SEMA: Chevy Shows Shocking Silverado High Desert Concept

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In a sea of customized and whacked-out project trucks meant to attract casual showgoers as they wandered the crowded aisles of the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas, truckmakers have figured out the show is a great place to gauge interest about future design ideas and products they might want to bring to market.

Taking advantage of an enthusiastic audience, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 engineers took the opportunity to show off a "drop-in" bed product that would essentially give long- or short-bed truck owner more storage space, a hard-deck bed cover and more bed functionality. In fact, what Chevy has done is to essentially re-introduce the Avalanche.

Called the Chevrolet Silverado High Desert (based on the Silverado High Country, meaning a 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8 and eight-speed transmission), the concept truck is all about the bed. The truck looks like a stock crew cab with a 6.5-foot bed until you start looking closely at the three-section hardtop, a pair of storage bins in the bed walls and the Avalanche-style buttress between the bed and cab.

While investigating the truck, four current and past Avalanche owners approached and asked if this truck would leak every time it rained or had a ton of wind noise when on the highway. Our guess would be no, since the design is meant to be a drop-in and there would be no rear-cab-wall door seals to weather or wear down.

Chevy would not talk price but it was one display in the GM booth that had a constant crowd around it — until we chased them away to take these photos. images by Evan Sears and Mark Williams


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Hmmmm..... Bed rail storage, now WHERE have I seen THAT before?....

What's so shocking about this, Mark Williams?

What is the material inside the bed? ABS?

The mid-gate was what made the avi. That was on the suburban line rather than the silverado - leaks or no leaks. Doing a mid-gate here would have been more complicated and probably leakier.

Wonder if GM will make enough for Snugtop to make a cap around those "buttresses". Good name for 'em. ("Butt".)

Why would you want to put a bed topper on top of a bed topper? That's just not logical. Or did you miss the statement that this was a drop-in bed enhancement and not an overall modification to the truck itself?

You have seen THAT before on 2001-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche.

@Gregory J - That would be correct

This is actually a pretty cool idea for the suburban crowd (myself included). Boring, but practical! They should consider a Colorado version...

Hmm, I like that, brings back some of the things we liked about the avalanche.

I figured the High Desert would of made a good Raptor fighter truck name or the more City people styled truck trim of the High Country aka Chevy's Denali. May this is just part of the concept/ideas of a Off roader truck or city boy luxury truck. Either way you could haul and keep dry a good bit of recovery gear/tools or groceries/man purses.

Its ingenious in that it is a single unit drop in. I like that idea. The cost will be HIGH and the market small but there are A FEW that will get stiffies for it AND have fat enough wallets if someone wants to take the manufacturing plunge. The option I want to see is an all aluminum flat bed with drop sides (Just like on the Home Depot Rental trucks), that could even be offered in a dump or with tool boxes. It would be square, functional, durable, simple, and even a bit ugly but I have a feeling this could be very popular amongst at least the 3/4 to one ton crowd or anyone that still realizes what a truck and its bed are really for.

There is a good chance of something coming from this truck as GM has filed a trademark application for the term “High Desert” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

I posted this few weeks ago.

They just need to put the new Tahoe Front end on it and get rid of the square box look.

"There are no plans to put the High Desert or its storage system into production..."

@Ohioan, agree about Tahoe/Suburban front end. The last TWO generations actually.

It looks hideous.

I like how the grill matches the body color, this thing looks good,

Covered beds are just plain tacky. Dumb GM crap!

I hardly ever trust about ANYTHING. They're another source of information, true; but I always balance it with multiple other sources to get the real grain of truth.

Once again PUTC gets their info wrong. Mark states that the truck has a 6.5-foot bed. If you look at the pictures that truck has the "shorty" (5 foot, 3 inch) bed. You can tell by the location of the fuel filler door (it is not in the fender flare on the 6.5-foot bed).

Come on PUTC, if you are going to cover pickups at least act like you know what you are talking about!

Shocking how ugly it is!

Lol, you can barely put anything in these bed boxes!

@Chevy fanboys: Mark is trying to help you, but Chevy leaves little for him to work with!

I really think if you are going to invest in something like this you should consider a pickup the incorrect vehicle, that is in most cases. Buy a SUV.

How much does it weigh? What is the real increase in capability that couldn't be done better?

I really don't think there would be a huge market for this type of product.

