2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 LTZ Midnight Edition Review
Toby Hagon’s 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 LTZ Midnight Edition Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In a nutshell: More truck than ute, the heavy duty Chevrolet Silverado converted to right-hand drive locally by HSV is a vehicle made for towing.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Specifications
Price $139,990+ORC Warranty 3 years, 100,000km Service Intervals 9 months, 12,000km Safety N/A Engine 6.6-litre V8 turbo diesel Power 332kW at 2800rpm Torque 1234Nm at 1600rpm Transmission 6-speed auto Drive Part-time 4WD Dimensions 6085mm long, 2045mm wide, 1985mm high, 3886mm wheelbase Ground Clearance 250mm Angles 22.3 degrees approach, 21.0 degrees breakover, 22.4 degrees departure Towing 4500kg (with 70mm towball), 5890kg (with pintle); 450kg towball download GVM 4491kg GCM 9801kg Boot Space NA Spare Temporary spare with slightly smaller tyre Fuel Tank 136 litres Thirst NA
Big American trucks are increasingly popular with caravanners and boaties, as well as farmers and miners. Until now most have been converted from left- to right-hand drive by specialist workshops selling in relatively low volumes. But the latest Chevrolet Silverado is now being sold through selected Holden dealerships following a high quality conversion by the same company that looks after HSV.
What’s in the range and how much does it cost?
If size matters to you then you’d better be prepared to pay for it.
Life in a Silverado 2500HD (the HD denoting heavy duty) starts at $114,990 for the WT, or Work Truck. For that you’re getting the enormous dual-cab body that stretches almost 6.1 metres as well as a four-wheel drive system and a grunty 6.6-litre turbo diesel V8. It also incorporates a tow kit as well as all wiring, including controls for trailer brakes. There are also side steps (you’ll need them) and a suitably large tray (it makes push bikes look small and will comfortably take a dirt bike), complete with built-in overhead illumination.
But other than the brash chrome bumper and acres of sheetmetal it’s basic elsewhere, with 18-inch steel wheels and black doorhandles. The steering wheel doesn’t even adjust for reach, only moving up and down. At least there’s a tyre pressuring monitoring system as well as a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity.
It’s not until you step up to the LTZ that the level of equipment starts to reflect the six-figure price tag. Sure, it’s a hefty $20K leap ($134,990) but you get extras such as wireless phone charging, seven-speaker Bose sound system, dual-zone ventilation, heated and ventilated front seats, leather trim, front and rear parking sensors, integrated garage remote opener, multifunction steering wheel with a heated rim and a larger 8.0-inch screen incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (bringing sat-nav functionality when you’re in phone range). And reach adjust for the steering, as well as a centre console between the front occupants (in the WT it gets an extra seat instead). There’s also some active safety gear, including lane departure warning, forward collision warning (but no auto braking) and hill descent control.
The power sliding rear window, chrome alloy wheels, additional chrome elements on things such as the bonnet and mirrors, as well as integrated foglights add some spark to the exterior, too.
From there it’s another $5000 to the Midnight Edition ($139,990) tested here. No surprises it’s only available in black, something that extends to the bumpers and wheels, doing away with most of the chrome for a more sinister appearance. There are also more off-road focused 18-inch Goodyear tyres as well as headlights with a black bezel.
There’s also a Custom Sport edition, which sells for $139,990 and replaces most of the Midnight Edition’s black for white. There are also 20-inch wheels along with a unique front bumper to enhance the sportier look.
As well as the latest active safety systems, there are notable omissions across the lineup. No digital radio, for example, and no push button start.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
Big is the best way to sum up the Silverado. Those side steps aren’t just for looks, instead providing an important pillar for the climb into the cabin, which is about 65cm from ground level.
The cabin is also impressively wide, allowing for a large centre console between the front seats. Like the doors – which have multi-layer pockets and myriad cubby holes – there are various binnacles in that deep centre console.
In the rear, too, the width ensures three adults will comfortably fit across the back seat, and there should be no complaints with legroom or headroom. There’s even room for work boots to slide under the front seats, and each door has five separate compartments to manage all manner of odds and ends.
While there’s a folding centre arm rest with two cupholders there are no rear air vents.
Anyone familiar with some of the latest Holden products will notice similarities in the Silverado, from the chrome tinges to various interior components to the fonts and infotainment screen. There’s also a new layer of functionality afforded by the additional space, too. Think loads of hidey holes and larger-than-usual storage areas.
There’s a great grooved holder in the forward part of centre console, for example, to hold phones or even a tablet computer. Gadgets can be charged via the two USB plugs hidden behind a folding cover (those in the rear have no USBs, just a single 12V plug).
