Full 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review
What's New for 2014
Redesigned for 2014, the Chevrolet Silverado benefits from weight reduction and a lineup of new, more fuel-efficient engines including a now-competitive V6.
Most people buy a full-size pickup truck with the idea that they can drive it every day and use it for heavy lifting and hauling when the need arises. That latter requirement necessitates some muscle. Traditionally, you'd pass on the pickup's base V6 engine and spring for a substantially stronger but thirstier V8. But lately, automakers have been beefing up their trucks' V6 engines. Now Chevy has joined the party. As such, one of the best things the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado has going for it is something the outgoing version lacked: a competitive V6 engine.
Of course, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 still offers V8 power as well, and they're burly 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter mills that now benefit from direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation for better power and efficiency. But for those who'd like the big Silverado's generous passenger and cargo space and whose hauling and towing requirements aren't as severe, the new 4.3-liter V6 should fit the bill. It makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque, and can tow up to 7,200 pounds when properly equipped. Fuel economy ratings are impressive as well, with an estimated 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
In addition to the more potent V6 engine, the latest Chevy Silverado benefits from a diet as well. The new regular cab model with the V6 and a 6-foot, 6-inch pickup bed, for example, weighs 250 fewer pounds than its predecessor. Other enhancements include revised suspension tuning for a smoother ride, forward-hinged rear doors on extended cab models (they were awkward, reverse-opening half doors previously) and newly available safety features such as a forward collision alert system, a lane departure warning system and trailer sway control.
Meanwhile, the Silverado's exterior design doesn't stray far from tradition. A massive new grille, revised bumpers and more sculpted styling down the side give it a more modern, almost aerodynamic look, but it retains the square-jawed, all-business look of previous Chevy Silverados. Those who regularly haul a lot of people and cargo will be pleased to know that the Silverado 1500 crew cab now offers a 6.5-foot cargo box in addition to the previous 5.75-foot box. Inside, Chevrolet has upgraded the Silverado's upholstery, dash and door-panel materials and now offers an 8-inch touchscreen display with the brand's MyLink infotainment interface and smartphone integration.
All told, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is fully competitive with its longtime and similarly well-rounded rivals, the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 as well as the Toyota Tundra. This is especially true now that Chevy offers a V6 engine that promises ample performance along with good fuel economy. As such, your choice of a full-size pickup may come down to feature availability or even styling preference.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a full-size pickup offered in a variety of cab/cargo-bed configurations in both two- and four-wheel drive. Body styles include regular cab, extended ("Double") cab and crew cab. Regular cabs can be had with either a 6.5-foot standard bed or an 8-foot bed. Extended cabs come with the 6.5-foot standard bed, while crew cabs can be had with either a 5.75-foot short bed or the 6.5-foot standard bed.
Regular cabs are limited to the base Work Truck and midlevel LT trims. The extended and crew cabs come in LT, LTZ, High Country and off-road-oriented Z71 trims.
The Work trim (or WT) comprises 1WT and 2WT subsets. The 1WT comes with 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows and door locks, a tilt steering wheel, vinyl seating, rubber floor covering, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat and a four-speaker AM/FM sound system with USB and auxiliary inputs. The 2WT adds stainless-steel finish wheels, chrome bumpers and grille, deep-tint glass, power/heated mirrors, keyless entry, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, OnStar telematics and an upgraded MyLink audio system with a 4-inch color display, satellite radio, HD radio, Pandora radio, a CD player and voice control functionality.
Stepping up to the LT adds a chrome grille insert, an "E-Z" lift/lower tailgate, alloy wheels, cloth upholstery (with adjustable lumbar support for the driver), carpeting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and six speakers for the audio system.
The LTZ piles on chrome trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, remote starting, power folding mirrors, a power sliding rear window with defroster, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a 110-volt power outlet, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated eight-way power driver and passenger front seats, driver-seat memory settings and an 8-inch touchscreen display for the MyLink interface.
In addition to the LTZ features, the High Country includes a unique grille, 20-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, cargo box tie-downs, a power sliding rear window, a Bose audio system, 10-way power front seats and ventilated front seats.
The Z71 trim, which is added atop the LT or LTZ, features off-road-oriented hardware such as special shock absorbers, a heavy-duty air cleaner, hill descent control, underbody shields, recovery hooks and a few unique exterior and interior styling tweaks.
