SPRING BRANCH, TX. Chevrolet this week rolled out the 2014 lineup of its Silverado full-size, light-duty pickups. According to the OEM, the trucks have been redesigned “from hood to hatch.” Indeed, the 2014 version is markedly distinctive from the previous generation (2007-13 model years) of the biggest-selling Chevy model in the U.S.

“The Silverado 1500 kicks off a complete ‘refresh’ of Chevrolet’s North American truck portfolio,” stated Chris Perry, vp of marketing.  He said that among “hundreds of improvements,” the 2014 models boast such key changes as:

·         Three new powertrains featuring more powerful, more efficient V-6 and V-8 gasoline-fueled EcoTec3 engines mated to six-speed automatic transmissions

·         Improved aerodynamics

·         Cabs that  are roomier, stronger and quieter

·         Revised steering, suspension and brakes for improved ride and handling

·         Four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors

·         New bed with standard box rail protectors and new ‘CornerStep’ bumpers

Along with those and other enhancements, Perry said the 2014 Silverado models will also be distinguished by being offered with base pricing equivalent to corresponding 2013 models and coming with a standard scheduled-maintenance program for two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The launch event, held here at the historic Knibbe Ranch outside San Antonio, focused solely on the light-duty Silverado 1500. Chevy executives told FleetOwner that information on the powertain offerings and other specific features of the heavy-duty 2014 Silverado HD pickup model would be released at a later date.

The Silverado 1500 will be offered in three body styles: Regular cab, Crew cab and “Double cab,” which will replace the existing Extended cab.

The Crew cab—due out later this Spring— will come to market first. It will be powered by the all-new 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8, which Chevrolet said is expected to power three out of four Silverado 1500s.

The 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8 is rated 355 hp at 383 lb-ft of torque. According to Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for Silverado, the engine will make “more than 300 lb-ft of torque available from 2,000 to 5,600 rpm for responsive performance under a broad range of real-world conditions.

“Silverado’s available 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8 gives customers the best of both worlds,” he continued. “Customers get the proven power and dependability of a V-8 truck engine, with better fuel economy than a leading competitor’s smaller turbocharged V-6.”

The other two EcoTec3 engines are the standard 4.3-liter V-6, which is rated 285 hp at 305 lb.-ft. of torque (413 Nm), and a 6.2-liter V-8 that will become available later this year.

All three EcoTec3 engines feature direct fuel injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing.

According to Luke, all three of the engines will “provide the proven power, torque and dependability of a large-displacement engine, seamlessly switching to four-cylinder mode [via cylinder deactivaition] to save fuel during light-load driving. The 5.3L V-8 has EPA–estimated fuel economy of up to 23 mpg highway  for 2WD models, the best of any V-8 pickup.”

Silverados equipped with the 4.3L V-6 will have towing ratings up to 7,200 lbs, which Luke said was the highest for any base V-6 in the segment. He added that Silverados equipped with the 5.3L V-8 and the max towing package, to become available later this year, will have towing ratings of up to 11,500 lbs, “which is more than any light-duty pickup currently on the market.”

The new cab is stronger, with nearly two-thirds of the structure made from high-strength steel, pointed out Luke, “for a confident feel and improved safety.” He said that, similarly, the main rails and key cross members of the updated frame are high-strength steel with major elements hydroformed for reduced mass and improved strength.

Luke also pointed to these major chassis improvements:

·         New shear-style body mounts tune out both up-and-down and side-to-side movement for a quieter, more comfortable ride

·         Double cab and Crew cab models have a set of hydraulic body mounts to further isolate the cabs. Combined with numerous other acoustic and NVH (noise vibration and harshness) enhancements, he said the “intended result is a solid, refined feel with no loss in traditional truck capability.”

·         Revised front and rear suspension and wider wheels provide a more comfortable ride and more confident handling.

·         Electric power steering improves steering feel and reduces fuel consumption.

·         New four-wheel-disc brakes with Duralife rotors improve brake feel and potentially double rotor life.

·         All-aluminum hood to save weight

According to Luke, Silverado will be available with such “segment-exclusive” safety features  as Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning with an Active Safety Seat, and Front and Rear Park Assist. StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control Start Assist come standard on all Silverados.

The new pickup box is made from roll-formed steel for increased strength and reduced mass. Luke said that Silverado’s new CornerStep bumper, combined with ergonomic handholds built into the box rail protectors [stake pockets] makes it easier to access the box. The bed is also available with new upper tie-down hooks, under-rail light-emitting diode lighting, and an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate.

For the first time, Silverado 1500 Crew cabs will be available with a longer 6’6” box, in addition to the previous 5’8” box, enabling customers to carry more cargo while still being able to park in many garages, Luke noted.

The all-new interiors of the 2014 Silverado 1500 feature an “upright” instrument panel, six-gauge instrument cluster and multiple storage options. Luke said controls are “functional, logically placed and easy to operate with work gloves on. Rear doors on the Crew cabs are larger for easier entry and exit, and rear doors on Double cab models are hinged at the front for easier access, especially in tight spots.

Luke said that the new Chevrolet MyLink onboard connectivity system is easy to use and features natural-voice recognition and enough ports and power outlets to support multiple electronic devices in the cab.

What right off makes the 2014 Silverado stand out from its predecessor model is its bold‘bull-nosed [in the eyes of this reporter] yet more aerodynamic and functional exterior design. “The new exterior design blends strong Chevy truck heritage with a refined, modern aesthetic,” remarked Luke. “The design is more muscular, more functional and more aerodynamic. A twin-port grille, full-width bumper and dual power dome hood create a strong presence, which is carried through in sculpted body sides and fender flares.

“The new Silverado design is about much more than just looks, however,” he continued. “The new front end is engineered to improve sealing for more efficient cooling, while the roof and tailgate spoiler were shaped in the wind tunnel to smooth airflow over the truck for reduced drag. And new inlaid doors, which fit into recesses in the body side, reduce wind noise for a quieter cab.”

The 2014 Silverado 1500 will be available in seven trim levels. Two “work truck” levels will be available,  1WT and 2WT, with the 2WT adding such features  as chrome bumpers, high-wear cloth seats and Chevrolet MyLink with  4.2-in color touch screen.

The Silverado LT and LTZ models provide additional features, such as an 8-inch color touch radio and trailering package on the LT, and a standard 5.3L EcoTec3 V-8, leather seating, and dual-zone climate control on the LTZ. 

Silverado Z71 models, which are engineered for "enhanced off-road capability," come in both LT and LTZ trim levels.