2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew: Better in Every Way
March 31, 2014
Eight years ago I took our then long-term 2007 Chevrolet Silverado on a bone-jarring trip to the Race Track in Death Valley National Park. It was 27 miles each way on a washboard road and I felt every bump and stone along the way. And a loud metallic clank came from the rear differential every time it shifted.
That was the last time I was in a Silverado, until last night. I took our 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew home and was amazed at how similar the truck looked to our earlier truck, but how greatly improved everything else was. There was one thing that really impressed me.
The fuel economy.
Checking back through dusty records I discovered that over the more than 20,000 miles we drove the 2007 Silverado, the truck had a lifetime average of 13.2 mpg. After 17,000 miles, our 2014 Silverado is averaging 17.4 mpg.
Back in the day, the 2007 had a 6.0-liter V8 which delivered an EPA mileage rating of 15 city and 19 highway, which was still better than the competitors, thanks to GM's Active Fuel Management system which shut down half the cylinders under light load. Today's truck has the new direct-injected Gen 5 5.3-liter small-block V8.
At a glance, the 2014 fuel economy of 17.4 mpg doesn't seem that much better than the 2007 fuel economy of 13.2 mpg. But as I discovered by writing The Truth About Fuel Consumption, small seeming improvements on the low end of fuel efficiency save far more than more impressive savings on the high end of the spectrum. In other words, jumping from 13.2 to 17.4 mpg in a truck saves more gas than a bigger looking leap from a 35 mpg compact to a 50 mpg Toyota Prius.
Over 100,000 miles of driving, the more efficient engine (which, by the way, has plenty of power and a vastly improved transmission) saves 1,829 gallons of gas. At $3.75 a gallon, this saves the owner $6,857. For comparison's sake, making the jump from the 35 mpg compact to the 50 mpg Prius would only save 857 gallons of gas and $3,214 over 100,000 miles of driving.
The gas price spikes of the previous decade brought about a wave of innovation and refinement. And this Chevy truck is a great demonstration of those improvements.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 17,545 miles