By on March 7, 2018

2019 Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500HD

Earlier this year, Chevy unveiled its new 2019 Silverado and, at the time, made mention that the nameplate would eventually migrate to its commercial line of trucks.

At today’s Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Chevrolet did indeed unveil its 2019 Silverado in burly 4500HD, 5500HD, and 6500HD formats. It’s the biggest Silverado ever, news that will surely delight groups as diverse as hard-working construction crews and builders of aftermarket bro-dozers.

Until now, the workaday trucks were confusingly called the Kodiak. Chassis cab trucks such as these are machines simply built with a cab but no bed or box astern. Such a construction makes it easy for companies to transform them into everything from walk-in delivery vans, ambulances, and – yes – the scattered extreme bro-dozer.

2019 Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500HD

The old Kodiak had the same amount of stylistic appeal as an industrial press; the Silverado makeover imbues the truck with a dose of good looks, even if it does seem to have a bit of an overbite. The Silverado name is hammered into the top of the truck’s grille, while the stacked headlight design sets it apart from its smaller brothers.

“Chevy’s designers and engineers were obsessed with making this Silverado the most customer-focused medium-duty truck of any major competitor,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet. “By customer-focused, I mean work-ready trucks that are easy to upfit, easy to drive, easy to service and easy to own.” We’ll leave real-world analysis of that statement to our very own in-house fleet mogul, Bozi Tatarevic.

2019 Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500HD

These Silverados come available with rear- or four-wheel drive, a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine making 350 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque, and an Allison automatic transmission. Chevy developed them in partnership with Navistar. The 4500, 5500, and 6500 monikers play well with the other Silverado designations and are also a play on commercial Class 4, 5, and 6 weight ratings.

Alert readers will notice the engine in these trucks share displacement and Duramax marketing name with Chevy’s L5P engine found in 2500 and 3500 pickups where it makes 910 lb-ft of twist. Why the difference? This mill has unique injectors and is tuned for heavy grunt work rather than towing an RV on the highway. Emissions are more stringent for this heavier class of truck, too. A front-hinged clamshell hood apes the old Kodiak in that regard.

2019 Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500HD

Notably, these Silverados will have a max steering angle of a gonzo 50 degrees. The new Expedition, with its surprisingly tight turning circle (given its size), reaches an angle of 35 degrees for comparison. Maneuverability is important on the job site, clearly. Helps with underhood access, too. Two-door single cabs and four-door crew cabs will be offered along with a myriad of chassis lengths.

This author thinks a potential unintended consequence of The General jazzing up its mega-HD trucks are the inevitable variations of it that will appear at the next SEMA show in Vegas. Freshly endowed with a ladle of chrome and a dose of front-end style, you can bet on aftermarket companies showing versions of this truck catering to the bro-dozer crowd. Both rear- and four-wheel drive versions will be on offer.

Factory production is planned to begin later this year. More than 400 commercially-focused Chevrolet dealers are expected to carry the new Silverado line. Last year, In 2017, GM Fleet delivered nearly 300,000 units to commercial and gubbmint customers.

[Images: General Motors]

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41 Comments on “Heavy Chevy: Silverado Name Appears on Medium-duty Trucks...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ll be seeing these soon along I-40 and in the Walmart parking lot pulling 5th wheel trailers that are combination lodging quarters and horse trailer.

  • avatar
    ColoradoFX4

    The Kodiak/TopKick ended production in 2009. The names for those medium duty trucks weren’t weird, just the last remnants from a past naming convention for heavy trucks. GM used “frontier beast” names for Chevys and military names for GMCs, hence the Chevy Bruin/GMC Brigadier (class 7/8) and Chevy Bison/GMC General (class 8).

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I actually knew a young lady named “Brigadier Brown”. I always wondered if it had anything to do with the truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Why did they stop? Those are fantastic names.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike-NB

      Maybe I shouldn’t mention this on a car site, but a star in my ‘fantasy garage’ would be a GMC Brigadier or Chevy Bruin with a Detroit Diesel two-stroke V6 or V8 in it. I’d drive that thing to work every day with the windows down and running through the gears just to hear that exhaust sound.

      Not really on topic, but another star would be a GMC “New Look” bus with a Detroit Diesel.

