We'll come out and say it: The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is the best full-size truck on the market. That's an easy conclusion when you consider the pickup's crossoverlike ride and handling, elegant interior, cutting-edge technology and improved abilities -- all of which mean the Silverado's rivals have their work cut out for them.
Yes, the Silverado's styling isn't radically different, but that's no accident. The small changes give the truck a modern look while keeping it recognizable. But it's what's under the skin that counts, and that's where the Silverado shines. This year, it's wider, tougher and more high-tech than ever, and while it may look the same, the latest Silverado is more capable than ever.
What's New for 2014?
The Silverado is fully redesigned for 2014. In addition to new styling, it offers new technology such as Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, an updated interior and entirely new engines. The truck's ride and handling has also been improved, while capability has increased thanks to a stiffer chassis and more equipment.
What We Like
Great interior; steering and handling almost feels like a car; impressive array of technology
What We Don't
Styling is too similar to the outgoing model; that's about it
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is offered with three engines: a 4.3-liter V6 that makes 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft and a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. All use a 6-speed automatic as the only available transmission.
For shoppers interested in gas mileage, the 4.3-liter engine is the one to have. It returns 18 miles per gallon city/24 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive or 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.
Drivers who step up to the 5.3-liter V8 will find fuel economy ratings of 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive or 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive. The mighty 6.2-liter, meanwhile, returns 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive or 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.
Standard Features & Options
Like all full-size trucks, the Silverado 1500 is offered with a wide array of body style configurations, engine choices, drivetrain options and bed sizes. We've simplified it here for shoppers interested in buying a Silverado, but choosing the truck that's right for you will involve more than just picking a trim level.
Base-level Silverado models use the WT designation, for Work Truck. Two trim levels are offered: the 1WT ($26,000), which includes only basics such as power locks, cruise control, air conditioning, vinyl upholstery and an AM/FM stereo without a CD player, and the 2WT ($28,400), which adds keyless entry, power windows, SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth. The 2WT also features Chevrolet's MyLink audio system with a 4.2-inch center-mounted color screen.
Shoppers who step up to the LT ($32,000) get features such as steering wheel audio controls, a 6-speaker stereo, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and cloth upholstery. The LT also offers more options than the WT, including features such as an alarm, a lane-departure warning system, a rearview camera and a forward-collision alert system.
The luxury-oriented LTZ ($39,500) is the next trim in the Silverado's lineup. Only offered in Double Cab or Crew Cab body styles, the LTZ includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, a remote starter, a memory system for the mirrors and seats, a rearview camera and an 8-in color touchscreen for the MyLink infotainment system.
Topping the Silverado lineup is the upscale High Country. While prices for the luxurious truck haven't yet been announced, the High Country features stitched leather seats, chrome trim on many exterior surfaces, a Bose audio system and cooled front seats. It also uses the truck's 6.2-liter V8, which is exclusive to the High Country model.
If you're interested in options, the Silverado has a few. Additional extras include a power sunroof, a navigation system, safety features such as forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems, cooled seating, power-adjustable pedals and a heated steering wheel.
All Silverado pickups include daytime running lights, dual front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitor. Options range from a forward-collision alert system to GM's OnStar telematics system, which can summon help in an accident.
The Silverado is the first pickup to receive a 5-star overall crash-test rating from the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Crew cab variants received the top rating, earning 5-star scores in frontal-impact and side-impact tests, along with four stars in the rollover rating.
Behind the Wheel
The Silverado's ride and handling have been dramatically improved compared to last year's model. On the road, the truck now feels more like a crossover SUV than a beefy truck. The interior remains family-sedan quiet even on the highway. Electric power steering delivers just the right amount of road feel, but it also makes the Silverado easy to maneuver in a parking lot or on a boat ramp.
We spent most of our time in a 2-wheel-drive Silverado Crew Cab with the 5.3-liter V8. This is the setup Chevy says most buyers will order. With 355 horsepower, this middle engine makes more than enough power but feels as smooth as a family sedan.
To capitalize on the new, more refined feel, Chevy did some serious work on the truck's interior. The gauges, dash, seats and even the carpet all give the truck a more upscale feel compared to the previous Silverado. We like the Silverado's large, easy-to-use buttons and switches. Just below the radio and climate controls are several large switches that control features such as parking sensors and Hill Descent Control. All these switches are large enough that real truck folks won't have to take off their gloves to use them.
Other Cars to Consider
Ram 1500 -- Formerly the Dodge RAM, the Ram 1500 boasts muscular styling, HEMI V8 power and available air suspension. We also like its newly available diesel engine, which is now offered on light-duty models.
Toyota Tundra -- The Tundra doesn't have the same wide-ranging lineup as the Silverado, but it's getting close. Shoppers who pick the Tundra will find a refined, muscular pickup with many great standard features and options.
It's hard to go wrong with any 2014 Silverado, provided you buy the truck that's right for you. In other words, don't get a bare-bones WT model if you'll spend most of your time hauling your family around town. Likewise, don't get a High Country if you'll be driving to job sites. For us, the right truck is somewhere in the middle: an LT, or possibly an LTZ, with Chevy's high-tech MyLink system. And we'd go with the Crew Cab model to maximize practicality.