There’s a lot that goes into an all-new pickup truck, and the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is no exception.
General Motors packed its flagship full-size truck with features and technology that deserve close examination. In particular, changes to the engine, transmission and towing capability will affect the way owners drive and use their trucks.
Here is a deeper dive on three things about the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 that you should know.
Which trims get the 10-speed?
The new 10-speed automatic transmission, developed in tandem with Ford Motor Co., is only available on Silverados with the 6.2-liter V8 engine. An upcoming 3-liter turbodiesel engine will be mated to the 10-speed when it goes on sale in early 2019.
For now, buyers must opt for the LTZ or High Country trim. A 5.3-liter V8 and 8-speed transmission are standard, so customers will then pay a $2,495 premium for the larger engine and 10-speed.
One reason the 10-speed transmission is not more widely spread across the Silverado lineup, like with the Ford F-150, is to keep prices down, said Hugh Milne, marketing manager for the Silverado.
On the road, gear changes with the 10-speed are smooth, especially on downshifts. The extra speeds improve both performance and fuel economy. The 2019 Silverado with the 10-speed has an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 16 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg overall.
But compared with the F-150, the Silverado does not have a gauge to display the current gear. And while the driver can choose a maximum gear that the transmission will not shift past, there is no way to manually shift gears on their own.
As the equipment becomes less costly in the future the Silverado will probably see its 6-speed be replaced by the 8-speed, and the 8-speed replaced by the 10-speed, Milne said.
What is Dynamic Fuel Management?
Both the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 engines offer new technology called Dynamic Fuel Management, or DFM. The technology is a type of cylinder deactivation that is increasingly popular in new vehicles as automakers look to improve fuel economy.
DFM is an evolution of Active Fuel Management, which GM introduced in 2005. Active Fuel Management can shut down four of the eight cylinders when they are not in use.
DFM can operate in 17 different patterns and is able to shut down up to seven cylinders at a time. It operates imperceptibly while driving and doesn’t hamper acceleration, either. The engine can still call upon its full force at the stomp of the throttle.
The technology is available on LT and RST trims with the 5.3-liter V8 and is standard on LT Trail Boss, LTZ and High Country. It is also optional on LTZ and High Country models with the 6.2-liter V8.
How do the towing features work?
GM added several tools to the 2019 Silverado that assist with towing.
First is a set of menu pages on the truck’s touchscreen that perform a variety of functions. Basic trims are able to activate a test of the trailer’s brake lights and turn signals to ensure they work properly.
Higher versions provide a customizable checklist of towing reminders. They also log mpg and total mileage statistics for up to five different trailers. The trailer menu will even sound an alarm and issue mobile alerts if someone attempts to steal the trailer.
Second, a backup hitch camera points directly down to give drivers the perfect view when lining up the truck to attach a trailer. This eliminates the need to get out of the truck to check positioning, a frustrating chore when preparing to leave on a fishing trip at 4 a.m.