Chevrolet: GM’s Bread & Butter Gets Tastier
America has a love affair with the pickup truck. It boggles the mind of foreigners how we could continue to love these huge hunks of metal with solid axles and thirsty V8 engines. With each calendar year, pickup trucks continue to get more comfortable, capable, and efficient. The 2014 Silverado makes a huge leap over the previous generation and has left me pleasantly surprised at what GM has done to make their bread and butter so much tastier.
At first glance, the commoner probably can’t tell much of a difference between a 2013 and a 2014 Silverado. The 2014 reminds me of that feeling I have after a hair cut. I feel leaner, more aerodynamic, and a little more handsome but you’ll probably only notice if you see me on a daily basis. The sale holds true for the Silverado. A few current owners picked up on the new truck but most people didn’t notice. The 2014 Silverado might be easy to criticize at first glance do to the evolutionary design, but the changes are more than skin deep.
I’ll admit, I like to poke fun at GM’s pushrod engines for, well, still using a pushrod design. The 5.3L V8 is no laughing matter though. With 355 HP, the 5.3L gets my unofficial award for the quietest V8 with direct injection. No ticking. No buzzing. Just smooth V8 power. The V8 can shut down to use just half of the cylinders for a V4 mode. This makes a bit more noise but the fuel savings is significant and makes the EPA numbers of 22 MPG highway and 16 MPG city realistic.
The Silverado doesn’t break any new ground in the way of new features or gotta-have-it options but that doesn’t mean someone who buys one is making any sacrifices. This truck is all about refinement. The interior of the $48,000 LTZ model I tested had a lovely cut & sew instrument panel with a giant color touch screen. The thing about the Silverado is that it just doesn’t photograph well. The interior must be seen and touched to be appreciated because pictures don’t do it justice. It has everything you’d expect such as cupholders, a huge center console, five USB jacks, and plenty of LED interior lighting. Forget everything you knew about the previous Silverado’s Little Tykes interior from the last generation. This new truck rocks.
The crew cab model I drove was properly sized, just as a Ram and F-150 are. The rear seat folded up to increase storage and the seat easily held two baby seats and one average American rear end when they were down. Leg, head, and hip room were generous.
The 2014 Silverado is also the quietest pickup I’ve ever been in. With minimal wind or road noise, the Silverado could rival Lexus for interior noise. The Silverado sports some of the biggest fabric wheel well liners I’ve ever seen, including liners for the rear wheels. This means the ride is quiet, even over rough road or when driving in the rain. These things aren’t cheap and it shows GM isn’t goofing around with noise intrusion.
One item that I didn’t care for was the navigation system. It looked like a low-end system and wasn’t very easy to use. Given the size of the screen, I expected it to be much better.
GM’s has really refined this truck and pushed it to the next level. All of the switches and knobs feel solid, which is something the previous truck lacked. The turn signal stalks, steering wheel switches, and infotainment controls look and feel expensive. I’m still amazed at how much GM has really done to this truck. Decades of experience and discipline to not give into the bean counters is evident here.