2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: First Drive Page 3

May 7, 2013
GM has also done a rather significant packaging reality check. It’s taken the most popular body style, the Crew Cab (comprising almost 60 percent of Silverado sales) and it’s pushed the B-pillar forward several inches, repositioning the seats, too, to yield four more inches of so-called foot-swing (read: it’s a lot easier to get in) as well as two more inches of rear legroom. The repositioned pillar and new front-hinged door also help with stricter new roof-crush standards.

Top-notch details inside, good comfort

Seats front and back have been redesigned and recontoured; upholsteries are new, from the vinyl in WT models to the cloth and leather elsewhere in the lineup; steering wheels adjust telescopically as well as for tilt; and a heated steering wheel is available for the first time in these trucks.

And forget about the dual interior themes of the last-generation trucks—with one designed to be used with work gloves, the other more premium and carlike. This time it’s all premium, and just a few large buttons and knobs, as well as some voice controls, provide enough redundancy when you don’t want to put your grimy hands on the screen. The driving position, upright look, and straightforward controls are easy to figure out at first glance, while dabbing into the included Chevrolet MyLink system reveals impressive media capabilities, navigation, and integrated Pandora (with a smartphone and data connection)—with more apps on the way.

And with the Silverado High Country model on the way, GM is climbing upmarket with an even more dressed-up look plus luxuries like heated-and-cooled seats, piped leather upholstery, park assist, Bose premium audio, adjustable pedals, and active safety like Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert.

When these trucks were first shown this past winter, there was some pushback from those who expected a more radical redesign (that’s still on the way in 2-3 years, depending on who you believe). Despite that, GM has focused on the finer details, it seems, fine-tuning performance and what matters, packing in features, and reducing noise and harshness while increasing comfort. Yet there are a few disappointments that we found; for instance, while Chevy has added things like a heated steering wheel, there are no rear ducts for A/C.

Radically better V-6; evolutionary improvements elsewhere

So you do need to have a trained eye to spot this as “the new truck.” These new models aren't revolutionary in design, and their powertrains are the same size. It's easy to get lost in those details and write these trucks off for that, but we applaud how GM has focused on the details and the engineering here and produced a very refined, capable evolution of the Silverado and Sierra—one that addresses most concerns about fuel economy, and keeps the Texans satisfied.

The fleet buyers are truly going to be spoiled with this V-6 Silverado. Now let's see that light-duty diesel, and for those who don't need the Texas Toast, some more revolutionary changes in the Colorado.

For more details, see the pages of our full review on the new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado.

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