By on September 23, 2013

2014-Silverado-02

Instructions:

Step 1. Put on Fanfare for the Common Man.

Step 2. Light a hand-rolled cigarette. Take a deep drag.

Step 3. Begin reading aloud with as low and gravelly a voice as you can muster.

Your script: Pickup trucks are America. In the vast expanses that make up this country, they feel completely comfortable with their bulk. These are the broad-shouldered blue-collar working class of the vehicular world. Just like the people that drive them, these trucks are alternately unembellished hard workers or rhinestone cowboys. They give of their bodies and brawn to get.work.done. At every disaster, you’ll find trucks. Construction sites, too.

2014-Silverado-13

Trucks build things up, break things down, and clear the way. They are the last stand of dominance for the once-muscular North American auto industry.

Okay, that’s enough of that nonsense. American pickup trucks are both deeply loved and uniquely evolved for our landscape and way of life. That doesn’t mean that the dominant domestic automakers can be arrogant and take the sales for granted. We saw how that worked out with cars.

That’s why they bash each other’s brains out with their trucks, swinging the cudgels of ever-increasing tow ratings, powertrain options, or luxury tack shop interiors by Nudie Cohn. When a pickup truck gets
fully redesigned, it’s a big deal, and so it is with the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado.

The recently-launched 2014 Chevrolet Silverado has hit the dealer lots and the press fleets. The short take-away is this: the Silverado is more car-like, very fuel efficient for its class, and has a few little oddities. Those assessments are partly right.

2014-Silverado-06

The Silverado is not like a car. It is a truck, and as such, it rides like a truck. A very good-riding truck in the 1500 LT 2WD trim I drove. The frame is stiff, the suspension is well-tuned, and the steering is precise, all pluses. The new hydraulic cab mounts and rack and pinion steering really pay off. Even if the leaf springs on the rear axle aren’t the wispy cloud of compliance that the Ram’s coil springs are, the Silverado has a higher tow rating when equipped just right.

Inside, it is very quiet. So much so that even with your foot deep into the new 5.3 liter Ecotec3 V8, it sounds like someone else’s vehicle is roaring away. The engine sounds great, and it’s very punchy, so hearing more of it would be welcome. The new cab has its doors inset into its sides, lots of high-strength steel and hydroformed structural elements, and it’s shockingly quiet.

Would that the seats were more comfortable for spending long hours. The squishy cloth-upholstered 40/20/40 front bench seat in the Silverado LT I drove was supportive in the you’re-not-on-the-floor sense, but long-haul comfort is lacking, and it made me fidget after a while. Also weird: the steering wheel is offset toward the center of the truck, just like the early Dodge Caravans, and it feels just as strange now.

Despite being a rear-driver, LT trim includes Z71 suspension with Rancho shocks and a locking differential; enough equipment to get you hopelessly stuck should you believe the “off-road suspension” claim Chevy makes for the heavier duty chassis. Machined aluminum wheels, 17-inchers with all-terrain tires, fog lights, chromed bumpers and recovery hooks are standard for the LT, as well. The tailgate that doesn’t slam and integrated bumper steps are nice touches.

There’s now a single cabin design with a dashboard that looks weirder in pictures than in person. This particular truck had the LT Plus Package ($795) and All Star Edition ($1,830) which means some up-fitting. The standard MyLink audio system with its 4.2” LCD gets traded out for an 8” color touchscreen interface that also displays the rear camera’s view, but navigation is still optional. You do get six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service, which can pipe turn by turn navigation instructions into the system. The steering column gets notchy 1970s-grade tilt adjustment, and a separate lever adjusts reach. Other All Star Edition goodies are 18” wheels, interior AC power outlet, remote start, power driver’s seat and climate control. The LT Plus package contributes a power-sliding rear window, rear park assist, power-adjustable pedals and universal remote. None of this stuff helps the Silverado work any harder.

2014-Silverado-11

Of course, every Silverado you can currently buy is optioned-up. You can’t even get the standard configuration of new 4.3 liter standard V6 and six-speed Hydramatic yet. Not that the 5.3 liter V8 based on the C7 Corvette engine is any kind of penalty, but it does cost an extra $895. It’s punchy as hell, though, and still spat back 21 miles per gallon in a week of mixed, mostly-highway driving. A four-wheel drive configuration would have probably cost a couple mpg in the same conditions. That’s impressive economy, and it’s likely to get better when an already-in-the-works transmission with more ratios becomes available. The six-speed jumps right to the highest gear it can as fast as it can, so you wind up doing 20 miles an hour with the tachometer near idle before dropping down two gears and moving off smartly,. It’s kind of a herky-jerky way to get down the road.

With a few more useful bits of optioning, a trailer brake controller, chrome runing boards, heated front seats, and moveable tie-downs in the bed, the bottom line came to $40,910. That’s a lot of dough for a truck that still has a long way to go on the options and luxury side of the ledger. It might be just me, but for that kind of debt, I’m going to at least want to be breaking wind on leather and have a navigation system to tell me I’m lost. It’s also a lot of extra crap you don’t need if you’re just looking to get some work out of the truck, in which case the basic W/T configuration is your bogey.

Look at the full-size truck landscape, and it’s clear that right now, the Silverado is on top, though maybe by default. In 1500 trim, it’s more efficient and lighter than the comparable Ram or F-Series. The Ram has a high-quality interior, comfortable ride and willing powertrains. The Silverado is in the fight, though, and it’s a lot lighter on its feet and less thirsty at the gas pump. Both point up how shamefully old and crappy the F-Series cab is, though the rest of that truck is nothing to be trifled with.

