Heavy Chevy: Silverado Name Appears on Medium-duty Trucks

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
heavy chevy silverado name appears on medium duty trucks

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.

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.

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.

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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  • Kyree Kyree on Mar 07, 2018

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

  • DenverMike DenverMike on Mar 07, 2018

    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.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.