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2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

I think this all-new pickup is as comfortable as it is capable. What does the Peanut Gallery think?
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The Car:

Price: $49,590 as tested (including destination charge)
Engine: 5.3-liter V-8, 355 horsepower, 383 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway
My favorite standard feature: Six-foot-six-inch cargo box
Option I can’t live without: Chevrolet MyLink audio system with eight-inch diagonal color touchscreen and navigation ($795)
You might also be considering: Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra

See more specs on the Silverado in our Car Guide.
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What I Think:

In the full-size truck segment, there is an undisputed king. The Ford F-150 consistently and significantly outsells its competition. It is by far the bestselling vehicle in Ford’s lineup, and it’s the one every other automaker hopes one day to dethrone. You can bet that’s what Chevrolet was aiming for with its major overhaul of the Silverado for 2014, and by the looks of it, it’s not a challenge the automaker took lightly. We recently tested a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD LTZ truck with a crew cab. This top-of-the-line truck is more than capable of spending a day on the farm. It has a six-foot-six-inch cargo bed, a 7,200-pound tow rating, and four-wheel drive, not to mention the Z71 off-road suspension. But the interior is so cushy that it’s difficult to imagine someone climbing into the driver’s seat with muddy boots or gloved hands. silverado syb Our Silverado had heated and cooled leather front bucket seats (a $650 option), an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system (a $795 option), and a power sunroof (a $995 option), and it felt more like a luxury SUV than a workhorse. The back seat had plenty of space for adult-size passengers, and there were enough outlets and charging points in the center stack to satisfy even the techiest family. The Silverado is a very large piece of machinery, and it felt that way going down the road or trying to squeeze into one of Ann Arbor’s maddeningly tiny parking spaces. But a pickup truck isn’t in its element in a crunchy-granola college town, so I took it on a few errands to see how it did in something closer to its natural habitat. The Silverado easily managed the task of moving my disassembled futon from one storage space to the next, and loading was made easy by the assist steps notched into the truck’s rear bumper. Driving it down a dirt road to a cider mill on a sunny late-summer afternoon felt about as American as apple pie. silverado syb Of course, although the Silverado is certainly capable of more than carting a futon and a couple gallons of apple cider across southeastern Michigan, I may not be. Driving away from the mill, apple slushie in hand, I came across a teenager who had driven his car into a ditch. Driver and vehicle were both fine, but the ditch was too steep for the upended Mercury Grand Marquis to escape under its own steam. When the driver saw me, he hung up his phone and waved his arms frantically. “Do you have a rope? Can you tow me out?” I knew it would be no problem for the Silverado, especially with its optional front recovery hooks, but alas, I am not the kind of person who carries tow ropes around on my weekend errands. That experience reinforced the way I’ve always felt about pickup trucks: if you need one, drive one. If you don’t, drive something else instead—or, at the very least, keep a rope in your cargo box.

The Verdict:

The Silverado is as comfortable as it is capable, and if you’re looking for a truck, it deserves a place on your list. With highway fuel mileage of 22 mpg, thanks in part to cylinder deactivation that can turn the V-8 into a four-cylinder under light loads, it’s easily higher than much of its competition. For example, the 2013 Ford F-150 with four-wheel drive and a V-8 engine makes just 16 mpg on the highway. Consumer Reports just named the Silverado its top pickup truck, beating out entrants from Ram and Ford. It may not be the best car for ferrying the kids around town, but if you’ve got some more demanding chores on your checklist, the Silverado could do the trick. silverado syb

Peanut Gallery:

Laura: I love the practicality and do-anything versatility of this four-door Silverado. Every surface looks strong, powerful, and capable. It has every kind of outlet, every kind of bin, every kind of opening to put every kind of thing inside. Over dirt roads, it looks and feels entirely comfortable and in its element. I wouldn't dare buy something this big and gas-inhaling unless I really needed it, but I kind of wish I really needed one of these. Molly: Having just spent ten days in a Chevrolet Suburban, I was surprised to see the Silverado's interior. I thought they would be basically the same. However, with its recent redesign, the Silverado's instrument panel took a giant leap for mankind. As a Apple-phile, I am a sucker for a good clean interface, so I especially appreciated the eight-inch touchscreen. I instantly paired my phone and was off and running with tuning the radio. The buttons were designed so that they can be operated with gloves on, which would be a plus in Michigan. I also loved the easy-access plugs right in the center of the instrument panel.
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