By on January 15, 2013

GM’s new large pickups might be locked up at NAIAS, but they were wide open at the launch event I attended last month. The event included three presentations: one of both trucks together, then one each from the two marketing teams explaining how their truck was different…by saying pretty much the same thing. Both Chevrolet and GMC truck buyers have perfectly organized garages where you can eat off the floor. People with messy, disorganized garages must buy someone else’s truck.

Both Chevrolet and GMC put a lot of emphasis on the luxury truck buyer (GM can’t quite bring itself to give GMC exclusive rights to this group). My impression was that, despite the stitching embedded in the instrument panel of both trucks, even the GMC interior didn’t look or feel as upscale as that in the top Ford and Ram (a future Denali might help). The surrounds for the center stack and side air vents appear clunky to my eye, and the large rubber-ringed knobs might be work glove-friendly but they neither look nor feel premium.

The thick surround is real aluminum in the GMC but silver plastic in the Chevrolet. Few people will be able to tell the difference. Beyond this, the GMC has red ambient lighting, while the Chevrolet has blue ambient lighting. Apparently these differences are enough to make the new Silverado and Sierra the most differentiated pickups in GM history.

GMC will also offer a sport trim, complete with leather seat bolsters textured to appear woven and red stitching on the seats and instrument panel.

Under the leather GM has sprung for a premium high density foam. To note the difference this makes, just climb into the rear seats. They must use cheaper, lower density foam, as they’re not nearly as firm.

To demonstrate that the traditional pickup buyer hadn’t been entirely forsaken, one pickup with a cloth interior was on hand. I asked what percentage of large pickup buyers frequently use their trucks as trucks. No one on either the Chevrolet or GMC side knew, beyond the surprising (to me at least) fact that only about ten percent of sales are of the two-door regular cab pickup. It’s hard to find out the answer to this question, as no one wants to admit that they don’t use their truck as a truck. And it doesn’t really matter. Even buyers who won’t often (or even ever) come close to using the full capability of these trucks nevertheless insist that this capability be there.

Michael Karesh operates, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

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44 Comments on “2014 GM Pickup Interiors...”

  • avatar

    Before the inevitable curmudgeon lamenting that trucks are becoming too sissified with too many features ( queue in 3…2…1…), it’s nice to see that GM is trying to modify the interiors of their truck line while providing more creature comforts BUT it’s WAY too busy in there. That centre stack is just not an appealing design to my eye. I like the seats though.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree about the interior design…it looks like the Honda Civic team designed it!

      • 0 avatar

        Dude you pretty much read my mind. The first thing I thought was wow they let Honda design their interior. The last twelve years have not been good to Honda interiors. This already looks dated.

      • 0 avatar

        A commenter in another site mentioned that the radio pod looked like a circumsized p**** staring you in the face.. now I cant get that image out of my head!

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      From what I see where I live and on my long commute, most PU trucks are bought as fasion statements. More on that further down.
      This is not news. I remember the contractor who remodeled my home in 2000 telling me he wanted to buy a work truck, but could not find one locally. By work truck he meant an honest full sized pickup whose opulence was limited to a bench seat, radio, AC and an automatic tranny. He didn’t need or want a “sissified” Yupie fashioin accesory.
      I have made an informal study of the kinds of cars and truck associated and the corresponding owners housing choices in my neighborhood as something to do when running. Nor surprisingly, there is a correlation between the McMansion index (my own term) and the likelihood of a full sized SUV or pickup truck parked outside. The more pseudo luxurious the house, the more likely there is an expensive PU or SUV outside. I won;t talk about the BMWs just now. From the looks of these vehicles, they have never been off road or carried a load except the owner and a bag of dog food.
      I’m sure the owners are very convinced of their “need” of these behemoths. I concluded a long time ago that the big three had pulled off the carny type scam of the 20ht century where 90% of their customers had no legitimate need for their product.
      I hope I didn’t soft pedal this rant too much.

