In the current pickup truck market, it’s impossible to be too macho, too big, or too tall.
The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss is one of Chevy’s entries in the manly pickup truck category. In this rig, there is no Prius that can’t be intimidated.
On the other hand, you can get pretty decent fuel economy by choosing the 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine, so maybe there’s an ecologically woke side to the Trail Boss, too.
Chevrolet adopted the Silverado name for its pickup trucks in 1999, and the most recent general update came in 2019. As is typical for Chevy trucks, the Silverado is available in a variety of trims, packages and engine choices.
When equipped with 4WD, there are eight trims to choose from, ranging from the most basic Work Truck option to the luxurious High Country trim. Depending on the trim level, buyers can choose between a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, 5.3- or 6.2-liter V-8s, or a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel. Our test vehicle for the week was a mid-grade LT Trail Boss trim, with the turbo-diesel.
The Trail Boss trim is an off-road spec, but not as extreme as the new Silverado ZR2, which includes even tougher suspension, more underbody protection, and some nifty visual cues. To put it in perspective, the Trail Boss would be appropriate for someone who works in the logging and forestry industry, while the ZR2 is more for someone who wants to follow the Baja 1000 race.
As we mentioned, bigness is the order of the day with pickups. The Silverado has a big front end, with a big hood that’s hard to see over. You’ll view pedestrians as bobbing hats in front of the massive brick of a truck you’re driving. There’s some sculpture to the sides, but mainly the exterior presentation of the Silverado is all about presence. You can’t ignore this truck. Really, it’s quite a good-looking truck, and no one will ever say it looks timid.
One exterior feature to mention is the 6-way tailgate, originally limited to GMC trucks, but now available on the Silverado. This is worth the extra $445 as a standalone option. With the different configurations including as a stairway up into the bed, this is a smart buy.
The generally masculine vibe of the Silverado continues in the interior, but it’s also highly functional and very comfortable. If you buy the Trail Boss trim with its extra ground clearance, you will want to invest in the accessory running boards and bed access steps. I’m six feet tall and it was a handle-assisted climb into the driver’s seat for me. I take my parents to dinner every week, but I wouldn’t even try to load my elderly mother up into the Trail Boss without an extra step.
In classic Chevy truck style, the interior layout is no-nonsense, and the leather feels thick and durable. The center console offers plenty of storage and there’s tons of room in the back seat, assuming you buy the crew cab like everyone else. One note: if you raise the driver’s seat up more than you usually do, you can get a little better visibility over the hood.
As mentioned, you can get any of four different engines, including two V-8 options, depending on the Silverado trim level you choose. The default engine for the LT Trail Boss mid-level trim is a 5.3-liter V-8 rated at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, but you can select the 6.2-liter V-8 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, or the 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder Duramax turbo-diesel, which is what we had in the test vehicle.
The Duramax engine delivers the same 460 lb-ft of torque as the big V-8, which is all-important in a truck. Horsepower is rated at 277, but with the 10-speed automatic transmission, there’s always a gear that’s right for the moment.
The net effect is V-8 performance with reasonable fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined. If you opt for a 2WD instead of the 4WD Trail Boss, you can boost the EPA’s highway number as high as 31 mpg, which is impressive for a full-size truck.
When it comes to practical purposes, the Silverado Trail Boss is more than capable. Towing capacity with the diesel is 9,000 pounds, and 2,385 pounds of payload. In the LT Trail Boss trim, a dash-mounted trailer brake controller is also included. You can pull more with either of the gas V-8s.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates the 2022 Silverado with four stars in its crash test. The Silverado got top marks for side impacts and driver’s side frontal impacts, but four stars for passenger-side frontal crashes and rollovers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety echoed the Federal government’s findings with good results generally, but marginal on front passenger impacts.
The LT Trail Boss trim comes with an 8-inch touchscreen running Chevrolet Infotainment 3 operating system. Chevy’s infotainment and navigation get a C+ grade for ease of use, but the system also supports Android and Apple smartphone integration, so if you prefer that interface, it’s there for you. Some lower trims offer a 7-inch screen, while the top luxury High Country trim and the ZR2 give you a huge 13.4-inch screen.