Closing the door and shutting out the noise of the jobsite or the stress of meeting those Ag Loan payments and John Deere financial responsibilities during a dust-bowl drought is something the Silverado is very good at. It’ll willingly yank some steers to auction or drag your travel trailer to the KOA campsite for some vacation. The primacy of the pushrod engine in terms of packaging efficiency and durability is a high point, as is the Hydramatic transmission and increased use of aluminum in the chassis to keep weight down.

This is why, for now, the Silverado is on top. When the new F-Series debuts with its aluminum cab and weight loss equal to a trio of morbidly obese Americans (you know, average folk), it might be a different story, but that’s not going to make the Silverado a bad choice overnight.

See, that’s the thing with the full-size pickup field. Just take a scattershot approach and you’ll be fine. You’ll get your work out of the truck. If you’re looking for all the frosting on the cake, then the brand becomes important. While the Silverado can be outfitted that way, it still doesn’t quite measure up to a Nash-Vegas-trimmed Ram. But there’s not a truck on the market right now that blends efficiency, muscle and capability as well as the Silverado, and that’s why it lives up to its big deal billing. For now.

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92 Comments on “Review: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    Such a pretty truck .

    I wonder how the base model , true Work Spec. Rigs will be .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Other than the comments about smoking and fat people – however true – they put me off as being unnecessary, probably ’cause I don’t fit those descriptions! Still, got a smile out of me…

    As for the truck, my brother-in-law recently bought a 2013 GMC Sierra version of the work truck – long bed, standard cab(!), V6 auto with very few options, I was extremely impressed as how good it drove and rode, even with three of us in the cab for a 140-mile-r/t drive to the country one day with me in the middle. The gas mileage was impressive, though I forgot to do the math, but he said it was good, considering. My guess, low-20 mpgs with the A/C on.

    That truck made me wanting to own another full-size pickup someday. If GM’s new pickup is better than that, I’ll REALLY be desirous of owning one!

    Make mine short bed, standard cab… in red, please!

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      While it’s great that manufacturers will build a pickup in almost any way you could want it, I don’t understand why an individual would want a standard cab, short bed model: the version with the least utility possible.

      King and Crew cabs offer secure inside storage and/or the ability to haul more than one passenger comfortably. Even the contractors fleet trucks I see at job sites are at least king/extended cab models with room to store some tools or paperwork behind the seats.

      On the other hand, the short bed makes sense; how often do you need a full length bed with the tailgate closed? Extended cab truck with a long bed are a beast to drive. But short cab and short bed? Not only a loss of utility, but they look like a toy.

      Anecdotally, the only standard cab models I see where I live are bare bones fleet specials used for parts delivery/meter reading, or northern transplants (front plow kit and fender rust are a giveaway). When traveling I do still see some individuals in the Midwest driving newer standard cabs; maybe it is a regional preference.

      Having said that, to each their own.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        Standard cab/short bed trucks are easier to maneuver and more capable off-road thanks to a shorter wheelbase. Plus they typically cost a few thousand less than extended cab models.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Short cab+bed trucks still enjoy some use as hunting trucks. Short enough to drive around in the woods, and just enough bed length for a dog box and a deer or two on the tailgate.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        “On the other hand, the short bed makes sense; how often do you need a full length bed with the tailgate closed? Extended cab truck with a long bed are a beast to drive.”

        Me? Every time I drive it anywhere. That’s why I got a long-bed.

        And extended cabs make long road-trips (6+ hours) tolerable.

        It all depends on what the truck is for, after all, as you say in closing.

        (I’ve never comprehended the crew-cab-with-a-4′-bed trucks, myself, but I’m sure they serve a purpose.)

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Standard cab works fine. The new trucks are so huge they have quite a lot of space behind the seats even though they are not technically extended cab. I was able to easily fit a guitar in a case back there. A tool box will also easily fit. Not everyone carries long items. Your average working man would be OK with a standard cab. They look nicer, too.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I rode in one of these the other day. What shocked me most was how enormous the cabin was. Three NBA players could sit comfortibly in the Crew Cab’s back seat. The model was an LTZ and with a shell over the bed, it could have been a 2-row Suburban LTZ for 15k less.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      These are the new large sedans in Michigan, with very solid chassis’, very hushed interiors, loads of space with the crew cab, and fuel efficiency that matches large sedans of yore on the highway and in the city when equipped with the V8 and driven even reasonably quickly.

      That they have a luxury car ride quality, and a decently equipped one with 4×4 can be bought for around 27k or leased for around $270/month with nothing due at signing certainly has helped their proliferation.

      As compared to the F-150, the interior layout, quality of materials and overall level of comfort is literally like a Lexus compared to a Mitsubishi.

      The 5.3 liter V8 can lug @ 2000 rpm at 70 mph on the highway at easily achieve 26 mpg consistently, in the real world, too.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    ” Also weird: the steering wheel is offset toward the center of the truck,”

    I noticed this in early released photos of the dash, I thought it might have been caused by the camera angle… Can someone explain why this is?

    Very good review, balanced and informative

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      Offset steering wheels are a deal-breaker for me. I won’t even test drive one. There are literally thousands of new vehicles right now on the road and nearly every one of them is manufactured without this “feature”.

      My dad got stuck with a Buick Park Avenue with this “feature”, but I have always felt that a manufacturer that cannot figure out how to place a steering wheel in front of the driver shouldn’t claim that this screw up is a “feature”.

      What I believe happens is that the IP design team’s measurements were not correctly communicated to the interior design team on some seat configurations. My experience was that this “feature” doesn’t appear in the same vehicle when equipped with a different seat design.

      One of the things guys do very well is use their natural spatial intelligence when driving oversized vehicles. I have driven huge trucks for years and find it remarkable how I can plant one right up to a dock, back them right into garages and just know where keep a 45 foot RV from scrapping a tree branch across a roof when backing into a wooded camp site. We are able to do this by sensing the vehicle’s dimensions and space. Not having the damn steering wheel in front of me is going to throw that off, I feel.