Many of the features on the upper trim levels are offered on the lower ones as options while other available features (depending on the trim level and configuration) include towing packages, various axle ratios, a power sunroof, side steps, parking sensors, a navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-Ray player. Notably, the Max Trailering package features an integrated trailer-brake controller, heavier-duty suspension calibration and a higher-capacity radiator.
Another key option group is the Driver Alert package that features lane departure warning, forward collision alert, safety alert seat and front and rear parking sensors. There are also the All Star Edition, Texas Edition and Custom Sport Edition, whose highlights (depending on the package) include 20-inch wheels, one of the available towing groups, remote starting, a power driver seat, a rearview camera and, of course, unique badging.
Powertrains and Performance
Standard on all but the LTZ trims is a 4.3-liter V6 with 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. As with all other Silverado engines, it comes matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) for two-wheel drive. With 4WD, they drop to 19/17/22. Maximum towing capacity, when properly equipped and depending on body style, can range up to a generous 7,600 pounds.
The 5.3-liter V8, which is standard on the LTZ trims and optional on other Silverados, makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Properly equipped, trucks with this engine can tow up to 11,500 pounds. With rear-wheel drive, the EPA says Silverados with the 5.3-liter V8 will achieve 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway). With 4WD they rate 18 combined. In Edmunds testing, a Silverado 1500 LT Z71 Crew Cab 2WD with the 5.3 sprinted from zero to 60 in just 6.8 seconds.
Optional on the LTZ and High Country trims is a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. Its fuel mileage estimates are 17 mpg combined (14 city/20 highway) while its maximum towing capacity stands at 12,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear-seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes services such as automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.
Options include a rearview camera, front and rear park assist and a suite of driver aids that include lane departure warning and forward collision alert.
In government crash tests, the 2014 Silverado earned a top five-star rating, with five stars awarded for both total frontal-impact safety and total side-impact safety. During Edmunds' braking test, a Silverado Crew Cab 2WD came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, a good performance for this type of vehicle.
Interior Design and Special Features
With this redesign, all-new cab structures bring improved structural stiffness and crashworthiness to the 2014 model. Chevy also improved the cabin quality on lower trims, where materials and build quality are both notably better. There are also more bins and cubbies than before and LTZ trims have up to five USB ports to keep all your devices charged and happy. The MyLink system features an 8-inch touchscreen, straightforward menus and effective voice command interface, although sometimes the system can be slow to respond to inputs.
With a choice of bench or buckets (depending on trim level) up front, as well as available heating, ventilation and adjustable lumbar support, the Silverado's thickly padded seats promise plenty of long-trip comfort. Although the cab's basic dimensions are unchanged from last year, there is a smidge more rear legroom than before, and front occupants have more fore/aft seat adjustment range.
Gone are the awkward reverse-opening rear doors of the previous extended cab; the newly minted double cab has traditional forward-hinged doors. The new cabin also rides on improved body mounts for reduced noise and vibration, while clambering into the bed is made easier by clever steps and handholds built into each rear corner.
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado's new V6 provides ample thrust and is light-years ahead of the old V6 not only in terms of power and performance but refinement as well. Another indication of this engine's all-around legitimacy is that it is available in all trim levels rather than relegated only to work truck variants, as was the case with the old V6.
As you'd expect, the 5.3-liter V8 delivers solid thrust with good manners, though there's still a bit of vibration during hard acceleration. More seamless than ever, however, is the fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system, which swaps between V8 and V4 modes with complete transparency.
The six-speed automatic provides smooth and timely gearchanges in normal driving. But despite the pull of the Silverado's huskier new engines, we've noticed that there's still too big a gap between the transmission's gear ratios when towing. There are rumors of an upcoming eight-speed transmission -- it would be a welcome addition. That said, we've towed a trailer with an 8,600-pound load with a Silverado equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 and the Max Trailering package and there was plenty of reserve grunt.
Overall ride and handling dynamics are noticeably improved over the old truck. The 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 feels robust structurally, yet most versions are compliant and comfortable over broken pavement, though the stiffer ride on trucks with the Max Trailering package can grow tiresome. The Silverado is also very quiet, with road and wind noise both minimal even at freeway speeds.
The Chevy isn't exactly agile around turns and there's plenty of body lean if you push it harder, as you'd likely expect. But in normal driving it feels confident enough and the steering is well-weighted. Off-road, the Silverado shudders less when bouncing around on rocky trails, exhibiting better composure than ever before.