In the automotive world American’s aren’t always the leaders. There’s the Germans the Japanese, Koreans and even the Italians. Ah, but when it comes to one class of motor vehicle we can wave the Stars and Stripes high, bake apple pies and sing Bob Seger songs.
We are referring to the pick-up truck, that all American work horse owned and driven by hard working blue collar people, rednecks across the South and Texans, where we hear it’s state law that every household must have a pick-up in the driveway. Now we’re not talking the smaller or mid-size trucks, like the small one we bought in college because it was cheap. No, we are talking about the full size “in your face” sort of trucks; the kind more at home on a construction site than a soccer field.
Chevy introduced its first pick-up way back in the 1930’s and since then has been one of the leaders in the pick-up truck market (to be fair along with Ford and in recent times, Dodge). For those of us who are uninitiated and only look at a pick-up truck as something to borrow from a friend when we need to move, the world of the pick-up is in fact a subculture that runs deep in good old US of A. In fact trying to put Chevy truck owners and Ford truck owners in the same barroom to conduct a civil conversation would be like trying to get Miley Cyrus to put on some clothes and not ‘twerk’.
There’s also a lot more to a pick-up truck beyond the surface. Chevy for instance has the Silverado, which is essentially the same as the GMC Sierra. But whereas the Silverado is aimed more at the agricultural market, the Sierra is made for the industrial customer and can be outfitted to be a luxury truck. And no we didn’t know that either.
So when we were recently given a 2014 Silverado to try we really didn’t know what to expect. The experience at first can be almost intimidating. Like going horseback riding and being given the tallest steed to ride when all you’ve ever ridden are ponies at the fair. For a driver more used to wheeling something closer to the road and something that takes up a lot less lane, you might think there would be a little apprehension, a little trepidation behind the wheel.
You’d be so wrong.
The model we had was the two wheel drive LT crew 1500 Z71 version. The 1500 is available in seven trim levels. There are two work trucks, a 1WT and 2WT, with the 2WT adding features such as chrome bumpers, high-wear cloth seats and Chevrolet MyLink with a 4.2-inch color touch screen. The Silverado LT and LTZ models add features, such as an 8-inch color touch radio and trailering package on the LT, and leather seating, and dual-zone climate control on the LTZ. Z71 models with enhanced off-road capability are available in both LT and LTZ trim levels. The 2014 Silverado 1500 has three all-new EcoTec3 engines – a 4.3L V-6 SAE-certified at 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque, a 5.3L V-8 certified at 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque and a new 6.2L V-8 SAE-certified at 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft.
All three of the EcoTec3 engines seamlessly switch to four-cylinder mode to save fuel during light-load driving. The 5.3L V-8 has EPA–estimated fuel economy of up to 23 mpg highway (2WD models), which Chevy says is the best of any V-8 pickup, and better than Ford EcoBoost V-6.
The 5.3 L V-8 was in the model we drove and we noticed no lack of power in everyday driving and estimated our MPG to be around 20 miles per gallon in mixed use; we were impressed. Any apprehension behind the wheel was quickly erased. The cabin is roomy, very comfortable and everything is well placed and easy to use. At first however we didn’t understand why some of the controls seemed to have larger knobs than normal. One consultation with Chevy pointed out what should have been obvious. The controls, like the entire interior, are tailored specifically to the needs of truck customers, functional, logically placed and easy to operate with work gloves on.
As it turns out for 2014 Chevy completely reengineered the Silverado. And that redesign wasn’t confined to the cabin. The new front end is engineered to improve sealing for more efficient cooling, while the roof and tailgate spoiler were shaped in the wind tunnel to smooth airflow over the truck for reduced drag. New inlaid doors, which fit into recesses in the bodyside, reduce wind noise for a quieter cab. Rear doors on crew cabs are larger, for easier entry and exit, and rear doors on double cab models are now hinged at the front for easier access, especially in tight spots.
It’s the little things that count. Like the numerous pockets in the interior along with USB ports electrical outlets and the like. On the outside there are handholds where there should be hand holds, hooks where there should be hooks and perhaps most importantly underneath there are rigid body supports that allow this truck to maintain its shape and firmness no matter the terrain.
The overall feel on the road is comfortable, the ride smooth and most importantly quiet. And it should be. According to the engineers, new shear-style body mounts tune out both up-and-down and side-to-side movement for a quieter, more relaxed ride. Double cab and crew cab models have a set of hydraulic body mounts to further isolate the cabs. Combined with numerous other acoustic and NVH (noise vibration and harshness) enhancements, the intended result is a solid, refined feel with no loss in traditional truck ability.
For those of us who live our motoring lives in cars the thought or a pick-up truck as our daily driver might leave us scratching our heads. But millions would shudder at the thought of driving something other than a full size pick-up truck. It is essential part of their work life and home life; it’s not a want, it’s a need.
The 2014 Chevy Silverado will fit that need just fine. It’s fit for getting down and dirty on the job site, hauling a big load, and just refined enough to take the misses out for dinner without embarrassing her.
The Silverado offers what Chevy trucks always have; good features on a vehicle that is more than ready to get whatever job you may throw at it done. And with the redesign for 2014, it now offers a whole bunch more. It’s more like a rock than ever before, and as American as a Bob Seger song.
The 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 2WD Crew
MSRP: $35, 855
MSRP (as tested): $40,910
Engine (As tested): 5.3L V-8 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque
MPG (Estimated): 16 city 23 hwy
MPG (as tested, mixed use): 20
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L80, six-speed automatic
Wheels (as tested): 18 x 8.5-in. bright machined aluminum
Max Payload: 2007 pounds.
Towing Capacity: 9800 lbs (11,400 lbs w/towing package)
Dimensions (LT Z71)
Height, Overall (2WD) 74.17 in.
Ground Clearance (2WD) 8.73 in. 8.73 in. 8.73 in.
Cargo Box (Area) Height 21.10 in
Cargo Box Length @ Floor 69.33 in
Cargo Box Width @ Wheel housings 51.03 in
Cargo Volume 53.4 ft
Cab to Axle 31.97 in
Front Bumper to Back of Cab 150.90 in
Length, Overall 230.03 in
Wheelbase 143.5 in
Width, Max w/o mirrors 80.0 in
Front Head Room 42.80 in
Front Hip Room 60.73 in
Front Leg Room 45.27 in
Front Shoulder Room 66.03 in
Passenger Capacity 6
Second Head Room 40.50 in
Second Hip Room 60.27 in
Second Leg Room 40.93 in
Second Shoulder Room 65.73 in
Basic 3 yr./ 36000 mi.
Drivetrain 5 yr./ 100000 mi.
Free maintenance 2 yr./ 24000 mi.
Roadside 5 yr./ 100000 mi.
Rust 6 yr./ 100000 mi.
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