First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado

The first thought coming to my mind as we stepped towards the Silverado is that it doesn't look very different from it's predecessor. How much different can it be from the likes of Ford 1500 for example? As we drove the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado over the hills I realized Chevy didn't care about trends that much. Instead, it relied on a darn good focus on the fundamentals. The new Silverado builds on the idea to move towards customers who want family friendly interiors while retaining the toughness in look and performance of a full size truck. Here is our first drive analysis:

Style

What style statement should you expect from 2014 Chevrolet Silverado? Any self respecting truck should look bulkier, meaner and more aggressive than it's predecessor. That's exactly what the Chevy Silverado has achieved. The block style on the wheels and headlights plus a bigger, in-your-face grille signal road respect a mile away from the rear view mirror. The new rear doors are bigger, the cargo box in crew cabs are bigger, yes we like new bigger, badder Silverado. Wheels come standard at 17 inches for the basic and 22 inches chrome for the full option, we would have preferred bigger wheels on the standard models. Other than that, this is an improved style, especially on the front. Finally the kids will love the new toe holds, also known as CornerStep in GM which make climbing the full size trucks easy and adventure like. 

Interior 

Not many full size trucks can boast interior comforts as compared to the new Chevrolet Silverado. While the lower trims have pretty much all the basic amenities, the higher trims feel more like a family ready SUV, complete with lots of extra spaces, comfortable seats and probably best in class for connectivity features. As we drove the truck, we found you could connect 10 devices in the 2014 Silverado. Go ahead, charge your boss's laptop, your mom's cell phone, your friend's iPod and your own tablet all at the same time. The higher trims also come with USB drive enabled navigation systems. In terms of space, rear legroom is increased by 2 inches with no compromise on other interior dimensions. One very noticeable improvement is cabin noise. The cabin is very quiet from a truck standard and credit should be given to GM engineers for 

Safety features are a standout in the new Silverado. While every model comes with standard 6 airbags, Stabilitrak and 3 point seatbelts in the rear, there are a lot of trim level based segment exclusive safety technologies that boost family friendliness for Chevrolet buyers. For instance, it includes Lane Departure Warning system, a Forward Collision Alert system and most suprisingly a vibrating Seat Alert system that one usually finds in premium sedans! No surprise that it received a 5 star safety rating from the US based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Drive Performance

Engine and Power

This was fun. We drove all across dirt roads and rocky hills around Washington DC. The new engines make their worth felt, particularly in high amounts of torque available on demand. The biggest surprise package was the V6. It generates 417 Nm of torque which beats Ford 3.7 V6 by 35 Nm and the Ram 3.6 V6 by a whopping 52 Nm. That's not just a slight edge, it's a takeover. The powertrain shifting is smooth and deliberate, holding on to the gears for maximum leverage. We all knew the V8's are crazy, top range generating almost 625 Nm of torque so no discussion was needed there. So we just decided to floor it and grin instead. 

Ride Handling and Stability

This was a surprise. Normally the massive half ton trucks are good in straight lines, period. This one handled more like an SUV, with added agility on road as well as off-road. The steering weight is balanced and the turns are quite steady. 

Towing Capacity

The 2014 Silverado is able to tow the living daylights out of it's competition. The V6 has 3,266 kg towing rating, it beats it's nearest rival (Ford F-150 3.7 V6) by 500 kilos. Payload capacity is 956 kg which is 80 kilos more than Ford F-150 3.7 V6. 

Verdict

If you're in the market for a full size truck that can double up as a family camper, consider this one seriously. It has high power and strength, all the while having enough interior comforts to keep the family happy. 

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