Find­ing new roads with Chevy Sil­ver­ado in re­mote cor­ner of North­west Ter­ri­to­ries

The Labradorian - - Editorial - BY LISA CALVI WHEELS Fol­low Lisa on In­sta­gram and Twit­ter: @Fron­tLady

When you take the trip of a life­time to the top of the world, it’s dif­fi­cult to pick just one high­light.

It’s also tough to de­fine why the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries road trip on the new all-sea­son 138-kilo­me­tre Inu­vik-Tuk­toy­ak­tuk High­way, the first road in Canada to reach the Arc­tic Ocean, was so spe­cial.

North of the Arc­tic Cir­cle, it’s dusty, muddy, cold and lack­ing in lux­ury. But the peo­ple are warm and wel­com­ing, full of love, cul­ture and com­mu­nity. It’s also truly truck coun­try — the per­fect place to launch the all-new 2019 Sil­ver­ado 1500 pickup truck from Chevro­let.

High­light #1 was work­ing with the ex­cep­tion­ally pas­sion­ate peo­ple of the Town of Inu­vik and the Ham­let of Tuk­toy­ak­tuk to help show­case the in­cred­i­bly hos­pitable area to 40 jour­nal­ists.

Host­ing me­dia in this re­mote end of the Earth was an ex­er­cise in lo­gis­tics but the des­ti­na­tion is so worth the jour­ney.

We had 10 trucks on the ground. When the ad­min­is­tra­tive part of my job on these pro­grams starts to die down once the event is rolling, I join in the ve­hi­cle clean­ing fray. A de­mand­ing fray it was.

The only paved roads were in the town of Inu­vik it­self. South looms the no­to­ri­ous 700-kilo­me­tre Demp­ster High­way to Daw­son City and White­horse, where the gravel is seem­ingly alive and your wind­shield will know it.

North of Inu­vik, for the first time in his­tory, you can drive to the Arc­tic Coast dur­ing the sum­mer on the en­gi­neer­ing gravel mar­vel, the Inu­vik-Tuk­toy­ak­tuk High­way.

All this gravel meant the trucks were dirty but so are all ve­hi­cles in the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries. Like shoes, boots and pants. It’s a clean dirt, how­ever odd that sounds. You get into it and ac­cept it. It’s lib­er­at­ing.

We rented the Mid­night Sun Com­plex Arena to wash and pre­pare the ve­hi­cles for each group of jour­nal­ists. Long drive days meant our crew had many latenight wash­ing ses­sions in the Arena while a speaker cranked out mo­ti­va­tional tunes. It was here that High­light #2 sur­faced.

Wip­ing water off the front grille of the white Sil­ver­ado LT Trail Boss, I fell in love. This was of­fi­cially the first 2019 Sil­ver­ado to reach the Arc­tic Cir­cle, driven by yours truly. When it first came off the trans­port truck, it looked too clean and whole­some.

Af­ter its run up and down the Inu­vik-Tuk High­way, it looked brawny and pur­pose­ful — mud spat­ters, road rash and all. Come to Mama.

All 10 trucks looked great. They would start ev­ery day clean, end ev­ery day dirty, job com­pleted. Per­haps not the tough­est job com­pared to the other work­ing trucks in town, but the 2019 Sil­ver­ado is ready to out-tough them all.

Chevro­let has been build­ing trucks for 100 years, sell­ing 85 mil­lion in that time. They know what they’re do­ing. The new Sil­ver­ado is no ex­cep­tion. With over 11 mil­lion kilo­me­tres of real-world driv­ing, it’s the mosttested GM ve­hi­cle ever.

It’s re­designed from the ground up. It’s big­ger, with best-in-class cargo vol­ume and more room in­side. It’s faster (0.5 sec­onds faster from zero to 100 km/h).

Chevro­let

Sil­ver­ado is says the 2019 the best driv­ing truck ever. It cer­tainly took the tough 320-kilo­me­tre drive with aplomb. In four-wheel drive, it was com­posed in its han­dling on countless curves with loose gravel cov­er­ing the wash­board sur­face.

With all of these im­prove­ments in han­dling and ef­fi­ciency, in­creases in size, speed and vol­ume, you’d think the truck would be heav­ier. It’s ac­tu­ally 204 kilo­grams lighter. The seg­ment-ex­clu­sive power tail­gate is light and easy to use.

The new Sil­ver­ado has higher pay­load (from 2,100 to 2,430 pounds) and tow rat­ings (from 7,200 to 12,200 pounds) than its pre­de­ces­sor, stronger tie-downs in the bed and more of them.

With up to four trai­ler­ing cam­eras, an in­dus­try-first MyChevro­let mo­bile trai­ler­ing app which lets you check trailer lights and mon­i­tor cir­cuits on your smart­phone, in­dus­try-first VIN-spe­cific trai­ler­ing la­bel on the door jamb, elec­tric park brake hookup as­sist and a cus­tom­iz­a­ble de­par­ture check­list, trai­ler­ing is where Sil­ver­ado shines.

To sat­isfy ev­ery­one and their dog, Sil­ver­ado of­fers a plethora of mod­els, from Work Truck, with blacked-out trim and 17inch steel wheels, to the top-ofthe-heap High Coun­try with its ex­clu­sive front grille de­sign and stan­dard power tail­gate (avail­able also on LTZ).

In be­tween there is the Trail Boss, on Cus­tom and LT mod­els, which adds two-inch lift sus­pen­sion and the Z71 off-road pack­age, and the RST, a street per­for­mance ver­sion of the LT with up to 22-inch wheels.

Chevro­let’s cor­nu­copia of en­gine and trans­mis­sion com­bi­na­tions in­cludes four new en­gines and an ex­panded cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion sys­tem, Dy­namic Fuel Man­age­ment, in three of them. En­gines range from a 2.7-litre tur­bocharged in­line four-cylin­der that makes 310 horse­power and 348 lb-ft of torque to a 420-horse­power 6.2litre V8 with 460 lb-ft of torque. Trans­mis­sions come in six-, eight- and ten-speed.

These num­bers and rat­ings were not im­por­tant to the kids in Inu­vik and Tuk­toy­ak­tuk. They just wanted to see Chevy trucks. Their un­bri­dled en­thu­si­asm was ap­par­ent at the Open House at the Inu­vik Arena where kids of all ages crawled all over the trucks.

The vi­brant Ham­let of Tuk pulled out all the stops. It looked like all 900 cit­i­zens at­tended the Com­mu­nity Feast held in our hon­our. Al­though the de­li­cious home-cooked food and en­chant­ing mu­sic and danc­ing (fea­tur­ing the award-win­ning Siglit Drum­mers and Dancers, the youngest troupe in the Ter­ri­to­ries) may have been the draw, judg­ing from the won­der on the chil­dren’s faces as the new trucks rolled into Tuk, the Chevy Sil­ver­ado was a hit.

The fi­nal drive south on the Inu­vik-Tuk­toy­ak­tuk High­way was most def­i­nitely a high­light. The low light across the pris­tine land, the im­pos­si­ble blue of the sa­cred Husky Lakes, the burnt or­ange aqpiq berry patches, the green tun­dra, dra­matic clouds in the azure sky — ev­ery turn elicited gasps. I can’t wait to go back.

Win­ter road trip any­one?

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