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By Tony West
December 2012, Chevy unveiled the comeback of the 2014 Silverado 1500 set for sale next year. With so many things redesigned on this full size pickup from “hood to hitch” Chevy hopes to raise the bar in dependability, efficiency, and endurance. The goal of the redesign of the 2014 Silverado was to create a multifunctional, powerful, yet lighter mid size pickup truck replete with safety features and useful technology. “Our customers rely on their trucks to meet the day-to-day challenges of earning a living, running a business, and taking care of their families,” said Mark Reuss President of GM North America. Understanding that 2/3 of the light duty trucks sold are crew cabs, designers created an interior that was quieter, roomier, and more functional.
The exterior design of the Chevy Silverado is muscular and more aerodynamic. 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. A revised front and rear suspension and wider wheels give greater ease handling loads. New inlaid doors fitting into recesses in the side reduce wind noise for a quieter cab. Other aerodynamic additions include cab-to-box, shields on the chassis to smooth under-vehicle airflow, and deflectors that guide air around the rear tires.
Under the hood the 2014 Silverado boasts 3 new Eco Tec3 engines developed specifically for the demands of truck duty. The 4.3L V6 delivers torque to power a crew cab and pull a large trailer. The 5.3L V8 provides more horsepower, torque, and better fuel economy. And the 6.2L V8 engine acts as the most capable engine. All three can seamlessly shift to four-cylinder mode under light loads for improved efficiency. When in 4 cylinder mode transmission and exhaust mounts tune out vibration and the active exhaust system fine tunes back pressure and the exhaust for a smoother, quieter output. The transmission feature Auto Grade Braking, which downshifts on downgrades to help reduce brake wear and tear.
The interior of the 2014 Silverado was designed for optimal efficiency, but still practical and comfortable. Most models contain an instrument panel with a 6-gauge instrument cluster and 4.2 inch color Driver Information Center. I like the fact that designers placed important controls close to driver functionally. Silverado retained the column shifter with tap-up/tap-down and tow-haul functions integrated into the lever because it clears space in the console. Silverado utilizes the Mylink infotainment system that is voice activated and capable of linking up to 10 devices.
The cabin in the 2014 Silverado is redesigned to be more spacious and safer. Two thirds of the cab structure is made from high strength steels. Sheer style mounts isolate the cab from both up-and-down and side-to-side movement. The 2014 Silverado 1500 also features a roll-formed steel pickup box that is lighter, stronger and more durable than previous models and competitors.
The suspension, steering, and brakes in the 2014 Silverado allow for a more confident comfortable ride. The Coil-Over-Shock front suspension has aluminum upper and lower control arms and rear suspension uses multi-leaf springs. This creates an optimal balance between a smooth ride and load carrying capability. Both front and rear shocks have a twin-blade design with new valving to improving damping at low speeds. Steering at low speeds is improved with all-electric variable assist power steering. Because there is no engine-driven pump, electric power reduces fuel consumption and eliminates maintenance associated with hydraulic power steering.
Silverado offers standard technology like StabiliTrak, electronic stability control with Trailer Sway Control, Hill Start Assist, and OnStar. I’m looking forward to seeing the Lane Departure Warning, the Safety Alert Seat, and the Forward Collision Alert, features I’ve given high marks in luxury cars. Though the price and fuel economy for the 2014 Silverado haven’t been released, I’m hoping to be impressed as I am with the rest of the specs.