Now that we've had a little time to allow all the hoopla and hype to settle down, we can take a step back and look at the new 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra with a clear vision. From all the changes to the two new pickup trucks, we wanted to focus on those pieces of technology and features that impressed us.
No matter what you think of the redesign, you have to be impressed with attempt GM has made, introducing two new pickups (and we would argue hugely important pickups for the continued viability of the company) with vastly improved and upgraded details inside and out. No, this wasn't a "clean sheet of paper" exercise or a revolutionary redefinition of the pickup truck, but both the Chevy and GMC models are impressive nonetheless.
Top 10 Best Features in the 2014 Silverado and Sierra
10. Better Design Separation
Say what you will about either front ends, the fact remains the Chevy and GMC grilles are much further apart from where they were. We think that's good, especially if they want GMC to further the "premium grade" mantra. We're not sold on the headlight setup on the Chevy, but we're guessing there are several more grade levels we still haven't seen.
9. Invisible Frame Strength
Knowing GM did most of the heavy-lifting work with the last-generation frame by moving to hydroforming technology, the only place to go was the added use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels to save weight. We like that GM spent the time and money on a place no one will typically see. We also hope that will translate into bigger towing and payload numbers and not just be used for the purpose of weight savings and MPG gains.
8. Transmission Column Shifter
Though a console-mounted shifter might be sportier, we like GM's old-school column shifter; it has a heft and weightiness to it. Sure, GM saved some money with this setup, but it can always do something later.
7. Fine-Tuned Suspension
Admittedly, this one we'll have to wait and see exactly how well GM has done and whether or competes well with Ford's dialed-in F-150 models or the new air suspension offered on the new Ram. Both offer soft and controlled rides. Our guess, especially after what those same chassis engineers did with the Silverado HD and Sierra HD rides on the 2010 redesign, is that it will be quite good.
6. New Crew Cab 6.5-Foot Bed
We've been seeing the crew cab with the longer 6.5-foot bed for quite a while in spy photography, but it will be good to see it in person. The extra room and length should help a lot of buyers and the amount of crew cab reconfiguring its done is impressive. Because the front doors are shorter and the rear door is longer, it feels like there's a ton more room for rear passengers without compromising any front passenger legroom. That's a good trick.
5. Gauges and Center Stack
The new gauge layout, which accommodates the 4.2-inch information screen between the tach and speedometer, and center stack design has a much cleaner look, and we appreciate that the full-size pickups will get their own unique look (separated from the Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban, and Yukon XL full-size SUVs). The big nav screen, dual glove boxes, and toggle switches are all well done.
4. Trailer Brake Controller Positioned Up High
Finally, a brake-controller location that makes sense. No doubt some will prefer the Ford and Ram locations, but to our mind this keeps the important info in a much easier line-of-vision and makes for a quick grab if needed.
3. Extended Cab Conventional Hinge
Gone is the rear-hinged rear doors that swing open 170 degrees. Yes, they were quite handy when we were in need of a wide-mouth opening for a big-screen TV, but the move to a conventional B-pillar makes for a stronger, safer cab for passengers. Those overly complicated hinges and doors were quite expensive to replace when damaged, as well.
2. Two New V-8-Dedicated Axles
The redesigned axles paired with the two new V-8 engines have been computer designed and reinforced to be stronger and lighter (pound for pound) than the axles they replace. We assume the extra strength means we'll be seeing GVWs and payload numbers climbing to Ford heights and beyond.
1. Corvette Influences
Sure, we like that a lot of the technology found in all three new engines comes straight from the Corvette engineers (direct injection, AFM, continuously variable valve timing), but what we're most happy about is that GM didn't try to stuff a performance car motor into a base-level pickup. Keeping a V-6 truck motor available for the work trucks will pay huge long-term dividends for truck customers.