  • avatar
    srh

    “The Silverado name is hammered into the top of the truck’s grille”

    The pictures seem to show “CHEVROLET” hammered into the truck’s grille, not “Silverado”

  • avatar
    MBella

    I don’t understand why they chose the a styling theme similar to the one use on the pre-facelift current model with the new 1500 on the way.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      GM medium duty trucks have traditionally lagged behind light-duty styling themes by a few years. Kodiaks and Top Kicks didn’t receive the GMT400 treatment until 1990, two years after the light duty trucks were introduced (and two years before Blazers and Suburbans were similarly upgraded.)

      But yeah, it does seem weird here since GM was basically starting from scratch. They must want to further amortize GMT K2XX tooling costs.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The HD didn’t get the ugly restyled front of the outgoing 1500 series. It kept a style like this one. (I car pool with a friend with a ’17 2500 Duramax Z71.)

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I could see a 6500HD stake rack as a daily driver. “Hey bra, I’m goin’ out, you need any millstones or anything?”

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I guess the Chevy branded Isuzu cabovers didn’t cut it.

    What about the GMC twin?

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I’m having trouble deciding which one I want. It’ll mostly spend time getting groceries, taking my son to lessons of various sorts, and making Costco runs. Don’t need to tow anything.

    Part of me thinks the 4500 to save some money and make it easier to park in urban garages, but maybe I should go to the 6500 just to make sure I don’t get buyer’s remorse.

    Any word on rear seat entertainment options? Also hoping that they put lane assist on here as well, because sometimes I get an urgent text message, or forget which cup holder my drink is in.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    This one seems obvious. They need to call them “Silverado” so they can be included in the counting for the pickup truck wars.

    In a similar fashion to how Ford counts all trucks as “F-Series” even though F150 and F650 are vastly different trucks, but every one counts in the Truck Wars.

  • avatar
    3XC

    I can’t wait until the 17 year old scion of some construction or landscaping business is 14 inches off my bumper at 70mph on a 2 lane bridge in one of these while texting his friends.

    • 0 avatar
      TeamInstinct

      I would hope not, I’m not sure you understand how much a truck like this sucks to drive-I doubt many people will buy one just to drive, or if Chevy will even offer a bed. The trucks my utility company buys for their welding rigs is F550’s, and so between driving one every day and then 3 hours(each way) every 6 months for training, I can safely say they ride terribly, are terrible on fuel, and in general most would just be better off with something a little smaller. It’s not like the current 1tons can’t haul just about everything.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I logged many a mile in a ’90 Kodiak. That truck forged my opinion on pickup-based medium duty trucks. So, this MD attempt puts me in the “Meh…” category until they become proven.

    It will be interesting to see how long it take GM to get up to speed in the MD market. Doubling the GM vocational dealers will help but memories can be short. Its been a long time since GM had a decent MD product or dealer base. Shaving a few points off the bottom line will help to buy that long-lost market share. The bowtie fan base is irrationally loyal. This truck’s Bro-Dozer looks give it cred. GM will carve out its sliver of the MD market without a doubt. Can they grow that MD market share based on merit? That’s another matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      For many decades the MD offerings from the big 4 used the light duty cabs. It wasn’t until IH had no pickup cab to use that they stopped and then Freightshaker got into the MD business.

      Underneath this one will share everything with the International branded trucks other than the engine choices, so standard off the shelf MD truck parts.

      It should quickly gain traction as it is easier to have a fleet that is of a single brand. They can keep interior door handles on the shelf and it will work on the entire fleet, ditto for the Duramax so they can stock some of the same filters and things like valve cover gaskets for use on 2500-6500 series trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        Yes, I know. However, the off-the-shelf MD components made our old Kodiak so costly to keep on the road. We were always doing brake work on it and front wheel bearings, too. Our FL60 Freightliner that replaced it was much better.

        I do find it interesting that International TerraStars are more scarce than hen’s teeth in my area. Are they that bad, or that costly against the Ford & Ram? I know the answer to my question on the larger International models.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Point is that all the MD trucks use the same chassis components no matter the brand. You must have had a really really bad Kodiak if an FL was an improvement. In the fleet I used to maintain the FL70s were problematic.

          I never checked out the pricing on the TerraStar vs a 4/5 Ford or Ram and I got out of the game when they were just coming out. However I think it is the better ergonomics and commonality with the 2/3 trucks in the fleet kept a lot of people loyal to Ford or Ram. The fact that International had a number of problems at the time didn’t help either.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I like the look, with the exception of the headlights which look 10 or 15years out of date.

    If I must have a kodiak, make mine a kodiaq -from skoda.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Just in case you miss the, what 8″-10″ bowtie emblem, GM was nice enought to spell out “C H E V E R O L E T” on the top.