      A vehicle that you cannot buy without a centered steering wheel in front of you is a FAIL.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        So when is a steering wheel really offset? How about when the driver doesn’t sit where he’s supposed to?

        After 40 years of driving in almost all types of vehicles, one of the biggest issues I see is drivers sitting anywhere BUT properly behind the wheel. They’ll sit leaning against the door, which puts their shoulder in line with the center of the wheel so they can drive one handed, or lean so far against the center console they’re doing the same. This is both hard on the back and reduces real control of the vehicle. I’ve sat in vehicles where the ‘soft spot’ of the seat–where the past driver normally sat–is anywhere but where he should have been.

        Before claiming you’ll never even sit in one of these, how about actually sitting in it and see for yourself if it is really offset–or if it’s just someone else’s opinion.

        • 0 avatar
          rudiger

          That’s easy enough. The steering wheel should be centered directly in front of the midpoint of the driver’s lower seat cushion. For a manufacturer to screw this up is unforgivable. With GM, it harkens back to the days of that paragon of quality, the Cavalier. Every one of those things had an offset steering wheel and nothing screams POS where the company just didn’t give a damn like a non-centered steering wheel.

          I’m with VanillaDude. I don’t care if everything else in a vehicle is perfect. An offset steering wheel would gnaw at me every time I had to drive the thing to the point that it’s a fail of monumental proportion.

        • 0 avatar
          afflo

          Most cars these days have seat bolsters that force you to sit in the correct position, so I don’t see how that is even a possibility anymore.

          One car though – my ex-wife’s CR-V – had the steeringwheel at a weird angle, tilted off axis just a bit. If you had one arm longer than the other, it would feel fantastic!

      • 0 avatar
        hf_auto

        Based on my driver packaging experience, I highly doubt the steering wheel ended up where it did by accident. SAE J1100 (the industry standard for occupant package dimensions) has several steering wheel measurements, including seat-steering offset. The seat-steering-pedal layout gets a LOT of attention during vehicle development.

        When I’ve seen offset steering wheels proposed/implemented, it’s been due to packaging issues. Crowded firewalls, engine bays, and large protection zones for tire clearance can conspire to push the steering wheel around. Pedals are often limited by the engine/transmission tunnel.

        It’s also worth mentioning that dash styling can also give the illusion of an offset wheel. I’ve seen a few dashes where the geometry isn’t perfectly symmetrical and it tricks the eye into thinking there’s an offset.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      So we still don’t know if this really happens or is accidental or is an optical illusion. I for one have never experienced a vehicle like this and although I may change my driving position from time to time for various comfort reasons, I am well aware that *I* am offset and will soon return to the proper driving position. I can’t imagine driving any vehicle that this position is offset. It would have to be terribly uncomfortable after a very short period of time

      • 0 avatar

        Oh it really happens. I mean the only one I know that has drove a 2014 is the author, but I’ve been in vehicles where it is offset. I had a 1983 Chevy malibu and even with the bench seat it was horribly noticeable. By measurement or by sitting where the seat-belt placed you the wheel was towards the center. Now it didn’t even bother me, but it was no illusion. I also never pretended this was a tight handling road racer where control is vital….

    • 0 avatar
      galanwilliams

      It’s obviously because ‘Merican trucks are to be driven with your left arm resting on the rolled down window, and the driving is to be done with the right hand only. It looks like you could plant your paw right in the center of the wheel with the current setup!

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Personally, I’m not a fan of these Ultra-Lux trucks; they’re far more car than truck any more. However, just for kicks I went to the Chevy and GMC sites and did a ‘build your own’, making two trucks as identical as possible. What I came out with was that the Silverado MSRP’d for almost $2,000 more than the GMC Sierra. If I were going to buy a Road Whale™, I’d choose the Sierra for both price and looks. But that’s me.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      You did it wrong, the difference between a Chevy and GMC equipped the same is almost zero, and the Chevy is cheaper, by under a hundred bucks. Back in 2000, it was 53 dollars difference when I bought my Sierra. A friend of mine is shopping right now and we looked at a lot of trucks in the last few days, and he’s trying to get the GMC dealer near his house to match the price the dealer 25 miles away gave him. So far, they haven’t budged. He’s waiting them out and expects to finally hear from them as the end of the month approaches. He’s bought a lot of vehicles from them, and they play this same game over and over again.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    May be why Sierra outsells Silverado in Canada.

    Thanks for the soundtrack!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    These new GM trucks are very nice, though I do think that the Silverado is a little too chrome-heavy at the front and would probably opt for the classier Sierra. The instrument clusters mirror the one in the F-150 very closely, but that wider color LCD is also used in the Impala. The one thing that I wish GM would have done is built the key into the keyfob, maybe with a switchblade design like most all of the other GM vehicles.

    As far as your pricing goes, it sounds right. But those MSRP’s are almost always off. An actual Silverado configured like the one above—even without the undisclosed incentives—will net you closer to $33-34K. You can even get a 2WD LTZ Silverado crew-cab for under $40K if you’re willing to travel.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Ugghhh I hate keys built into key fobs, I have two sets if keys, work keys and leisure keys, I cannot stand bulge in my pockets, work keys are given a minimalist approach, NO key fobs.
      I want a key not another phone in my pocket.
      Great for a vette, not much so the working man.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I agree that modern keys can be bulky, but I have to think that switchblade designs are pretty streamlined compared to a fob and separate key, and are less likely to poke you in the side while you’re working. The Corvette will probably get another Cadillac proximity key, or something.

  • avatar
    Ion

    It seems as though a transmission that jumps to the highest gears is the gold standard these days thanks to CAFE.