There’s barely a hint the Silverado left the factory with the steering wheel on the left. The new dash is sourced from the same supplier, ensuring a perfect match. Even the relocation of the windscreen wipers has been perfectly executed.
The only things that missed the left-to-right conversion are the radio aerial (which sits just in front of the windscreen pillar on the driver’s side) and the audible clicker from the instrument binnacle, which is now buried somewhere in front of the passenger. Trainspotters may also notice the mirrors poking unnaturally out of their caps, a result of chocks used to reprofile them for the relocated driver.
Elsewhere, the plastics and finishes are basic rather than good.
And there’s the occasional gripe, such as the clunky column-mounted gear selector. The foot-operated park brake requires decent flexibility to raise your left leg high enough to engage it.
Of course, one of the big appeals with the Silverado is its ability to carry plenty. Its tray is enormous, stretching more than two metres (2003mm) from the Chevy badge emblazoned on the rear of the cab to the tailgate, which on LTZ models has a handy soft-lowering function. In between the wheel arches is almost 1.3 metres (1296mm), more than enough to take a full-sized pallet and also handy for 1200mm-wide sheets of wood.
However, despite being able to comfortably accommodate plenty in the tray, the Silverado has a ludicrously low payload; at 875kg it’s less than that of the mid-sized utes that dominated in Australia. Blame that partly on regulations; HSV has certified the Silverado 2500 to be driven on a regular car licence, something that limits its gross vehicle mass (the weight of the car, occupants and anything in/on it) to 4500kg. So, overseas, the Midnight Edition is rated to carry more like 1.1 tonnes, but in Australia its official payload is lower to ensure it remains within regulations.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
The infotainment screen is a generous size although looks small housed in the expansive dash. There are logical icons and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although like the plastics the presentation is dated in what is a fast-moving world of connectivity.
The main instruments have a generic layout, with a large speedo and tacho split by a colour display that can show everything from a digital speedo to the transmission temperature (important for towing and off-roading) and individual tyre pressures or fuel use.
Similarly, a multi-function steering wheel is generic but functional, some audio buttons hidden on the back side of the wheel. Controls for the headlights and the electronic 4×4 selector are on a panel to the right of the steering wheel, one that also presents the trailer brake controls nicely in the driver’s field of view.
Audiophiles will appreciate the loud seven-speaker Bose sound system in LTZ models. It’s bassy and loud but lacks the outright clarity of Bose systems in some other cars.
The ergonomic low point comes when selecting gears, the gangly column-mounted shifter not particularly precise in selecting gears. Plus, if you want to hold gears or select lower ratios you’ll be doing it on that stalk, something that also incorporates a towing mode, to hold gears more.
The foot-operated park brake is also cumbersome in its operation, its relatively high resting point requiring a decent lift of the knee to engage it.
What’s the performance like?
The Silverado is a sizeable vehicle that weighs 3.6 tonnes, so it needs a big engine to get things moving.
Fortunately, it’s got more than that, the giveaway being the vented bonnet that rises to about 1.4 metres from ground level. There’s a mighty 6.6-litre V8 turbo diesel marketed as Duramax; in case you forget, there’s a (big) badge on either side of the bulging bonnet.
It drives through a six-speed Allison transmission (Allison is known for its truck transmissions) driving through a part-time four-wheel drive system.
The peak power number doesn’t tell the whole story. Sure, 332kW is a decent power hit, although the fact it’s produced at just 2800rpm confirms the engine is all about lazy performance, with the emphasis well and truly on torque.
There’s a full 1234Nm on offer and it’s produced at just 1600rpm (to put that in perspective, a V8-powered LandCruiser 200-Series diesel makes 650Nm, still more than acceptable in isolation).
Press the throttle, then, and there’s loads of oomph. As well as some muted diesel roar there’s hissing from the turbo as it spins to life, thrusting air into the combustion chamber.
At no stage are you left wanting for more in the way of performance, at least when unladen. It is a mighty V8 that pulls strongly across its narrow rev range, the six-speed auto working in an almost relaxed nature to keep the revs within that torque band.
There’s so much torque that on a slippery surface or with some lock wound on one of the rear tyres will slip as it tries to divert it all to the ground. But in a straight line – even up hills – it surges with intent. Of course, moving anything that heavy with that sort of enthusiasm will take its toll on your fuel bills – and it’s no different in the Silverado. There’s a sizeable 136-litre fuel tank, so the needle doesn’t drop as dramatically as you might imagine.