  • avatar

    At least the inside looks a little better than the outside. I said a little. I never got used to the outside looks of the last gen, it just screams “I need to stand out from the rest of the crowd so i feel special” Much like a man with low self esteem needs bling and attention.

    • 0 avatar

      Looking pretty much the same as the GMT 800 that you just sold 8 years and 12 million of probably isn’t the best way to stand out. Bling or attention are nowhere to be seen, and that’s a good thing.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Most differentiated in history? Ha, bring back the big-block V6. Chevy and GMC had different dashes and clusters in those days, too.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s the “Big Block V6”?

      • 0 avatar

        It was a 60 degree block that GMC made in the ’60’s; some of them displaced more than 400 CI. I think the point here is that at one time Chevy trucks and GMC’s were truly different, primarily in power-train and hauling capacity. I believe there were notable suspension differences too.

        I used to work with a guy who bought a new 1990 GMC pick-up; it came off of the assembly line with GMC emblems on one side and Chevy emblems on the other; so much for market & product differentiation!

        I honestly don’t know why GM bothers with the two different makes; certainly dashboard material and instrument panel back-lighting differences can’t justify the two brands; it’s lost on me.

      • 0 avatar


        Go here:
        and here:
        and here:

        Up to 478 CID, and are famous for their plaid valve covers. They were doubled to form a V-12.

        Seen here:

    • 0 avatar

      From the ’60-’72 model years, the Chevy had coil spring rear suspension, even with the full floating 3/4 ton axle, and an all steel bed, while GMC still had oak slats for a bed floor and traditional leaf spring rear suspension. The GMC V-6 went away about the time of Federal emission controls for light duty vehicles.

  • avatar

    Looks like they’re trying to bring back some of the unloved GMT800s interior styling cues, including the flat dash panel to the left of the wheel that once again houses lights and 4WD (briefly 4WD had migrated to the right of the wheel and was easily obscured by the shift knob when in D/M).

    There is the triumphant return of the knob-operated HVAC controls(instead of the pushbutton thermostat in the 900s).

    Not sure where the ODO information computer controls (fuel econ, tire pressure, AT temp) will go, because there were differences between the WT interior and SUV interior GMT placement–originally it had been wheel mounted on the newer 800s.

    …and in that vein there doesn’t seen to be two different interiors for the trucks anymore. The 900s let you pick between truck and SUV–now it just seems to be truck.

    But whatever changes there will be, I refuse to buy any pickup with an in-dash touchscreen LCD. You can’t operate one with dirty work gloves.

    • 0 avatar

      “I refuse to buy any pickup with an in-dash touchscreen LCD. You can’t operate one with dirty work gloves.”

      Nor dirty fingers.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      The best part of my 04 GMC HD dash is that it has a dedicated gage for monitoring the transmission temp. I damn near bought the truck for that alone. I’d like to see that on this truck along with and at least the option to order a factory brake controller so I can get the truck ready to tow trailers with electric brakes right out of the box. My dirty work gloves get taken off and put in the box or on the floor myself. Not an issue.

      • 0 avatar

        The 2008 Suburbans I used to use had a multifunction display in the instrument panel that allowed the transmission temperature to be displayed digitally. Watching the reading shoot up every time I accelerated up an entrance ramp was disconcerting.

  • avatar

    I think the grille of the Farago-described Subaru Tribeca migrated to the GM truck instrument panel, shed its wings, and is now giving birth.

  • avatar

    It’s a shame that fake aluminum has so rampant in interior design these last few years, that when you finally put REAL metal trim in a car – even a Bentley – it STILL looks fake, even if it feels real. Unless it’s polished in such a way that it’s obviously metal, better to avoid it altogether.

    • 0 avatar

      I would say that I’d rather have fake aluminum trim than fake wood.

    • 0 avatar

      The gauge and touch screen bezel in my Charger is real aluminum and you can tell from some of the stamping ripples in some of the tight corners. Plus it’s cold to the touch. It looks and feels nice, but a molded plastic piece would have smoother corners.