  • avatar
    afflo

    All I could think of reading your intro paragraph was:

    “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.”

    It still blows my mind that people pay $40K+ for what is basically an agricultural vehicle. Sure, for a vehicle you can write off as a business expense, whatever, but for a personal commuter car?

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Even agricultural machinery isn’t “agricultural” anymore.

      Maybe you should get out more. Goes to show the provincial attitude isn’t restricted to rural areas.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      You’re paying a utility price. There’s a huge benefit to not needing a trailer to haul stuff. No commuter car can haul a ton of Class 5 for your retaining wall project, and then scoot right to dinner. Same for picking up 6 dozen wall studs for framing a basement, or a stack of roof trusses for your shed.

      Even if you don’t do your own construction, a truck keeps you from paying the $100 delivery fee on the washer/dryer set, or the mattress set, or the furniture. It’s also nice to rent a boat on occasion,

      So yes, it’s more expensive, but you’re getting utility from that cost. For those who hire everything out, a car works just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        You’re paying that utility price every day.

        The only thing we’ve bought in the last 25 years that either didn’t fit in the wagon (later a minivan) or didn’t have free delivery (and I mean free… the object was competitively priced before consideration of free delivery and their delivery people carried it into the house) was ten tons of landscaping rocks, which would have been ten trips or more in a consumer-grade pickup or maybe 3 trips with a trailer… and I would have had to load and unload the rocks myself. Delivery of that was $50, which was maybe 3 round trips worth of gas in said pickup. If needs must, I can get a pickup from various local big box stores for $18.95.

        Lots of people in my part of Suburgatory talk themselves into believing they “need” a truck for the limited occasions where a car or minivan won’t work. Well, it’s their money but I’m not required to think they’re very smart for it.

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          Lots of those smarter people also beg, borrow and steal for a truck when the requirement arises. Maybe truck owners are just subsidizing other people’s utility price?

          I see your anecdote, and raise you another anecdote.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            You don’t even have an anectdote. It may be that some non-owners do borrow trucks. Good for them, that’s another way to solve the hauling problem.

            My point – and it remains – is that you can pretty readily live in the suburbs without a truck.

            My house and my yard don’t look like a wreck and I somehow get the things I need home without a truck.

            In extremis, I could attach a 1/2 ton trailer to my compact car or a nearly 2 ton trailer to my minivan. I could rent a trailer and I’ve given some thought to buying one I can take down when it’s not in use.

            On the other hand, I could get pretty much unlimited use of the trailer next door for one or two bottles of Scotch per year. In fact, I think the neighbor would very much like to loan it to me, as I then would be less inclined to think of it as an eyesore.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I have a Hertz 24/7 key fob. I just checked the web site and an F250 is located at my local Lowes that I could get an hour from now by making the reservation and using my key fob to unlock it. Looks like $20 per hour including gas.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          Believe it or not, lots of people buy full-size pickups because they like the way they drive.

          I had this conversation with a co-worker today. I said that I would never buy a full-size pickup truck as a daily driver because I don’t like the way they ride and handle, and he replied that he loves driving his F-150.

          I’ve driven my brother-in-law’s 2010 F-150 four-door, and while it’s not my cup of team, “agricultural” is not a word that I would use to describe it.

          • 0 avatar
            nrd515

            I loved my Ram, and the Sierra I had before it. The only drawbacks were the crappy fuel economy and some minor parking issues, like not being able to see the car behind you sometimes! They were both great travel vehicles, with a passenger and two medium dogs, they were very comfortable. As far as actually using them for a truck, I would about 6 times a year, carrying wood, asphalt patch, concrete, etc. The 4WD and locking diffs made winter driving a non issue.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          Yes, I agree you’re paying the price every day. I still see the need, even in the burbs. Hell, I’m in a first tier suburb, and i see the need.

          A ton of black dirt is 1.5 yards. I need 2 yards to topdress my lawn every couple years. The biannual core aerator is also too bulky for any wagon. Every 3-4 years I pull the wood mulch, that’s $120 in delivery right there. Stacking countertops on edge can’t be done in most hatches or wagons, and certainly not with a few cabinets stacked next to them. It’s also nice to score display-only furniture that can’t be disassembled. Let’s not forget the twenty times per year that some random home supply (like drain tile, bagged grout or garden hose) is much cheaper on Craigslist. I’d prefer to dirty up a truck than attempt in vain to keep my hatchback clean.

          I suppose it depends on how much DIY work you do. But at some point, taking out the baby seat to fit a few 4×8 sheets becomes tedious. The Jenga game gets a little old. Right now I’m using a 4×8 trailer but would like more than 1000 lbs capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            “The biannual core aerator is also too bulky for any wagon.”

            The first time I rented a core aerator (“biannual??” I’m closer to “decadal”), it came home in a 1982 Cavalier wagon.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            “I suppose it depends on how much DIY work you do.”

            And you can talk yourself into a truck, if that’s what you want to do, but the mention of the trailer implies that you’re getting by without it.

            The Edmunds TCO calculator says a crew cab F-150 is something like $12K more than a Camry LE over a five-year period. That’s a lot of delivery charges… In fact, I doubt that I’ll be buying a new refrigerator or rebuilding the kitchen in the next five years, anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You WHAT? Why?

            Aside from the fact that you’ve just said you would use it once every two years, why do you spend the money to topdress your lawn in the first place?

            You would be far happier with a smaller truck at a lower price or simply buying a utility trailer than spending some $55,000 for a single-purpose vehicle that doesn’t do anything well. It’s not sporty. You can’t haul your family AND your luggage inside out of the weather, there are so many things wrong with a full sized truck as a daily driver or spending so much for a part-time driver. All you’ve done is emphasize how rich you are by discussing all those unnecessary uses for an unnecessary vehicle.

