Chevrolet Silverado Named
2014 International Truck of the Year
by Road & Travel Magazine
When we climbed into the cabin of Chevrolet's newly redesigned 2014 Silverado pickup truck we felt like Mary Barra must have felt upon learning she'd just been named CEO of Chevrolet's parent company, General Motors. We were on top of the world.
At first it was obviously a vehicle meant to do a tough job. We had no doubts about its capability. Then all the plusses that have been incorporated began to catch our attention: The i-Pad sized anchor slot centered in the console just below the instrument panel designed to hold our tablet at a good viewing angle. That location let it sit directly in front of a band of power and data ports—dual 12-volt outlets, a three-prong 120-volt outlet, a flip-up tab hiding three USB ports (not to mention two additional data ports inside a large console bin.)
Envision some woman at a job site scanning architectural specifications, with her tablet easily providing every detail as needed, this is a vehicle that took a lot of thinking. And considering Barra's previous iteration heading up GM's design efforts we suspect she had something to do with the thoughtfulness that went into it.
How vehicles relate to both men and women is one of the key factors Road & Travel Magazine (RTM) looks at when choosing the best truck of the year. We consider the Silverado a thinking person's pickup, anticipating what's needed and providing just the right solution. That makes driving a pleasure instead of a chore. And it's one of the reasons we choose the Silverado as Road & Travel's "International Truck of the Year" winner for 2014.
|Presenting the 2014 International Truck of the Year for the Chevrolet Silverado are Courtney Caldwell, editor, Road & Travel Magazine; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE Americas, and ICOTY's 18th annual award sponsor.
RTM editor Courtney Caldwell noted that Chevy's win comes on the 18th Anniversary of the ICOTY awards as well as RTM's 25th anniversary. She cited overall styling, new and more comfortable interior and improved miles per gallon among high points. Its appeal for women as well as men was highlighted in Chevy's groundbreaking commercial as seen here on You Tube, "Her Horse - A Woman and Her Truck," said Caldwell. "Chevy has achieved a remarkable milestone... marketing the Silverado with both genders in mind, those who are active, athletic, rugged, independent and confident. And, as in the case of the 'Her Horse' commercial, a woman of many faces and many hats, and accomplishing this without a hint of 'chick flick' in one frame."
In acknowledging the award, Maria Rohrer, marketing director for Chevrolet trucks and SUVs, said Chevy was honored to be recognized for the 2014 Silverado. She cited the fine-tuning that went into this updated version of the most important truck staple in GM's vehicle lineup. “We worked hard to make the Silverado the best engineered, most refined pickup on the road, and we are pleased to see those efforts recognized by Road & Travel,” Rohrer added.
We think her reference to refinement nailed a significant reason the Silverado scored so well with us.
This is one handsome truck. One of our test models was a rich, dark shade of red called Deep Ruby Metallic, highlighted with bright chrome on the front bumper, inset with sport lights, and in interior and exterior trim. Cladding strips below the front bumper corners would keep nasty elements at bay.
Rearward, the Silverado's work credentials shine. Behind the short bed, the chrome rear bumper has a step inset dead center, with a "cornerstep" foot well at either end. A trailer package with trailer sway control, plug-in electrical connector, and tow hooks front and rear attest to its grunt capability. A trailer brake switch for minimum or maximum adjustment, plus four-wheel-drive (high or low) and underbody shield accommodates the needs of off-road or snow-covered terrain. And hill start and hill descent would keep things under control if, say, an equestrienne was towing her favorite steed to her next steeplechase competition.
A family of five could easily and comfortably ride in the crew cab model we drove, with leather trimmed seats, 8-inch navigation screen, plus Chevrolet's full-spectrum MyLink entertainment connectivity including the mandatory Pandora music on demand, Bluetooth and SiriusXM. GM's OnStar safety/communications system is there, as expected. What caught us by surprise was the voice-over calmly, yet firmly warning us of a major traffic accident on the interstate we were about to enter in time for us to alter our driving route.
Among interior toggle buttons were ones to activate lane departure warnings, anti-skid control, forward collision alert and parking assistance with three warning zones including left and right. Those were part of an $845 “driver alert package" augmenting standard safety equipment that includes full airbag systems and "stabilitrak" stability control. Those features helped the Silverado earn a five-star overall vehicle safety rating.
