Chevy and GMC's new 1500-series pickups are stronger, safer, comfier, more powerful and more efficient than the ones they replace.
This may not be the most exciting new vehicle scheduled to debut at the upcoming 2013 Detroit Auto Show next month, but given the sheer volume of pickups sold every year in the United States alone, it is surely one of the most important. What we have here is General Motors' new full-size pickup truck, which the American industrial giant has just released. Offered as both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the new truck has undergone extensive revisions for the 2014 model year.
GM says the new pickups are stronger, safer, comfier, more powerful and more efficient than the models they replace, which were introduced way back in 2006. Buyers waiting for the new models to replace their existing trucks may be surprised by some of the new features, although the redesign is decidedly more evolutionary than revolutionary. Compared with the outgoing Silverado and Sierra, the new trucks have a taller grille with a higher hood, flanked by projector-beam headlights. The trucks have been engineered to be quieter and more comfortable than their predecessors, with better ride quality and handling.
Optional equipment like collision and lane-departure warning systems make the trucks safer, assuming the right boxes are checked off on the order form. They're also more aerodynamic, but with a coefficient of drag just this side of a barn, nobody buys a half-ton pickup for its sleek shape. Powering the new Silverado/Sierra is a new family of EcoTec3 engines. Unlike Ford's EcoBoost range, these engines aren't turbocharged, but do for the first time in a GM pickup include direct injection, as well as variable cylinder deactivation, continuously variable valve timing and aluminum blocks to make them more fuel-efficient - an increasing demand even among truck buyers.
The powertrain options include a 4.6-liter V6, a 5.3-liter V8 and a 6.2-liter V8, all new and mated to a six-speed automatic that replaces the old four-speed slushbox. GM hasn't released output and fuel-consumption figures just yet, but with three engines and numerous cab sizes, bed lengths, drivetrain and trim levels, expect a mind-boggling array of configurations when the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 - which stand as GM's top selling models - reaches dealers sometime next year.