2nd Place: 2014 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra
Like Toyota, General Motors rolled out a new truck for 2014, though unlike the big T, the General’s duo, consisting of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, feature a new trio of powertrains. All three use cylinder deactivation, direct injection and variable valve timing, helping these trucks save fuel.
Fuel economy for GM’s trucks are on par with Ford, and edged out Ram’s big Hemi by a decent margin. But the fuel numbers do come with a price: torque.
GM offers only up to a 3.73:1 rear end, though most trucks will likely leave the lot with a 3.55:1 or a 3.08:1 considering that the big ratio only comes with the max towing package. Don’t get us wrong, with the 3.55 axle the truck handled our 6,000 pound trailer, but at times when climbing hills it felt a little over matched.
Compared directly to ever other brand’s volume engine, the General’s 5.3-liter simply isn’t the strongest. The same is not true of the 6.2-liter engine, however, which offers heaps of power and performance and a great exhaust note.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Chevy Silverado Review – Video
The fuel economy numbers tell a great story for the 6.2 as well, with this big motor achieving only about 1 MPG worse than the 5.3-liter in every area, empty, towing and loaded.
Dynamically, the Chevy and GMC are very comfortable trucks, and provide the smoothest, quietest ride out of the bunch. Nicely weighted steering and a flat, solid chassis make for a confident feeling.
Some very usable features have been built into the interior of GM’s new trucks, from USB charging ports to a 12V three-prong plug, making this the ergonomic front runner in the group for sure. The placement of the trailer brake controller is an example of how GM redesigned its trucks with layout in mind, moving the small pinch-controls up to the left of the steering wheel, an easy place to get to in an emergency.
When it comes to the back end of this truck, trailer hookups offered no issues. The new bumper-integrated bed step is a great feature, offering less hassle than Ford’s bed step, though the Ford step is still an easier way to climb into the bed.
New tie-down hooks have been added to the bed, which now features eight in total; four located low and four up high. New LED lights have also been added out back, helping to work with the truck at night.
SEE ALSO: GMC Sierra Review – Video
Overall, the new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra offer a great interior and flat response when trailering and hauling. The small rear-end axle ratios mean that the torque off the line can sometimes feel a little lackluster, but the trade off, and the gamble GM is taking, is that fuel economy will be more important to the consumer.
1. Three engines are offered: a 4.3L V6, a 5.3L V8 and a 6.2L V8 all with direct injection, cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing.
2. The volume 5.3L makes 355 and 383 lb-ft of torque with a 16 MPG city and 22 MPG highway rating on 4×4 models.
3. Max tow rating for the 5.3L is an industry best 11,500 lbs when properly equipped.
4. Starting at $24,585, models like out LTZ tester ring in at over $50,000.