DETROIT – General Motors unveiled two all-new trucks on Thursday, its 2014-MY Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The automaker's President of GM North America presented the new vehicles during a press conference on Thursday, and during his introduction of the new models he emphasized that the automaker has worked hard to differentiate the new pickups from one another.
Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for full-size and mid-size trucks, provided an overview, noting that "truck customers are some of the most discerning and demanding around. We feel the new trucks will once again set the standard in full size trucks."
Starting with the Silverado, GM said it will begin production of the 2014 Silverado 1500 crew cab in the second quarter of 2013 and that other cab styles will follow later in the year.
In describing the Silverado, GM's Chris Hill said "It's stronger, smarter and more capable than ever before."
For the 2014-MY Chevrolet Silverado, GM said the all-new trucks will come with three engine choices. They include a family of three all-new EcoTec3 engines, which include a new 4.3L V-6, a new 5.3L V-8, and a new 6.2L V-8. GM said all three engines can switch to a four-cylinder mode to improve efficiency when the truck is under light load driving conditions, and that the company engineered all three to provide more power, torque, and be more efficient. GM hasn’t yet announced fuel-economy, horsepower, or torque figures for these engines yet but said it will do so early next year.
When it comes to transmissions, each engine is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. GM said because the new V-8 engines provide more torque, the company used new 9.5- or 9.76-inch rear axles.
On the outside, GM redesigned the headlamps and the grille, sealing it to provide cooling and reduce drag. On LTZ models, GM redesigned the vertically stacked headlamps so they include projector beam lamps. The Silverado also has a new hood with twin power domes, designed to move air over the windshield wipers and reduce noise. Another change designed to reduce noise and improve aerodynamics are inlaid doors, which fit into the body sides rather than wrap over the roof. The doors also feature triple seals. The vehicle also has new cab-to-box seals, shields on the chassis that smooth airflow under the vehicle, and deflectors that move air past the rear tires. GM added that it shaped the roof and tailgate’s top to manage airflow in the back.
Other exterior changes include larger rear doors on crew cab models, locating the B-pillars further forward, and making the rear doors on the extended cab models hinge at the front, which is designed to offer easier entry and exit in tight spaces such as parking lots.
The pickup box on the Silverado comes in three lengths: 5’8”, 6’6”,and 8’. Crew cab models get the 6’6” box as a new option in addition to the 5’8” box and extended cab models come with 6’6” boxes. The regular cab models feature 6’6” or 8’ boxes. The tailgate uses an integrated torsion bar and damper to make it easier to open and close the tailgate.
For the pickup box on the Silverado, GM added a CornerStep bumper and built-in hand grip pockets in the bed rail protectors to make it easier to step into the bed and access things. Locking, two-tier loading, and a box lamp come standard. Other available features include upper tie-down hooks and LED lamps under the bed rails.
Wheel choices on the Silverado range from 17 to 20 inches, and each is a half-inch wider than before to reduce tire flex and improve cornering and steering, according to GM.
GM also offers new off-road capabilities for the Silverado with the Z71 model, which will be an option on LZ and LTZ trim levels. The Z71 model features monotube Rancho shocks, front tow hooks, a transfer case skid plate, and 18- or 20-inch all-terrain tires. The Z71 package also features Hill Descent Control, which uses the anti-lock braking system to smoothly traverse rough terrain while heading downhill.
Inside the cab, GM made the front seatbacks thinner to add more two inches of rear legroom. The Silverado’s all-new interior features an upright instrument panel, a six-gauge instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch display (depending on model choice), interior storage options, 12-volt and 110-volt power outlets, and multiple USB ports. A new interior option is a more durable, easier to clean high-wear cloth seat with dual-density foam for added comfort.
In terms of storage space, GM said the vehicle has more storage than some minivans. All of the storage bins feature rubber liners to reduce rattling and noise.
GM also offers Chevrolet MyLink for the all-new Silverado, which can connect to up to 10 devices. It features voice-recognition technology that occupants can use to make phone calls, enter destinations into a navigation system, and operate the entertainment system, among other functions. Users can operate MyLink via labeled knobs or via touchscreen on models equipped with the 8-inch display. The system can also store up to 60 “favorites,” from contacts to radio stations.
Silverado Safety Features
For safety, GM said it made a number of structural updates and added new safety technologies. GM’s Chevrolet brand updated the main rails and crossmembers in the frame, making them from high-strength steel and using hydroforming to boost strength and reduce mass. The cab's structures incorporate high-strength steel in the A-pillars, B-pillars, roof rails, and rocker panels. GM used ultra-high-strength steel in parts of the rocker panels and underbody. The automaker said about two-thirds of the cab structure is made from high-strength steels. The 2014 Silverado 1500 model also features a roll-formed steel pickup box. GM also lighter materials, for example the aluminum hood, engine block, and suspension, to offset the mass of new features.