            Buy a compact truck. In the long run it will be more efficient for you.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        If all you need is occasional utility, quite honestly it’s cheaper to rent a truck than buying one. Utility is really a part-time function and you really shouldn’t have to pay exorbitant prices for a part of the truck effectively serving as wasted space.

        No, a truck is supposed to be work first, then passengers and quite honestly the thing is simply too huge to consider as a daily driver by anybody BUT a contractor or farmer or other full-time user. A more compact pickup would better suit the part-time hauler.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          Is the question full size vs compact, or is it truck vs trailer?

          Ugh… never mind.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            How much usable payload do you think a 4dr 1/2ton truck actually has? I’ll give you a hint – a whole lot less than you seem to think it does. If I am going to overload something, it is going to be my $500 utility trailer, not a $40K truck. If I break the trailer, I won’t cry, if I break the truck, well…

            Even my ’02 Golf TDI was rated to tow a 1500lb unbraked trailer, and did so fairly regularly. Sometimes with that trailer rather egregiously overloaded. Then I drove even MORE slowly and carefully than I would otherwise normally do when towing.

            Realistically, if you need to tow more than 1000lbs, just have it delivered. The savings in wear and tear alone make it worth the extra money, and in my experience delivery is nearly always free anyway for big heavy stuff. And then when the delivery guys drop your new refrigerator off the tailgate of the truck, it is THIER problem, not yours – this happened to me! Impressive what a 3′ fall will do to a $1500 side-by-side.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            krhodes1 asked: “How much usable payload do you think a 4dr 1/2ton truck actually has? ”

            Well, every F150 except the Raptor has at least 1,500 pounds of payload capacity, according to Edmunds.

            And of course, every SuperDuty has over 3,000 pounds of capacity.

            (Remember, Bryanska was talking “full size”, not “1/2 ton nominal”.

            Back up top he said, “Same for picking up 6 dozen wall studs for framing a basement, or a stack of roof trusses for your shed.”

            That tells me Class-2-or-3, not half-ton.)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Bryanski: I got your whole comment before you edited it down. And the question is exactly that: Full size vs compact vs trailer. You are right that MOST small trailers are underweight–but not all. You can, if you look, find an 8′ trailer in the two-ton load capacity while the typical full-size truck really doesn’t carry much–if any–more load than your typical ‘small trailer’ If you’re going to go that way, then why not a smaller truck that’s simply easier to drive, park and use. If you want to haul that three-ton load you’re talking about you’ve got to go for the larger, even more expensive models. In other words, that ‘small trailer’ is not any worse than the typical full-sized truck and honestly more efficient because you drag it along ONLY when you need it.

            You point out yourself that heavier trailers are available and quite honestly most of the better SUVs can tow at least 2,000 pounds while some can tow as much as 7500 pounds. Yet you still have usable interior storage even with a full load of passengers. A full sized pickup simply can’t offer all of that. Which, really, is the better “utility” vehicle.

            That doesn’t mean a pickup truck is useless; there really are purposes for which they can excel–but not as urban or even suburban daily drivers. On the other hand, a compact pickup is much better suited for that urban/suburban environment. It can carry nearly the same load by weight as the typical half-ton, though maybe not a full cubic yard of it by volume. They’re not necessarily as quick as a huge V8-powered Road Whale™, but they’re notably more agile–able to fit into places a full sized truck would have to pass up. They’re also easier to parallel park. (That is, when you can find one.)

            So what’s really better? It honestly depends on how it is going to be used. Everyday heavy hauler? Sure, get that Road Whale™ full-sized. Occasional unwieldy load? Smaller pickup may be the better choice. Economy with occasional heavy or bulky load? Maybe that trailer really is the better choice.

            @ Sigivald: False. That Raptor’s “1,500 pounds of payload capacity (according to Edmunds)” does not include the weight of driver and passenger and any other thing in the cab. You can estimate that anywhere from 300 to 500 pounds is taken away by just two people and if you’re carrying a full load of 5 people, then you’ve lost more than half of that capacity–taking you down to a mere 750 pounds or less. By the way, Full size STARTS at 1/2 ton.

            The average DIYer will NOT be carrying 6 dozen wall studs or stack of roof trusses for your shed, they’ll leave that for the lumberyard to deliver.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @Vulpine Not to mention that trailer will outlast a lot of the cars that pull it. My dad’s inexpensive box trailer is going on three decades…it’s had new decking put in a few times, and new springs and tires, but the frame’s got a lot of life left in it.

            My guess is the lower fuel consumption of the tow vehicle will pay for it several times over during that time.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          People just love pickups. There is no more need to justify them than there is to justify a muscle car. For many people, they are the most practical choice. For many others, they are not. Who cares?

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            Some people like to imagine their situation applies to all. I’m in market research, and the psychological barriers inherent in confirmation bias are nearly impossible to overcome.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Certainly true, but I also find that some people just find pickups to be wasteful and unnecessary and like to scold people for buying them. Most people who have money to spend buy more vehicle than they need. It is one of the pleasures of relative prosperity. People love cars and trucks for much more than simple functionality. This applies to pickups as much as any other personal vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      340-4

      …”agricultural vehicle”.

      Have you driven a new truck in the last decade? They’re far from that. They’re nicer than cars now. People like the room and utility and ‘sense’ of safety, plus the capability to navigate in any number of conditions and inclement weather. People like the room and power, and cars are not providing that anymore. Throw in the ability to tow boats and campers and 4-wheelers with aplomb… and here we are.

      I think it’s pretty silly myself, but what the hey. People are willing to pay for the truck and the gas. Guess the less I use the more it leaves for them.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Seriously? $41K MSRP for a mid-spec truck that is 2wd, and thus mostly useless anywhere that it snows?

