Ad Radar

2014 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Crew Cab and LT Z71 Crew Cab First Drive

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado only evolves on the outside. Under the skin, there's a full-on revolution.

What It Is
A full-size pickup truck that squeezes 23 mpg out of its 5.3-liter V-8 engine.
Best Thing
The interior has been improved in leaps and bounds. That 23 mpg from a 5.3-liter V-8 isn't too shabby, either.
Worst Thing
The column shifter from the previous generation lives on for the 2014 model year.
Snap Judgment
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado joins a pickup truck segment filled with constant change as of late, but we don't think it will have any trouble fitting in.


"This is our Super Bowl," Chris Perry, vice president of global marketing and strategy for Chevrolet said. Perry is speaking to a room full of journalists about the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, which is being launched in Texas, of course. Competition in the full-size pickup truck segment makes the movie "Mean Girls" look tame, and Chevrolet is more than aware of that. We first laid eyes on the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado back in December of last year, just outside of Detroit, a few months after Ram's all-new 1500 cleaned up in the accolades department. The Blue Oval Boys didn't sit on their hands either, and Ford surprised everyone by debuting the Atlas Concept less than 24 hours after Chevrolet pulled the sheet off the C7 Corvette at the 2013 North American Auto Show.

Talk about cutthroat.

So when Chevrolet launched its third-generation Silverado, expectations were high, from the suits running General Motors all the way down to the media. Competitors in the full-size truck segment get a genuine sense of satisfaction when it becomes the leader in features like fuel economy and tow ratings. While Chevy's light-duty tow numbers (7,200 pounds with the 4.3-liter V-6 and 9,100 with the 5.3-liter V-8 engine) seem conservative, the 5.3-liter V-8 engine's fuel economy ratings are now at the top of its class. If you think Ford, Ram, and even the Space-Shuttle-Endeavor-toting Toyota Tundra aren't paying attention to that last line, you're dead wrong.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is available in two separate Work Truck trims, as well as an LT, LTZ, LT Z71, LTZ Z71, and the all-new premium High Country dressing. Pricing ranges from $24,585 for the regular cab, the same as the 2013 model, stopping at $28,610 for an extended cab, and climbing all the way to $32,710 for a crew cab configuration. Add on some optional features and you can clear $50,000. So where, exactly, does the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado fall in the light-duty truck segment? We headed to Texas to find out for ourselves.

Walkaround

At first glance, it may be hard to see what Chevrolet changed on the Silverado for the 2014 model year. You're not looking hard enough though, as the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado's differences from previous model is actually quite noticeable once you take some time to study it. The headlights now stand up horizontally, as opposed to the vertical ones used on the previous generation, and the twin-port grille sports a different design as well. The fenders are sculpted to give the all-new Silverado a more muscular look and that's only reinforced by the dual power dome hood and front bumper that stretches the full width of the truck. Ram, and more recently the Ford Atlas Concept, has set precedence for big, shiny, in-your-face front grilles, and the latest Silverado falls right in line with that.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

From behind, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado's profile is boxy, and the tail light lenses are squared off over each separate bulb, giving it a robust look. The new CornerStep rear bumper is standard on every new Silverado, except the High Country. A closer look at the bed reveals four lights, positioned at each corner, which is new for the 2014 model year. In all, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado's exterior can be summed up as more of an evolution. Chevrolet says that truck owners, while always suggesting new features, aren't looking for a drastic styling change-up. The interior, on the other hand, went through an all-out revolution. And that's just what the doctor ordered.

Sitting Down

Inside is where Chevrolet let its designers off their collective leashes, and corrected things that were commonly called out with the previous generation. Before we go any further though, we must tell you that the column shifter from the previous Silverado has made its way into the latest rendition. Not the end of the world, we know, but we were hoping for some sort of advancement there. However, when we spoke to Chevrolet about this, it did say that other avenues were explored, but the old column shifter ultimately won out because the majority of customers called for it. Chevy also said it wasn't ruling any other designs in the future.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

The rest of the interior leaves the one it's replacing in the dust. A new steering wheel has traded in its spaghetti-like girth for an actual truck tiller, and it feels good in your hands. In the upper-echelon models, soft-touch materials run rampant across the door panels while simultaneously covering the dashboard.

Perhaps the most noticeable change inside is the optional Chevy MyLink infotainment system and its eight-inch touchscreen ($795). This system is completely configurable to your liking and synching a smartphone up to it is a breeze. It even displays the name of the song you're currently listening to, even with Bluetooth. Every command is executed quickly, without lag, and it's really easy on the eyes, too. A less obvious change can be seen when looking at the B-pillar. It has been pushed up to give the rear doors more space to open so climbing in and out is simple.

Driving

You have your choice of three different EcoTec3 engines: a 4.3-liter V-6, 5.3-liter V-8, and a 6.2-liter V-8. That last engine will be available later on down the road but all three are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Each engine also features new technologies like direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing. When all together, it helps to catapult the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado up to the front of the class in terms of V-8 fuel economy. Direct injection and continuously variable valve timing, while respectable features in its own right, take a back seat to cylinder deactivation. As a standard feature on every Silverado, this tech works by knocking off two cylinders, essentially turning the V-8 into a V-6 and the V-6 into a V-4. With the V-8 engine, cylinders 1, 4, 6, and 7 are killed off while cylinders 3 and 6 die off in the V-6. This transition is performed seamlessly too, believe us, we tried our hardest to pick up the slightest kick back and noise relating to this function. Like the cylinder deactivation feature, the six-speed automatic transmission performed admirably whether we were towing an 8,500 pound dirt mover or just cruising along without a load.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

Chevy also focused on improving aerodynamics, handling, and ride quality. All of these see a definite improvement over the outgoing model due in part to a revised power steering system, and sound deadening materials that coat the wheel wells and floor of the Silverado. When compared to the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado, the ride quietness is night and day when compared to the 2014 model. During a spirited driving portion of the off-road course, the sharper handling reared its head, and proved that the road surface didn't matter to the latest Silverado's handling capabilities.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

Summary

As we said earlier, the light-duty truck segment takes no prisoners when it comes to the competition. Is the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado the best truck in the segment? We're hard pressed to go that far yet, but we can comfortably say it's twice the truck its predecessor was. That designation of the best light-duty truck still goes to the 2013 Ram 1500--for now anyway--but we'll get an even better idea once all three major American-made trucks square off against each other. Even still, Chevrolet doesn't need to hang its head, because the latest Silverado is solid in its own right, and a gargantuan leap forward from the one it replaces. If you're a fan of the brand, we recommend you go with the crew cab and 5.3-liter V-8 engine. You can't go wrong with that.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

Basic Specs

4.3-liter V-6 engine, 5.3-liter V-8 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, 285-hp and 305 lb-ft (V-6), 355-hp and 383 lb-ft (5.3-liter V-8), $46,400 (LT Z71 V-6), $48,935 (LTZ Z71 V-8), V-6 not rated by the EPA yet, 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy (2WD V-8), 16 mpg city, 22 mpg hwy (4WD V-8)

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view
0 comments
close