2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 15, 2014

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.

Completely redesigned and updated for the first time in a long seven years, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup truck line follows a new and tougher design that looks closer than ever to Chevy's even larger heavy-duty pickup models. The look is chiseled and upright--both inside and out--but an engine lineup that manages to be stronger and more fuel-efficient at the same time keeps the Silverado up to date technically despite the lack of turbochargers or aluminum bodywork.

The cabins are far quieter and more refined on all models, and the infotainment options and safety technology are fully modern, with a feature set available at the top of the lineup that's much closer to what you'd expect of a large luxury sedan than that of an old-school pickup truck.

Pickup design and styling is always a balancing act between the new and the traditional, with most truck buyers firmly hewing to a preference for evolutionary rather than revolutionary design. One challenge for Chevrolet may be that the new Silverado's styling is too evolutionary; you may have to look twice to realize that it's a new model at all. Plus, the new heavy-duty look applied to these trucks carries with it some pros and cons.

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From the front, the look erases complaints that the Silverado trucks were formerly wallflowers in the corral. Their wall-of-chrome grille designs and chopped-off snouts—arguably building on the look of the latest Silverado 2500 and 3500 HD models—combine with a heightened stance to keep the tall-and-imposing rivalry going.

Inside, GM has resisted the urge to make the interior of its trucks either more complex, or even lower and more carlike. The new instrument panel is upright and simplified, with controls clustered either just to the left of the steering wheel or in a large, upright center-console cluster, and GM has aimed to make all the knobs, buttons, and interfaces easy to read and operate even with work gloves on. In upscale High Country package trucks, the look of the interior is upgraded with high-quality but durable-seeming leather, wood trim, and a larger eight-inch touchscreen display.

GM has developed a new generation of co-called EcoTec3 V-6 and V-8 engines to power these all-new trucks. The base 4.3-liter V-6 makes 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft, and it's now torquey enough to power crew-cab models or trailer-tow, and we think it has enough power for all but those with the most serious towing and hauling needs. Nevertheless the 5.3-liter V-8 remains the mainstream pick, now up to 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, and the top 6.2-liter V-8 is the way to go for the most power, torque, and capability. It makes 420 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, and can tow up to 12,000 pounds. All of them have direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and continuously variable valve timing—with aluminum blocks and heads—and a six-speed automatic transmission will be fitted to each. There’s even an active exhaust system to fine-tune back pressure and eliminate any pulsation due to the fuel-saving cylinder deactivation that's also standard. The V-6 nets up to 18 mpg city, 24 highway by the EPA, but V-8 models range up to 16/23.

The outgoing generation of GM’s trucks has been lauded from the start for its well-tuned ride and responsive handling, and the new versions promise even more advancements—while also making big gains in quietness and refinement. Front springs are stiffer in the new models, while in back GM uses two-stage leaf springs but adds new spring damping, as well as twin-tube valving to front and rear shocks. All Silverado 1500 models get electric power steering that loads up confidently, and four-wheel disc brakes are standard across the model line, with a Duralife rotor design offering a longer service life.

Three different cargo-bed lengths are offered: 5’8”, 6’6”, and 8’. And for the first time, Crew Cab models will be available with the longest 6’6” cargo box. GM has put a lot of effort into the pickup box design, adding a CornerStep bumper plus hand-grip pockets, both of which make climbing up to access cargo easier. A couple of particularly trick features are that the tailgate is now rotary damped, and LED lamps are tucked under the bed rails.

Vinyl, cloth, and leather seats are all on offer, but in each case they've been upgraded, with higher-class cabin trims used throughout. Ride quality is much quieter, thanks to more sound-isolating materials in the floor and near the firewall. Crew Cab models’ rear doors are larger, for easier entry and exit, and the B-pillar has been moved forward, which helps get feet in more easily. Meanwhile, the rear doors on extended-cab versions now hinge from the front—offering entry and exit ease that’s close to that offered in former Crew Cab models. The front seatbacks are thinner, which adds about two inches of rear legroom and also eases entry and exit. For a more luxurious take--roughly equivalent to GMC's Denali line--there's the new High Country package for the 2014 Silverado. Bringing quality leather upholstery and wood trim, along with other upgrades, the High Country package gives the Silverado the premium feel its highest-end trucks have missed in previous generations.

