There seems to be no end in sight to the amount of money that people are willing to spend on gussied-up full-size pickup trucks. Just look at Ford with its F-150 King Ranch, and the RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn. Well, Chevrolet wants into this trend and has come up with a new decked out trim level for their all-new Silverado. Get ready to head to the High Country.
Whether you’re a “high roller” or an actual member of “high society” you’ll find plenty to like in the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country, the first super-premium truck trim from Chevrolet.
Available as a Crew Cab only, the High Country may also be the quietest pickup-truck ever. GM put a lot of effort into making the latest Silverado as quiet as possible, including inlayed doors, additional sound deadening materials, making numerous aerodynamic tweaks, and placing a seal between the cab and bed.
Moving things up to the High Country mostly involves upgraded interior materials. It’s like a cattle rancher putting on his fancy duds before heading out for a night of courtin’. Saddle Brown is the theme, and it’s well executed; handsome, borderline opulent, and worthy of comparison to other high dollar haulers. Deeply tanned leather is liberally applied, with contrasting piping and stitching; and you’ll find plenty of features such as standard heated and cooled seats, Chevrolet’s MyLink with 8-inch touch-screen, and optional safety systems like Lane Departure Warning and Safety Alert Seat.
Standard navigation however, is through OnStar. You have to upgrade to get an onboard NAV. That’s a disappointment for any top trim vehicle these days. Adjustable pedals and heated steering wheel are also available.
While the dash sports the new Silverado’s blocky design, front seats are enhanced. They are the most comfortable yet for Silverado. We like that you can quickly fold the rear seats for storage without releasing a latch. The resulting floor is not flat, but it’s nice and low for easy loading.
Like all full-size pickups, however, the cargo box bed it quite high. Still, loading is made much easier thanks to the EZ lift and lower tailgate and standard CornerStep bumper. Plus there’s under rail lighting when you need more to get your chores done. Both 5’8” and 6’6” beds are available.
There are two V8s. Standard is GM’s 355-horsepwer 5.3-liter EcoTec3 small block. But most High Country buyers will probably spend the extra 2-grand to upgrade to the 6.2-liter V8 with 420-horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque to go along with it. With the 6.2, 0-60 sprints take just 6.2-seconds, with a ¼-mile pass of 14.8-seconds and 95 miles-per-hour. There’s only one 6-speed automatic transmission; Hi-Lo 4-wheel-drive is available, and up to 9,800-lbs. can be towed.
We did experience some drive-train clunkiness, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on whether it was torque converter locking, transmission shifting, or the V4 fuel saving mode engaging and disengaging. Maybe that’s just a downside to being so quiet otherwise.
There’s also a slight delay in highway passing while you wait for all 8 cylinders to pump up and the gears to drop down.
Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder; and from our view, the High Country doesn’t look as rugged as lesser Silverado trims. Maybe it’s the standard body colored bumpers. Yet, there’s still plenty of big truck chrome; on the grille, door handles, side moldings, side steps, and naturally, the 20-inch wheels.
But while it may appear you’re riding in a luxury car; ride quality is still truck like stiff. We rate it far smoother than an F-150 but not quite as compliant as the Ram 1500. 6.2 V8 Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 14-City, 20-Highway, and 17-Combined. We averaged 18.1 miles-per-gallon of Regular in mixed driving. Which means you’ll be burning through 19.4-barrels of oil every year and emitting 8.9 tons of CO2 along the way.
While sales of the all-new Silverado have not skyrocketed as some expected, ceding market share to the F-150 and the more innovative RAM 1500, Chevrolet is reportedly making more money per vehicle than rivals, and the new High Country will only help that cause.
High Country pricing climbs from $45,200. That’s a few grand less than GMC’s even fancier Sierra Denali.
In the automotive world fame is indeed fleeting. For us media critics, the latest Silverado is already being overshadowed by next year’s all-aluminum F-150, not to mention feeling the heat from diesel RAM 1500s. Still, over 400,000 loyal buyers will opt for a new Silverado this year. And, thanks to the new High Country, many more than ever will ride in high style.
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Torque: 460 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.8 seconds @ 95 mph
EPA: 14 mpg city/ 20 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 19.4 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 8.9 tons/yr