First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

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2014 Cheby Silverado1500

The Drive

Silverado has always been a nice-driving pickup, and this new edition continues the tradition. My test vehicle, a 2WD LT Crew with the Z71 package, drove beautifully, with the same kind of sharp steering response that I liked in the second-generation Silverado, without excessive jumping or vibration from the rear wheels. I didn’t get a chance to drive the new Silverado with a load in the bed or with a trailer – I’d expect the rear end of the truck to settle down more with a moderate load. My truck had the 5.8-liter V8, which seems like the best match for this truck – not a big penalty on fuel economy, and more than adequate power for everyday driving and healthy towing. This truck would barely feel a two-bike trailer, even over the hills and dales.

Silverado’s cabin is SUV-like in terms of design and comfort. My test vehicle was equipped with the LT Plus Package ($785) and the All Star Edition Package ($1,830), which included near-luxury features like dual-zone air conditioning, power adjustable pedals and steering column, a rear camera and power driver’s seat. The dash is smartly arranged, with a modular look that’s stylish and functional.

 

The Good

• Wide range of engine choices
• Good looks, inside and out
• Robust maximum towing rating
• Superior steering feel and handling
• E85 FlexFuel capability standard

The Bad

• 8′ bed only available with Regular Cab
• Complicated packaging quickly increases price
• No factory spray-in bedliner or sophisticated cargo management
• Maximum Trailer Package still requires optional ($230) Trailer Brake Controller
• No diesel option

Price

Silverado starts at $26,670 for a Regular Cab 6’6″ box 2WD truck with the 4.3-liter V6 engine. Double Cabs start at $30,695, and Crew Cabs start at $35,095. Trim levels go from 1WT (base) to LTZ Z71, with a range of almost $10,000. Soon, a premium trim level “High Country” edition will join the lineup to compete with Ford’s F-150 King Ranch, loaded down with all of the options and premium features available.

My test vehicle was a 2014 Silverado 1500 Z71 2WD LT Crew Cab with a 5.3-liter V8, base price $35,855 – $40,910 as tested. Chevy has done its homework. Prices are competitive with Ford, RAM, Toyota and Nissan. This is a very tight segment.

Verdict

Pickup trucks are so good right now that it’s almost a matter of taste and tradition. If you’re a Chevy guy, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re a Ford guy or a RAM guy, you probably won’t be converted. If you’re a Toyota or Nissan guy – I don’t really know you, but I’m sure you’re a nice person.

The third generation Silverado is a worthy successor to the second generation, and a very capable pickup truck for everyday driving and for light hauling and towing.

Four stars out of five.

How does the new Chevy stack up with the new RAM and the new Tundra? Does Ford have anything to worry about – or are they still going to lead the segment?

Related Links:
Best: 2014 Trucks and SUVs For Towing and Hauling
Review: 2014 Toyota Tundra
Towing: Ten Important Common Questions About Towing and Hauling

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  • Lord Triumph

    How do they achieve such low power from such a massive block. And those mpg figures are truly shocking. Vehicle of the past.

    • Blu E Milew

      Low power? Trolling much?

      • Mark D

        To be fair, BMW Motorrad could conceivable get 1,240 hp out of that much displacement.

        • Lord Triumph

          My point exactly thanks.

        • Blu E Milew

          To be fair, 7 years ago, Toyota made 740hp out of a 2.4l v8 engine. Chevy should be able to scale that and make at least 1900hp.

          To be fairer, Caparo sells a street car with a 3.5l v8 making 575hp.

          To be fairest, the block isn’t massive. The displacement is.

          • Piglet2010

            Honda used to get over 900HP/L out of their turbocharged V-6 F1 engines in qualifying tune.

    • Justin McClintock

      A better question would be how they get such good fuel economy from an engine that large pushing a vehicle that large. They can get more power if they want, but it’ll cost reliability, fuel economy, and increased maintenance.

  • Ben Barbeau

    Low stressed motors = made to work and take a beating while being low maintenance

  • Piglet2010

    With a disappearing middle class, who is going to be buying these $40K pick-up trucks?

    • kentaro

      The few left in the middle class – people who work for a living.

      • Piglet2010

        My work truck was used and cost me less than 20% of $40K.

        • grindz145

          From my experience, these tend to be company trucks, at least partially written off by tax rebates/etc.

  • grindz145

    O wow, up to 15 whole MPGs.

    • grindz145

      I’m sorry, I get incredible satisfaction from trolling the car reviews…

      • Tiberiuswise

        15 MPG to move 5,000 pounds. There probably isn’t an easy formula for a true apples to apples comparison but how many MPGs do you think you’d get with 5,000 pounds of motorcycle?

        • Justin McClintock

          If it was tuned like of these guys want (aka, like a sportbike)….probably around 2.

  • Stuki

    Why a motorcycle site would deem the 5.8 the most appropriate for this truck is beyond me. I haven’t driven the new GMs, but in the Ram, by far the most appropriate engine/tranny combo for motorcycle duties, is the V6/8speed. The 8s are fine, but there is no need for the noseweight of a big 8 if the bed or trailer is only carryinng a bike or three; and the V6 has plenty of power for any kind of driving anyone has any business doing with a bike tied down in the bed.

    • Piglet2010

      I did fine pulling a 4×8 trailer, a Bonnie, and a Ninjette with a 170-HP (so about 120-RWHP) Nissan Frontier.

      Anyone remember 30 years ago when a 350-ci Chevy/GMC pick-up had about 125-HP? How did we survive?

  • Michael

    you guys really need to try the new Ram. Its amazing. The build quality far exceeds what GM is putting out. Not to mention far superior styling, packages, technology, storage, and resale value.

    • Stuki

      I like the GM styling, but the 8speed ZF (7 series tranny) and coil rear springs on the Ram, makes it a better light duty (as in hauling bikes) truck. Getting more heavy use truck guys to go for a Fiat, is probably an uphill battle, though….

  • akaaccount

    Wow, somebody really takes it in the pants to supply trucks to the used market.

  • Justin McClintock

    I remember many years ago when Chevy introduced the Colorado to replace the S10, they scrapped the 4.3 in favor a an inline 5 because they said the 4.3 was too old and couldn’t meet emission and got horrible fuel economy. This despite the fact that it had FAR more torque than the inline 5 replacing it.

    Now here we are, so many years later, and the inline 5 is dead…yet the 4.3 lives on and is more powerful and fuel efficient and cleaner than ever.