Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Preview:
Even in this fuel-conscious age, full-size pickups – which, themselves, are getting more fuel efficient – continue to thrive.
Ford’s F-Series perennially is America’s best-selling vehicle. Not far behind are General Motors’ twin pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, which so far in 2012 have together accounted for more than a half-million sales.
But the competition isn’t getting any easier. Ford has a new ultra-luxury Limited version of its F-150 for 2013 and Ram (nee, Dodge Ram) is offering all-new 2013 versions of its 1500 and heavy-duty trucks.
So, despite GM’s plans to launch more than a dozen new or significantly redesigned models in the next 18 months, including a new Corvette and Chevy Impala, none is more important than these full-size pickups.
Although the 2014 Silverado and Sierra 1500s will have their formal coming-out parties at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, GM has provided a sneak peek behind the curtain.
Here’s a look:
2014 Chevy Silverado / GMC Sierra 1500
All new from hood to hitch, as GM likes to say, Silverado and Sierra offer three new engines; revised steering, brakes and suspension; totally redesigned interiors and exteriors; and new cargo-carrying solutions.
The engines – a 4.3-liter V-6 and two V-8s displacing 5.3 and 6.2 liters, respectively – each boast direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation, meaning each can automatically switch to four-cylinder operation during light cruising for maximum fuel economy.
Power specs and mpg ratings have yet to be announced, although we do know each will be managed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
Payload and tow ratings also remain under wraps.
Inside the stouter, more quiet cab are myriad gizmos and gadgets designed to bring the trucks fully into the 21st century. Among them is Chevy’s MyLink (IntelliLink in GMC-speak) infotainment interface, with its 8-inch touch screen and ability to link up with as many as 10 devices. The system also can store up to 60 favorites, including radio stations, contacts, destinations, music and other media.
Buyers also will find multiple USB ports and 12- and110-volt power outlets, not to mention a bevy of storage options. GM’s trucks retain a column-mounted transmission shifter to free up center-console space for that purpose.
Out back, a new CornerStep bumper and built-in hand grips in the trucks’ new bed rail protectors make it easier to step up into the bed and retrieve stuff.
Regarding cargo beds, the 1500 crew cab for the first time will offer a 6-foot, 6-inch box in addition to the current 5-foot, 8-inch cargo box.
Production of crew cab models starts in the third quarter of 2013. Other cab configurations will follow.