pleasure to drive on the highway. Steering is responsive.

If you get yourself a Silverado, chances are you intend to use its bed to carry loads. The cargo box has been improved to be lighter, larger as well as stronger. The box is made of high-strength roll-formed steel, with 12 standard tie-downs, and it provides best in class cargo box volume according to GM. A 120-volt outlet installed near the tailgate is also available as well as cargo lighting. Access is now easier, thanks to the redesigned corner step footwells that can now accommodat­e work boots. Equipped with the available power-up/-down tailgate, you can open/close the tailgate using the key fob, a button inside the cabin, or from a touchpad on the gate. Standard on the High Country, but available on LTZ, I found this feature very convenient. Other models can benefit from the power-down feature only.

For towing, the available advanced trailering technology package will make your life easier. It comes standard on the High Country. From the touchscree­n as well as from a smartphone app, you get access to features like a pre-departure checklist, the ability to create a profile for your trailer (e.g. distance driven, tire pressure, maintenanc­e reminders, and tow/haul mode reminders), trailer lights test as well as a trailer service reminder. This package comes with a trailer brake controller as well as trailer theft alert, which will notify you by flashing the truck’s lights as well as sounding the horn if your trailer becomes unplugged while your truck is parked. If you have a valid subscripti­on to OnStar, you can even receive a text or phone call notificati­on.

Hitch guidance is provided via the rear-view camera, and towing capacity is rated up to 12,200 lb. (5534 kg) depending on your trucks configurat­ion. Mine had a max towing capacity of 9300 lb. (4218 kg) and a max payload of 1670 lb. (757 kg). Another useful function is the electric parking brake hookup assist. When you shift into Park after engaging hitch view, the parking brake will engage to eliminate unintentio­nal roll, so your trailer and hitch stay in alignment.

I really liked the virtual bird’s-eye view camera system for parking maneuvers. The front and rear sonar system were also handy, although I found the snow was interferin­g with the system at times, so I’d often deactivate this function. A cool safety feature is the available safety alert seat function. It uses directiona­l vibration pulses to alert you of the direction of a potential collision– it’s very convenient when backing up. Another favourite feature was the automatic 4WD setting from the 2-speed transfer case. On my last day with the truck, I had to drive from Ottawa to Montreal to return my tester to the dealership by 11:00 am. I left early enough at 7:00 am for the two-hour drive, as the weather forecast was not looking good. It had snowed during the night, and there were now whiteout advisories for highway travelers.

The forecast was right on. Passing one of the first whiteout areas, I came to a car and a transport truck that had just collided. There was debris on the road, but it didn’t look too serious. I had the two-speed transfer case set to automatic to ensure I’d have all the traction I could get in case I got caught up in the mayhem on the road. I had the high-intensity LED headlights turned on to make sure I was as visible as I could be (in a white truck…).

It was unbelievab­le how many cars didn’t have their headlights on given that visibility was almost zero at times.

At one point, I was driving through one of those whiteouts when I came upon a small white car that was blocking half of my lane. It had no lights on at all. I quickly steered to the left to move to the passing lane. There were other cars on the side of the road, waiting for the visibility to improve. Thanks to the responsive steering and traction, I made it through without incident. I later learned that a part of the highway had been closed behind me as a result of the poor visibility and number of accidents.

I was on a mission, and it was to bring back my $78,295 (MSRP before tax) tester in one piece to the Montreal dealership. I succeeded – almost. I had to explain to GM that somehow, the truck’s tri-fold soft tonneau cover ($915) had completely gone missing. They understood however and told me not to worry about it.

While I enjoyed my time at the wheel of the High Country, this is not the trim I would personally buy – even if I could afford it at a starting price of MSRP $65,800. It’d almost feel wrong to drop this truck into a mud pit – it’s just too nice of a truck. The Trail Boss is the one I would get, although I have yet to test it. There’s a Silverado for every need.

In terms of fuel economy, for the Ecotec3 6.2L V-8 with dynamic fuel management, you can expect 15.0 L/100 km for city driving and 12.0 L/100 km on the highway (19/24 mpg) according to GM.

The redesigned Silverado doesn’t try to be something that it’s not. At its core, it is a work truck, and although more refined, especially in the High Country trim, it’s still a truck and behaves like one. While some might not like its new look, I do. Perhaps it will grow on you as it did with me. I think that GM did a great job improving this truck – the new Silverado is bigger, and it is better.

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 ??  ?? Matthieu Godin
Matthieu Godin
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Matthieu Godin
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