Precious Metal: New and upgraded Chevrolet Silverado beefs up technology while maintaining rugged power, strength
The same Chevy towing a 12,000-pound boat or hauling 6-foot pieces of lumber can map routes by voice, control climates and power a smart phone or tablet.
“What Chevrolet is saying, this is a luxury car in a truck,” said David Eller, sales associate with Crews Chevrolet in North Charleston. “On the inside, there’s a lot of new things.”
Eller’s remarks describe the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, the latest iteration of the carmaker’s popular full size truck.
Crews Chevrolet received its first new Silverados in August. The Rivers Avenue dealership counts 92 available Silverados — basic, decked out, extra length, beefier, crew, double and regular cabs, all on its sprawling lot near Greenridge Road.
Over the years, Chevrolet built a reputation for selling powerful, outdoors-esque and roomy trucks sought by contractors, hunters, young professionals and retirees. But the vehicles dragged behind competitors in terms of technology. The carmaker sought to change that in the 2014 Silverado.
To put it mildly, the truck went from a techno-sloth to the cutting edge in one fell swoop.
“People are kind of demanding it now,” Eller explained.
Notably, the Silverado can be purchased with its navigation-sound MYLink system — based on sister brand Cadillac’s well-received Q design — that provides audio, mapping and temperature controls by voice commands or through a touch screen and push-button driver information display.
The truck maintains the General Motors OnStar communications and emergency system, while adding USB ports and other plug-ins for motorists wanting to tie into a smart phone or tablet.
Chevrolet upgraded creature comforts as well. In a nod to outdoorspeople, cloth seats beat out leather seats except in the highest end models. But the carmaker installed softer materials on the door panels. Meanwhile, the top-of-the-line LTZ offers air conditioned seats and both front and rear ultrasonic parking assist.
The redesign doesn’t stop there.
Chevrolet did away with a smaller V-8 engine but kept its 4.3-liter V-6, 5.3-liter V-8 and soon-to-arrive 6.2-liter V-8 boasting 430 horsepower.
According to Eller, the Silverado stands as the only full size truck with variable valve timing, active fuel management, cylinder deactivation and direct fuel injection. They’re packed in a new EcoTec3 engine, replacing the long-time GM Vortec powerplant.
Even with the husky engines, the Silverado pulled out best-in-class gas mileage figures of 23 mpg highway. It gets 15 mpg in the city.
Eller cited other highlights:
• All-new retailored front with a “more of a wraparound shape” and bolder grille.
• The crew cab, which used to be available with one bed size, now includes the standard 5 foot, 8 inch storage area and an optional 6 foot, 5 inch bed.
• Disc brakes, formerly on the front wheels, are now on all four wheels.
• Sound-deadening guards and special coatings underneath the truck keep it quieter and more aerodynamic. So does a three-step seal system on the doors and nickel plated latches to protect against rust.
• A drop tailgate uses special spring absorbers to keep the tailgate from slamming shut or banging open. The tailgate, too, can support up to 240 pounds.
• Chrome assist running boards make it easier to climb into the cab, and a step up feature helps people climb up to or in the tailgate.
• New safety features include blind-spot mirrors and optional lane departure warning.
• A rear back-up camera includes guidelines on the screens to show the direction the truck is moving.
• An upgraded locking rear differential makes it harder for the truck to get stuck in mud or other off-road surfaces.
Another benefit: “Chevrolet has the best warranty in the truck class,” Eller said. Perks include a two-year maintenance with oil change and tire rotation; three year, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper coverage; five year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty; five years courtesy transportation; and five years roadside protection.
“It seems like we hit a home run with this,” Eller said.
In a late afternoon drive of a well-equipped Silverado LT 4x4 with 5.3-liter V-8 engine and priced at $47,188, the truck at least legged out a triple if not rounding the bases.
From a looks standpoint, the Silverado appears more streamlined without losing a tough edge. The 22-inch rims, part of a custom sport package, stand out. A nice exterior addition is the truck bed step-up feature.
On the road, a beefed up shock system helped smooth out the ride, and the noise reduction devices kept the truck noticeably quiet. The truck, not surprisingly, sits up high, offers very good visibility and steered solidly, particularly for a large vehicle. The 5.3-liter V-8 engine provided good pickup although lacked punch at higher speeds.
Technologically speaking, the Silverado took great forward strides. The system in the test truck, while perhaps a bit overwhelming, certainly covers all bases.
Summing up, the 2014 Chevy Silverado negotiated the onramp to technological skill without losing the ability to tackle the byways of South Carolina or elsewhere.
To learn more about the new Silverado, visit your local Chevrolet dealer.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com.