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First drive: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is rugged and civilized

Consumer Reports News: June 17, 2013 05:38 PM

Chevrolet had a lot at stake with the redesigned Silverado. It is the best-selling General Motors model by a long shot, and it is facing off in a hotly contested segment amid some updated players. Consequently, we were eager to see how the 2014 Silverado measures up.

The styling is familiar and evolutionary. There is no confusing the Silverado for anything but a Chevrolet truck. In fact, many of the virtues that distinguished the previous Silverado carry forward, and it adds new features and refinements.

As in the last model, the Silverado has a low height for convenient cargo loading, aided by an integrated bumper step and assisted tail gate, for gentle lowering. The low floor also makes cabin access a cinch, rendering running boards unnecessary for many drivers.

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The interior is significantly improved over last-year's model, with the MyLink infotainment system, abundant gauges, and simple buttons, knobs, and switches throughout. Top models get a decidedly upscale soft-touch dashboard. There are even luxury car amenities available, like a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats.

Most Silverados will have a 5.3-liter V8 engine, and the truck will also be offered with a 4.3-liter V6 and 6.2-liter V8. All three aluminum engines are mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite carrying familiar displacement designations, these new engines have "few" carry over parts from past engines. Each has cylinder deactivation, variable-valve timing, direct injection, and grade braking. The V6 will be the standard engine, and, notably, will be offered with crew cab configurations.

The trucks will be sold in traditional standard, extended cab, and crew cab bodies, with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. The redesign brings larger rear doors on crew cab models, and extended cab rear doors are now forward-hinged.

Our first impressions with a borrowed Silverado LTZ are that it is very civilized; sort of like driving a big sedan—quiet and highly refined.

Learn more about this impressive new truck in the video below, and stay tuned for when we buy our own and see how it compares against the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.

Jeff Bartlett

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