In the 38 years since the Silverado nameplate first appeared on a Chevy truck, the name has become iconic, and synonymous with tough, rugged, capable, and long lasting trucks. The guys under the blue oval may have sold a few more of theirs, but look around today, and you see more Chevy trucks still going than anything else. Having Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock” as the theme for Chevy trucks all those years was an apt pairing. Your author still drives a ’92 Silverado every day, with 250,000 miles on the odometer and still spinning.
Even since ’92 the nameplate has a seen a lot of changes, with many more comfort and luxury accoutrements finding their way into what used to be strictly a working vehicle. Heated and air conditioned leather seats, nav systems, adjustable pedals, enough power ports to run a Navy destroyer off of, air bags, auto headlights, power sliding rear window, high end aluminum wheels, and more comfort and convenience options than you get at a five star hotel.
The 2014 Silverado ain’t your father’s truck!
The tester GM dropped off to us was a Silverado 1500 Z71, 4WD crew cab model. Just seeing this truck made us stop and admire it. It also made the author notice how it seemed to dwarf his ’92 longbed Silverado enough that you would almost thing it was parked next to an S-10.
Painted in Deep Ruby Metallic with a Cocoa/Dune two-tone leather interior, this truck was just beautiful, even before we got behind the wheel. Massive 20-inch chrome wheels accented the Deep Ruby Metallic nicely. Other options our test truck had were Driver Alert Package, LTZ Plus Package, Chevrolet MyLink Audio System, assist steps, Heated and cooled front passenger seats, front full feature leather buckets, trailer brake controller, movable upper tie downs, and LED cargo lighting. Standard price of this truck is $43,650, and as equipped, our test truck had a bottom line price of $50,475, including destination charge.
The sticker showed a combined average fuel economy rating of 18 MPG, pretty damn good for a truck this big and heavy with 4x4 drivetrain. This was due in no small part to the highly efficient, and powerful, new EcoTec3 5.3L V-8 under the hood. With Displacement-on-Demand, VVT (variable valve timing), direct injection, and the natural efficiency of the modern small-block Chevy, the new EcoTec3 family is the best lineup of truck engines on the market. All the other pretenders can keep making bogus commercials about trucks pulling a space shuttle or complicated twin turbo equipped V-6s or being as tough as a horned mountain animal, they still can’t touch the newest generation of small-blocks.
The new EcoTec3 5.3 comes rated at 355 HP, and 383 lb/ft of torque. That’s 40+ more horsepower than the previous 5.3, with no increase in displacement. Thanks to the same direct injection the new LT-1 has (2014 Corvette), VVT, D.O.D., and excellent intake, head, and exhaust design, this is one efficient and powerful engine. It’s joined in the lineup by two others, a 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8, and the all new 4.3L EcoTec3 V-6. Just like its progenitor, the Gen I based 4.3 V-6, the EcoTec3 version is essentially a V-8 with two cylinders chopped off.
What that gives Chevy (and GMC) buyers is the best base V-6 on the market, with 285 HP and 305 lb/ft of torque, more torque than any of its competitors. And when it comes to trucks, torque is the key. Essentially the new V-6 makes the same power as the old 4.8L V-8, but more efficiently, with two less cylinders burning fuel. It also has VVT and D.O.D. like its V-8 brothers.
The transmission in our tester was the six-speed automatic. It shifted beautifully, and also helped contribute to our truck’s great MPG. More on that later. Driving this truck in a city environment was, quite frankly, AWESOME! The ride is as smooth as any luxury car, but not too soft or couch like, so there was still some pleasant truck feel to it. Sometimes these new luxury trucks/SUVs can ride like a ‘60s Cadillac, akin to driving a couch down the street ride wise. Not with the new Silverado though. It was perfect, a great balanced feel of cushion yet truck stiffness. Even on rough brick streets, railroad crossings, etc., the ride was impeccably perfect. Steering feel and control with the new electric power steering system was excellent. It was tight, responsive, and even in heavy winds didn’t allow the truck to wander. If one didn’t know better, you’d think it was a conventional hydraulic assist rack.
Even with a 4x4 drivetrain adding some extra parasitic power loss, the new 5.3 felt strong, with great bottom end and top end power. It was quick to respond when the hammer was dropped, and got this truck moving quick. Economy wise it proved to be quite good. Around town we’d see 15-17 mpg, and on the highway running 75-80 mph, we were getting an impressive 22-23. That’s out of a big, 4x4, quad cab pickup! That’s the same kind of economy a competitor claims to get out of a twin turbo V-6.
Inside the 2014 Silverado was a dream. The new main display in the dash worked great for navigation and controlling the satellite radio. In the past, this is where some GM vehicles have fallen short. But the interface, display, everything was great, worked well, and easy to use. The leather clad buckets were very comfortable on a long road test, and the redesigned steering wheel was not only sporty feeling, but comfortable as well. All the analog instruments were easy to read and also looked good, while the info center in the gauge cluster gave many options for keeping tabs on the truck’s operation, including fuel economy. The Driver Alert Package was also nice, and did help to keep us on our toes and aware of any trouble ahead.
Overall, this truck just flat out kicks some serious tail. It’s no wonder the new Silverado earned 2014 Truck of the Year at the Detroit auto show. We can easily see where someone would buy this truck, and keep it long enough to pass on to their son or daughter, then go buy another new one. In fact, the only thing we’d like to see available is a manual transmission option, for those who want a sportier truck to enjoy.