2014 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra: Details Before 2013 Detroit Auto Show Debut

2014 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra: Details Before 2013 Detroit Auto Show Debut

2013 Detroit Auto Show

2013 Detroit Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • GM doesn't get tricky with new-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra: three body styles, three box lengths and a V6 and two V8s backed by a six-speed automatic.
  • Crew-cab configuration gets the option of a longer, 6.5-foot bed; extended-cab rear doors now hinged at the front.
  • Fourth-generation 4.3-liter V6 and 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter small-block V8s get direct injection and continuously variable valve timing.

PONTIAC, Michigan — General Motors presented the media today with the first look at the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup truck lineup, prior to the world unveiling at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show next month. Without shedding much light on crucial dimensional details or specifications for the three available engines, GM's new 2014 pickups follow the company's tradition for careful evolution in this crucial market segment.

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are an updated but not particularly radical styling departure from the outgoing GMT900 generation. The power-dome hood and full-width front bumper highlight a body design geared toward optimizing aerodynamics, including a "sealed" grille, inset doors that don't wrap over the roof, optimized cab-to-body sealing, and air deflectors under the chassis and for the rear wheels.

There is the now-conventional three-body lineup: regular cab, extended cab and crew cab. The rear doors for the crew cab body are larger, with ease of entry and 2 inches of newfound legroom without adding to overall length. In a move that will ease parking-lot tension across the nation, the extended-cab model's rear doors now are front-hinged.

There are three available engines — goodbye to the Vortec name, get ready for EcoTec3 — for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 lineups, all based on GM's new, Gen V small-block V8 architecture. The 4.3-liter V6 mirrors the previously available displacement, while replacing the outgoing 4.8-liter entry-level V8 is the new EcoTec3 5.3-liter V8 and a 6.2-liter variant becomes the top-of-the-line V8 for GM's full-size pickups. All have aluminum blocks, direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation that cuts operation to four cylinders under light loads. No engine specifications were presented, but GM did allow that all three will generate better horsepower, torque and fuel economy than their previous-generation Vortec counterparts.

A new active-exhaust design will manage and fine-tune engine sound when in four-cylinder mode and trucks fitted with the 6.2-liter V8 will have an additional active noise-cancellation system.

Backing each engine is a six-speed automatic with a new Cruise Grade Braking feature that automatically requisitions lower gears on downgrades. The company said the heftier torque of the new Gen V engines dictated an upgrade to 9.5-inch or 9.7-inch rear axles, a move certain to bring cheer to future parts-department workers everywhere.

The suspension continues with upper and lower control arms and coil-over shocks up front and leaf springs for a solid axle at the rear. Front springs are 25-30 percent stiffer and models equipped with the Z71 performance suspension get Rancho monotube dampers. The new pickups follow their Ford and Chrysler rivals by moving to electrically assisted power steering.

The interior of the new full-size pickups is said to be roomier, quieter and more functional — and posted "off the charts" performance in consumer clinics, GM said. Confirmation for most of that braggadocio will have to wait for media drives, but the new trucks' interior certainly is a visual upgrade over the aged outgoing models. Particularly noticeable is the optional MyLink infotainment system's 8-inch touchscreen and retention of a traditional column gearshift — no Ram-like rotary knobs or Ford F-Series console shifters here. There are countless USB and power outlets.

The company said the new trucks' frames are updated, with high-strength steel in the main frame and crossmembers, while a hydroformed front frame adds strength but cuts mass. The cab structures are said to be entirely new, with ultra-high-strength steel in strategic areas to assure good performance in newly instituted small-offset frontal-crash tests and there's plain 'ol high-strength steel in the pillars, rocker panels and roof rails. Newly engineered shear-type cab mounts improve quietness and solidity, and crew-cab and extended-cab models double up with hydraulic mounts.

The cargo box for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra is formed from rolled steel, rather than stamped, with claimed advantages being lighter weight and improved strength and durability.

The company is expected to reveal more details about the trucks when they are officially unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January. Executives and engineers for Chevrolet and GMC would not say when the 2014 pickups will be in showrooms, but sources at GM previously had insinuated an on-sale date late in the second quarter of 2013.

Edmunds says: GM plays it safe with its new generation of full-size pickups. The market will determine if the General should've taken more risks, particularly with styling.

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