      It wouldn’t have made any difference to me when aquiring the car, the aluminum bezel is more of a talking point than anything else.

  • avatar

    The LCD touch screens should never be std equipment in any of the low to mid trim level trucks. Buyers of trucks should have choice.

  • avatar

    IF GM bungles this it will be so shameful.

  • avatar

    The interiors of the new trucks look to be a lot better appointed and comfortable than those of the current models. It seems to me that GM moved backwards between the 2008- current trucks and the 1998- 2007 models. I have a 2001 Silverado LS and the materials used in the interior, from the cloth on the seats to the various plastics, seem to be better quality and more comfortable to the touch than the materials used in the LS versions of the current truck.

  • avatar

    That center console is a disaster. It looks horrible and probably performs worse. Ugh. No wonder they can’t sell the overpriced things. The F150 interior is significantly cleaner and nicer. The RAM 1500 interior is quite a bit better as well, as is the Tundra’s. GM is way behind on this.

  • avatar

    I may be in the minority, but I actually prefer the “luxury” dash of the current trucks over these. To me, it’s clean and easy on the eyes which is important being that the dash is the part of the truck that you’ll always be looking at.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. The problem with the old interior was cheap materials, the conservative style suited a truck just fine. This is overstyled and probably uses the same or worse cheap materials in the volume trims.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    I sure dislike floor mounted consoles in pickup trucks. Proof that truck design is catering to automobile owners. Hey look, less room for my legs just like a sports car.

  • avatar

    “surprising (to me at least) fact that only about ten percent of sales are of the two-door regular cab pickup.”

    Really? Just look at the mix in traffic everyday. Seems like I am the only one who buys them retail. The last time I bought there was not a single new 4×4 regular cab gasoline Chevy or GMC pickup available in the entire state of California. I ended up with a Tundra instead. Longo had ten in stock.

  • avatar

    While people are lamenting the fact that people buy these trucks to replace cars, I wonder “eh, why not go with a truck to replace your family vehicle?” A full size truck with a quad cab can comfortably haul a family of four with everything they could possibly need for a long road trip while maintaining the flexibility and towing capacity that a truck offers.

    The only other vehicle that’s arguably better at this might be a mini-van (if towing and hauling is off the table as needs), and while I don’t mind them I don’t really begrudge anybody who wouldn’t want to be caught in one.

    • 0 avatar

      Because the get god-awful gas mileage and you need a tugboat to help you park the thing? And with the cab full of people where is your luggage supposed to go on this trip? In the open bed to get stolen, dirty, or wet? And there is the minor dilemma of the expense of one of these rigs.

      Soooo many people need to tow 5K+ pounds too. Which is obvious seeing how hardly any of the fancy trucks I see around even have hitches on them.

  • avatar

    With that center console design, you’d think playing with the computer comes first, and actual driving is a distant second.

    Too many distractions.

  • avatar

    One thing that strikes me about the steering wheel is that those bottom two spokes should be pointed further downward, toward the six-o-clock mark. It makes the wheel a lot more ergonomic…

  • avatar

    That is one ugly dashboard design.

  • avatar

    You know what doesn’t age well, collects dirt and dust, and dries and crumbles quickly?

    Buttons with thin rubber around them.

  • avatar

    GM please put an AUX input on the contractor work truck, that’s all I ask.

  • avatar

    Hey, isn’t that the instrument panel from the ATS?

    J/K – sort of. The LCD looks taller and not as wide. But otherwise it looks the same.

  • avatar

    What a mess. This thing looks dated already, compared to the seven year old Tundra and Titan interiors.

  • avatar

    While this sounds stupid, take a look at the glove box. Is it me or does it look terrible? I know it’s just a glove box, but it looks like an after thought, almost fake looking.

  • avatar

    I’ll reserve judgement until I see it in person.

    In pictures it definitely isn’t going to win any awards.

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