First Drive: 2014 Silverado’s Fresh Face

Updated Sep 3, 2014


2014 Silverado Pickup Review 

A touch of old, a load of new in the 2014 Chevy Silverado ½-tons

By Bruce W. Smith

Most GM pickup owners will hardly notice Chevy’s 2014 ½-ton pickups.

The body styling on the new generation truck, although given a mild refresh with headlights and aero upgrades, is still a Chevy Silverado that looks very similar the 2013s.

But if they take the time to slide behind the wheel for a ride down the road, the difference between the newest gen Bow Tie and the previous models is striking.

For those like myself who drive a late-model GM ½-ton every day, the first five minutes behind the wheel of the new Silverado reveals a significant leap forward in comfort, ride, handling and power.

In fact, that first drive quickly makes even a 2013 feel really old.

integrated-stepsUntitled-1Integrated steps and a stake pocket designed to fit the hand in the Chevy Silverado bumper make it easy to get into the bed.

I noticed the changes the moment I went to open the doors. GM designers went back to the “traditional” inset-style doors instead of the ones in the last generation that wrap up into the roof and extend to the bottom of the cab.

The old doors generated a lot of wind noise at highway speeds – and they didn’t do a lot to help strengthen the cab structure.

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 previous “Extended Cabs.”

Chevy’s new “Double Cab” trucks, which replaces the Extended Cab models of old, use front-hinged doors that are much larger to make rear entry/exit for backseat passengers a lot easier.

The result of the new doors and re-designed side mirrors, along with the addition of increased sound deadening and sound absorption elements in and under the truck, makes the 2014 Silverado the quietest truck 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.

latest-generationUntitled-1The latest generation Chevy 5.3L V8 is rated to deliver the best fuel economy of any V8 on the road – and besting some of the newest V6s all the while pumping out 355hp.

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 noticeable in both unloaded and towing ­situations. Towing a Case skid-steer along some of Houston’s hill country roads, the loaded LTZ Z71 4×4 Crew Cab ($50,910) I was driving handled the load with ease.

Even more impressive is the fuel economy. While my 2011 4×4 is hard-pressed to get 18 on the highway, GM says the 2014 Silverado’s 5.3L V-8, in a similar configuration, has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22mpg highway.

Better still, it’s rated to get 24mpg in 2WD trim – 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. Pre-2014 GM pickup brakes always feel a little soft. Not so on the new truck.

new-interiorUntitled-1New interior adds comfort and better ergonomics for driver and passengers alike.

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 found under most ½-ton GMs.

If better brakes, quieter interior, more power and better fuel economy aren’t enough to make you want to take your own first drive in the new Silverado, the interior changes might be the push you need.

The seats have been upgraded and are more comfortable because the side bolsters are firmer and supportive, and the foam is denser. Heated cloth seats are now available as an option, too.

In fact, the entire interior layout is better. The dash and interior coverings are richer in both feel and looks, and the dash is rearranged so it’s easier to make adjustments as you drive.

From a work truck perspective, the steps integrated into the corners of the rear bumper are nice, as are rear stake pockets that serve as convenient hand holds.

I also like the new tailgate with its ­soft-open hinge system, and the optional sonic front and rear park assist systems that warn both visually and audibly when there’s an obstacle about to ding your new truck.

Overall my take as the owner of a relatively new GM ½-ton is I wish I’d waited a little ­longer to get my truck. It’s only three years old.

But after the first drive in a 2014, my truck looks, rides and feels like it’s sorely outdated.

Rumor is the next-generation Silverado HDs coming out next year are going to see similar improvements.