Fraternal pick-up twins Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 are updated and renovated for 2014, with a refreshed exterior and completely redesigned interior. Upgraded powertrains on the 2014 Sierra and Silverado increase power while also improving fuel economy.
General Motors says that pickups are an important part of America; trucks are the core of its business portfolio; and explosive growth is taking place with pickups as the housing market bounces back, especially with the four-door crew cab models. We took a "first look" at the new models in Detroit. Pricing has not been announced for the trucks, which go on sale later this year.
GM played it safe with this model year update, delivering familiar exterior design cues and some modest and some significant improvements, particularly with a few technology features -- on which the company has, frankly, lagged behind competitors in this segment. However, the improvements offer a welcome change and signal good things to come from The General.
Silverado and Sierra are full-size personal pickups, both available in several configurations: two- or four-wheel drive; regular, extended and crew cab; one of three pickup box sizes (5.8-, 6.6- or 8-foot beds); and several trim levels. Three drivetrains are available, including a 4.3-liter V-6, 5.3-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8. There will be no hybrid version.
Overall, the use of high-strength steel and aluminum accents (such as on the hood) make GM pickups stronger on the outside and quieter on the inside. Rear doors on crew cabs are larger for easier in-and-out and redesigned cab-to-frame mounts smooth out the ride. GM says its new lineup delivers better performance on safety tests because of the new cab structure, too.
On the outside, Silverado looks as boxy and aggressive as ever (Chevy designers say it's like a fist-in-the-wind), and GM says its design is more aerodynamic than in past model years. A twin-port grille, full-width bumper and dual power dome hood are capped by stacked, rounded headlamps that seem small relative to the overall proportions of the front end. However, integrated roof and tailgate spoilers, along with recessed sides and inlaid doors, combine to improve exterior airflow and reduce noise in the cabin.
Beefy Sierra retains the big GMC badge and grille, but shares the updated dual power dome hood and full-width bumper of its Chevy sibling. Similarly, its side door and panel design is made to increase aerodynamics and make for a more comfortable ride on the inside.
A couple of innovations show real progress in exterior design by GM: first, front-hinged rear doors on extended cab models make it easier for rear passengers to get in and out, without the front doors having to open. Second, a corner step on the rear bumper is a neat way to solve the problem of having to reach over the liftgate to grab something in the bed, or simply climb in over the gate; the steps pair with grips on the side of the bed. Sierra comes with four tie-downs for securing cargo in the pickup box; tie-downs are optional on Silverado.
The cabins are thoroughly renovated for a more comfortable and stylish ride. An upright instrument panel and center stack with 4.2-inch information screen and big knobs and controls are easy to see, reach and manipulate, even while wearing work gloves. Standard upholstery is a high-wear, easy-clean cloth.
On Silverado, Chevy has introduced MyLink (it's called IntelliLink on Sierra). Silverado retains the traditional column shifter, with tap-up/tap-down and tow-haul functions integrated into the lever, which is easy to use and economical in terms of cabin space. Similarly, the available integrated trailer brake control is mounted high and to the left of the steering wheel, where the driver can more naturally reach for it.
All three motors (torque, horsepower and EPA mileage ratings available at later date) are matched to a six-speed transmission with Auto Grade Braking to reduce brake wear on downgrades. The three engines also share GM's EcoTec3 technology, allowing them to operate with four cylinders through cylinder deactivation in conditions such as highway driving where fuel efficiency can be maximized.
Interestingly, four-cylinder operation can cause vibrations that increase cabin noise, and a quieter ride was a priority for The General in designing the 2014 trucks, so engineers included special engine mounts and active noise-cancellation technology to reduce feedback inside the cabin (V-8 models).
Copyright © 2013 Motor Matters
|Displacement||4.3-, 5.3-, 6.2-liters|
|Epa mileage rating||TBD|
|Motor type||V-6 & V-8 w/DI|
|Vehicle type||3-passenger 2WD & 4WD full-size pickups|
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