Although more detail will be presented next month at its formal debut in Detroit, Chevrolet has lifted the covers on its all-new 2014 Silverado 1500 pickup and presented at least a number of pertinent facts about the "new from hood to hitch" exercise. It promises this perennial best-seller of the Chevrolet division will be the most comfortable, capable and efficient Silverado ever produced when it goes on sale sometime in the second quarter of next year.
The 2014 Silverado's recasting starts form the ground up. High-strength steel is now used in over 60 percent of its cabin structure as well as in the redesigned frame rails and crossmember elements to enhance robustness, durability and passenger protection while trimming weight. The Silverado's new shear-style body mounts improve isolation and refinement while its redesigned suspension is lighter but features stiffer spring rates, revised shock tuning and recalibrated bushings plus wider front/rear track dimensions to give the truck more confident handling. New electric-assist power steering improves precision and feedback while the braking system has been revamped to provide better pedal feel and fit Duralife rotors for greater durability in both regular Silverados and the off-road oriented LT and LTZ Z71 models.
A trio of new EcoTec3 engines are being introduced to provide motivation for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 line. Featuring all-aluminum construction with truck specific tuning, each has direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and an Active Fuel Management cylinder-deactivation system that allow them to operate on four cylinders. And all three are backed by 6-speed automatic transmissions whether packaged with rear or 4-wheel drive. The base engine will be a 4.3-liter V6 with GM's new Gen5 small-block V8 - in 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter displacements - on hand to handle customers with heavier-duty needs. Like their output and EPA figures, Chevy was not ready to offer hard stats on the tow capacity of any Silverado engine at this early date but did imply they will be more than competitive.
Building on classic Chevrolet truck styling cues, the 2014 Silverado puts a new and more sophisticated spin on both the visual and functional sides of the mix. Its recast dual-port grille is flanked by more expressive vertically stacked headlamps and a dramatically contoured bumper all of which have been aero optimized to help contribute to a five percent improvement in drag. The sculpted dual power dome hood and sculpted fenders add more drama while inlaid doors further help tidy up the profile and reduce wind noise. The rear portals on extended cab 2014 Silverados have transitioned from a rear- to a front-hinge design for easier access in tighter confines while the aft doors on crew cabs are now even larger. Silverado wheel/tires fitments will run from 17-inch to 20-inch combos but a 22-inch alloy rim will be available as a Chevrolet accessory item.
Created from lighter but stronger roll-formed steel, the Silverado's rugged bed also benefits from this comprehensive generational makeover. A slick CornerStep bumper makes getting a leg up less taxing while the locking tailgate features a torsion bar assist system with an adjustable damper. Upper tie down hooks and conventional bed lamps are also standard issue while available LED lamps under the bed rails are optional. New for 2014, the Silverado crew cab will offer a 6.5-foot box as well as the current 5-foot 8-inch unit.
Given the Silverado's fundamental mission to play as hard as it works, the design team lavished plenty of attention on reinventing the cabin to make it quieter, roomier and more comfortable as well as offering greater functionality. Complementing a more refined overall appearance and far more extensive selection of soft-touch surfaces are redesigned seats, improved control layouts, a highly-legible main instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch Driver Information Center display, bigger open/covered storage areas and greater in-vehicle connectivity highlighted by the available MyLink infotainment system with an 8.0-inch full color display.
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado also will be leader in the safety arena. In addition to StabiliTrak electronic stability control with Trailer Sway Control, Hill Start Assist, head-curtain side airbags with rollover protection and OnStar, it will offer segment-exclusive features that include Lane Departure Warning (with or without the available Safety Alert Seat) and Forward Collision Alert systems as well as a rear-vision camera and front/rear park assist.