For the first time in Cars.com's history, we are presenting a dedicated award for pickup trucks. And that makes sense. Three of the top five best-selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2013 were pickup trucks, and with the number of luxury trim packages growing and average transaction prices rising, if there's a segment more important to most automakers' bottom line, we can't think of one.
Our Best Pickup of 2014 award goes to the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. In one way, this was an easy choice: Chevy engineers basically had the opportunity to go over every inch of this next-generation pickup to improve every aspect of its capability and prowess. However, when you consider how hugely competitive this market has become, and how aggressive dealers have had to be to make sales, we know there were many points along this long re-engineering process where costs could have been cut, shortcuts taken or aggressive strategies pulled back. But Chevy engineers and management didn't do that.
Our criteria for this award are simple. We look at capability, power and value, and this new Silverado comes packed. The new frame and suspension is specifically reinforced to both carry and tow heavier loads while being lighter and offering a smoother ride. As to the all-new EcoTec3 powertrain, we know there must have been some heated debates with the higher-ups looking to save costs there. Coming out with a new truck and an all-new set of powertrains is a huge risk. But we're glad GM took that risk. Each offers power and efficiency at a level that could almost not have been imagined just 10 short years ago. In some of the fuel economy tests we conducted during our 2013 Light-Duty Challenge, the Chevy Silverado won our towing fuel economy challenge by more than 6 percent over the next non-GM competitor.
The winner of this award must offer quite a bit of value, delivering excitement, performance, under-the-skin quality and reliability if we're going to call this truck out to our readers. We've driven this truck over many rugged miles, and we like the promise this truck offers and the fact that it doesn't just do what it says it can do, but it does everything with style, comfort and a margin of safety that is almost unparalleled in the segment.
Other 2014 pickups eligible for the award were:
- Ford F-150
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
- Ram HD 2500/3500
- Toyota Tundra