To a certain segment of America, what kind of truck you drive says a lot about you. Meanwhile, to another group, pickups are workhorses, and what's used at construction worksites and on farms and ranches.
Whichever way you might identify, you've likely noticed that trucks aren't as bare-bones as they used to be. With GM's redesigned full-size trucks, the 2014 Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500, this is more apparent than ever, as the entire lineup—not just a special model or two at the top—gets a vastly improved interior, and most models get top-notch connectivity and infotainment systems. Active-safety features like Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning are no longer the exclusive domain of luxury cars—they're offered here, too—and a more refined ride and better handling combine with stronger, higher-mileage powertrains to make them far more appealing than before.
But in our six core areas—Styling, Performance, Comfort/Quality, Safety, and Features—we rate vehicles based on what we perceive as their competitive set. And especially with the likes of the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150, the Silverado and Sierra are up against some formidable rivals. That considered, they both made—just barely, in the case of the Silverado—our 8.0 Overall Score cutoff to be a nominee.
Click through the following pages for a quick look at each of our truck-category Best Car To Buy nominees, as well as our previous posts on the sedan, luxury, crossover, and hatchback nominees; and check back for more between now and November 12, when we'll be picking a single Best Car To Buy winner.
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country
Overall Rating: 8.0
Bottom Line: The all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 models get a brawny yet upscale new look, strong and efficient new engines, and a roomier, more refined interior with the latest infotainment features.
The redesign that GM gave its full-size trucks for 2014 has die-hard truck fans split—on whether the new trucks are different enough—but mostly their splitting the ranks under old allegiances and party lines. The Silverado trucks have all that Chevy truck buyers love, but with vastly better interiors, some useful innovative touches and, perhaps most noteworthy of all, a vase V-6 engine that's no slouch—and a real option, even for those who do a modest amount of towing and hauling. Our only complaint is that bigger is better isn't better everywhere, and not everyone wants an HD look to their truck; luckily the more manageably sized Chevrolet Colorado is on the way next year.
2014 GMC Sierra 1500
Overall Rating: 8.2
Bottom Line: The 2014 GMC Sierra gets a much stronger footing in its tug-of-war with Ford and Ram, thanks to new powertrains, new infotainment features, and great gas mileage.
The GMC Sierra has also been completely refreshed for 2014, with essentially the same long list of improvements as for the Silverado, including completely new cabin appointments, top-notch interfaces and connectivity, and stronger, more efficient powertrains. We've given the Sierra a slight bump ahead of the Silverado in making it an 8 for Styling, versus the Chevy's 7; but we think the Sierra simply gets the upper hand here, with a nicer, more coordinated (and more thoughtful, it seems) set of details, trims, and finishes. GM will argue that those differences are intentional, as GMC trucks appeal to an almost entirely different, Professional Grade demographic set.