The Chevrolet Silverado, the perennial number two selling pickup truck in America, was last redesigned for 2007. At that time, fuel economy was not a major concern for pickup truck buyers. But since then gas prices have steadily risen and both RAM and Ford have responded with more efficient, but capable V6 powertrains. So, when it was announced that the all new, 2014 Silverado would still use a V8 as its primary power, truck watchers wondered if Chevy didn’t get the message. Well, apparently they did.
Chevrolet not only got the message, they answered in triplicate, with three all new, totally modern engines. And, in the process wrestled the light duty pickup towing and V8 fuel economy crowns back into the GM fold.
But, what about the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado as a whole? Was this truck worth a 7 year wait? After all, the new Silverado doesn’t look radically different than last year. A taller, bolder twin-port grille, yes. A more rugged and upright stance, certainly. And a touch more modern with available projector beam headlights. Sure. But the big differences are in the details.
The hood is now made out of aluminum, just one of the Silverado’s many weight saving measures. Others include a roll formed steel box and aluminum suspension components. Though big pickup trucks will probably always resemble moving bricks, GM put a big emphasis on aerodynamics for both fuel economy and noise control, with triple-sealed inlaid doors, new body mounts, cab-to-box seals, and even a spoiler shaped tailgate top.
Still, Chevrolet is committed to the working man, as the new Silverado has added many features to help them carry out their daily tasks, including a damped EZ Lift and Lower tailgate, Avalanche-inspired rear bumper side steps and box grab handles, under bed rail LED lighting, box mounted upper tie downs, and standard box top caps.
But, what about those three new engines? All are up to date with all-aluminum blocks and heads, direct injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation.
The trio starts with a 4.3-liter V6, but the high volume power plant is a 5.3-liter V8 rated at 355-horsepower and 383 lb-ft. of torque. It also rates 23 miles-per-gallon Highway. That’s the best of any truck V8 and even beats the Ford F-150’s popular EcoBoost V6. It will out tow it as well, and all light duty V8s, hauling a max of 11,500-pounds. Top engine option will be a 6.2-liter V8.
One of the few carryover parts is the Hydramatic ZL60 six-speed automatic transmission, but each engine will get its own rear end. Both manual and AutoTrac hi-low four-wheel drive systems are again available. New on the Z71 is Hill Decent control. The rear suspension maintains its two-stage multi-leaf springs, but gets improved bushings and new shocks. Four-wheel disc are standard with new, longer life corrosion protection.
The interior gets a full-scale re-design including better, softer materials all around and a more functional layout with a very vertical dash and big handed controls. The shifter is still column mounted, which helps free up space in the cabin. The standard bench seat has a bucket style form, or you can opt for real buckets with a wide, deep center console between. New high-density seat foam delivers improved comfort.
The six-gauge layout is great. That plus an info screen provides all of the information you could want in a working truck that will also be spending a lot of time doing family duties. And the latest version of Chevrolet’s My Link infotainment system will help keep you connected as well as entertained.
Crew Cabs, now 60% of the market, have doors that open wider than before. Doors on the extended Double Cab model are now front hinged, opening car-like, instead of clam-shell style. That, plus a forward b-pillar makes the Double Cab rear seat now more suitable for adults.
Whether on the way to the job site or the weekend getaway, you’ll find the new Silverado to be much quieter than before. Silverado’s ride remains a smooth one, but now with better body control thanks to a stiffer but lighter structure and re-vamped suspension. The new electric power steering also delivers an impressive amount of feel through a grippier steering wheel.
So far, Chevrolet has only released Fuel Economy Ratings for the 5.3 V8, which are 16-City, 23-Highway, and 19-Combined in rear drive; and 16-City, 22-Highway, 18-Combined for the 4X4.
Regular cab Silverados will begin at $24,585. That’s the same price as the current model; and GM is looking to tow the pricing line with all cabs. Trims include Work Truck, LT, LTZ, and new premium High Country for the Silverado buyers who want it all.
Despite first impressions, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is indeed a huge improvement over the current model, and it has certainly caught up with the pack when it comes to fuel economy and technology. But more importantly, everything seems to fit into one cohesive, tightly designed package. It’s not going to make an F-150 fan switch, but we are certain it will keep the Chevy faithful happy for years to come.
Engine: 5.3-liter V8
Torque: 383 lb-ft.
EPA: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway