2014 Chevrolet Silverado
Date Posted: July 1, 2013
By Zack Spencer
After 8 model years GM finally introduces an all new full-size Chevrolet Silverado. Are the changes big enough to win over the competition.
As I walk down the jet-way in Toronto, boarding my flight to Deer Lake Newfoundland, the heat is oppressive. Thirty-eight degrees with the humidex in the 40s, it is melting hot. Just a few hours away is a much cooler land with rolling hills, deep fiords, moose and moose burgers, lobster, plus some very tasty Quidi Vidi beer. Its all part of the experience set up by General Motors to showcase the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. I think the real reason for such a remote location was to traverse some very bumpy roads and to witness just how dominant GM is on ''the rock. Everywhere you look, there is a GM vehicle of one shape or another and many of them pickup trucks covering several decades. After landing in Deer Lake we drove to scenic fishing villages, eventually stopping at Norris Point, this is where the Quidi Vidi beer, and lobster were consumed.
It is interesting to see older Chevrolet Silverado trucks next to this all-new unit. To be honest they are hard to tell apart from ten paces. I think GM missed an opportunity to modernize the overall look of their new truck, especially since it has been 8 model years since they last did a total refresh. There are some minor differences like the inclusion of HID headlights on higher end trim levels, along with slightly different grille inserts. There was much fuss made about the small notch (CornerStep) in the rear bumper to help climb into the bed of the truck. But in light of Ford's tailgate mounted rear ladder, this looks almost comical. Okay, Chevy buyers will appreciate this small touch, but is this enough to win over buyers from other brands? Other improvements include crew cab doors that open wider for easier access. With 65% of all buyer choosing a crew cab, the addition of a longer 6'6'' bed is welcome on that model. The overall dimensions have not been tampered with. This is due to strong feedback that Silverado buyers who told Chevy that they need to park their trucks and making them bigger would limit their options.
As I go through this review you will notice that there are more good things to say about the new Silverado than bad. There has been good work done on this truck and much of it is inside. With any 8-year-old cabin, any improvement would be welcome but Chevy did a bang up job. The centre console is very well design with not only the driver but also all passengers in mind. There are no fewer than 5 USB ports inside the console and centre covered arm rest area. Not only that, there are two cigarette lighter style plugs and an 110V electrical outlet. The dash is fitted with handsome materials and contrasting colours and textures for optimal eye appeal. The outside of the cab is the same size as the older model but by using creative design, the inside is larger with more leg and foot room. I would still give the edge to Ram for interior design but the Silverado is a very close second and the Ford F-150 is starting to look very dated.
On the second day in Newfoundland, on my way to sample my first Moose burger, I realized that this part of our great nation is a perfect place to showcase a smooth and quiet vehicle. The roads are under populated but rather bumpy. The new Silverado impressed me as it ate up anything that came its way. The cabin is very quiet with minimal engine and road noise and the ride is more like driving a big sedan than a truck. To gain the greatest efficiency, GM has developed three all-new engines with advanced technology that they call ''Eco Tec3''. First is a 4.3 V6 that they hope will make up to 30% of their sales. With 285hp and 305 lb-ft. of torque this is the engine to choose for light duty buyers. The most popular engine will be the 5.3L V8 with 355hp and 383 lb-ft. or torque. The big dog is the 6.2L 420hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. To gain the best possible efficiency GM has implemented direct injection to all three engines, plus tweaked their variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation. The ability to switch off 4 cylinders, on V8 models, and cruise on just 4 cylinders for a longer period of time greatly impacts fuel usage.
I'm surprised that it has taken GM so long to introduce an all-new truck. These vehicles are the most profitable for their company and they have let their market share of full-sized trucks slide in the past few years. Ford has a lock on the number one spot thanks to continual improvement in engine technology, like their superb EcoBoost V6 engine (over 40% of their sales). Ram has been on a trajectory skyward with their macho styling and engine and transmission updates. Their 8-speed equipped Ram 1500 with a V6 diesel, available later this year, will be a tour de force. As good as this new Silverado is, with an impressive interior and great new engines, is it enough to win over buyers other than the GM faithful? Time will tell but two things that I wish had been addressed are exterior styling and something better than a carried over 6-speed automatic. One thing I hope GM learns is that you cannot take 8 model years to introduce an all-new truck in this hyper competitive market. Next stop is the Calgary Stampede to drive the new GMC Sierra.
The Good, The Bad
Vastly improved interior and a very relaxed and quiet ride
GM missed an opportunity to modernize their exterior styling.
Power: 4.3L V6, 5.3L V8. 6.2L V8
Fill-up: 8.7L/100km (highway 5.3L V8)