Equipment Today was in attendance in Pontiac, MI, when GM pulled the wraps off its 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500. These full-size pickups are new from the hood to the hitch. This includes a trio of EcoTec3 engines based on the proven small-block design with all of the fuel-saving technologies together for the first time in a pickup.
Engine choices will include a 4.3-liter V-6, a 5.3-liter V-8 and a 6.2-liter V-8. Each engine features direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management, which means they seamlessly switch to run on four cylinders during light-load driving to save fuel. These technologies will be standard on every Silverado and Sierra and work together to precisely control the burning of fuel in the cylinders.
The V-6 is a purpose-built engine. “Rather than adapting a V-6 intended for use in passenger cars, we built a new engine from the ground up based on the unique demands of a truck,” said Jordan Lee, powertrain chief engineer.
All three engines use lightweight aluminum blocks and heads and are mated with six-speed automatic transmissions. A cruise grade braking feature downshifts the transmission on downgrades to reduce brake wear. The V-8 models use new, larger 9.5- and 9.76-in. rear axles with the strength to accommodate the engines’ higher output. An automatic locking rear differential optimizes traction without any driver intervention.
An updated, fully-boxed frame provides a robust foundation. The main rails and key crossmembers are made of high-strength steel. Hydroforming is used to further increase strength and reduce mass.
Among the design goals were quieter, more comfortable and more functional cabs. Two-thirds of the cab is made from high-strength steel to help the Silverado and Sierra meet tough new safety standards. This structure also creates an interior that is far quieter and more refined.
It also allowed the company to rethink its door strategy. New inlaid doors on all models fit into the body instead of over top the roof. This reduces wind noise and improves aerodynamics. The rear doors on crew cabs are longer than before, providing easier access for the rear-seat passengers.
Extended Cab models now feature forward-hinged rear doors with outside pull handles at the rear, providing improved access in tight parking spaces. The Sierra’s layout allows rear passengers to enter and exit the vehicle with the front doors closed.
Crew Cab customers can choose between the current 5-ft. 8-in. bed length or a new 6-ft. 6-in. box. Regular cabs continue to be available with the 6-ft. 6-in. or 8-ft. box lengths, while the extended cab will come exclusively with a 6-ft. 6-in. box.
A corner step bumper with contoured handles makes for easy access to the box, whether the tailgate is up or down. An easy lift tailgate uses an integrated torsion bar and a rotary damper for quiet, controlled lowering. LED lighting is also available under the rails of the box. These features are standard on the Sierra and available on the Silverado.
Emphasis was also placed on the interiors. The Sierra and Silverado feature an upright instrument panel designed for visibility and accessibility. The new instrument cluster features six gauges with an available centrally located, 4.2-in. color Driver Information Center with vehicle status information, trip computer and other information, such as radio and navigation.
A second, high-mounted glove box with a flat floor joins the traditional box below. Along the center stack and center console are additional cupholders, discreet compartments large enough for most laptop computers and connectivity options. The Sierra is available with a 110-volt outlet, up to five USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and an SD card slot.
Available Chevrolet MyLink or GMC IntelliLink connectivity uses a high-definition, fully reconfigurable 8-in. color touchscreen with intuitive layout and easy-to-read icons that control audio features, a Pandora app, Bluetooth phone features and available navigation with all-new map displays. Many of the system’s features can be controlled by voice command.