Apart from the overall size of the Silverado, which really affects only tight maneuvering and in-town driving, it’s hard to overstate how well this truck drives. It’s solid on the road, confident and offers no surprises. This is a truck you could easily choose for an extended road trip, pulling a trailer and saving a few bucks on fuel compared to a big V-8. What’s even better, you wouldn’t give up any comfort compared to a passenger car, and maybe not even any fuel economy.
The Duramax diesel offers plenty of power, and the 10-speed transmission does its job so well you’ll just take it for granted that you’re in the right gear, or you will be with a push of the accelerator pedal.
This is a good place to talk about the automatic 4WD. In the LT Trail Boss trim, this is standard equipment. The Autotrac transfer case adds an Auto mode that acts like the all-wheel-drive system typically found in an SUV or passenger car. You don’t need to do anything but select Auto, and you can leave the truck in Auto all the time.
When the Silverado detects wheel slip, it will engage the 4WD system for you and deliver the traction you need. One more note: you can put this transfer case in neutral and safely flat-tow the Silverado behind an RV.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado LT Crew Trail Boss 4WD Specifications
|Dimension||L: 231.9 inches/W: 81.2 inches/H: 78.4 inches/Wheelbase: 147.5 inches|
|Powertrain||3.0-liter, turbocharged inline 6-cylinder, 10-speed automatic transmission with 4WD|
|Fuel Economy||20 mpg city/23 mpg highway/21 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $52,000; As tested: $62,570 including $1,695 delivery fees.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
If you went online and built the least expensive Silverado possible, you could find a bottom line MSRP of $29,195 after various discounts and cash allowances. That would be a rear-drive work truck with a single cab and an 8-foot bed. Basically your grandfather’s idea of a pickup truck, but with a 4-cylinder turbo engine. Chevrolet always offers a low-cost entry point, but here’s the thing: if you change anything about that cheap truck, like adding an extended cab or a V-8 engine, the price jumps by several thousand dollars.
By the time you spec out the Silverado you really want, like the Crew Cab LT Trail Boss with a Duramax diesel that we tested, well, our test truck had a base price of $52,000, and then $10,000 worth of options and destination fee for a bottom-line price of $62,570. Even if you spec out a top trim High Country with the 6.2-liter V-8, that truck sells for about $72,000.
Choosing a trim to recommend for someone else’s pickup truck is just about impossible. If you like the off-road look and capability, the LT Trail Boss is a good trim, while High Country is all about luxury. We’ll note that the lower-priced Custom trim is also available with Trail Boss off-road gear, so that might be a more affordable choice for some buyers.
If your needs are strictly utilitarian, buying the baseline Work Truck trim saves a lot of money. A 4WD Work Truck with a 5.3-liter V-8 engine pencils out at $37,190. As always, you know best what you need, what you would like, and what you don’t want to pay for.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss AWD — Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between the Z71 off-road package and the Trail Boss?
The Trail Boss extends the Z71 off-road package with additional enhancements. The Silverado Trail Boss suspension has been given a 2-inch lift straight from the factory, skid plates, monotube shock dampers, hill descent control and a heavy-duty air cleaner.
What’s the difference between the Trail Boss and ZR2?
The ZR2 adds hard-core off-road features like Multimatic DSSV shock dampers, a special front bumper to increase approach angles, wheel flares, front and rear electronic locking differentials, 33-inch off-road tires, aluminum skid plates, 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a standard 6.2-liter V-8 engine.
Which is better — the 5.3-liter V-8 or the 3.0-liter Duramax?
While the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel comes out on top in terms of efficiency and torque output, the gas-fueled 5.3-liter V-8 is better for towing. The Silverado with the 5.3-liter V-8 engine is capable of towing up to 11,500 pounds, while the Duramax is limited to 9,500 pounds maximum when installed in a rear-drive truck.