GM updated the suspension, steering, and brakes on the 2014 Silverado 1500. The front suspension features lighter coilover shocks and stiffer front springs. The rear suspension uses two-stage multi-leaf springs. The front and rear shocks feature new valving to improve damping at low speeds.
For steering, the 2014 Silverado 1500 features new all-electric variable-assist power steering for improved handling and less effort needed to steer at low speeds. This system also reduces fuel consumption and eliminates maintenance for hydraulic power steering.
For the brakes, four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors come standard.
Another feature on the Silverado is Auto Grade Braking, which uses the engine and transmission to slow the vehicle on a downgrade.
When it comes to new safety technologies, GM will offer a lane departure warning system that alerts the driver if he or she starts to drift into another lane and forward collision alert, which will warn the driver if he or she gets too close to a vehicle up ahead. A Safety Alert Seat and front and rear park assist are also options, as is a rear view camera mounted in the tailgate. Spotter mirrors are also an option.
Standard safety features include Stabilitrak electronic stability control with Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist, head curtain side airbags with rollover protection, and OnStar.
The 2014-MY GMC Sierra
The all-new 2014 GMC Sierra features a new exterior, three EcoTec3 engine choices, an updated cabin with IntelliLink, and new safety features. GM's Micah Jones described that the typical Sierra customer "Believes if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well," and that GMC applied this philosophy to the all-new Sierra.
Under the hood, the GMC Sierra offers a 4.3L V-6, a 5.3L V-8, and a 6.2L V-8. Features include direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and the same Active Fuel Management, which switches to four-cylinder mode when needed. The transmission is a six-speed automatic and V-8 models come with larger, 9.5- and 9.76-inch rear axles to accommodate higher engine output. Again, GM hasn’t yet announced horsepower, torque, or fuel-economy figures yet and plans to do so at a later date.
The 2014 Sierra also uses electric power steering that boosts fuel economy and reduces needed maintenance.
Outside, GMC created detailed new grilles on the all-new Sierra. Projector headlamps are standard and LED signature accent lighting is available. All Sierra models come with chrome grille surrounds and black wheel arch moldings. Other features on the trim levels include chrome belt moldings, mirror caps and door handles, different grille details, and different wheel designs.
For the 2014 Sierra, GM’s GMC brand is offering new front-hinged rear doors, with outside pull handles at the back, on Extended Cab models. Crew cab models get two bed length options, a 5-ft., 8-inch box and a new 6-ft., 6-inch box. Regular cabs offer 6-ft., 6-inch or 8-ft. box lengths, and the extended cab models come with a 6-ft., 6-inch box.
The rear bumper on the Sierra offers standard corner steps and grips. Four movable upper tie downs are standard. An individual can place them in nine locations, and they can withstand up to a 500-lb. load. LED cargo lights under the bed rails are available. They illuminate the bed area when the bed is equipped with a tonneau cover. The EZ Lift and Lower tailgate uses an integrated torsion bar and damper to make it easier to open and close the tailgate.
GM also made aerodynamic changes similar to the Silverado and added extra seals to keep the cabin quiet.
GM said premium materials, attention to detail, and new technologies set the Sierra’s cabin apart. The Sierra has an upright instrument panel that GM said it designed for visibility and accessibility. The new instrument cluster features six gauges with an available 4.2-inch color Driver Information Center that provides a trip computer, radio, navigation, and vehicle status information.
For the seats, Sierra will offer leather and cloth, and a new high-wear cloth option. The seats come with dual-density foam for added comfort. A sliding rear window with a defroster is also available.
The Sierra’s interior features second, high-mounted glove box in addition to the traditional box. Each door on the Sierra offers storage. The center stack and console feature more cupholders and compartments with enough space for laptops and other items. The Sierra offers a 110-volt outlet, up to five USB ports, four 12-volt outlets, and an SD card slot as connections.
IntelliLink is an available connectivity option, and it features an eight-inch color touchscreen. Bluetooth phone and Pandora are options, and a navigation system with all-new map displays is available. It also offers voice recognition technology as a control option.
The 2014 GMC Sierra comes with four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife brake rotors. Optional safety features include Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. The Driver Alert Seat, which is paired with these systems, generates pulse patterns on the lower seat cushion bolster to alert the driver of a potential danger, for example another vehicle approaching too fast. Drivers can select audible or vibrating alerts. GMC also offers front Park Assist as an option. Rear Park Assist is available.
GM is also offering an all-terrain model of the GMC Sierra. It features an off-road suspension with Rancho shocks, hill descent control, front recovery hooks, a transfer case shield, and different wheels and tires as standard features. An automatic locking rear differential is also standard.
Inside, the Sierra All-Terrain model comes with an ebony interior and front bucket seats on SLE models. A carbon-fiber seat accent is standard on SLT models.
Story by Greg Basich, quotes by Lauren Fletcher.