When an auto manufacturer looks toward producing a future vehicle you would expect that they might pay more attention to its most popular and largest selling vehicle. Redesigning, engineering and configuring the next edition of one of their most important vehicles are serious business. That is what we see with the new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. Every designer, engineer knew they had to put all they had into this project as they planned, designed and set about manufacturing the new Silverado. Everyone involved knew this is not one to mess up. All vehicles in a company’s line up are important and must contain the features buyers want. No vehicle is more important to Chevrolet, and for that matter General Motors, than their pickups.
Ride and comfort are priorities for pickups today. It is near the top of the list for many buyers. The requirement here is if it’s a truck then it better do Chevy truck things. Fortunately, the all new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado does all of that and more. According to the folks we talked to during the recent introduction drive, this truck will tow upward of 11,500 pounds and get as much as 22 miles per gallon (not towing) on the highway.
We drove two drive train versions, (the third and largest 6.2-liter will come later this year) the 4.3-liter V-6 and the 5.3-liter V-8. Both of these engine choices are fitted to a 6-speed automatic with tow haul mode and manual mode. Whether towing a load or just cruising along in casual mood we could not find much to fault the new Silverado. In fact, we were quite impressed at the refinement and finish we found in the cabin.
Chevrolet has stepped up to the plate and hit it over the wall achieving a low level of squeaks and rattles. Actually we found one rattle and it turned out to be our cell phone sitting in the center console, an easy fix, in our pocket it went.
The new four-door configuration has received a great deal of attention in getting it more use comfortable. One place we saw a major benefit is the rear door aperture. Chevrolet has cured the problem of easily getting big cowboy boot shod feet through the door into the rear seat. Moving the “B” pillar four inches forward has made an expansive opening.
Getting rid of all those annoying squeaks and rattles is not easy, but Chevrolet engineers made it easier by adding a slew of high strength steel to the structure. They also added stiffer rubber supports while adding in hydraulically dampened rubber mounts that help immensely. We were pleasantly surprised at the Silverado’s comfort and capability.
More and more attention is placed on the infotainment systems of all our vehicles and the Silverado is no exception. Count them, no fewer than five USB connectivity ports and three 12-volts outlets plus a 115-volt household type plug and a SD card reader slot. There is no reason for anyone to go without a way to connect their high-tech instruments no matter the type. Chevy designers even thought of a convenient place for your iPad with a nice slot in the ultra-large center console.
We tested the Silverado’s towing acumen with various loads from a 5,000 pound travel trailer to an 8,500 pound skid loader. With the heavier load we knew the trailer was tagging along with a slight push or pull as we got on and off the throttle. Still, the Silverado tracked true and without complaint. With the 5.3-liter V-8 we were able to pull long, steep grades and accelerate from stops easily and could easily keep up with the flow of traffic on the freeway.
If we had any reservations at all, it would be with the V-6 while towing. Yes, it can accomplish the task, but we would not want to do this more than occasionally. If you are planning on doing more than the intermittent tow, step up to the 5.3 V-8 engine. You will not sacrifice much in overall mileage and you will be a whole lot happier with your towing experience.
As we see many four-wheel drive vehicle going to softening of their abilities nothing could be further from the truth with Silverado. Chevrolet knows their owners expect their trucks to do what is needed when needed and the new Silverado will do exactly that. Though we were detoured from the planned off-road route, we were still able to put this Chevy through enough muck and mire to give it a good test. The ground clearance is good so no scraping and dragging across the jagged rocks we straddled. Though our Silverado was equipped with all-season tires we slipped and slid through some of stickiest Texas mud.
It may be our maturity or just our practicality but we have a bit of an argument with ourselves whether we would spring with 50 grand for a fully equipped pickup, any pickup. But the Silverado is not in this price category by itself. Every full sized pickup has reached the 50-grand mark if loaded with all the features buyers are demanding. Fortunately, the manner with which Chevy has developed the Silverado, it is fairly easy to get the features you might want and stay within your budget.
The most important factor in all of this; The 2014 Silverado is better looking, a whole lot quieter and has improved ride quality without losing any of its toughness.