Who’s the Real Trail Boss? Should Chevy Build a Supercharged Silverado to fight the Ram TRX and Ford Raptor?
When it comes to competition between automakers, no where will you find the fighting more fierce than between the Detroit Big Three and their full-size pickup trucks.
While most pickups sold are of the more basic variety, the trucks within this segment are no exception to the battle. Ford’s F-150 Raptor helped establish a new market for high performance pickups with incredible off-road capability and Ram recently fired back with its supercharged TRX 1500 packing over 700 horsepower.
Rumor has it that Ford is going to come out swinging with its upcoming 2021 F-150 Raptor by offering a supercharged V8 with 700+ horsepower in addition to its existing 3.5L EcoBoost V6. But where exactly is Chevrolet in this battle?
With models like the smaller Colorado ZR2 and the Silverado 1500 Trail Boss, Chevy hasn’t been completely on the sidelines, but they’ve yet to build a truck that combines big off-road chops with serious horsepower. And with the TRX and potential V8 Raptor getting so much attention one has to wonder if they aren't considering jumping into the fray.
At the moment, the most powerful Silverado Trail Boss you can get uses a 6.2 liter naturally aspirated EcoTec V8 that makes 420hp and 460 pound feet of torque. While most will find that kind of power more than adequate even in a heavy, off-road geared pickup, it falls far behind the supercharged power of the TRX.
Fortunately though, Chevy has no shortage of tools in its arsenal should it decide to go a little crazy with the Silverado. Just as Ram brought the blown Hellcat V8 from its Charger and Challenger into a pickup, Chevy could easily do the same.
The 6.2L supercharged LT4 V8 would be a perfect candidate for a super Silverado. It was the engine that powered the C7 Corvette Z06 and currently powers the Camaro ZL1. In the Camaro the LT4 makes 650hp and 650 pound feet of torque—which would put it right in the neighborhood of the TRX and possibly the blown V8 Raptor.
With the Silverado’s giant engine bay and the fact that it already uses V8 engines from the same family, there shouldn’t be any obstacles in fitting an LT4-derived V8. In fact, Chevy already offers the LT4 as a ready to run crate motor.
While adding a bunch of horsepower and torque would be the primary difference from the existing Trail Boss Silverado, this truck would also need some additional tweaking to play at the same level as its competitors.
The current Trail Boss has a number of off-road oriented features including a a modest lift, larger tires, skid plates and a locking rear differential—but there’s plenty of room to go further. Think widened fenders, even larger tires, long travel suspension and other changes both functional and cosmetic.
The only real question would be what to call such a creation. Is there something more intimidating than a Trail Boss? How about the new truck takes the Trail Boss name and the existing one is demoted to “Trail Middle Manager?” Just something to consider.
Chevy and GM certainly has the both the equipment and the know-how to make an over the top off-road pickup to take on the Ram TRX and a potential V8 Ford Raptor, it’s just a matter of how bad they want to do it.
As neutral, outside observers, we say “go for it!”
More From Driving Line
- Want to see how the Ram TRX shakes up against the Ford F-150 Raptor? Check out the comparison here.