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Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra: New Engines, Enduring Qualities

November 2013, by Tariq Kamal - Also by this author

The light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and its GMC equivalent, the Sierra, have been redesigned for the 2014-MY. The new full-size pickup’s classic styling, enviable towing capacity and beefed-up base V-6 make it a fearsome competitor in a segment where loyalty is outweighed only by performance.

All three available engines belong to General Motors’ EcoTec3 line, and all three were designed exclusively for trucks. The base V-6 is a 4.3-liter that delivers 285 horsepower (hp) at 305 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. GM eschewed a turbocharged V-6 in favor of a 5.3-liter V-8 (355 hp at 383 lb.-ft.) and an upcoming 6.2-liter V-8, which is expected to deliver about 420 hp.

Specs for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Specs for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

The engines feature aluminum blocks and direct injection to save weight and boost fuel economy.

The reviews for the new truck’s performance have been universally positive. Critics have compared the ride and handling to that of a crossover SUV. Some credit must go to the Silverado/Sierra’s new chassis, which utilizes high-strength steel and new mounts to deliver a smoother ride over rough terrain. Towing capacity maxes out at 11,400 pounds.

Design-wise, the new truck is a throwback. Straight lines, hard edges and squared-off fenders combine to create a look reminiscent of late-’80s Silverados. The Sierra went in another direction by adding a giant front end, which is borrowed — at least in part — from GMC’s 2011 All-Terrain HD concept vehicle.

Both trucks dropped their rear-hinge, “suicide”-style back doors in favor of front-hinges and added carved-out footholds on the corners of the back bumper.

Full-size pickup interiors have taken on the look and feel of an SUV in recent years, and the Silverado/Sierra is no exception. The cab boasts upgraded fabrics and materials, a redesigned center stack and an available 8-inch touchscreen. Drivers can plug into no fewer than five USB ports, five power outlets, an SD card slot and an auxiliary audio port.

The Silverado and Sierra are available in a number of configurations, including Regular Cab, Double Cab (replacing the outgoing Extended Cab) and Crew Cab. Available beds range from 5 feet, 8 inches to 8 feet long; all Double Cabs are fitted with a 6-foot, 6-inch bed.

Base prices remain unchanged from a year ago, ranging from less than $25,000 to less than $50,000.

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