    Wonder what the GMC version will have across the top of the grill???

    Hey GM!!! Slap a pickup bed on that truck and you can out pull the Ford F450! Strip out the extra stuff and call it a class 3, just like Ford.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    So now we know what torque rating is actually sustainable for the current Duramax in heavy work. I’m surprised it’s as high as 700 lb-ft. That’s pretty stout for a 6.6-liter engine that’s sized to fit in a pickup truck.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The 50 degree wheel cut isn’t anything particularly new or spectacular the Blue Diamond versions of the F650 and F750 as well as the International badged trucks had that feature and I’m sure it was the International side of this collaboration that made it a requirement. As mentioned above they are using off the shelf components like every other MD mfg so the determining factor is tire diameter vs track width vs frame width. Frame width is universal and a SAE standard so that upfits are easy to do on any truck and overall width is limited by law. So tire size and where the stops are set is what determines the wheel cut angle.

    I find it interesting that they are going with the high cab version of the 4500 and 5500 as well as stopping at the 6500. Ford brought the class 4 truck market back from the dead because it gave the extra capability over the class 3 but shared the better driver ergonomics and compactness of the low cab class 2 and 3 trucks. That massive success led to the F550 going low cab and Dodge/Ram following suit.

    International’s last attempt at a high cab class 4/5 truck, the Terrastar fell flat so it will be interesting to see if GM and International can make any headway on Ford’s dominance of conventional class 4/5 market with all the disadvantages of the high cab configuration. At least this time for International it will be sharing the cab and front end with their 6/7 trucks so there isn’t a lot of extra investment involved as it was with the Terrastar.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s the “low cab” of the pickup based, F-450/550 cab-n-chassis’ that helped make them a runaway success. They’re a perfect blend/hybrid of industrial class 4/5 trucks/GVWR and proven F-series pickups, with most replacement parts siting on the shelf at your neighborhood Ford dealer, most being interchangeable with 3/4 and 1-ton F-series.

      The “coil” front suspension certainly didn’t hurt, ’05+.

      No need for clumsy, cumbersome “2-ton” trucks to do the same job, and from a 2nd party, industrial manufacturer with reliability not nearly on par with say Silverado or Ram pickups, and I’m not sure they care.

      GM had the short lived Silverado/Sierra “3500HD” class-4 15,000 GVWR, pickup based cab-n-chassis, early ’90s to early ’00s, and I wondered WTF they cancelled it, instead of adding a “class 5” to it when the F-550 appeared in ’99.

      I remember the tales of horror about Kodiak/Topkick reliability before they were killed off, early 2010. The local GMC commercial dealers were still trying to unload (give away) left-over, stacked deep ’10s, deep into 2012 calendar.

      I hope this isn’t GM “repeating history”.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The 450/550 only share cab and engine stuff with the 350. No coils in the 450/550, in fact the entire frame and suspension are entirely different.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Really it’s the shared stuff under the hood, trans and in the cab that need service, repair, replacement the most, not so much the (not shared) frame/suspension/brakes/wheels.

          But I wan’t you to explain how the coils in front suspension in my ’06 F-550 don’t really exist. I also own a ’99 F-550 and the ride quality are like night and day between the two.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I wonder if GM will add these bigger Silverados to the monthly Silverado numbers?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The only reason Ford is able to stack F-450 Pickup sales together with “F-series” is
      A) They have a pickup bed
      B) They’re the same “chassis” even if frames don’t interchange
      C) They roll down the same assembly line as F-250/350 pickups/cab-n-chassis’.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Matt,
    This statement from you;
    “Alert readers will notice the engine in these trucks share displacement and Duramax marketing name with Chevy’s L5P engine found in 2500 and 3500 pickups where it makes 910 lb-ft of twist. Why the difference? This mill has unique injectors and is tuned for heavy grunt work rather than towing an RV on the highway.”

    I think it has more to do with longevity and endurance. The “lighter” and more powerful diesels are more highly strung, hence less reliable in demanding situations.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Yeah it’s all about “longevity” and reliability (not to mention reduced warranty claims) since end-users are usually company/salaried drivers and they tend to stand on the go pedal from every stop.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The pickup applications only need to give full power for short bursts while in the MD applications they will usually be run foot nailed to the floor all day every day.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The current presidential limousine is also built on top of a Kodiak/TopKick chassis.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s curious to compare it to the steering angle the “Expedition”? What’s an F-450/550?

    Is this a GM press thing? F-450/550s have a 45 degree cut-angle.


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