What happens when you cross a full-size pickup truck with a luxury vehicle? You get the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country.
While the Silverado High Country will definitely appeal to the horse trailering equestrian enthusiast, the truck also has a place in the commercial fleet market, especially for tradesmen, contractors, and foremen, whose vehicles are their mobile offices. While it is fair to describe the Silverado High Country as a luxury trim level, it is also fair to view it from an ergonomic perspective that allows tradesmen the ability to work productively for long hours in comfort.
All High Country models are crew cabs, offering a choice of two bed lengths. When assessed from a work truck perspective, there are many attributes that favor the Silverado High Country. First, the Crew Cab design offers plenty of rear seating space if you are transporting a work crew. Conversely, there is plenty of rear seating for family members when the truck is used during non-work hours.
When not carrying passengers, the rear seats fold upward exposing a nearly flat load floor ideal for tool boxes and other equipment you may not want to carry in the exposed pickup bed. Additional interior storage can be found in the over/under glove compartment design and large storage pockets in the doors and center console.
As a mobile office, the Silverado features numerous power ports within the center console. Three USB ports, two 12-volt plugs, and a 110-volt household plug reside under the center stack with more USB ports and 12-volt plugs inside the armrest.
From a comfort perspective, the Silverado High Country features heated and cooled leather bucket seats, with 12-way power adjustments, including four-way power lumbar. The adjustment options make it easy for any size driver to find a comfortable driving position.
Similarly, the pickup bed was designed with driver ergonomics in mind. There are corner bumper steps and integrated hand-holds designed to make getting materials into and out of the bed easier with less exertion. The LED lighting under the bed rails and the high-mount cargo light help illuminate the bed when work carries over into the evening.
My most memorable takeaway from driving the 2014 Silverado High Country was the 5.3L V-8 EcoTec3 engine, which features active fuel management, direct fuel injection, and continuously variable valve timing technologies. The powerful 5.3L engine generates 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, providing almost effortless acceleration up freeway on-ramps to merge safely and confidently into traffic. The powertrain includes a 6-speed automatic transmission providing both fuel efficiency and smooth acceleration through all six gears.
Another fuel-efficiency feature is the engine’s active fuel management system. When V-8 power isn’t required, the active fuel management system seamlessly deactivates four cylinders to run the engine in a more fuel-efficient, four-cylinder mode. When power is needed to tow or accelerate, the full power of the V-8 seamlessly becomes available. The 5.3L V-8 has an EPA fuel economy rating of 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway.
Although the Silverado High Country is a full-size pickup truck, it provides the maneuverability of a mid-size truck. Road visibility is excellent with the large side mirrors to help minimize blind spots, especially in cluttered work sites.
The model I drove was equipped with lane departure warning. When driving over 35 mph, the left or right portion of the seat bottom will vibrate if the system detects the truck drifting into another lane.
Additional safety features include a back-up camera and front park sensors. The back-up camera features trajectory lines that adjust with steering inputs. Power-folding mirrors are designed to minimize damage when parking at work sites or in urban settings with tight parking.
Photos: GM's 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country
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