Actually Al, a person can actually secure what's in the truck with a cover like that.

The first few times I said secure your stuff, I swear you thought of tie straps and chains. That's one definition of secure, but another way to secure your stuff means to lock it.

You wouldn't know what fits under one of those tops, cause you haul mostly air. I know engine parts I don't want getting wet, or stolen, and many a duffle bag fit under there, and you can remove it in a hurry to put something tall in.

It's a good thing the old Avalanche is gone now, because this new body style Silverado looks terrible as an Avalanche. In general, the new body style pickup looks like GM could not make it more square even if they tried. Maybe someday GM can design their trucks so they don't resemble Legos.? Maybe.

The copying of the RamBox is pretty cheap looking. How many thousands of $$$$ does it cost to buy all this plastic goodness?

This is so ridiculous. What has Chevrolet become? They're not a work truck ala GMC with wheel well rock protection for off road, work and winter salt use. They don't offer cold rolled steel beds ala GMC, at least not according to their marketing. They don't have professional grade engineering like GMC or even Dodge and Ford. They're certainly not luxury like GMC, Ford and Dodge. Even their base trucks are subpar to GMC, Ford and Dodge. Chevy doesn't even carry their own engines anymore. They're all corporate GMC engines.

Seriously, who took over in the latter 90's and decided to just destroy Chevy trucks for good? I'm about to the breaking point with this corporate GM crap. Give me the real Chevrolet like they once were for heaven's sake. The real deal!

"@Chevy fanboys: Mark is trying to help you, but Chevy leaves little for him to work with!"

- You mean GM-GMC leaves little. Chevy is all but dead to most outside of nostalgia hot rods, Vette's and old trucks. Blame GM-GMC. And I don't blame Mark at all. It's not his fault Chevrolet is in the toilet. Ugly trucks post 03, rust buckets since 99, cheap interiors, cheap marketing, no sfa off- roader, no ifs off-roader, no luxury models, no anything..... Everything that Chevrolet once dominated, is no longer. All because of GM being cheap, and protecting GMC.

Screw GM for ruining Chevrolet trucks.

If you guys owned that you would be afraid to get it dirty, just like guys I know that's afraid to place ANYTHING in the bed of their pickup cause it "boo-hoo-hoo" might scratch the paint in the bed!
You should see my truck! Its a 2013 F-150, its sooo covered with mud and the bed and tailgate is dinged up sooo bad!
I hauled coal with it last weekend and I didn't even sweep out the bed!
I figure why should I clean it? Mother Nature will wash it out when it rains!
Some of you guys make me sick how you baby your truck!

I really love the square wheel wells

I really like this feature and would seriously consider buying a chevy truck if this feature was available. Looks extremely functional for what i like to do and if its drop in and can remove it at anytime, even better ! cCosest thing to the rambox. am considering purchasing a 1500 ram crew cab with 6.4 ft bed with diesel but prices are too high for me. waiting for the nissan titan diesel and colorado diesel to come out, that should bring the prices down on the ram 1500 and maybe Ram will have some inventory built up on the diesels by then

Might as well buy an SUV. This must be GM's way of throwing a bone to Avalanche fans.

This is much cooler, and better looking than the Avalanche. The mid-gate, which had leaking problems, was a mistake. This truck apparently forgoes that, in favor of a traditional
pickup w/ sliding rear glass, and the better features from the
Avalanche, like the buttresses, the bedcover and the storage-boxes in the bed-walls.

Nothing really new here. It probably would sell some to non traditional truck buyers but buyer beware resale will be terrible.

gm copied ram...again. first the interior of the ram now ram boxes ??? seriously can gm EVER have any original thought ? not to mention gm has a way of overbaking most of there products.

Hey, I have a crazy idea!!! How about just bring back the Avalanche.

Other than shrinking an already small bed, I like this idea a lot! I am a 2006 Chevy Avalanche owner and I absolutely love the flexibility I have with it. Besides the usual maintenance, I've only had to replace shocks, fan motor and resister unit. I also replaced the headlight housings as they were getting quite yellow, but I've really had no problems and it still looks great. I do wish it had a better transmission with more power and higher MPG's, but I'm holding out for a new "Avalanche" should one ever resurface, so I'll keep running my 06' till then.

Funny how people think GM copies Dodge for the be side storage when in reality, it’s the other way around. 2002 Avalanche was the first to have bedside storage. SMH

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