First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

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Category: DriveApart

What's New?

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado begins its third generation with some heavy alterations. In fact, Chevy claims that Silverado is new from "hood to hitch," and yet base prices remain substantially unchanged from 2013. The Silverado shares most of it’s components with it’s corporate sibling, the GMC Sierra, with the two trucks differing in mostly cosmetic details.

Silverado can be ordered-up with a Regular Cab, Double Cab or Crew Cab. Regular Cabs come with a 6'6" box or 8' box; Double Cabs with a 6'6" box; and Crew Cab with a 5'8" box or 6'6" box.

Tow/Haul/Cargo

Silverado's trailering and hauling ratings vary depending on cab, box and powertrain configuration. The maximum tow rating, 12,000 lbs (best in class), can be achieved by selecting the Max Trailering Package ($770) on the Double Cab or Crew Cab 2WD with a 6.2-liter V8 engine. The lowest tow rating in the Silverado lineup is 5,800 lbs, on the Crew Cab 2WD with a 4.2-liter V6 engine, and everything else is logically distributed in between. A trailer brake controller is available as an option ($230), and Stabilitrak with trailer sway control is standard on all models.

Hauling capacity is similarly variable. Each of the three boxes is the same width at the floor and between the wheel housings (64.6" and 51"), with a 62.2" wide tailgate and a box height of 21.1". The 8' box can hold 76.3 cu.-ft. of stuff; the 6'6" box holds 61 cu.-ft.; and the 5'8" box holds 53.4 cu.-ft. The lightest maximum payload is 1,577 lbs and the heaviest is 2,108 lbs, depending on configuration. The bed comes painted, without a bedliner or coating. Chevy offers a $345 drop-in bedliner, and adds a set of $100 tie-down rings. A hard folding tonneau cover is available for $1,159 - $1,759, depending on bed length. The aftermarket has less expensive, better solutions.

Chevy has done a good job with interior stowage on the Silverado, too. The center armrest compartment is big enough for a laptop computer, and I was able to store my iPad in the glove compartment. My test vehicle was a Crew Cab, which had a very smart easy to fold seat, which leaves a clear, flat-load floor when stowed.

Engine/Drivetrain/Specs

Three engines are available for the Silverado:

4.3-liter V6
285 hp @ 5,300 rpm
305 lb.-ft. @ 3,900 rpm
18 mpg city/24 mpg highway (2WD)
17 mpg city/22 mpg highway (4WD)

5.3-liter V8 (+$895)
355 hp @ 5,600 rpm
383 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
16 mpg city/23 mpg highway (2WD)
16 mpg city/22 mpg highway (4WD)

6.2-liter V8 (+$1,995, available late 2013)
420 hp @ 5,600 rpm
460 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
15 mpg city/21 mpg highway (2WD)
14 mpg city/20 mpg highway (4WD)

Add six-speed automatic transmission with 2WD or 4WD (+$3,940)

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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