First Drive: 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500
Silverado’s Fresh Face: A touch of old, a load of new in the 2014 Chevy Silverado ½-tons
by Bruce W. Smith
Most pickup owners will hardly notice Chevy’s 2014 ½-ton pickups they pass on the road.
The body styling on the new generation truck, although given a mild refresh, is still a Chevy Silverado that looks a lot like the 2013s.
But for those like myself who drive a “current” generation GM ½-ton every day, the first five minutes behind the wheel of a 2014 reveals a significant leap forward in comfort, ride, handling and power.
In fact, that first drive in the new Silverado quickly makes the current generation look really old. (If you bought a 2013, don’t go for a test drive in the 2014.)
The changes you notice start the moment you open the doors.
GM designers went back to the “old” doors that actually sit inside the cab structure instead of wrapping up into the roof and extending to the cab bottom.
Now the doors are inset in the body like the old days and triple-sealed so they don’t become a noise-generating device at highway speeds like the current generation pickup’s doors.
The new truck has also had the “B”-pillar moved forward, which creates a 4-inch wider entry/exit gap at the front of the rear door and gives an extra 2-inches for foot room for the backseat passengers.
This cab refresh also does away with the suicide-type rear doors used on the current generation “Extended Cab.”
In their place are front-hinged doors that are much larger to make rear entry/exit for backseat passengers a lot easier.
(GM has also dropped the Extended Cab name and now calls the 2014 models in that segment Double Cabs.)
The design engineers also spent a lot of time redesigning the mirrors to make them less noisy.
The result of the new doors and side mirrors, along with more sound deadening and sound absorption elements in and under the truck, the 2014 Silverado is now the quietest pickup on the road.
Then there’s the 5th generation 5.3L V-8 that features direct-injection and a host of power-adding, fuel-economy boosting technology.
If you are a numbers person, the EcoTech 5.3L is a fuel-miserly hotrod making a tidy 355hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque through a slightly refreshed 6-speed automatic.
The extra muscle over the current 5.3L is very noticeable in both unloaded and towing situations.
Even better is the 2014 Silverado’s EcoTech3 5.3L V-8 has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg highway (2WD) – the best mpg numbers of any V-8 pickup, and beats the fuel economy estimates of the Ford EcoBoost V-6.
Another big change I noticed from my 2011 model is the brakes. My truck’s brakes always feel a little soft. Not so on the new truck.
The new generation Silverado’s pedal feel is firm and comforting, and the four-wheel disc brakes bring it to a stop better than the “old” drum/disc setup we have in the current ½-ton GMs.
If better brakes, quieter interior, more power and better fuel economy isn’t enough to make you want to take your own first drive in a 2014 Silverado, the interior changes might be the push you need.
The seats have been upgraded and are more comfortable because the side bolsters are a lot firmer and supportive, and the foam is denser. Heated cloth seats are now available as an option, too.
The dash and interior coverings look and feel better, too, with softer, richer overlay.
The dash is rearranged so it’s easier to make adjustments as you drive, and there’re at least five USB connections on the LT model I drove with the bucket seats.
And I be remiss not to make note of how the shock valving and spring rate changes have affected the new truck’s ride and handling.
The 2014 Silverado LT Z71 Crew Cab 4×4 I spent a lot of time in is one of, if not the best, pickup I’ve driven to date. The suspension rocks. So does the electric power-steering.
Overall my take as a current-model (2011) GM ½-ton owner is I wish I’d waited a little longer to get my truck. It’s only three years old, but looks, rides and feels like it’s antiquated and far less substantial in every way compared to the 2014s.
Rumor is the next-generation Silverado HDs coming out next year are going to see similar improvements.