2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew Long-Term Road Test: Introduction
July 31, 2013
With houses in disrepair, racecars that need towing and an affinity for flat-box shopping and yard sales, there's nothing like having a pickup truck. And when it comes to pickup trucks, nobody does it like America.
Among the Big Three, more than a million new pickup trucks roll into new owners' hands every year, so when one of them releases a new model, it's a huge deal. This year, GM has done just that with the 2014 Chevy Silverado. The styling may be familiar, but this truck is all new from top to bottom.
Think Chevy had a high bar to clear with the C7 Corvette? That was nothing compared to redoing its most popular model. To see how well it pulled off the new truck, we just bought a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew for our long-term test fleet.
What We Bought
There are roughly 950 variations of the 2014 Chevy Silverado, so picking the right one was difficult. First, we wanted a crew cab with the short 5-foot, 8-inch bed. This makes the most sense both for our test fleet and for the types of trucks people are shopping for these days. Next up was the drivetrain. We've had 4WD trucks before and with our SoCal lifestyle they only saw a touch of snow, some mud and a whole lotta dirt. With 2WD, we could do dirt, still do the towing we need and save some money off the bottom line. Done.
Finally, we didn't want to wait. We wanted to get this truck into the fleet ASAP, which means our only engine choices were the new direct-injected Gen 5 5.3-liter small-block V8 or the 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V6. A 6.2-liter V8 will make an appearance later, but we weren't going to wait that long. Besides, we've already ordered something with that same engine .
The 5.3-liter is an $895 no-brainer option that makes 355 hp and 383 pound-feet of torque. Through the standard six-speed automatic, this is good for a combined EPA rating of 18 mpg and 16 city/22 highway.
From there we picked the LT Z71 trim level that includes an automatic locking rear differential, off-road suspension, hill descent control, trailering package, OnStar for six months, Chevy MyLink with a 4.2-inch screen, Bluetooth, bench seat with underseat storage and remote entry. The price at that point was $36,750. Then there were the options.
We added the All Star Edition package for $1,830. This package offers bright-machined (not chromed!) 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, MyLink with 8-inch color touchscreen, rear window defroster, remote start and (a big one for our tight Los Angeles parking situation) a rearview camera.
On top of that we added leather seats for $1,095, navigation for $795, an integrated trailer-brake controller for $230 and then the no-cost 3.42 rear end.
Including the $995 destination fee and minus the $750 "All-Star Edition Discount" this truck carries a sticker price of $40,945.
Supplemental to that sticker price, our 2014 Chevrolet Silverado carries another sticker that shows $606.95 worth of dealer-installed upgrades like $169 door-edge protect, $189 wheel locks, $99.95 worth of nitrogen in the tires and a $149 exhaust tip. Needless to say, we didn't pay $41,551.95 for this truck.
We took advantage of $750 worth of customer loyalty cash and then we got another few hundred off through negotiation. For a brand-new truck that's in short supply, there were limits to how well we could do. When the dust settled, we got this 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew for $39,342. Nitrogen included.
Why We Bought It
In a year that will see an all-new Corvette, a new Toyota Corolla, a hybrid Ferrari and more, it's the 2014 Chevy Silverado that is the most significant.
Trucks need to be able to work incredibly hard, and in 2013 they need to be fuel-efficient, technologically advanced and comfortable, too.
Chevy has a lot riding on this truck, as do the 400,000-plus people who will buy one this year. As one of those early adopters, we have high hopes. How will this new Silverado hold up over 20,000 miles of city life, racetracks, fire roads and house renovations? Follow along on our Long-Term Road Test page to find out.
Current Odometer: 721
Best Fuel Economy: 14.2
Worst Fuel Economy: 12.5
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 13.6
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.