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Many of the major truck brands are making off-road-focused packages like the 2021 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss. The Ford Raptor and Ram TRX are two of the more extreme examples of this trend. These flared-out, lifted pickups are all trying to out cool each other, and while the Chevy Silverado is a pickup truck icon, the 2021 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss edition just does seem to be cutting the mustard. 

2021 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss in red parked in front of some mountains
2021 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss | GM

What is the 2021 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss?

According to our friends at Road & Track, the Chevy Silverado has struggled to keep up in the race between the big three; Ford, Ram, and Chevy. Really, the top spot is Ford, and there is really no competition to be had there. However, the number two spot is hotly contested by Chevy and Ram, and lately, Ram has been pulling ahead. 

In a crowded sea of tough-guy off-road-focused pickups, Road & Track’s 2021 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss review left little room for hope in the battle of Chevy vs. Ram. 

The 2021 Silverado Trail Boss is many things. The review points out an issue that has been known to kill many a model; mediocrity. Mack Hogan of Road & Track says, “It’s that the Silverado is neither exciting nor pragmatically familiar. It’s not the cheapest, the most capable, or the thinking man’s option. Nor is it the headline-grabber…”

He mentions how other trucks in this segment like the Ram TRX or Ford Raptor are flashy and exciting, the Rebel is cheaper, and the TRD PROs are tougher than boiled leather. The 2021 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss isn’t “the most” anything, and that’s a problem. 

2021 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss Review

Let’s start with the exterior aesthetics. The Trail Boss isn’t all that attractive, but it never crosses fully into ugly. Hogan mentions some specifics like the goofiness of the huge grille against the tiny wheels buried in massive wheels wells. The overall appearance of the Trail Boss feels a bit puny.

Although it’s not really fair to compare the Silverado Trail Boss to the TRX or Raptor, it is fair to compare it to the Ram Rebel. Even though the comparison is fair, it’s not a very close fight.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss driving down a dirt road
2021 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss | GM

Hogan says the Rebel outpaces the Silverado Trail Boss on many occasions. The Ram Rebel has better tech, a nicer interior, smoother on-road driving, cooler tires, and an all-around, more thoughtful look. 

The Silverado does have some strong points, though. The Trail Boss might have a goofy look and plasticky interior, but its heart is strong. The tester had a 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This bigger V8 will run an extra $1250 over the 5.3-liter, but the upgrade seems worth it. 

Is the Silverado Trail Boss good off-road? 

Like many pickups, the ride is said to be shaky and jittery. Even smooth pavement can cause vibrations. Not to mention, the smallest steering inputs are easily felt. Luckily the Silverado Trail Boss was meant for the dirt track. The harsh ride on the tarmac is made a little worth considering the added clearance for off-roading. 

2021 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss driving down a dirt road
2021 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss | GM

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As Road & Track keenly points out, although the Trail Boss is made to appeal to off-roaders, the Silverado dimensions just aren’t ideal for hard-core off-roading and trail riding. These trucks are wide, have a long wheelbase, and weigh a ton. If you want an off-roader, just buy a Jeep Wrangler and make your life simpler. 

The Trail Boss struggles to please

These trucks are slightly confusing to me on paper. These trucks are given expensive packages to be more off-road-worthy. In doing so, the day-to-day driving comfort and efficiency are sacrificed for better break-over angles and ground clearance. Still, they aren’t the ideal off-roader, given their size and weight. So, we are left with a truck that isn’t really good or bad at anything. It just is. 

However, people love to have a truck that makes them feel like they can do more than they actually will. This isn’t a dig. I get it. It’s simply an observation. It is clear to me that, according to Road & Track’s review, the 2021 Chevy Silverado Tail Boss is neither good nor bad; It just is.