Safety-wise, the Silverado should provide much better occupant protection than the outgoing model, as the cab structure is all-new, with about two-thirds of it built from high-strength steels. The NHTSA says crew cabs earn its highest five-star rating overall, and the IIHS has given the Silverado top 'good' ratings in all categories of testing so far (small overlap frontal results are yet to come). Standard equipment includes StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control, plus Hill Start Assist, as well as head-curtain side airbags with rollover protection. An available Lane Departure Warning system keeps the driver alert of lane drifts via a chime or optional Safety Alert Seat—much like what’s offered now on the Cadillac XTS and ATS sedans. Bigger spotter mirrors help with visibility in blind spots, while other safety features on offer include a camera-based Forward Collision Alert system. front and rear park assist, and a rear tailgate camera.

The Chevrolet MyLink system is available on the Silverado, offering connectivity for up to ten devices, natural-language voice recognition, and an eight-inch touch screen. The system allows up to 60 favorites for contacts, destinations, radio stations, or other media. All models now include multiple USB ports plus both 12-volt and 110-volt power outlets, and most models include a 4.2-inch color Driver Information Center.

7

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Styling

A little bolder, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is evolutionary rather than revolutionary; but such is the progress of full-size truck styling.

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado has been fully redesigned, yet from the outside its overall shape has so mildly evolved that it might be mistaken for a modest refresh. So goes truck design, which prioritizes functionality over beauty and also seemingly aims to become bigger, bolder, and badder-looking with every iteration.

In front, the look is taller and more blunt than ever, and takes after both the look of GM's latest heavy-duty (HD) trucks as well as the market as a whole, in moving to an almost big-rig-inspired look. There's a more imposing front end (now with as much vertical distance up front as the HD), more brightwork overall in front, and a mesh-honeycomb look to the grille. Meanwhile, the dual-dome hood and more chiseled details of the sheetmetal help give it a more high-shouldered, squared-off look, and the wheel wells have even been squared off a bit more to accent the profile.

Surprisingly, these trucks are more aerodynamic than their predecessors—thanks to a grille design that’s sealed and only lets in just enough air, a hood design that helps channel air over the wipers. Twin-stacked projector-beam headlamps (LTZ), more sculpted body sides, and flared fenders altogether give them a little more personality—and add to the macho look. New 17- to 20-inch wheels are all a half-inch wider than before, while 22-inch wheels are on offer as accessories.

Inside, it's refreshingly different if you've owned any of the outgoing GMT900 trucks. GM has resisted the urge to make the interior of its trucks either more complex, or even lower and more carlike. The new instrument panel is upright and simplified, with controls clustered either just to the left of the steering wheel or in a large, upright center-console cluster, and GM has aimed to make all the knobs, buttons, and interfaces easy to read and operate even with work gloves on.

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8

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Performance

Three all-new engines make big leaps ahead in power, torque, and technological prowess.

While the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado remains powered by a family of V-6 and V-8 engines--in the same sizes/displacements as last year--don't let that mislead you. GM has developed a new generation of co-called EcoTec3 V-6 and V-8 engines to power these all-new trucks.

All three engines are a pushrod design (GM boasts of the packaging advantage these ‘small block’ engines usually have versus overhead-cam designs), but they have aluminum blocks and heads and incorporate direct injection, as well as cylinder deactivation and continuously variable engine timing.

The base 90-degree, 4.3-liter V-6 is essentially a V-8 with two cylinders lopped off, but it has a balance-shaft design for smoothness. And with 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft, the V-6 is now strong enough to power crew-cab models or trailer-tow. In fact, we think that for all the full-size buyers who never tow more than a modest pleasure boat or a trailer of snowmobiles or ATVs, this V-6 has more than enough muscle for the job. We towed a 4.700-pound camper-trailer with the V-6 and had no problem merging into rapidly moving traffic or maintaining speed on rather steep hills.

Meanwhile, the 5.3-liter V-8 remains the mainstream pick. It makes 355 hp and 383 pound-feet of torque and allows the Silverado to, when properly equipped, tow up to 11,500 pounds. We've found performance with this engine to be confident and quick, even with a load.

Meanwhile, the top 6.2-liter V-8 truly the way to go for the most power, torque, and capability. This engine makes 420 hp and 450 lb-ft and can tow up to 12,000 pounds.

All three engines also have cylinder deactivation technology, which allows the engine to smoothly transition to running on four cylinders (for the V-6 or the V-8s) when coasting or decelerating. There’s even an active exhaust system to fine-tune back pressure and keep out the odd pulsation that such a system can produce.

You can indeed get eight-speed automatic transmission in some competing trucks, but the six-speed automatics in these GM rigs still not only do the job, but do it without ever missing a step. Ratios seem right for these engines, which have torque sweet spots as wide as the rack of a Texas steer. Upshifts are never jarring, even when pulling a load, and they're right there with a downshift when you need it.

