2014 Chevrolet Silverado

The Classic Pickup Recipe

There is a growing trend I've observed over the years in the Middle East, something that I am still taken aback by when having a close look in the window and seeing a young Emirati or Qatari driving a truck. On the contrary, in North America, people who drive these big trucks are people who need it for agriculture purposes or any other utility. In our region it is a matter of showoff to a certain point.

Driving Impressions
I flew from Beirut to Washington DC to test the all new 2014 Chevy Silverado.

What's new in the 2014 Silverado?

The new Silverado is more comfortable, more efficient and more powerful. So powerful, in fact, it can allegorically tow a dinosaur out of the room. Max towing for the full size Silverado is 5,216 kg, depending upon its configuration. The 2014 Silverado Light Duty is engineered to be stronger, smarter and more capable than ever before.

Silverado crew cabs and double cabs (which replaces the extended cab) with the standard 5.3L EcoTec3 V-8 will begin reaching Chevrolet dealers in early November. Also available is an all new EcoTec3 V-6 with the most torque and highest payload and towing rating of any standard V-6. The crew cabs and double cabs will be joined next month by a regular cab Silverado.

New shear-style body mounts tune out both up-and-down and side-to-side movement for a quieter, more comfortable 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 capability.

The chassis of the 2014 Silverado includes a number of customer-focused updates. A revised front and rear suspension and wider wheels provide a more comfortable ride and more confident handling. Electric power steering improves steering feel and reduces fuel consumption. New four wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors improve brake feel and potentially double rotor life.

Silverado will be available with segment-exclusive safety features such as Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning with an Active Safety Seat, and Front and Rear Park Assist. StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist are standard on all Silverados.

Smart solutions for cargo management: The pickup box also benefits from this focus on providing Silverado customers with the right tools for the job. The box is made from roll-formed steel for increased strength and reduced mass, compared with the stamped beds used by major competitors, and it features a range of smart solutions for everyday life.

Silverado's CornerStep bumper, combined with handholds built into the new box rail protectors, makes it easier to access the box. The bed is also available with new upper tie-down hooks, under-rail light-emitting diode lighting and an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate.

For the first time, Silverado Light Duty crew cabs will be available with a longer 6'6" box, in addition to the previous 5'8" box, enabling customers to carry more cargo while still being able to park in many garages. 

Drivetrains
EcoTec3 engines: Silverado Light Duty pickups will offer three all-new EcoTec3 engines - a 4.3L V-6 SAE-certified at 285 horsepower and 413 Nm of torque, a 5.3L V-8 certified at 355 horsepower and 519 Nm of torque, and a new 6.2L V-8 certified at 420 horsepower and 624 Nm of torque.

All three EcoTec3 engines feature direct fuel injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing, a combination not found in competitive trucks. The engines also use a compact overhead-valve design and weight-saving components such as aluminum blocks and cylinder heads, to reduce mass for additional energy savings.

All three provide the proven power, torque and dependability of a large-displacement engine, seamlessly switching to four-cylinder mode to save fuel during light-load driving. The 5.3L V-8 has EPA-estimated fuel economy of up to 10.2 L/100km highway (2WD models), the best of any V-8 pickup.

Silverados equipped with the 4.3L V-6 will have towing ratings up to 3,266 kg, the highest for any base V-6 in the segment. Silverados equipped with the 5.3L V-8 and the max towing package will have towing ratings of up to 5,216 kg, which is more than any light-duty pickup currently on the market.

Exterior
Functional, aerodynamic exterior: Silverado's exterior design blends strong Chevy truck heritage with a refined, modern aesthetic. The new design is more muscular, more functional and more aerodynamic. A twin-port grille, full-width bumper and dual power dome hood create a strong presence, which is carried through in sculpted body sides and fender flares.

The new Silverado design is about much more than just looks, however. 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.

Interior
All new interiors tailored to truck customers: The all new interiors of the 2014 Silverado LD reflect the same focus on form and function. The upright instrument panel, six-gauge instrument cluster and multiple storage options are tailored specifically to the needs of truck customers. Controls are functional, logically placed and easy to operate with work gloves on. 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.

Stronger, quieter cab: The new truck cab is stronger, with nearly two-thirds of the structure made from high-strength steel, for a confident feel and improved safety. Similarly, the main rails and key cross members of the updated frame are high-strength steel with major elements hydroformed for reduced mass and improved strength.

MyLink Infotainment System
2014 Silverados feature MyLink with a 4.2-inch or 8-inch color touchscreen radio. The 4.2-inch color touch screen radio, standard on selective LT models (Regular cab) and available on WT and LS models, includes AM/FM stereo, Bluetooth audio streaming, customizable favorites, hands-free calling, two USB ports, an SD card slot and auxiliary jack for MP3 devices.

The 8-inch high definition color touchscreen radio, standard on selective LT models (Double Cab and Crew Cab), enables users to scroll or drag through menus. LTZ and High Country models receive an 8-inch high definition touchscreen with and embedded navigation. Silverado also features four selectable themes for the display screen and drive information center, which tailor the look of the displays to the taste of the customer.

Verdict
Ford guys have a tendency to stick with Ford. That's the past. I am pretty sure now that with the new Silverado, Ford guys will be thinking to switch to Chevy. This is a conservative, loyal set of consumers. It's generally pretty easy to stick to your guns, too, because the gap between Ram, F-150 and Silverado is so slim. If you're the kind of person who loves robust and huge trucks with a checkbook as big as the rig you need to haul, the Chevy Silverado is powerfully pleasing. Coming later in 2013: an all new 6.2L EcoTec3 V8.

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