It’s gotta be a blast being part of a pickup product team these days. The engineers deliver a platform that will take a beating and you get to play with it. A standard work truck? No problem, that’s easy. Or at the opposite end, packing in loads of amenities to create something that resembles a luxury vehicle, popular with customers and their bulging wallets. Now super-tough pickups are all the rage, ones that look as tough as they perform. These trucks are for those customers who don’t necessarily go off-road, but desperately want to look like they go off-road.
These tough off-road trucks all have lift-kits that raise them, giant knobbies and the all-important badging to let the neighbors know you’re driving one bad-ass truck. You also need some extra cash in the bank to afford one of these babies. (And to fuel one of these babies.)
I test drove a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado Custom Trail Boss that carried a $49,290 window sticker. It was a 4WD Crew Cab powered by Chevy’s massive 6.2 liter Ecotec V8. The fuel economy numbers for this gas engine are silly, with the Trail Boss officially getting 15 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Let’s just say that my real-world numbers were a few mpgs worse. I think truck buyers are very aware that if they opt for the big-boy gas engine, saving gas is not a high priority. Before you do go truck shopping, be aware that the 2021 Silverado is available in seven different powertrain combinations, each with different towing and hauling capabilities.
The Trail Boss trim includes a two-inch lift and some serious off-road tires. And yes, those two additions to the truck help kill fuel economy numbers. But, the look is great, although I wish the Trail Boss badging were more prominent and more numerous. There are only two Trail Boss decals, one of each side of the truck bed. If I’m paying extra for that trim, I want to shout it out to everyone and make them jealous.
The Silverado came with a bench seat, although the wide dropdown center armrest did a good job of disguising it. The rear seats flip up to make it easier to use that space to carry stuff that you don’t want in the bed. I’m a sucker for the unique Chevy Multi-Flex tailgate that configures in six different ways.
Although the Trail Boss is built to take you far off the beaten path and get you back to civilization safely, this truck still handles quite nicely driving down the highway. Although I didn’t get the opportunity to tow, the 6.2 liter engine is capable of towing about anything you can imagine, while GM’s Enhanced Trailering Tech makes it all even easier. That’s good to have if you’re relatively new to towing.
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 can be pretty much whatever you want it to be, from the plainest vanilla work truck to a near-luxury vehicle. Configured this way or that way, underneath it all will still be a tough pickup ready to go to work. That’s the nice thing about trucks: they’re always ready to get dirty and bring you home.