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A white 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 Custom Trail Boss is shown climbing over rocks in the desert after leaving a Chevy Silverado dealer.

Why the Chevy Silverado Trail Boss Trims Are the King of the Off-Road

If you head over to your local Chevy Silverado dealer, you’ll find so many different trims and features with this iconic truck that you’ll easily find one that suits your needs. One of the most interesting trims in the lineup is the Trail Boss, available on the Custom and LT models. Chevy has taken an interesting approach with the Trail Boss, taking the equipment and features of the Custom and LT and adding additional features to make those models capable of making you king of the off-road.

This way, Chevy allows you to get off-road capabilities on your full-size Silverado 1500 truck without purchasing a specialized model that was purpose-built for the trail. This is why it is an ideal trim option for someone who doesn’t want to commit to an off-road-focused truck. This type of driver will also need the towing and hauling capabilities of their Chevy Silverado to get some serious work done but also wants the ability to take their truck out on the weekend for some fun. With the LT Trail Boss and Custom Trail Boss trims, drivers can have the perfect balance of these two worlds.

Specialized Off-Road Equipment to Make the Silverado a True Boss on the Trail

As its name suggests, the Silverado Trail Boss is meant to help you take a 2023 Silverado 1500 Custom or LT and be able to conquer some of the more challenging off-road conditions you may encounter when venturing off the pavement. To that end, Chevy has given the Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss standard 4×4 drivetrains. While you can still order a Custom or LT with four-wheel drive, it is only offered as an available option on those models. In addition, both Trail Boss models have a standard Autotrac two-speed transfer case with an automatic locking rear axle differential. This helps reduce slippage, particularly on wet or muddy trail conditions. The transfer case is also designed to send the right amount of horsepower from the engine to each of the truck’s wheels.

The Trail Boss trims also include the Z71 Off-Road package; Chevy first began offering this package in 1988. This 35-year legacy of providing specialized equipment to increase off-road capabilities by adding such components as special shock absorbers and additional chassis protection. The Z71 package for the 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 consists of several advanced items that help set the Trail Boss apart. A specialized off-road suspension features Rancho twin-tube shocks, allowing your Silverado 1500 Trail Boss to better handle whatever nature might send its way. It also has a set of skid plates strategically located throughout the truck’s undercarriage, helping shield vulnerable places like the oil pan and transfer case from damage caused by debris along the trail.

The Z71 package on the Trail Boss also includes Hill Descent Control, which adjusts brake pressure when driving your truck down an incline. This allows the truck to maintain its speed while reducing slippage on the downgrade. As a result, you will have greater steering control without much pitch-and-yaw affecting your truck. Chevy completes the Z71 package with a set of exterior decals with the famous Z71 logo. These are complemented by all-weather floor liners that also sport the unique symbol. The floor liners will help you keep your truck’s interior clean, especially during those dirt-filled excursions.

Dirt bikes are shown riding near a white 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 Custom Trail Boss in the desert.

Need a Lift? The Trail Boss Has You Covered

A factory lift involves raising a truck’s suspension in order to get greater ground clearance. The Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss models of the 2023 Chevy Silverado feature a standard two-inch factory suspension lift, giving each model 10.88 inches of ground clearance. This is significantly more than the 8.08 inches of ground clearance standard on the Custom and LT trims. When you are out on the trail, you want to know that your truck can traverse obstacles like jagged rocks and downed logs. The two-inch factory lift on the Trail Boss models gives you that additional peace of mind.

Adding a factory lift to the Trail Boss also gives them better angles, which is necessary when off-roading. These are referred to as approach, breakover, and departure angles, expressed in degrees. They help determine how steep an incline your Silverado truck can traverse. The higher the number of degrees, the more capable your truck will handle hills. On the 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss, the factory lift gives this truck an approach angle of 27.2 degrees, a departure angle of 25.8 degrees, and a breakover angle of 20.4 degrees. These help make this truck capable of handling most inclines when off-roading.

The Wheels Keep Turning…

A specialized truck needs to have the right wheels and tires, and the 2023 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss is no exception. Both the Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss ride on a set of 18-inch high-gloss black-painted wheels paired with a set of Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Mud Terrains tires. These are designed with special treads to give you better grip and traction, particularly in off-road conditions.

This is different from the Silverado Custom and LT models, as the Custom comes with a set of 20-inch bright silver painted aluminum wheels, and the LT features 20-inch painted aluminum wheels with machined face and Grazen-painted pockets. In addition, these two models have standard all-season tires with available all-terrain tires, so if you were considering using either the Silverado 1500 Custom or LT for off-roading, you would have to pay extra to get the all-terrain tire option.

Looks to Thrill

Chevy does something else to help the Trail Boss stand out; it gives these two models special exterior features to give their looks a way to stand apart in the crowd. For example, the Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss have a raised hood with a styled black insert, making the color truly pop. The Trail Boss also has specialized Z71 exterior decals, letting the other drivers know your truck means business. The LT Trail Boss also adds a black Chevy bowtie logo in place of the gold one on the LT model for a unique accent.

A white 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 Custom Trail Boss is shown kicking up dust in the desert.

An Array of Powerful Engine Options

The 2023 Silverado 1500 LT, LT Trail Boss, Custom, and Custom Trail Boss come with a 2.7-liter Turbo High-Output I-4 gas engine. This is surprisingly powerful for its size, delivering 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. However, some drivers like the ability to get different engines, either to provide additional power for towing and hauling, improved acceleration, or even better fuel economy. The issue is that the Custom model doesn’t offer any engine options, and the LT trim on the Silverado 1500 only has the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 as an optional engine. If you want more options, you can go with the Trail Boss.

In addition to the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8, drivers who choose a Trail Boss can also get two other engines, each providing incomparable performance. The 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 delivers 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, giving the 2023 Silverado 1500 unmatched speed and acceleration. Meanwhile, the 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel I-6 provides up to 305 hp and 495 lb-ft of torque with unmatched fuel economy. In addition, the Silverado 1500 with this Turbo-Diesel engine can tow up to 13,300 lbs, improving the utility of your Trail Boss truck.

The Trail Boss Is Ready to Hit the Trails; Are You?

As you can see, the 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss models have features that make them ready to tackle even the toughest off-road conditions. This is because they include innovative off-road-focused features that the Custom and LT trims either don’t offer or require you to pay extra. At the same time, the Trail Boss models still include all of the standard equipment you will find on the Custom and LT models. By investing in one of the Trail Boss trims, you get a wealth of powerful features allowing you to tackle your daily challenges with ease, whether it’s on the job site during the weekday or exploring the unknown on the weekend.