Chevrolet Silverado

Part 1:
It's been a while since we took a LONG term tester and as we refer to something LONG, how about a LONG Chevrolet Silverado? It is long, massive and truly menacing on road. We got the LTZ variant of a 2014 Silverado which is staying with us for another month.

How about we see what's in and out for now? While in our next issue, we'll get a deeper insight about the drive, but on different ground.

In America, it's a hardcore heavy duty truck known for its practicality; whereas, in the Middle East, the Silverado is a lifestyle statement. Adding to the massive body, this year Chevrolet has invested some brains on the design part. It's got more muscles and the front looks more imposing with a gigantic twin port grille, an extensive bumper and dual power dome hood. Molded body sides and fender flares have a new shape. Measures were taken to reduce some weight, like the usage of high strength steel for the frame and cab, aluminum alloys in the engine, front suspension components and hoods. This year we have a corner step integrated in the bumper for easy access to the rear bed. Wheels are wider with four wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors.

We spot many changes inside. There's no way one can complain about the cabin space and storage options. Every door has bottle and cup holder along with three other storage slots. Second row is spacious with a standalone foldable seat on the right side. Leather seats, bits of wood and soft touch material in the box bring in a premium feel. The tall center panel was a simple board with easy switches and knobs. The driver gets a good view on the six-gauge instrument cluster for all important figures. Silverado features Chevrolet's MyLink on a 4.2 inch display on the dashboard; so we've got Bluetooth audio streaming, AM/FM stereo, hands-free calling, two USB ports, an SD card slot and auxiliary jack for MP3 devices. All this for a pickup truck!

The LTZ variant has a 5.3 liter V8 block that sends out 355 HP and 519 Nm of torque through a 6 speed automatic gearbox. The engine features direct fuel injection, active fuel management and continuously variable valve timing. So while cruising on long roads, the engine automatically deactivates 4 cylinders saving some fuel. For comfort, a revised set of front and rear suspension is introduced.

I took the car up to a multi-story car parking building and when turning to go around a corner that is quite cramped, I stopped. Here's what my co passenger said, "Happy realization; you are driving a truck." After a brief stunt, I somehow managed to go up and thereon kept a better presence of mind. Trust me, it was easy and gradually you could even learn to park at busy malls in a parallel parking spot.

Steering is direct which is electric powered and revised. It's a jittery ride on city humps and shaky on gravel roads. On a straight run with full V8 throttle, the thrust is astonishing. Body roll is an obvious effect due to the height, but then I can adjust my speed accordingly.

I'd like to finish my note with a figure related to the fuel consumed so far: 13.2L/100km and on its best a 10.6L/100km. 

Part 2:
Biggie is doing well. See how time flies?! Now with us for over two months, my neighbors think I own it. After a brief write-up on the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado in the last issue, here's our take about the drive thus far.

A quick recap of the engine block; it's a 5.3 liter V8 chunk shooting 355 HP and 519 Nm of torque through a 6 speed automatic gearbox. On the road, we couldn't ignore the jittery feel because of the overall frame structure: long and heavy. Bumpy roads are disturbing at high speeds, but in slow maneuvers, the body shakes. Technically, Chevrolet has added new spring dampers to increase stiffness. Else, Silverado is quiet and comfy on straight highway roads. Gear ratios are neat with torque sweet spots, and they don't shy from any gearshifts; this was clearly felt during our ride to the mountains of Jebel Hafeet.

We managed good fuel economy between 12 to 13.5Liter/100km because of the V8's smooth transition to just 4 active cylinders when coasting.

There's an option to switch between 2WD, AWD and low range gearing, though my setting was always a safe "Auto". The truck had a nice weekend stay at the beaches in Jumeriah. On our way back, we maneuvered into a shallow off-road zone. Unsure about what was ahead on the high and rough dunes; partly because of my inexperience in off-roading and due to the massive front end, I picked it up gradually. Unlike the Ford Raptor, the long Silverado couldn't jump high but certainly clears the ground with great confidence. It stays way higher than the Ford and there's no lack of eagerness to master the rough spots.

The electric power steering was remarkably straight, unlike the little floaty feel felt on flat roads. Brakes are strong enough to handle most of the trouble we threw on it. Luckily, we didn't find trouble during our time in the rough areas.

Silverado is no more a tight thing to handle. With its shockingly quick nature and a rugged figure, I fancy it will gain more following in the region, especially among the local community. Soon, we have to exchange the 2014 model for the latest Silverado and I'll surely keep you posted.

Part 3:
The Silverado has been staying with us for over three months, and we thank our GM colleagues for setting this up. Slowly but surely, some of our friends have started to like it. It's a pity that we did not get to test it in heavy duty mode so that we could say such things like "filling the boot" and "pulling a trailer". But our intention was not to discuss it for any other reason than to see how this truck could replace a car.

"Sporty and stylish" is how you want it to look. And check out the pictures of the Raptor and Ram recently revealed at the Detroit Motor Show, and one can say, "Trucks are awesome."

In the last episode, we highlighted the enormous space inside the Silverado and this time we want to feature how big the rear bed is. Opening the top roll-over sheet wasn't easy because of the tight plastic hook which was basically the locking system placed on either side. The box is made from roll-formed steel for increased strength and reduced mass, compared to the stamped beds used by other competitors. The bed has upper tie-down hooks to hold things tight and an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate.

The truck is huge, though doesn't mean it has a thirsty engine. Fuel economy is kept in check thanks to the V4 operation; where four cylinders go to idle state when not needed.

The Silverado is a great companion and earns respect on road. Firstly, it occupies an entire lane and leaves barely any space for the vehicle next to it. And I felt like the cars around it tended to keep a distance - I like to think out of admiration, but maybe I'm bluffing myself.

I wouldn't swap my sedan for a Silverado, as my wife isn't a big fan of trucks for a genuine reason. The ride was jittery and on the more firm side some of the time. She was, however, impressed by the Silverado's off road skills. I had better focus on timing; picking the right car for the right occasion, which could be anybody's case. Thinking about a truck as a daily ride may sound alien in Dubai, but guys, trust me, driving it is so much fun!

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