Chevrolet Silverado

When Chevrolet rolled out the 2014 Silverado at the Canadian International AutoShow, it was to some strong words: “From hood to hitch, Silverado is the most refined, best engineered pickup ever.”

Boldness certainly hasn’t been in short supply at the General Motors camp. But when your bestselling pickup consistently plays second fiddle to Ford’s F-Series, and Chrysler’s Ram lineup is nipping at your heels with substantial sales growth and Motor Trend’s 2013 Truck of the Year, you gotta make some noise. “Stronger, smarter, more capable” — that’s the new Silverado. And from early looks, GM might be on to something.

What we find in the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is not so much a revolutionary leap but a back-to-basics refinement. It’s a truck meant to appeal to the heritage of pickup ownership; those traditional blue-collar sensibilities rooted in dirt under the fingers and an honest day’s work.

The styling, for one, is conservative and strong without the flash — very in tune with classic truck culture. The Silverado’s signature stacked headlights bookend a wider, more prominent grille. A sizable front bumper retains its firm, chiselled jaw, while a dual-power dome hood and flexing fenders add to its visual brawn. It’s an actions-speak-louder-than-words design that increases aerodynamics for better performance. This certainly isn’t a wannabe’s city truck — it’s a man’s man’s tool, one ready to get the job done.

Chevy is offering three engine options for the new Silverado. The EcoTec3 family will include a standard 4.3-Litre V-6, a 5.3-L V-8 and a 6.2-L V-8, all managed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. These all-aluminum engines come with a variety of fuel-efficient technologies, including direct injection, cylinder deactivation, variable valve timing and a heap of promises. Chevy claims top power and fuel economy, but, unfortunately, GM is holding back official performance numbers. We’ll have to wait until they hit dealerships to know for sure.

Overhauled performance and safety features abound, including a fully boxed frame with hydroformed high-strength steel that increases strength and lessens weight, as well as 4×4 capability, Rancho monotube shocks, GM’s patented Duralife brake rotors, trailer sway control, hill descent control and automatic locking rear differential. And, a first in the full-size truck segment: forward collision alert and lane departure warning. Corner bumper steps, LED rail lighting in the box, an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate and standard rear doors (not the suicide doors common on past Silverados) are welcomed details that could make a big difference on the job site.

Behind the wheel you’ll find a well-placed four-wheel drive control and trailer brake control on the left of the dash. Chevy’s MyLink system, which can link 10 devices, is available through an eight-inch infotainment screen. Four different power outlets, including USB ports, also make the new Silverado a viable mobile office. Heated cloth seats are also a segment first.

While it’s too early to pass judgment, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is bringing enough to the table to garner serious attention from tradesmen, labourers and outdoor adventurers. Look for it this summer.

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Michael Hill

Michael Hill

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