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    Review: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ & GMC Sierra 1500 SLT


    • Brothers In Arms


    For the past few years, General Motor’s pickups were getting sand kicked in their faces by Ford and Ram. The two truck manufacturers were introducing refreshed models with new powertrains, improved interiors, and clever technologies that made GM’s models look and feel old news. While the sales numbers showed a fair number of Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras were being sold every month, everyone, including GM knew sales were being stolen away. All the company could do was wait for their next-generation trucks to be finished. Come late 2012 when GM introduced the next-generation Silverado and Sierra pickups. The new pickups promised more power, efficiency, and refinement.

    Do GM’s next-generation trucks have what it take on the competiton? To find out, I went back to back with the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado.

    When GM showed the next-generation Silverado and Sierra for the first time, many people (your’s truly included) said that the new models didn’t look that much different from the models they would replace. Well I would like to take that back as I think GM has really done an amazing job with the designs. Both trucks are nearly identical twins with embellished front and rear fenders, chrome trim pieces on the doors, and integrated bumper steps in the truck bed. The only real difference between them is in the front. The Silverado sticks with the front-end design that has been present since 1973 with a large spilt grille and a set of rectangular headlights occupying either end. The Sierra takes more of a chance with its front end design. The three-bar grill is much more imposing and a set of squared headlights feature a string of LEDs. Out of the two, I prefer the Sierra as it gives off a more imposing identity.

    2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT Crew Cab 4WD 7

    The most important feature of any truck besides what is under the hood has to be the bed and GM made some important changes here. The tailgate has a torsion bar to make it easier to open and shut, and prevents it from slamming down onto the bumper. The bed features a spray-in liner, adjustable tie-down mounts, and LED lights underneath the bed rails to make it easier to see when loading and unloading in the nighttime.

    The biggest problem for the previous Silverado and Sierra was their interiors. Cheap materials and a design that was aging very quickly proved to be the biggest thorn in the back. The next-generation trucks remedy this problem with a much more modern interior design that puts function above form. The layout has a number of knobs and toggle switches that make it easy to control most of the functions. There are two 12-Volt outlets, a 120-Volt outlet, and seven USB ports. A bit overkill you might think. But I found the large number of power outlets very useful when I lost power at my house and was able to do some of my work from the Sierra for a good part of the day.Good thinking GM. On the material front, there is an abundance of soft-touch materials throughout the interior and real aluminum trim used on the dash. While the Ram 1500 has the overall edge on interiors for trucks, the Silverado and Sierra aren’t far behind.

    2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD Crew Cab 19

    Comfort and space has been improved over the previous models. The front seats are more supportive and wrapped in leather. On both trucks, the seats came equipped with heat and cooling. In the back, head and legroom is very generous. No one will feel like they have been sent to the penalty box.

    One area that still needs some work is the infotainment system. Chevrolet’s MyLink and GMC’s Intelilink system are handsome to look at and easy to comprehend thanks to a well-designed layout and off-screen controls to control certain aspects. But, MyLink/Intelliink are still experiencing some slowness. For example, it takes a few seconds for the navigation to respond when I decide to either zoom in or out. But that isn’t the worst of MyLink/Intelliink problems. The Sierra had a problem where it wouldn’t play anything out of my iPod or my phone via the bluetooth system. Meanwhile, the Silverado had its system crash and reboot while I was driving. Thankfully, either problem only appeared once during my time with the trucks, but it tells me that General Motors needs to update the systems as soon as possible.

    2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT Crew Cab 4WD 20

    For thoughts on the powertrain and ride, see the next page


    A large change for the next-generation Silverado and Sierra lies under the hood. GM introduced a new range of EcoTec engines which include such technologies as direct-injection, variable cam timing, and cylinder deactivation. While the engine lineup is much the same as before (4.3L V6, 5.3 V8, and 6.2L V8), the new engines are more powerful and feature improved fuel economy. Both trucks came equipped with the volume engine; the 5.3L V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. This is fed through a six-speed automatic to a four-wheel drive system. Two-wheel drive comes standard.