        They certainly are NOT nicer than a $41K car. Count me in as one of those who just doesn’t get why anyone would want one of these tanks as a daily driver. Need one to make a living, great, otherwise a car/CUV/SUV and a suitable utility trailer will do quite nicely. Or as previously mentioned, rent a truck for $19/hr when you actually need a TRUCK. I’ve been a happy homeowner for 13 years, have gutted a couple of rooms down to the studs and redone them myself, and the times I have needed a truck have been ZERO. My friends with trucks won’t put anything in the bed anyway, for fear of scratching the precious thing.

        But to each their own.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          With trucks you can throw things like bikes or ski dos in the back. And you can tow things. And they are inexpensive and extremely safe well – for the people driving a truck.

          Throw in the fact that PLENTY of people live where it doesn’t snow.. It basically never snows in Florida or Texas and in most of California. Those are three of the biggest states right there..

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          I thought we car guys had long ago concluded that 4/AWD was for women and yuppies to feel safer while accelerating into a ditch. Snow tires on our diesel hatchbacks would take us anywhere we had to go thanks to our car guy skills! Now 2WD is useless anywhere outside of Florida?

          Show me a big new car with a V8, RWD, and a beltline that isn’t around my neck for $41,000 and I’ll trade my truck in for one. I rarely haul, I never tow, I don’t use 4 low, I don’t need the truck stuff. I just think modern cars suck.

  • avatar
    dts187

    My recent foray into home ownership and renovating prompted me to sell the GTI and buy a full-size pickup. The 2014 Silverado is definitely an improvement on the (really not so good) previous generation. That said, the front end is not very attractive (looks much better in GMC guise) and I found it still landing behind the F150 and Ram 1500 in overall experience.

    The 2013 Silverado/Sierra were a joke compared to the F150/Ram. The 2014 still lags behind but the gap is very, very narrow.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I really dislike what GM did with the driving position. The dash and cowl got higher, the seats got lower, the wide open king of the road feel is all gone in favor of hunkering down behind a massive dashboard. The A-pillars have gotten enormous, too. It’s everything I hate about modern cars in truck form, right down to dropping the chin fascia until it’s scraping every rut and curb.

    They got a lot right in this truck but none of it matters when they whiffed on something as basic as sitting up high with some glass.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      It seems like the “sit up high” thing is usually reserved for vehicles aimed at women. The more “masculine” a vehicle, the more likely to have a low seat with a high sill. (Camaro, Mustang, Corvette, most iterations of the hummer, etc. meanwhile, in minivans, you the adjustable seat height usually bottoms out at “kitchen chair.” It seems that upright seating in trucks was a concession to standard cabs. Once people started buying them as primary vehicles and getting the extended/extra/crew/Whole Osmond Family cab, regular cabs became less a consideration.

  • avatar
    morbo

    Still waiting for the Ferd F-TeenThousand

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8P5vGcf-NU

    NSFW-ish

  • avatar
    dtremit

    “The steering column gets notchy 1970s-grade tilt adjustment, and a separate lever adjusts reach.”

    Am I the only one who thinks this is exactly how non-electric tilt-telescope should be done? I rent a lot of cars, and I’m growing really tired of unlatching the steering wheel to have it (a) flop into my lap, and (b) the latch handle swing away to be all but unreachable.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      I was thinking the same thing. I take the “notchy 1970s-grade tilt adjustment” comment as a good thing. It’s good to see this type of tilt wheel is still around IMHO.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I agree.The tilt wheels with the notch mechanism are a lot quicker & easier to use. The ones that are infinitely adjustable and fall into you lap when you release the lock feel Harbor Freight cheap to me.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    Fanfare? OK, but I’d put on this one by ELP:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hv5kAOWKpY

    http://youtu.be/9hv5kAOWKpY

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Kudos to Chevy for not putting LED light strips somewhere on the front end!

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Love pickups.
    Had them since 1974.
    They were the most cost-effective transportation around back then( $3600 brand new).
    Have two of them now.

    I applaud Chevy for its new Silverado, but realize all three “American”-style trucks are roughly comparable nowadays.

    BUT: Just like Ford, where is the Manual Transmission???
    As far as I know, only RAM offers a Manual, but you gotta buy the 2500 HD and get the Cummins diesel to spec that one out. (For full-sized Pickups.)

    —————-

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Trucks are ok, if your other vehicle is a John Deere.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Although I do have many qualms with this truck, many of which I have expressed many times, I still enjoy what trucks bring to the table.

    If for no other reason then to watch commentors who believe that they have a right to dictate others’ lives. It’s hilarious seeing people get their panties in a wad because they don’t believe trucks are practical, and try to demonize daily drivers of trucks.
    Look guys no one cares if you get offended by people driving trucks in situations you don’t consider efficient. If anything this whining further enhances the image of trucks and the freedom they represent in America.

    It’s honestly not worth anyone’s time to respond to the anti truck rhetoric. Why? Because a truck can do everything a car can do and more, you can readily add major changes that allow for different circumstances, that are easily reversible.

    • 0 avatar
      thejesus

      Ya know, I’m really a car guy. A small, sharp handling car guy at that. I live right in the heart of the city so a truck actually can’t do a lot of what my car can do…like fit in my underground garage, parallel park on the narrow side streets, maneuver around traffic, provide acceptable fuel efficiency, etc. I laugh at the assertion that trucks are representational of any type of freedom apart from consumer freedom, something certainly not exclusive to America.

      And yet, deep in my DNA, I like trucks, always have, always will. I grew up in small towns in the middle-of-nowhere in northern Canada…serious truck country, so maybe that has something to do with it. Or perhaps the fact that I grew up riding in my dad’s mine trucks, weekends spent towing a trailer with two quads to god-knows-where to get dirty. Trucks have uses, fulfill needs…and people buy them to meet those needs, real or imagined. So yeah, I’m with ya, I don’t get why people get all worked up over it. I can think any number of things that people do with their money that doesn’t make sense to any number of other people.

