Chevrolet does a good job of building full-size vehicles, and here are three that were tested. First was the new 2014 Impala. This is a huge car with plenty of back seat and trunk space. Under the hood some four-cylinder engines are available, fine for fleet users, but this one had the nice V-6 with 303 horsepower. Gas mileage is rated at 18/28. Plenty of passing power here. The cabin has nice materials and workmanship. The gauge cluster looks nice, and is easy to read. The radio and climate control system has plenty of simple and large knobs that are easy to use. The glove box was too small and the auto-dimming mirror has no off switch–two minor complaints. No complaints about the ride, which is very smooth. This is a great highway car. This Impala was loaded up with goodies, so it had a sticker of $35,770. I have not tried the smaller engines, but they have a much lower price tag.
Next was the new 2014 Chevy Silverado truck. A new V-6 rated at 285 horsepower and gas mileage of 18-24 mpg is available, but we couldn’t find one. Instead this one had the improved 5.3 liter V-8. Horsepower has been jumped from 315 to 355. A 6-speed automatic is the only gearbox. No more manual shifting. Gas mileage is listed at 16/23, This one did 22 on the freeway. The interior looks very nice and modern. The ride quality is comfortable. There were no quality issues. We did have one major complaint with the gas & brake pedal location. They are located too far from each other; the brake is positioned a bit too high, and the gas too low. In stop-and-go traffic, the driver has to move his entire leg to switch from one pedal to another, really annoying! This can be solved by taping a piece of wood to the gas pedal, but shouldn’t the factory fix this? There were some towing options, but for pulling heavy loads, the larger 6.2 liter V-8 may be a better choice. Total tab was $40,910. For those seeking a lower cost, the V-6 trucks with single cab might do. Overall, a much improved truck.
The Suburban was a 2013 model. It has the 5.3 V-8, but was cranking out less horsepower at 320. A larger 6.0 rated at 352 is available. This is a huge and heavy rig, so it needs all the power it can get. Needs all the gas it can suck too, as my city mileage was 13 overall. Official rating is 15/21. The interior is well designed, with simple knobs and lots of room. The glove box is so small as to be useless; only by removing the owners manual is there room to put anything. Odd feature for such a huge vehicle. This is listed as an 8 passenger SUV, but with two bucket seats in front, two in the middle, and a small bench seat that might hold three kiddies in the back, that makes 7 passengers. Where number #8 will sit is still a mystery! Still, this is a great choice for hauling people and camping gear. Base price was $56,190. With entertainment system, towing pack, and special paint, the tab hit $60,195.