The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado has three auxiliary power outlets, old-style cigarette-lighter plugs, three USB outlets for charging phones and electronic gadgets and a 110-volt outlet. “You could basically power the house from inside the truck,” Chris Hilts, the Silverado interior design manager, said at a recent unveiling.
And there are LED lights under the truck bed’s rails to illuminate the inside of the bed. A clever step built into the bumper’s rear corners – a CornerStep – combine with a handhold on the box to ease the climb into the bed without lowering the tailgate. The cabin has bins and boxes and storage spaces everywhere, all with rubber liners. The glovebox locks and so does a compartment underneath the centre console storage bin.
“A lot of our Texas owners carry pistols,” said Hilts, in an wonderfully illustrative quote than ran in Automotive News.
The Silverado and Sierra share the same engineering and, while there are some styling and packaging differences, only the expert eye can pick them out. So what I say about one applies to the other.
In each case, the exterior designs are more evolutionary than revolutionary; that reflects the generally conservative and highly brand-loyal nature of buyers. GM is launching these rigs with three all-new EcoTec3 engines, a fully updated cabin with available next-generation IntelliLink connectivity and other features designed for what you might call 21st-century pickup owners.
The new rigs also have a standard tie-down system in the rear and what GM officials say is the segment’s only standard projector beam headlamps.
The engines – a 4.3-litre V-6, a 5.3-litre V-8 and a 6.2-litre V-8 offered – all have aluminum blocks, standard direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management. The latter saves fuel by switching to four cylinders during light-load driving. Standard four-wheel disc brakes have Duralife brake rotors – a hardened and strengthened surface to reduce corrosion. The new rotors, says GM, should last twice as long as conventional rotors and provide quieter braking with less vibration.
GM is touting the “premium” cabins, too. Soft-touch materials and available aluminum trim are only part of the story. The upright instrument panel is functional, visible and accessible. Knobs and buttons are large, legible and within reach.
All knobs are coated using a rubber-over-mold technology, so they’re easy to grip even through gloves. The new instrument cluster has six gauges and, for extra money, you can order a centrally located, 4.2-inch colour Driver Information Center. The latter will serve up details about the vehicle, your trip, the radio and the navigation system. GM says the seats use dual-density foam for hours of comfort.
And on and on. GM’s North American president, Mark Reuss, gruffly insists that GM knows the importance of these new pickups, and soon Ford and Chrysler will know, too.
“Our competitors may think they have smooth sailing ahead, but the weather is about to change,” Mark Reuss said. “This is different from our competition and we think it will work.”