    2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD Crew Cab 15

    For most buyers, the 5.3 is more than enough. Acceleration is smooth and power is always ready for you whenever you needed it. Never once did I think that I needed or wanted more power. What I did want was a better response from the throttle. Driving around in the Sierra for the first time, I was surprised how far I had to push the throttle to get it moving. My best guess to the sluggish response is to improve fuel economy. [alignleft][/alignleft]

    Speaking of fuel economy, both trucks with the 5.3L V8 are rated at 16 City/22 Highway/18 Combined. My average in both trucks landed around 16 MPG. I have a hunch that with more highway and rural driving, I could have easily gotten the combined number.

    2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD Crew Cab 14

    For the ride, GM sticks with a leaf-spring setup for the trucks. While you might think this would make the Silverado and Sierra ride like a bucking bronco, GM was able to tune the springs in such a way to make it feel more like luxury sedan. Even when driven down a rutted road, the two trucks were able to keep passengers very comfortable. Steering comes in the form of an electric system and provides good feel and weight. As for wind and road noise, GM employed a number of tricks such as triple door seals and spray-in sound deadening on along the firewall and transmission tunnel. These tricks really quiet down NVH levels and could give certain luxury cars a run for their money.

    At first glance, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 might not have the showstopping features that Ford and Ram have been introducing into their trucks for the past few years. But after spending some time with the trucks, I came away very impressed. GM took the basic truck recipe, leaf springs and all, and made it much more refined.

    It also gives something GM hasn’t had in a long time; a blueprint which the company can use to build off. That is something I hope comes into play soon as the new Ford F-150 is just around the corner.

    Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Silverado and Sierra, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Chevrolet

    Model: Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

    Trim: LTZ Z71

    Engine: 5.3L EcoTec3 V8

    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5600

    Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4100

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/22/18

    Curb Weight: 5218 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Silao, Mexico

    Base Price: $43,650.00

    As Tested Price: $49,080.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Driver Alert Package - $845.00

    Chevrolet MyLink w/Color Touchscreen and Navigation - $795.00

    LTZ Plus Package - $770.00

    6" Chrome Assist Steps - $700.00

    Heated & Cooled Seats - $650.00

    Leather Seats - $325.00

    Trailer Brake Controller - $230.00

    Moveable Upper Tie Downs - $60.00

    LED Lighting, Cargo Box - $60.00

    Year: 2014

    Make: GMC

    Model: Sierra 1500 Crew Cab

    Trim: SLT

    Engine: 5.3L EcoTec3 V8

    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5600

    Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4100

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/22/18

    Curb Weight: 5218 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Silao, Mexico

    Base Price: $43,610.00

    As Tested Price: $49,045.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    SLT Crew Cab Value Package - $2,195.00

    Driver Alert Package - $845.00

    GMC IntelliLink w/Color Touchscreen and Navigation - $795.00

    Heated & Cooled Seats - $650.00

    SLT Preferred Package - $400.00

    Leather Seats - $325.00

    Trailer Brake Controller - $230.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Awesome write up, great info and loved it as I learned plenty from it.

    I know I read about GM and other auto companies who at SEMA signed on to use Google Android system for the NAV units. I suspect we will see a complete change over on these Infotainment systems in a year or so as they begin to role out a customized version of Android with Nav units in the new models.

    Found these stories about the new system;

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-06/google-teams-with-gm-honda-and-audi-to-bring-android-to-cars

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20140107/CARNEWS/140109907

    http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1089496_audi-gm-honda-and-hyundai-bring-android-to-the-car-at-ces

    http://www.technologytell.com/in-car-tech/7102/we-for-one-welcome-our-open-source-infotainment-overlords/

    post-12-0-13582800-1393426941_thumb.jpg

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    The Kit Kat Android guy I read were given out at google to employees. Not sure if it is true or not, but I could eat it and break it! :P

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