First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country 4×4
Since the 90’s the Silverado has been one of America’s top choices for the pickup enthusiast. Going on many generations; Chevy decided it was time to move the Silverado into a contemporary direction. Unlike most revamps, the Silverado is completely new from the ground up. New engines, new body, new interior…
For 2014 the Silverado articulates a brawny enhanced body with a grander front fascia, a well-developed sculpted hood, and broader flared wheel arches. Also new for 2014 is the ‘High Country’ badge. The ‘High Country’ is to compete alongside the Ford F-150 King Ranch, Dodge Ram Laramie, and the new Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition – making it the highest trim level available.
Receiving the ‘High Country’ badge takes the Silverado to a “bling” prominence; offering up an enhancement of chrome wheels, painted bumpers, and a stylish saddle brown interior with embossed “High Country” emblem on the head rests. GM has done a decent job with the overall style – maintaining an attractive appeal to the Silverado aficionados. The 20” Chrome Wheels fills the square wheel wells attractively. The dual stacked projection headlamps keep the tradition going, along with the large split chrome grille. Side steps are added on the back bumper for easy access to the bed. And our Silverado came with a factory spray on bed liner that adds to the attractiveness against the ‘White Diamond’ premium paint.
Upon entering you are christened with more ‘High Country’ badging across the threshold. The dash is delightfully tasteful wrapped in matching saddle brown leather, stitching, dark painted trim and wood accents. The use of the interior cabin is well laid out putting usage to every nick and cranny. Tons of storage space from the multiple compartments in the doors, center console, to the split glove box system.
The highlight of interior is the 8” Chevy MyLink display. Since our ‘High Country’ didn’t include the Navigation Package, the apps were minimum – thus keeping it simple and less of a distraction. The use of the system is quite functional. The rubberized buttons are easily accessible while the steering wheel controls are laid out nicely. Connect your phone to the USB and you’ll get Pandora radio to jamb to through the Bose Audio System.
Considering the size, 5 adults can easily fit comfortably. The seats are a tad firm and the back seat has an awkward position – but no complaints came from the taller passengers that needed head and leg room. The rear seats fold up for easy storage – if you don’t want to store them in the bed. The driver and passenger can adjust their comfort through the multi-way power adjustments while sitting back and enjoying the cooled & heated seating system. Plus, there is no shortage of USB and A/C ports – we counted 5 USB ports, 3 A/C adapters, and 1 plug in outlet.
From behind the wheel, the leather wrapped steering wheel feels comfortable. Since spring is in the air there was no need for the heated feature – but the remote start certainly came in handy. The instrument cluster was a bit busy for our taste but was nicely ornamented in chrome and had a 4.2” color information screen that was fully customizable.
New for 2014 are the engines; you do get a variation of choices from a 4.6L V6, 5.3L V8, and an optional 6.2L V8. All engines use what Chevrolet calls an Active Fuel Management Hydra-Matic 6-speed transmission. The 6-speed transmission is a relatively smooth system; the gear changes are unnoticeable and even revving upwards of 5,800rpm the transmission remains refined and not jerky. Luckily for us, our Silverado came with the optional $1,995 6.2L EcoTec Direct Injection V8. Just starting the engine, you can hear the thunder of 420 horses ready to gallop. Once you put your foot down, there is a burst of aggression. Use all 460lb-ft of torque and it will take a notable 5.4 seconds to 60mph.
With this EcoTec V8 the engine switches from V8 to a V4 when you’re at cruising speeds or not needing all the power – then switches back to the V8 when you put your foot down. While their efforts were thoughtful and with this engine it was hard not to stay economical – on the road our Silverado achieved an average of 14mpg city and 19mpg highway – hitting the mark closely on their EPA, with a combined average of 16.8 – nothing that wowed us. We were able to achieve a decent amount of mileage to cover; 450 miles on Unleaded Plus fuel from a 26 gallon tank.
Depending on the engine and size of your Silverado towing capabilities can fluctuate. Since our 6.2L V8 came with an axle ratio of 3.42, we only could tow up to 9,500lbs with a maximum payload of 1,957lbs. If you spring for the 3.73 axle ratio, you can get upwards to 11,800lbs of towing.
On the road the Silverado felt smooth, the handling was pleasant with decent response from the steering wheel. The Silverado also has a decent turning circle. It is quite large and feels as such while driving – one of our other drivers said “it felt bulky and hard to keep in the lanes”. That’s when the “Lane Departure Warning” and “Front End Collision Alert” helps out, vibrating the seat. That female driver then admitted to hugging the lines on purpose for the thrill. We were surprised by the stiff suspension. Phoenix is notorious for being under construction which made travels somewhat of a discomfort and while on the unpaved dirt roads it made for quite a bouncy ride. On smoother roads the Silverado is comfortable and quite. Not much wind and road noise can be found, making the cabin a nice place to be.
From the outside looking in, the new Silverado is a handsome brute. As the new Urban Cowboy hauler, it will surely get the job done while providing the amenities of comfort after a long day. It has posh and a grumbling 6.2L V8 that will never get tiring.
|2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country:||$47,380|
|LED Lighting – Cargo Box:||$60|
|6″ Chrome Assist Steps:||$700|
|High Country Premium Package:||$950|
|White Diamond TriCoat Premium Paint:||$995|
|6.2L EcoTec3 V8 Engine:||$1,995|