By Zach Vlasuk
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
Though its familiar sheet metal does very little to suggest otherwise, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is all-new from head to toe. It's what lies beneath the bodywork that counts, as the Silverado's improvements become immediately evident once you step inside. The revamped cabin is perhaps the quietest in the segment, and the use of higher-quality materials helps to spice things up considerably. A trio of new engines combined with significant chassis and suspension upgrades put the new Silverado on competitive footing with the recently redesigned Ram 1500, the forthcoming 2014 Toyota Tundra, and Ford's top-selling F-150. Fuel economy numbers are nothing to get excited about, but the 2014 Chevy Silverado delivers big on its promise of blending work-truck capability with everyday civility.
While we realize the majority of full-size truck buyers are predisposed towards their favorite brand, the 2014 Chevy Silverado makes a compelling case for itself. From its sophisticated-yet-easy-to-use infotainment system to its surprisingly refined interior, the 2014 Silverado deserves serious consideration from the brand faithful and cross-shoppers alike.
Best-in-class V6 fuel economy combined with an exceptionally versatile air suspension system make the Ram 1500 an intriguing option for those who place a premium on practicality. GM buffs looking for a slightly more upscale alternative should explore the equally-new 2014 GMC Sierra.
KBB Expert Ratings
The Chevy Silverado 1500 has been totally redesigned for 2014.
Driving Impressions GM engineers put a great deal of effort into developing a remarkably quiet cabin for the 2014 Chevy Silverado, and the hard work paid off. Road and wind noise are...... nicely quelled at highway speeds, while the retuned suspension soaks up everything short of a sinkhole. Steering is light and precise, with responsiveness that belies the Silverado's portly dimensions. Acceleration from the standard V6 is adequate for "air haulers" and light-duty users, though loads weighing in excess of 5,000 pounds are best left to the mid-tier 5.3-liter V8. The standard 6-speed automatic does an admirable job of keeping power on tap, especially with the well-calibrated tow/haul mode engaged. Lastly, while the pedal feels a bit spongy, the brakes themselves provide more than enough pucker power.
Whether you're a smartphone aficionado or a rebellious technology holdout, Chevy's 2nd –generation MyLink system is quite possibly the most rewarding infotainment system money can buy. Features like mobile application support, real-time data widgets and one-shot destination entry (speak an entire address at once) deliver connectivity without complexity.
As author William Golding once said, "The greatest ideas are the simplest." This wisdom holds true in the automotive world, and the Silverado's new Cornerstep bumper is a prime example. The feature allows for easy access to the cargo bed by way of footholds integrated into the rear bumper.
Even without the High Country's perforated leather and extensive comfort/convenience touches, the 2014 Chevy Silverado offers one of the finest interiors in the segment. Soft-touch surfaces are scarce in lower trims, but most plastics are well-textured, lending impressive substance to the cabin. Basic push-button controls handle most primary functions, and the ergonomic center stack keeps the touch-screen within arm's reach. Clever storage solutions scattered throughout the interior demonstrate thoughtful attention to detail. Call us old fashioned, but we actually prefer the superior flexibility provided by the standard front bench seat over the optional bucket seats.Exterior
The more things change, the more they stay the same. While this isn't the official design philosophy behind the 2014 Silverado, it does put the new look into perspective. As a whole, the truck is instantly recognizable as a Silverado, yet subtle styling tweaks all around the exterior combine to impart a sense of modernity. On the practical side, LT trims and higher feature a new damped tailgate that smoothly lowers itself without assistance and requires minimal effort to close. Double cab models (formerly dubbed extended cab) ditch the old reverse-opening half-doors in favor of fixed B-pillars and forward-hinged doors for increased structural rigidity and safety.
The 2014 Silverado is offered in standard cab, double cab and crew cab body styles. Double cab models come with a 6'6" bed, while regular cabs offer the choice of a 6'6" or 8' bed. Crew cabs are available with a 5'8" or 6'6" bed. In terms of equipment, the volume-leading LT grade includes an "EZ-Lift" tailgate, a driver information center with a 4.2-inch display, OnStar emergency/concierge services, and a 6-speaker audio system with Pandora and basic voice-recognition software. Stepping up to the LTZ trim lands you heated front seats, leather and touch-screen audio, while the upper-crust High Country edition adds ventilated front seats, Bose premium audio, and 20-inch chrome wheels in a Western-themed package. Z71 versions up the performance ante with a locking rear differential, off-road suspension and all-terrain tires.
Options lists for today's full-size trucks have a tendency to read like "War and Peace". To help remedy this age-old dilemma, Chevrolet product planners reduced the number of configurations for the 2014 Silverado. A la carte features we feel are worth the additional coin include LED cargo bed lighting, MyLink navigation, moveable upper tie-down hooks and a factory-installed spray-on bed liner. The LT Convenience Package delivers a good balance between necessity and price, offering a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 10-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, and a backup camera, all for around $1,500.
While their displacements carry over unchanged, all three engines available in the 2014 Silverado are entirely new from the block up. Each Ecotech3 engine incorporates direct fuel-injection, an all-aluminum design, and cylinder deactivation technology that seamlessly shuts down half of the engine's cylinders under light loads. A 6-speed automatic transmission linked to a manual shift mode is standard across the board. Due to low customer take rates and negligible performance gains, the Silverado's 2-mode hybrid powertrain is no more.
4.3-liter V6 Flex-Fuel (2WD only)
285 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
305 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg
5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
355 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (2WD), 16/22 (4WD)
6.2-liter V8 Flex-Fuel (4WD only)
420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
460 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg
In base crew cab form, the 2014 Chevy Silverado carries a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $35,000. Regular cab models ring in at a bit less than $27,000 for short-bed trucks, with double cab models starting at about $30,500. 4-wheel-drive (4WD) commands an additional $3,100 to $3,500, depending on the model. Outfitting an LT crew cab with the features detailed in the "Optional Equipment" section of this review will lift the sticker price to around $38,000. Fully-optioned High Ranch trims can run as high as $50,000. For comparison, a SuperCrew cab Ford F-150 shares a near-identical starting price with the Silverado, while the Tundra CrewMax and Ram 1500 crew cab start in the low $32,000 range. Before buying, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2014 Chevy Silverado. Given GM's recent strides in quality, 5-year residuals for the 2014 Silverado are now on par with the F-150, Nissan Titan and Ram 1500, but still fall short of the Toyota Tundra.