For drivers a shade shorter than average, adjustable pedals, telescoping/tilt steering wheel and side step rails are welcomed additions.
Did we put the Silverado through its paces? You bet. Any full-size pickup truck worth its grunt status had better deliver when the going gets tough. And thanks to Mother Nature and a freak early winter snowstorm during one test, we had the opportunity to find that out. As flakes began to fall, we didn't hesitate to venture out in the Silverado. The simple turn of an IP dial engaged four-wheel-drive in preparation for the nearly foot of snow predicted in dire weather reports.
|Chevrolet Silverdo wins 2014 International Truck of the Year, presented by Road & Travel Magazine in Detroit.
The Silverado excelled, staying steady in lane as other vehicles slid, dug tire trenches in the snow trying to gain traction and, in the case of a police cruiser, turned a corner way too fast, sending its rear end into a slalom-like skid. That wasn't our problem. Every moment of the several hours we drove were rock steady, controlled and left us feeling comfortably relaxed in spite of the swirls of white that constantly bombarded our windshield. Despite outside temperatures in the teens, the heated steering wheel kept our fingers toasty warm throughout.
With heavy duty weather to contend with we, as expected, did not deliver the average 18-MPG combined fuel economy rating (16 city/22 highway). Some minutes idling for a few telephone calls added to that deficit. But we could have refueled with less costly E85 ethanol, as Chevy has kept that alternative fuel capability, which we applaud.
Base pricing of $23,590 (not including $995 in destination and delivery charges) remains unchanged from the 2013 Silverado. The 1500 comes in three engine configurations: 4.3-liter, 285 horsepower EcoTec3 V-6, 5.3-liter, 355-HP V-8 and all-new 6.2-liter, 420-horsepower V-8 (460 lb.-ft. of torque), which Chevy calls the segment’s most powerful engine. Models come in regular, crew and new double cab. Maximum towing (with Max Trailering Package) is a segment-topping 12,000 pounds according to Chevy.
The $43,650 base price for our test Silverado 1500 Z71 LTZ 4-wheel-drive crew cab version ($49,080 as equipped), reflects its fully-loaded, top-of-the-line character. This is not so much a pickup truck as a luxuriously-appointed vehicle with the ride comfort of a cushy sedan while retaining the workhorse heart of a 5.2-liter V8 "Ecotec3" beast with six-speed automatic transmission, and off-road suspension.
In reviewing the impact of our testing, we can't help but think that if local police departments ever decided to replace their cruisers with this champ, we doubt we'd ever again see a police car doing a two-lane, slow-motion ballet during a winter storm. Pity. We'd love to have given that guy a ticket.
Bridgestone, longtime sponsor of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success.
“Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the efforts of these automakers that like our company demonstrate a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized today, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.”
"We would like to thank Bridgestone Tire for sponsoring the International Car of the Year Awards," said Caldwell. Their continued support has allowed us to honor automakers for vehicles that not only relate to consumer lifestyles and connect on an emotional level, but has also provided RTM with the opportunity to elevate awareness on how people feel about their cars, and thus help revolutionize, the way agencies now market and advertise cars to women and men as well as diverse markets.
"Celebrating its 18th year, the ICOTY awards are not about power and performance but rather about the emotional connection between car and consumer and how well they reflect lifestyle, status, and personality for both men and women."
In 1996, the ICOTY Awards pioneered the 'emotional connection' (theme) as it related to cars and consumers to help raise awareness that people have strong feelings about their vehicles throughout the purchasing process and ownership. It's not, nor has ever been, just about camshafts and chrome. It's about how cars reflect our personalities and status in life. That said, consideration for contenders includes product styling, handling, diversity marketing and advertising and how well automakers make that emotional connection with consumers. A vehicle has to move us not only for transportation but also move us emotionally. We also consider public reaction and opinion during the testing process, both of which are influence factors in the final decision.
"By far, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado received more 'head turns and inquiries' from the public than any other 2014 truck we tested," Caldwell adds.
SEE ALL 2014 INTERNATIONAL CAR OF THE YEAR WINNERS
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