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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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    • By William Maley
      Is the Honda Ridgeline a truck or not? Depends on to whom you ask this question. A truck person would say no since the Ridgeline isn’t a body-on-frame vehicle. Instead, it uses a unibody platform from the Honda Pilot. A consumer would say yes because it looks like a truck and has all the attributes you would find on one such as a bed. I spent some time in a Ridgeline over the holidays to see if I could figure out the answer.
      The previous Ridgeline looked like an auto show concept squared-off shape and missing the design cues you would expect on a truck such as a gap between the cab and bed. This put a lot of people off from looking at the Ridgeline. The new model looks more in line with the current crop of midsize trucks as Honda adopted the standard cab and bed design. This includes the gap between the bed and cab, although this is more of a design touch. Stick your hand in the gap and you’ll realize that both parts are connected (thanks unibody construction).
      The front end is where you’ll make your decision as to whether you like the Ridgeline or not. There is an imposing grille with a long chrome bar on top. A set of large headlights sits on either side of the grille. Other design items to take note of are the sculpted hood and front bumper. Personally, I found the front end to a bit over the top. Honda was trying to make the Ridgeline look tough and imposing, but the end result is a look that is trying too hard. 
      At least Honda got the Ridgeline’s bed right. Compared to the last model, Honda added four inches to the overall length of the bed (64 vs. 60 inches). This gives the Ridgeline the longest standard bed in the class. Unlike competitors, you cannot option a longer bed for the Ridgeline. Honda has also fitted some clever ideas for the Ridgeline’s bed. First is the in-bed trunk that offers 7.3 cubic feet of space where you can stow tools or luggage, giving the Ridgeline a significant edge in practicality than its competitors. Second is the dual-action tailgate which allows the tailgate to be opened downward or to the side.
      The recent crop of trucks have been stepping up their game when it comes to interiors and the Ridgeline is no different. The interior is borrowed from the Pilot crossover and brings forth an easy-to-understand control layout and high-quality materials. One item that wasn’t carried over from the Pilot was the push-button transmission selector. Instead, the Ridgeline sticks with a good-ole lever. Thank you, Honda.
      The Ridgeline proved to be a very comfortable pickup truck thanks to supportive leather seats, and power-adjustments for the driver. I took this truck to Northern Michigan and back during the holidays, and I never felt tired or had any soreness afterward. The back seat provides more than enough head and legroom for passengers. The bottom cushion of the back seat can also be folded up to provide a decent amount space for carrying larger items.
      Honda’s infotainment system in the Ridgeline has to be one of the most frustrating systems we have ever come across. The eight-inch system gets off on the wrong foot by using touch-sensitive controls for the volume and other functions that don’t always respond whenever pressed. At least you can use the steering wheel controls for a number of these functions. HondaLink needs a serious revamp in terms of its interface as trying to do simple things is very convoluted. For example, if I want to pick a podcast episode from my iPod, I have to jump through a number of menus to just to get to the listing of the specific show I want to listen to. You can avoid using HondaLink by plugging in your iPhone or Android phone and using CarPlay or Android Auto. 
      All Honda Ridgeline’s come with a 3.5L V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up with a six-speed automatic. The base RT to the RTL-T has the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The RTL-E and Black Edition only come with all-wheel drive. No other V6 truck in the class can match the performance of the Ridgeline’s V6. Acceleration is strong whether you’re leaving a stoplight or making a pass. The run to 60 mph is said to take around 7 seconds, making this one quick midsize truck. The six-speed automatic delivers fast and smooth shifts.
      All-wheel drive Ridgelines like our tester come with Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management system. This system quickly redistributes the amount of torque going to each wheel to improve handling and traction. AWD models also get the Intelligent Traction Management system which adjusts the settings of the powertrain to help you get through whatever terrain you find yourself in. We put these systems to the test by driving through an unplowed road with deep snow. The Ridgeline was able to make it through without breaking a sweat. That doesn’t make the Ridgeline a truck you want to take on an off-road trail as it only offers 7.9-inches of ground clearance and no low-range.
      The Ridgeline’s payload is towards the top the of class when compared with other midsize crew cab trucks. Front-wheel drive models can haul between 1,447 to 1,565 pounds in the bed. All-wheel drive models have a payload capacity of 1,499 to 1,584 pounds. For towing, the Ridgeline falls a bit short. Front-wheel drive models have a max tow rating of 3,500 lbs, while AWD models are slightly higher at 5,000 lbs. For most people, the Ridgeline will be enough to handle various towing needs. If you need a bit more, then the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are ready to help.
      The EPA rates the Ridgeline AWD at 18 City/25 Highway/21 Combined. My average for the week landed at 23.6 mpg in a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving.
      Previously, we’ve considered GM’s midsize trucks as having the best ride in the class. The Honda Ridgeline now holds that honor. The unibody platform and four-wheel independent suspension setup give the Ridgeline a ride that is almost equal to a passenger sedan. Bumps and other imperfections are smoothed out. The Ridgeline is a decent handling truck as well. There isn’t much body roll and it feels stable when going into a corner. We do wish Honda would make the steering slightly heavier for the Ridgeline.
      The Honda Ridgeline may not meet the true definition of a pickup truck, but it is one in spirit. Yes, the unibody architecture does limit the capabilities of the Ridgeline as it cannot haul or tow heavy items. Nor can it go deep into the wilderness due to decisions made by Honda on the Ridgeline’s off-road capability. But it is in other areas that the Ridgeline begins to stand out such as the clever ideas in the bed, comfortable interior, and a ride that is more in tune with a regular car. They might not be the advantages you would expect in a truck, but they are something that Honda believes will bring in those interested in a pickup minus a lot of the issues that other models have. 
      To put it another way, the Honda Ridgeline is like Festivus from Seinfeld; they’re both for the rest of us.
      Disclaimer: Honda Provided the Ridgeline, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Honda
      Model: Ridgeline
      Trim: RTL-E
      Engine: 3.5L SOHC 24-valve i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 280 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,515 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, Alabama
      Base Price: $41,370
      As Tested Price: $42,270 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
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