The outgoing generation of GM’s trucks has been lauded from the start for its well-tuned ride and responsive handling, and the new 2014 models do it even better—while also making big gains in quietness and refinement. Front springs are stiffer in the new models, while in back GM uses two-stage leaf springs but adds new spring damping, as well as twin-tube valving to front and rear shocks.

All Silverado 1500 models get electric power steering that we can actually say is an improvement (both in on-center feel and off-center weighting) over the outgoing hydraulic setup, while four-wheel disc brakes are standard across the model line, and a Duralife rotor design offers a longer service life.

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8

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Comfort & Quality

Better-hushed cabins in the 2014 Silverado get more comfortable seats, better upholsteries and trims, and more adjustability.

Those who need a big, capable truck like the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado tend to spend a lot of time in their trucks. And thankfully, GM has paid even more attention to cabin design, seating, and comfort this time around, adding more amenities than last year's models. And of course, there are several layouts (as well as many other trims and bed lengths) to suit how you plan to use your truck. 

Standard cabs are now the distant minority. GM has been selling nearly 60 percent of its full-size trucks in roomy Crew Cab form, and about 90 percent altogether in Crew Cab and extended-cab layouts together. Three different cargo-bed lengths are offered: 5’8”, 6’6”, and 8’. And for the first time, Crew Cab models will be available with the longest 6’6” cargo box.

GM has put a lot of effort into the pickup box design, adding a CornerStep bumper plus hand-grip pockets, both of which make climbing up to access cargo easier. The tailgate now opens in a damped motion, and LED lamps are tucked under the bed rails. GM has also added new shear-style mounts between the cab and the frame, which helps quell noise and vibration.

Models with the 6.2-liter V-8 get active noise cancellation to quell the four-cylinder thrum. Wind-noise-reducing measures include triple door seals and a new door design that fits to the side—rather than wrapping into the roof.

Inside, Chevy has added a new high-wear seat cloth to the Silverado, but your options range from tough vinyl in Work Trucks (WT) all the way up to supple piped leather in top-of-the-line High Country models. With the High Country trim, Chevy brings the Silverado in line with the Denali offerings from GMC, adding a premium look and feel previously unavailable in Chevy trucks. Seats front and back have been redesigned and recontoured, and steering wheels now adjust telescopically as well as for tilt; with a heated steering wheel available for the first time in these trucks.

Chevrolet's MyLink screen-based interface is front and center, but it doesn't involve the learning curve and frustration of MyFord Touch. Straightforward controls, and enough redundancy with traditional knobs and buttons, make it easy to figure out at first glance.

Getting comfortable should be especially easy in Crew Cab models, where the rear doors are larger, for easier entry and exit, and the B-pillar has been moved forward, which helps get feet in more easily. Meanwhile, the rear doors on extended-cab versions now hinge from the front—offering entry and exit ease that’s close to that offered in former Crew Cab models. The front seatbacks are thinner, which also adds about two inches of rear legroom and also eases entry and exit, and so-called 'foot swing' where your legs position to) is four inches greater.

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8

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Safety

The 2014 Silverado does better than its predecessor in NHTSA crash tests, while new active-safety features at the top of the line could give you added assurance.

Much has changed in safety awareness since the last-generation GMT900 pickups made their debut in 2006. The previous trucks weren't exactly top performers in crash tests; they earned four stars overall from the federal government but were brought down especially by their 'acceptable' IIHS side results and 'marginal' IIHS roof strength rating.

With an improved frame, an all-new cab structure, and repositioned pillars, as well as a revised seating position and more safety equipment, the 2014 Chevy Silverado  provides much-improved protection. The NHTSA says it's worth a five-star overall rating in crew-cab models, the best performance of any full-size pickup truck on the market. The IIHS has also given the Silverado its top 'good' scores in most categories, although it hasn't yet rated these trucks in the small overlap frontal test.

Standard safety equipment includes StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control, plus Hill Start Assist, as well as head-curtain side airbags with rollover protection.

An available Lane Departure Warning system keeps the driver alert of lane drifts via a chime or optional Safety Alert Seat—much like what’s offered now on the Cadillac XTS and ATS sedans. Bigger spotter mirrors help with visibility in blind spots, even though the mirrors themselves are smaller and more aerodynamic, while other safety features on offer include a camera-based Forward Collision Alert system. front and rear park assist, and a rear tailgate camera.

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9

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Features

The Silverado still runs the gamut on features, from simple WT work truck to new, top-of-the-line High Country model.