      I can’t think of any reason why I’d want or need a truck right now. I take the bus to work and can walk out my front door to do most of my shopping, go to the pub, hit the beach or go out for dinner. But that may not always be the case. If I find myself for whatever reason back in a small, middle-of-nowhere town, you can bet I’ll let my latent truck gene run amok…

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    This should have been step 1…

    Copy & Paste: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTEmldzx1xE

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Nice review. I wouldn’t buy it based on 3 things. 1. Seat comfort, pedal alignment, and steering wheel alignment…These are the most important aspects of any vehicle and no matter what positives the vehicle has, if these aren’t up to par, I won’t be buying it. 2. I own a 1999 tahoe, see 1. 3. no 8 speed yet.

    To give credit where credit is due, the engines in this truck are damn fine engines and I would be sad to not get one of them.

    I would check out the dodge 8 speed with the hemi, I like the styling better, especially on the upper trim models, and it’s just an over-all better experience to drive. When/if dodge ever goes aluminum block and direct injection on the hemi, it will hopefully be another game changer in the pickup truck wars.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Winston Braithwaite. I shall remember the name.

    Well written review.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Winston Braithwaite.
    An almost magical and poetic opener for the article. Now lets get back to reality.

    There are several countries that you describe in your opening burst. Considering the average US pickup is a mid to high spec vehicle that costs probably close to double your average family hack I don’t know if they are the bastion of the blue collar worker like you are trying to depict.

    Now to the truck. It’s a very nice truck. Would I buy one? No. Remember I’m a pickup guy. I would be forced to buy a diesel Grand Cherokee in the US, and of course a trailer. (limited choice of pickups).

    The engines are nice, but no diesel? The grille is the worst aspect of this pickup visually. Why think you are buying a Kenworth with that unfunctional grille. Maybe some attention in the front end of pickups could help FE.

    As a family SUV, which most US/Australian/Canadian/NZ pickups are this day and age, I think it is great. These are the best style of vehicle for an active family.

    Like in Australia, GM have realised that these are family trucksters and safety is important. They have improved safety. Pickups are notoriously dangerous, contrary to popular belief. Just look at the stats.

    But, a 3 litre class diesel offering would be nice. It you don’t expect to tow more than a 20′ boat a 3 litre diesel would more than suffice.

    The ride should be supple enough with the lower payloads you guys have on your trucks compared to ours. But this will be heading our way soon. VW already offer the Amarok with two load capacities. Not all in Australia require a 3 000lb sprung ass end on a pickup.

    It’s a pity most of your trucks come in one size. Maybe the new Colorado can offer a more realistic family SUV, especially if it comes out with the 2.8 diesel.

    A diesel Colorado will win my vote over this. Plenty large, can tow and can fit a family comfortably in it. So long as GM doesn’t screw up the ‘redesign’ for the American market and improve on the global Colorado.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I don’t get these sanctimonious discussions to the effect that you would be better off renting a truck occasionally. Most of us buy a car that meets 99.5% of our motoring needs when it would be much cheaper if we bought a car that met our needs 95% of the time and rented the rest.

    You could say almost every auto buyer buys too much car and certainly any auto enthusiast does. I live within bicycle distance of my work. Half the year I can do that. The other half I need a car. Not a very good car. Not a large car. a cheap car. Probably a six year old Cobalt, say. Most people can do just fine with an old Chevy Cavalier and a lot of people do just that. But mostly we don’t.

    Why did I buy a truck?

    1. Used cars seemed overpriced.
    2. Trucks save transaction costs. Unlike most cars, a truck can segue from first car, to second to third. No buy retail sell wholesale steps in between.
    3. I have a big garden.
    4. Trucks are always readily available. My car was totaled I had to move fast and I had no opportunity to investigate what kind of Mazda 3 I should buy.
    5. Mileage wasn’t an issue for someone who drives 8K per year, especially with the better mileage of the new trucks.
    6. Hotly competitive market means good overall value. See article above.

    • 0 avatar
      kkop

      My thoughts exactly.

      It is only when trucks are tested that there is suddenly a need to justify ownership through utility.

      As you stated, if that criterion was applied to all vehicles tested here, almost none of them would qualify. Who really ‘needs’ a GTI? What could possibly be the utility of getting that faster version compared to the barebones stripper model of that car? Better yet: just buy a Smart: you only use one or two seats most of the time anyway, and if you need more, you can rent a car for a day.

      Yeah, sounds pretty stupid.

      I own a truck because I like trucks. They’re the only vehicles on the market (in crew cab style) that are truly comfortable in both front and back seat if you’re taller than 6 feet. Most 4-door sedans are effectively two-seaters for normal sized (6′+) people. If I want to be in a cramped cabin for hours on end, I’ll take a plane and sit in economy.

      I like driving it in bad weather; the spray from other vehicles doesn’t lash the windshield like it would in a car, making for a safer ride.

      Not that I feel the need to justify what I spend my money on in vehicles, or on anything else.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        +1. What is it about pickups that brings out the judgement and the preaching? “well, nobody needs…” and “just buy a Subaru and rent a trailer…” “most people never even tow anything”. Pickups provoke strange reactions. Luxury cars and muscle cars are potentially wasteful too, but you don’t see the same sort of comments from people.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        “They’re the only vehicles on the market (in crew cab style) that are truly comfortable in both front and back seat if you’re taller than 6 feet.”