But it’s slurping plenty of diesel in the process. Drive it hard and you’ll crack 20 litres per 100km, although during out time it mostly hovered around 15-17L/100km.
What’s it like on the road?
Those who like to sit above the traffic with love the Silverado. Its seating position towers above just about everything, with the exception of trucks and buses, which are more at eye level.
That brings its own challenges with manoeuvring around other vehicles. There’s a lot of metal in every direction, so you need to be aware of the extremities of the vehicle. Plus, the sheer width of the Silverado means keeping it in its lane requires some concentration.
For a large commercial vehicle its ride is not bad, some tautness ensuring you feel the bumps – chunky speed humps can be a tad dramatic – but don’t get jolted around. Speed humps can be a big deal, such is the weight trying to be shoved around, although it ultimately lumbers over them solidly.
The occasional skip in the rear end is a reminder that most of the Silverado’s heft is towards the front and middle of the car. Get on the throttle too early and that 1234Nm of torque can easily trigger the traction control.
The chunky off-road tyres on our car get a hum going around 50 or 60km/h, something that detracts from the otherwise acceptable noise levels in the cabin.
And, of course, having to wield 3.6 tonnes comes with its own challenges, the most obvious of which is changing direction. U-turns and parking require more space and some forward planning.
The turning circle, for example, is a massive 15.7 metres, so there are some roundabouts the Silverado will not be able to do a lap of; better hope you were planning to leave at one of the early exits.
The biggest inhibitor to its lack of agility is the steering. It’s not particularly accurate so requires a decent turn to get the desired result, and with those big off-road tyres there’s some give in its response. Planning ahead ultimately pays off.
What’s it like off the road?
All Silverado 2500s converted by HSV are four-wheel drives, with a part-time transfer case. That means on regular bitumen roads you’re limited to driving the rear wheels, the lack of a centre differential posing problems with axle bind-up on grippy surfaces.
Selecting four-wheel drive is done via a rotating dial to the right of the steering wheel, the easy selection engaging the front axle.
There’s a generous 250mm of ground clearance and it rides on chunky Goodyear Wrangler Duratec tyres with a rugged light truck construction.
The sheer height of the car helps account for the short but low-ish front bumper and long rear overhang. Approach and departure angles, then, are almost identical, at 22.3 degrees and 22.4 degrees respectively. The enormous 3886mm wheelbase means you’ll have to keep an eye on the underside, with the rampover angle just 21 degrees.
Our off-roading was limited to light duties, something it coped with easily. Certainly the immense grunt means there won’t be an issue with powering out of tough situations.
Does it have a spare?
There’s a spare tyre that is tantalisingly close in its dimensions to those fitted to the car.
At 265mm wide and with a 70-series aspect ratio the more road-biased Goodyear Wrangler SR-A spare is different to those on the car, theoretically rendering it a temporary spare.
If you want the 275/65 18-inch tyre the same as those on the car – Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac – it’ll cost extra.
Can you tow with it?
Towing is what the Silverado 2500 is best at, which is why it comes standard with a tow hitch, wiring and electronic trailer brakes. It’s rated to lug up to 4500kg if using a 70mm towball, which outdoes prime big-towing rivals (think LandCruisers and various dual-cab utes) by a tonne.
But if you’ve got bigger loads in minds – big boats and caravans are the obvious candidates – then you can use the pintle connection to up that tow capacity to 5890kg.
While we didn’t try it, the immense torque of the engine suggests it won’t have much of an issue moving heavy weights.
What about ownership?
The Silverado is covered by a three-year, 100,000km warranty. Whereas finding backup and warranty assistance for trucks converted by smaller outlets could be a challenge in remote areas, HSV’s Chevrolet 60-strong dealer network covers every capital city and even far north Queensland (however, there’s no dealer in Alice Springs, nor the top of WA).
Service intervals are every nine months or 12,000km. There is no capped price service offering.
What safety features does it have?
There are six airbags, including curtains down each side offering head protection for outer occupants.
The Silverado also gets some active safety features, although they’re all about warnings rather than taking action. There’s forward collision warning, for example, which flashes and vibrates the seat if it predicts a collision, but doesn’t hit the brakes as most modern systems do. Similarly, the lane departure warning tells you when you’re wandering out of the lane – it’s easy to do in a vehicle this size! – but won’t offer any steering correction.
Due to its low volume ANCAP hasn’t independent crash tested the Silverado. That leaves the rating of the US government-run National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the most thorough independent test (it’s a very different crash test to the ANCAP one, so can’t be compared). NHTSA rated the Silverado four stars out of five.