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado offers a few more standard features than before, all at carry-over prices. And if you're willing to dip into the options, you can equip this truck like a luxury vehicle. That's before even considering the new High Country trim at the top of the lineup.

All Silverado models include air conditioning and keyless entry. Silverado LT models add heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, fog lamps, and parking assist; while LTZ models add cooled front seats, a Blu-Ray entertainment system, dual-zone automatic climate control, and 18-inch machined aluminum wheels.  

The Chevrolet MyLink system will be available on the Silverado, offering connectivity for up to ten devices, natural-language voice recognition, and an eight-inch touch screen. The system allows up to 60 favorites for contacts, destinations, radio stations, or other media. All models now include multiple USB ports plus both 12-volt and 110-volt power outlets (with USB ports in multiple locations in the LTZ), and most models include a 4.2-inch color Driver Information Center.

Separately, with the Silverado High Country model, 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. A larger eight-inch touchscreen display for the Chevrolet MyLink system is also included with the High Country package.

The Silverado also offers a lot of utility-oriented convenience features. The new CornerStep bumper and built-in hand grip help make it easier to climb up and access things in the bed, while LED lamps built into the bed rails help spot smaller items within the bed. Top LTZ models have USB ports in multiple locations, along with a 110-volt outlet, to power many different chargers, devices, and accessories.

Z71 models add (to LT or LTZ) unique 18-inch wheels plus brushed metal sill plates, special graphics for the instrument cluster, and a 'technical' finish for the interior trim. Z71 models include front tow hooks, Rancho monotube shocks, Hill Descent Control, a transfer-case skid plate, and special all-terrain tires. There's also a locking rear differential that can react quickly to a loss of traction on one of the rear wheels and help regain traction.

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GM is also including free scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles.
5

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Fuel Economy

The Chevy Silverado Hybrid is no more, but V-8 models are impressively frugal for their ability and the new V-6 might be a fuel economy leader.

Thanks to an all-new lineup of engines in the 2014 Silverado, these trucks are expected to post significantly better mileage, across the line, compared to 2013.

V-8 models get EPA ratings of 16 mpg city, 23 highway with rear-wheel drive, or 16/22 with 4WD. Although if you step up to the towing-oriented 6.2-liter V-8, your mileage drops to 14 mpg city, 20 highway if you get 4WD (or 15/21 otherwise). 

V-6 models earn 18 mpg city  and 24 on the highway with rear-wheel drive; add 4WD and it drops to 17/22 mpg.

It's likely that these numbers will be quite reproducible in real-world driving as well. On a 42-mile loop of hilly two-lane country roads, we averaged 23 mpg in a V-6—when driven normally, and a bit briskly.

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March 27, 2016
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab 153.0" LTZ w/2LZ

My 2014 ltz

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I have owned 10 GM trucks. This is by far the best one yet. I love the 6.2 engine. It performs flawlessly. And even get 20+ mpge on trips.. I would recommend this truck to anyone especially Ford drivers. They... + More »
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November 12, 2015
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab 143.5" LTZ w/2LZ

Best truck I've ever owned.

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Purchased the truck with the 6.2 engine. On trips get average 19.5 mpg. Last tank coming from Virginia to finger lake NY got 22 mpg. 16mpg locally up and down hill and stop an go. The power is best I've ever... + More »
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November 11, 2015
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab 153.0" LT w/1LT

Nice truck,roomy and also has decent power.

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Truck is ok,nice to have something new...But disappointed with all the recalls and also with the Satellite radio working when it wants to. Now the radiator leaks.Only a year and a half old.
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September 6, 2015
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab 143.5" LTZ w/2LZ

cowboy cadillac

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This truck is sharp looking, inside and out. It has been totally trouble free. The fuel milage has been fantastic for a full size crew cab, four wheel drive pickup. The handling and performance is very good.
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June 6, 2015
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Double Cab 143.5" LT w/2LT

A tremendous difference and improvement over my 1995 Chevrolet Work Truck that I got 339,000 miles out of!

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I have been very happy with my 1995 Chevrolet Work Truck for just about 20 years and 339,000 miles (a bit more than 339,000 miles as the odometer has become intermittent during the last year). My wife finally... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Reg Cab 133.0" LT w/1LT

This Silverado is the most comfortable and economic truck I've had and I have owned Fords and Dodges.

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This Silverado is more like riding in a car than a truck. It has plenty of room in both the front and rear seats and has a very comfortable ride even with all the pot holes from our harsh winter. I am... + More »
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