        Nonsense. Obviously full size SUVs based on truck platforms are an exception — but plenty of CUVs are generous in the back. I’m 6’2″ and have spent many comfortable hours in the back of a Flex and an Edge. In fact, I’d challenge you to find much of anything more comfortable in the second row than a Flex with the nicer seating packages.

        You’re more than welcome to buy what you want, but statements like that are exactly why people point to pickup buyers as being irrational.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Why should pickup buyers be any more rational than Cadillac, Mustang, or Tesla buyers?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            As men, it’s in our DNA to perform physical tasks, come home with dusty clothes, pit stains and a sense of accomplishment. Anything else, like sitting behind a computer and shuffling papers around all day in a fart recycling, air-conditioned office wearing a 3-piece costume with the boss up your arse, causes psychological disorders. And prescriptions to antidepressants. And BMW leases.

            It’s these guys that lash out at truck owners.

            Once you’ve had a truck, nothing else feels as good. You start realizing how limited you were in cars. Now you’re taking on hunting, camping, mountain biking, MX, far away from cellphone and internet coverage. And swapmeets, yardsales, home/yard improvement, fixer houses, you name it.

            While not nearly as convenient, most of these are things can be done with car plus a trailer, or a rented/barrowed truck, but now you have to plan ahead for everything. Or even, ask for permission. Ruins the moment.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            +1 DM. I’m beginning to understand.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Not trying to get into a pi**ing match but holy crap those dodge trucks with the mega cab are untouchable when it comes to feet room, you could probably fit another row of seats between the front and back rows.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I’ve had the chance to sit in a few of the 2014 Chevy’s. The “offset” steering wheel was noticeable when I first sat down but it disappeared as an oddity almost immediately. The seats in the Chevy seemed rather stiff and even though the one I sat in was a mid level trim, it did felt less comfortable than my 2010 F150. The Sierra has the nicer interior. The interior is a huge step up from the GMT 900.
    I do agree that the dash looks weird in photo’s but looks fine in real life.

    It is funny to read the posts from the “car guys”. Trucks are in the top 10 in sales. The F150 is the current #1. The fact that car companies moved pickups from their “agricultural” roots and into car territory was the cause of their sales domination.
    A crewcab can easily fill the role of large SUV, minivan, family car, utility vehicle, lifestyle vehicle etc. Trucks are the “Swiss army knife” of the automotive world. If one takes a look at the versatility of a truck, they can be viewed as a very cost effective vehicle.

    Trucks, especially 1/2 tons,for the most part are lifestyle vehicles. I was in the market for a new truck around the time of the economic meltdown. I purchased a used 8 passenger Safari van as a stop gap measure. I removed the back set of seats and cargo netted the back end separate from the rest of it. That van took on the nature of the last cargo I carried. If my 2 Labrador retrievers went into a swamp, that is what the inside smelt like. If I carried lumber (once I removed the remaining seat), it smelled nice. If I carried a load of dirt or sand, it blew around the cab. It could tow a trailer but not carry my 12 ft fishing boat. If I carried my kids dirt bike, or any gas powered device, the inside smelled like gas fumes. I can go on for days with reasons why some things do not get carried inside SUV’s, and minivans.
    I prefer a full sized truck over small pickups. To clarify – I’ve owned both. A full sized truck being longer, wider, and heavier is more stable on a gravel road or in the winter. I can carry more gear and fit my family of 4, including the dogs in the cab with my 12 ft boat across the top of the box with all my gear secured underneath. An sUV or van isn’t going to cut it when I’m going fishing, quading, or dirtbikes a few hours drive down a gravel road. Ever try pulling a utility trailer or camper trailer into the boonies for several hours? If I can carry it, I can drive 30 – 60 mph or faster depending on the road. You can’t do that pulling a trailer. You may say big deal, but if your destination to 120 plus miles down an industrial road, that means the difference between a 3 hour ride and a 5-6 hour drive. Been there done that.
    Sure you could keep up to me in a Lancer Evo or Subaru WRX, but you aren’t going to be able to bring anything along.

    If you live in the heart of a big city, it can be argued that you don’t need a motor vehicle in the first place.

    If one does not understand a particular market segment, then why pass judgement upon those who drive the vehicles in that segment.

    How do we define a “need”?
    Do we use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and confine the “need” for a motor vehicle at the level of “physical requirements for human survival”? In the part of the world I live in (Northern Canada), I could rationalize a pickup truck rather easily.
    No one really needs a motor vehicle unless it is used as part of one’s job and it puts food on the table.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      +1 Lou. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Literally. I tried. Miserable freaking failure. Once again, you have pulled a stranger out of a ditch. Got to love those versatile pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @Lou_BC- Great post. We had to explain the difference between “needs” and “wants” to our children. Most of us these days are well up into the “wants” realm, above the basic “needs” of life.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @thelaine

    @doctor olds

    Thanks.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Very well said, Lou. While I do love cars (despite my handle ;))…I loves me some trucks too…which is why I have one. And you’re right, they are a versatile, cost effective vehicle if you only have one DD even while factoring in the increased fuel cost.
    I always get a kick when reading the “truck threads” because 90% of the comments are from those preaching that trucks are wasteful for anyone who isn’t a contractor hauling stuff 24/7, just for posers, too many features, too big, blah, blah, blah. Thanks goodness, we’re all different and have different wants/needs because I’d hang myself if I had to drive a Panther or brown diesel station wagon every day!

  • avatar
    Nick

    ’4.3 liter standard V6′

    What’s new about it? Just wondering. I keep expecting this mill to go extinct.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “What’s new about it?”

      Everything. The only thing the new 4.3 shares with the old 4.3 is the displacement and maybe the firing order. No parts are interchangeable.

      The new V6 is all aluminum, uses direct injection, has VVT, has cylinder deactivation, a composite intake, and I’m sure a host of other differences. The power ratings and power curves are also much different.


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