Everyone wants a tough, off-road primed truck right now. Ford started fired up this desire train when it launched the first-generation Raptor. Yes, other people drove off-road trucks before that, but this time it was a larger audience eager to express a love of mud and dirt. Toyota’s been serving up such machines for years. Ram has its Rebel. Now Chevrolet is here with the 2019 Silverado Trail Boss.
No, the Trail Boss is not a Raptor competitor. Most of you know this, but it’s the sort of phrase that needs to be restated. If you don’t say it, people ask why you didn’t talk about the Raptor. When you bring up the Raptor, people complain about the unfair comparison. With that out of the way, let’s dive into what the Trail Boss is all about.
Rather than applying off-road bits to its top-trim trucks, Chevy has wisely opted to turn lower-level machine into denizens of dusty trails. The Trail Boss is built up on the back of the LT and Custom Silverado pickups. This is a smart move because it helps to keep the cost down. Or, it should help. A major problem with the Trail Boss is that it does not. Sure, the base price of a Trail Boss is about $43,000. The one we drove, which has all the options you’re likely to check and not every option available, stickers for about $57,000.
So you wind up with a nice, tough looking truck with the lower-trim interior at a very non low-spec price.
Yes, the cabin space of the new Silverado is nice. But it’s not on the same level as the one found in the new Ram. Nor do you sit in it and go “Sweet, this is totally worth the almost $60,000 I just spent!”
What are my options here?
Another problem for the Trail Boss also lives on the order form. Since you’re dealing with a lower spec truck to start, you can’t choose the engine you might actually want here. Custom Trail Boss customers have a choice between the 5.3-liter V8 and the ready-to-just-die already 4.3-liter V6. If you buy an LT Trail Boss, your only “choice” is the 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8.
We’d love to see the option to spec both the new 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine or the 6.2-liter, 420-hp V8. Pretty much no one should buy the 4.3-liter and the 5.3-liter is best described as …fine. It’s alright here. But if you’re buying a fun, off-road truck you want more than fine. Especially for the asking price. There needs to be a great exhaust note, on-demand throttle response, and proper power for the given mil.
The rest of the truck, however, is well done. Chunky Goodyear off-road tires wrap around a set of 18-inch wheels. That means real-deal sidewall. Under the skin, the Trail Boss gets skid plates, a two-inch lift, Rancho monotube shocks, a transfer case, and a rear locker. You can take this truck off-road, and you’ll have fun doing so.
Until you remember that the 6.2-liter V8 exists and it’s not under your hood. And every time your monthly truck payment arrives in the mail.