Back in 2007, George Bush was still the president, Bob Barker was still on the Price is Right, and Chevrolet was introducing an-all new Silverado. Fast forward seven years and only the Silverado has endured, with Chevy pushing back against its rivals with the all-new 2014 version of the like-a-rock pickup. Pushing the tagline, ‘new from hood to hitch,’ it’s no exaggeration, with all-new powertrains, a new design, and arguably the most important update, a vastly improved interior.
|1. Three new 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 4x4 models.
3. Max tow rating for the 5.3L is an industry best 11,500 lbs.
4. Starting at $24,585, models like out LTZ tester ring in at over $50,000.
A trio of engines make up the choices for the Silverado, all three of which feature Chevrolet’s so-called EcoTec3 fuel-saving technology that consists of direct injection, cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing. At the low end, buyers are offered a V6 that makes 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque, while at the top of the pile sits a 6.2-liter V8, numbers on which have yet to be divulged. The final engine, which Chevy claims will power three out of four Silverados, is a 5.3-liter V8 churning out 355 hp at 5600 RPM and 383 lb-ft of torque at 4100 RPM.
On paper, exactly how do Chevy’s new engines stack up? First, lets look at Ford’s EcoBoost V6, which surely was Chevy’s benchmark when developing these new engines. The General’s 5.3 falls short of Ford’s turbo V6 by 10 hp, but more importantly 37 lb-ft of torque. That looks pretty grim for Chevy, especially considering that EcoBoost puts out more of its torque at a lower RPM, and has been on the market for a few years. The RAM 1500’s 5.7-liter HEMI also trumps Chevy’s new mid-level V8 in terms of power, but there is a one major saving grace for the General’s new volume powerplant: fuel economy.
The 5.3 is rated at 16/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined, while the 4×4 model gets a 16/22/18 mpg rating, beating out the EcoBoost engine by 1 mpg on both configurations according to the EPA. Better yet, real world driving should favor the Chevy as meeting the Ford’s fuel economy claims has been hard to do in our experience. The RAM doesn’t even come close to hitting the mpg numbers of the new Silverado. In contrast to both, our time with the Silverado (spent mostly on rural Texas roads) returned an average 16 mpg, pegging the truck exactly where the EPA says the city fuel consumption should be.
Chevy’s new V6, with 305 lb-ft and 285 hp, gives it the most torque in its class, though fuel economy numbers are yet to be revealed.
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The confident, planted stance of the GMT900 chassis has not been lost on this redesign, and it has actually been enhanced. A new electric-power steering system has been added for 2014. It uses a continuously-variable setup to change the lightness of the wheel depending on truck speed. In parking lots, steering stays light, though at highway speeds the wheel has a confident firmness to it that allows the truck to track in a straight line with minimal effort. Revised coil-over-shock front suspension along with revised twin-tube shock absorbers with new valving all contribute to the solid ride and handling of the truck, and give this new 2014 Silverado a more direct steering feel than ever before.
Response from the powertrain is great when the truck is empty, though once 8,500 lbs. was hooked up to the hitch, the story changed a bit. With 383 lb-ft of torque, the 5.3-liter had to breathe heavy under acceleration. With no comparison, it is definitely enough engine oomph for the task, but the low RPM torque of Ford’s turbocharged engine definitely hauls weight with more authority.
Power aside, the feeling of the weighed-down Silverado didn’t change a bit, with sturdy, flat suspension and almost no tail-wagging-the-dog to speak of. This was also without the max trailering package equipped, which adds a 3.73 axle ratio along with revised suspension. In total, four different final drive ratios are available. Buyers can get a 3.08, 3.23, 3.42 or the 3.73 with the max trailering package.
Rear drums have been deleted in the truck in favor of a four-wheel-disc brake system that now includes Duralife brake rotors. Brake pedal feel has also been updated with a stiffer feel. There is a slight pillow-top feeling with the brake pedal, but once you dig in a bit with your right foot, all the force you need to stop the rig is readily available, and there is no touchiness that makes for sharp braking.
Those brawny looks flow into the interior, with the design of the dash and center console adding a robustness to the cabin that should please every truck guy. Color contrasting vents bulge out of the center stack, while the dash itself has square lines to add some beefed-up style. Soft touch materials and leather wrap the inside in higher trimmed trucks, while even base models can be had with such amenities as heated-cloth seats. It is this focus on more luxury that is pushing the whole of the half-ton industry right now, and Chevy hasn’t fallen behind.
Technology is packed into the new 2014 Silverado as well, with an eight-inch touchscreen parked in the center console, while a smaller 4-inch screen sits between the gauges in the info cluster. Both screen’s use GM’s MyLink infotainment system and use bright vibrant colors and large easy to see icons to create a touchscreen system that is intuitive, and easy to use on the go. If the screens weren’t enough tech already, the truck also includes five USB ports (yes, we said five), two 12-volt power points, and a new 110-volt three-prong outlet. Storage abounds inside, and the center console even features file hangers, as well as two spots set aside specifically for cell phones and tablets. Along with that, the new truck features an easy to load flat rear floor, and more legroom than ever before, with 40.9 inches of total rear legroom in the crew cab equipped trucks.
Improving the functionality of the truck was clearly an interior priority, but GM stepped up the bed features as well. As a new take on an old idea, bumper integrated steps have been added making it easier to navigate into and out of the back of the truck. The genius of this small addition is that there are no moving parts, nothing that can go wrong, and the step is always ready to go.
Another simple design addition that goes a long way is a spring loaded tailgate that stops that massive bang when the rear gate is dropped. Moving inside the bed, four new tie down points have been added, each one placed high in the bed making them good partners to the existing low-mounted tow hooks. Finally, LED lights have been fitted to make loading at night an easy task. Those lights and hooks are available in all three of the optional beds, which come in 5’8”, 6’6”and 8’ lengths.
The price point of Chevy’s new half-ton is bang on as well, with the new base truck costing the exact same as the old truck. In fact, the MSRP of all three base cab styles carries over untouched from 2013. Though the base price is $24,585, when jacked up with leather and all the goodies, this truck can fly north of $50,000. With seven different trim packages (more than ever before), there is something for everyone in the new Silverado, from a bare bones work truck to the new High Country trim fit with saddle-brown leather. Probably one of the smartest moves on Chevy’s part was pricing the 5.3-liter V8 as an $895 option, almost forcing customers to bump up.
The looks of the truck will definitely not alienate the Chevy faithful, and the interior of this new 2014 Silverado is bound to attract some very positive attention. While the torque numbers on the most popular engine may still be a bit behind, the actual steering and suspension feel make this Silverado a great load-hauling machine. Combine that with some new ingenious features and sleek packaging, and the built-like-a-rock Silverado has more than caught up to the competition.