Chevrolet Trucks and Cars For 1999
By Carey Russ
The full-size Chevrolet pickup is the best-selling vehicle in the General Motors family. The light and medium-duty models are all-new for 1999, and sold under the Silverado nameplate. Limited quantities of heavy-duty and crew-cab versions of the old C/K pickup are still available. A specially-styled "Xtreme" version of the S-10 compact pickup is offered.
On the sport-utility front, the Tracker name may be the same, but Chevy's smallest SUV is completely new. A new model of Blazer compact SUV is offered, and the full-size Tahoe and Suburban have mechanical refinements. The Venture minivan has interior and mechanical upgrades, as does the mid-size Astro van and the full-size Express van.
Designed to build on the heritage and achievements of the C/K line of full-size pickups, the new Silverado does justice to the name that has been used for Chevy's premium pickups for over 20 years.
The Silverado is offered in three trim levels, with the usual choices of regular and extended cabs, box styles and lengths, weight ratings, V6 or V8 engines, and two- or four-wheel drive. But nearly everything is completely new. The frame is stiffer and lighter than that of the old C/K, for better fit and finish, a quieter interior environment, and improved handling. The body styling is new, and while more rounded than the old trucks has no pretensions to look like a car or big rig. From the bow-tie emblem in the grille bar back, it's a Chevrolet pickup. Extended-cab models have a passenger-side third door as standard equipment. Inside is plenty of room, and an interior designed for the modern working truck owner. The back seat is not an afterthought.
The 4.3-liter V6 engine is familiar from previous Chevy trucks, but the 4.8, 5.3, and 6.0-liter gasoline V8s are new. They are members of the new GM small-block family, and more efficient than the engines they replace. A 6.5-liter turbo-diesel with a massive 440 lb.-ft. of torque is available. Buyers have a choice of five-speed manual or four- speed automatic transmissions, and two different four-wheel-drive systems.
In the past, pickups have not been noted for stopping well. That was in the past. All 1999 Chevy Silverados have four-wheel antilock disc brakes for fast, safe stopping.
Although the Silverado will meet the needs of many pickup customers, it is being introduced in light and medium duty forms, with heavy-duty models due in the future. Until that time, updated versions of heavy-duty models of the trusty old C/K will be offered. New to the line are short-box crew-cab models.
"C" trucks are 2WD; "K" refers to 4WD models.
The S-10 compact pickup line has always been known for versatility and a wide choice of models. The tradition continues. New this year is the S-10 "Xtreme", a production version of the "Hugger" concept truck. It features full ground-effects styling and body-colored grille and bumpers, unique 16-inch alloy wheels, and the lowered ZQ8 sport suspension. It will be offered in two-wheel-drive form, with a choice of 2.2-liter four-cylinder or 4.3-liter V6 engines, manual or automatic transmissions, regular or extended cabs, and "Fleetside" or "Styleside" cargo boxes.
Plenty of other variations on the S-10 theme are still available for every compact truck need, even one with electric power.
The name is familiar, and the new Tracker, like the old one, is offered in two-door and four-door styles, but that's about it. From the ground up, it's all new.
More rounded, aerodynamic styling may be the most noticeable change, but improvements to the frame, suspension, engines, and interior are even more important. And, unlike many other small SUVs, 4WD Trackers have dual-range transfer cases for true off-road capability.
Standard in the two-door model is a 97-hp, 1.6-liter four- cylinder engine, with a 127-hp 2.0-liter four optional. The 2.0-liter engine is the only powerplant for the four-door model.
The Blazer line of compact sport-utilities offers everything from a bare-bones two-door model to a four-door luxury cruiser. New this year is the "TrailBlazer" package, a premium luxury option group for select four-door models. It has monochrome paint with gold accents outside and two-tone leather inside, and a special suspension.
A new Z71 four-door, four-wheel-drive model of Chevy's full- size Tahoe is available. It features special exterior trim, including grille, brush guards, and assist bars, chrome wheels, and fender flares. Inside are leather seats and other enhanced trim. The Z71 offroad chassis package includes upgraded suspension and tires and skid plates.
The extra-large Suburban has a number of mechanical enhancements and new color choices for 1999.
Chevy's minivan has interior equipment changes, a new electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission, and new color choices.
The mid-size Astro van has minor interior and exterior trim and color changes, and automatic transmission enhancements. All-wheel- drive models have a new transfer case.
The Chevy Express full-size passenger and cargo vans have "Next Generation" lower-powered driver and front passenger air bags, transmission enhancements, and color changes.