2014 Chevrolet Silverado drive review

The all-new Chevy Silverado full-size pickup truck is the single biggest seller for Chevrolet, accounting for one quarter of all Chevy sales. “It defines this brand," said at least one exec we spoke with. So Chevy went to great lengths to make sure the new 2014 Silverado offers exactly what buyers in this segment want ... or at least went to great lengths not to screw it up. Yes, it still tows (up to 11,500 pounds) and hauls (1,800 pounds payload in the bed). It comes with a strong direct-injection 5.3-liter 355-hp 383-lb-ft pushrod V8 or with a more frugal 285-hp, 305-hp 4.3-liter V6 and in either two- or four-wheel drive. Both powertrains include a carryover six-speed automatic. A 6.2-liter V8 will arrive in the third quarter of this year. The Silverado launches with a spacious four-door Crew Cab while smaller Double Cab and regular cab models will arrive in the third quarter, too. You'd expect all that. But buyers want much more nowadays. Many use their pickup truck for work and look at it as an office, Chevy says. And no one wants a loud, tinny, shaky, rattly office. So the first thing you'll notice when you get into a new Silverado is how quiet and refined this truck is to drive. Engineers stiffened up everything, from the front-end radiator support to the trailer hitch bolted to the fully boxed frame with three big bolts. The body mounts are stiffer rubber that resists movement in specific directions better than before, and the two mounts smooshed under the aft end of the cab are even hydraulic. The cab itself uses more high-strength steel, and the rear doors on the Crew Cab, the big four-door body style available at launch, are hinged on the forward edge and mounted on the B-pillar, so that the whole structure is stiffer and better prepared for the side-whacking of ever-stricter government impact standards. With this stiffer structure, engineers were then able to recalibrate the shocks to better control unsprung weight. The result is a surprisingly well-controlled ride and a remarkably quiet cab. In keeping with the office theme, there are probably more electronics links in this thing than are at your desk right now, the most impressive of which are five -- yes, that's right, five -- USB ports. What is anyone going to do with five USB ports? The latest MyLink infotainment connectivity app is also available, along with three 12-volt jacks, an SD card reader, 115-volt 150-watt wall plug and a nice slot in the console where you can place your iPad upright and within easy reach of the busy driver. You may never have to leave your truck. What Is It Like To Drive? We started out on pavement in a 5.3-liter V8 in LTZ trim with an empty bed and nothing on the trailer hitch. Expecting a bouncy ride from the leaf-spring rear suspension, we were pleasantly surprised to find there was not much of what you could call bouncing at all. It was smooth, well-controlled behind the wheel and pleasantly firm -- no unsprung weight flailing around after potholes sending secondary and tertiary wiggles through the structure. The new electric rack and pinion power steering gave good feebdback and remained on-center without a hint of wander or unwanted kickback from the road. Then we drove a 5.3-liter 4x4 with an 8,500-pound CASE front-end loader chained down on a trailer in the back. The trailer pushed and pulled on the hitch like a recalcitrant pet on a steel leash, but the Silverado kept it in place and hauled it around on pavement and off with aplomb. Next up was a 2WD V8 with 1,200 pounds of sand in the bed. This was our favorite, as the weight in the bed squashed a few more leaf springs and evened out the ride all the more. It was very comfortable, and we recommend the 1,200 pounds of sand option for anyone considering a full-size Silverado. Off-road in a 4x4 V8, we tried out the hill-descent option, common on most four-wheel drives nowadays, and found it was ... like most four-wheel drives with similar hill descent features: It hesitated at first then grabbed the front and rear discs one by one to slow downhill progress to a creepy crawl. Uphill, we got good grip from the all-season tires and found more than enough ground clearance for our easy four-wheelin'. Do I Want It? Entry-level price for the absolute base model starts at $24,585. The well-equipped LTZ we drove stickered at $50,925, including navigation, sunroof and all those USB ports, among other features. There are enough full-size pickups on the market to meet almost every buyer's wants and needs. They all get better with every new model that comes out. Right now the Silverado is the newest model on the market. With such a great ride, quiet cabin and so damned many USB ports, it could very well lead Chevy (if you combine it with the GMC Sierra equivalent) to lead the sales race in the U.S. Source: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130509/CARREVIEWS/130509803

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