INDIANAPOLIS — This isn't the first time I've reviewed the 2022 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss. Like the last one, though, this one is an off-road ready version with a 2-inch lift, monotube shocks to absorb rough trails, and 18" black alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires to claw over them. Its long crew cab is still ideal for families on the go. But, a little plastic surgery and a heart transplant make this one better than the last.
Looking close at the hood, you'll notice a black topper with the word "DURAMAX" affixed to it on both sides. Chevrolet fans will know DURAMAX = DIESEL. Here's your heart transplant. Unlike with the heavy duty pickups that use their large diesels for big towing numbers, this one is considerably smaller and aimed at improving fuel economy in the 1500-series pickups.
The 3.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers just 277 horsepower, not a lot for a full-size pickup, but stomps down with 460 lb.-ft. of torque for easy acceleration around town and on the freeway. That connects to the four-wheel-drive system through a smooth 10-speed automatic transmission. That engine and transmission achieve up to 23/31-MPG city/highway in rear-drive Silverados, but achieves a more grounded 20/23-MPG city/highway in the fortified Trail Boss with knobby tires and heavy skid plates.
Moving inside you'll see the plastic surgery, a big improvement that's now part of Silverado no matter the powertrain. Finally, Chevrolet upgraded its infotainment system to a 13.4" widescreen. No doubt, Chevrolet had fallen behind the tall tablet-style screen in Rams and the panoramic unit in Ford F-150s. Especially when accompanying the new flatscreen instrument cluster, the dash has more the feel of a Corvette than old-tech pickup. Thank Louis Chevrolet and all that came after him for that!
Beyond the screen, the Trail Boss' interior is pretty lavish. Dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and power moonroof are a start. Devices connect to the Bose audio system through wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Wi-Fi hotspot. Charge wirelessly, too, with a console slot. Trailering is made simple with an in-dash trailer brake controller and backing dial. Safety is enhanced by automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise, trailer side blind zone alert, and trailer sway control.
You may look at this big brute of a truck and think it would be difficult to drive. It's not. It's obviously going to be a little wide on tight city streets, but it turns sharply and is easy to maneuver with all of the cameras and bumper beepers. Hitting on-ramps, the turbo, transmission, and ample torque usher it up to speed quickly and smoothly. Full-out in the left lane, there is plenty of power in reserve with all of that torque feeling it is available with just the twitch of your big toe. Big wheels and trail-ready suspension soak up all but the roughest roads with aplomb.
As you might guess, the updated Silverado Trail Boss is not inexpensive. Base models start around $52,000, but ours came to a loftier $62,570, including the $2,590 diesel option. Still, that's competitive with the Ram Rebel, Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, upcoming Ford F-150 Rattler, and the similar GMC Sierra AT4.
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2022 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss
Five-passenger, 4WD Pickup
Powertrain: 3.0-liter TD-I6, 10-spd trans
Output: 277hp/460 lb.-ft. torque
Suspension f/r: Ind/Solid axle
Wheels f/r: 18”/18” alloy
Brakes f/r: disc/disc
Must-have features: Diesel, Dash
Towing: 8,900 lbs.
Fuel economy: 20/23 mpg city/hwy
Assembly: Silao, Mexico
Base/As-tested price: $52,000/$62,570