TFL’s Roman Mica calls our 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss “the Swiss Army Knife of trucks—it’s even red too!” After more than 7,000 miles of use in the last six months the Trail Boss has become our go-to choice as a support vehicle for production shoots, towing mule for a myriad of jobs, and, more often than not, our first choice to hop into for lunch runs. The current generation Silverado has so surprised us with its utility and value that one of our editors went out and bought a new Silverado for himself (The quarantine deals being offered certainly helped).
While the sticker price on the truck was $56,145, we drove it off the lot at Johnson Auto Plaza, here in Colorado for around $45,000. We haven’t stopped driving it since. From the factory, the Trail Boss is GM’s most off-road capable full-size pickup. It comes with a 2-inch factory lift, Rancho shocks, and very good Goodyear DuraTrac all-terrain tires. We chose GM’s 5.3-liter V8 to power this, not the bigger 6.2-liter, since the 5.3 is the most popular V8 spec’d by GM truck buyers. We wanted to see what its 355hp and 383 lb-ft. of torque could do.
We ran the IKE Gauntlet™ towing test with a 7,000-pound horse trailer, within the truck’s tow rating of 9,500 pounds. We ran an MPG loop on the high plains east of the Rockies with the same trailer. We took it to Moab, twice. We did an unladen MPG test, and we ran it up our signature “Ironclads” off-road benchmark trail. In all here’s what we learned:
Trail Boss Good
Fuel economy, unladen: The 3:23 rear end and new 10-speed automatic feels primed for fuel economy, and that was our experience. André clocked 20.7 MPG on our baseline 66 mile interstate loop. That’s right in line with the EPA sticker. Nice!
Ride: The Rancho shocks, lift, and off-road tune delivers a relatively smooth ride both on- and off-road. Nothing harsh about it in our opinion.
No Service Issues: Granted it IS a brand-new truck, but still, we’ve had one schedule oil change that was free. The only recall was a software update that was handled during the oil change.
Trail Boss Bad (or not bad, just kinda annoying)
Mechanical Rear Locker: When rock crawling or picking our way slowly over terrain, we constantly wish we could manually lock the rear whenever we want. Instead we have to get a rear wheel moving for the system to lock itself. It doesn’t always kick in when we want it to. We also ran into issues where a front locker would have helped.
Functional, not Stylish Interior: Design is a subjective thing. André finds the Trail Boss interior functional, but nothing special that makes it stand out as the “Trail Boss” model. Others on the team aren’t bothered by it.
Downhill Braking When Towing: GM’s new 10-speed automatic had us jonesing to see how sophisticated it was when running downhill on our IKE Gauntlet™ towing test. We hoped it would do an intelligent job with engine braking, finding the right gear to hold the truck and trailer in check. It didn’t. However, the 5.3 V8 pulled the load back up to 11,000-plus feet of elevation with no problem matching our benchmark time of 8 minutes.
Trail Boss Ugly
0-60 at Elevation: The Trail Boss clocked a very slow 9.38 seconds in our 0-60 acceleration test. Granted, if we had run the test at sea level, the truck might have notched a sub-8 second score. The truck is not a speed demon, despite its devil red color.
Non-Matching Spare: The spare tire does not match the Goodyears on the other four wheels. For an off-road spec’d truck from the factory, we found this really disappointing. It is easily the most “ugly” aspect of this rig. Watch the video and see for yourself.