Heavy Chevy: Silverado Name Appears on Medium-duty Trucks

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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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.

  • Redapple2 Automatic hi beam - low bean is a bad thing. Not a benefit. Steering following headlights are not helpful. Their delayed - then fast catch up - style ? action make me seasick. I turn mine off at night. I do like XM. So,........ BMW- cram it sideways. I dont like being bent over the table. I will not participate in your drama and will proceed to the Lexus dealer.
  • ChristianWimmer Yes, but with a carbureted 500cid V8. None of that fuel-injection silliness. 😇
  • VoGhost Fantastic work by Honda design. When I first saw the pictures, I thought "Is that a second gen Acura NSX?"
  • V16 2025 VW GLI...or 2025 Honda Civic SI? Same target audience, similar price points. Both are rays of sun in the gray world of SUV'S.
  • FreedMike Said this before and I'll say it again: I'm not that exercised about this whole "pay for a subscription" thing, as long as the deal's reasonable. And here's how you make it reasonable: offer it a monthly charge. Let's say that adaptive headlights are a $500 option on this vehicle, and the subscription is $15 a month, or $540 over a three year lease. So you try the feature for a month, and if you like it, you keep it; if you don't, then you discontinue it, like a Netflix subscription. In any case, you didn't get charged $500 up front the feature. That's not a bad deal.In my case, let's say VW offers an over the air chip reflash that gives me another 25 hp. The total price of the upgrade is $1,000 (which is what a reflash would cost you in the aftermarket). If they offered me a one time monthly subscription for $50 to try it out, I'd take it. In other words, maybe the news isn't all bad.