Do vehicles get any more American than the new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado?[Not a valid template]
This may be the most American thing I’ve ever done. I’m in US Civil War country, heading out from Washington DC into rural Virginia, in a huge pick up truck with a front end that looks like a detail from the Empire State Building. I feel like I should be wearing a Stetson and carrying a firearm.
This is the new Chevrolet Silverado, a big ol’ slice of apple pie and freedom that’s also headed to the Middle East. The Silverado is one of Chevrolet’s most popular trucks, and Chevy parent company General Motors – in the Middle East at least – is the most popular truck manufacturer, with some 76 percent of the market divided between Chevrolet and GMC. So this is a big deal.
The Silverado – or Silverado Light Duty, to give it its full name – is the Chevy equivalent of the GMC Sierra we drove last month, built on the same platform. Where the GMC goes for luxury, the Silverado goes for a more practical rugged angle but still tries to offer comfort. It’s aimed at the younger, more outgoing truck owner versus the more mature, refined Sierra buyer. What this all-new, third-generation Silverado needs to have then is the capability to haul around plenty of stuff, while still catering for the increasing demands of today’s consumers and without trespassing on GMC’s turf.
We’re driving the Crew Cab ZL1 version of the Silverado, which sits just below the top of the range High Country edition. Under the bonnet – or hood, if you want to stick with the American theme – is a 5.3-litre V8 engine producing 355bhp. The Silverado range is also available with a 4.3-litre V6 and a 420bhp 6.3-litre V8 as found in the new Corvette, but it’s the smaller of the V8s that will be the big seller.
Now, maybe it’s just that I’m here in the land of the free and the home of the Whopper, but I really like the design of the Silverado. It’s a big truck in the metal, brash and unashamedly American in design with lashings of chrome across the front and big, square features. There’s no attempt to hide its boxy roots (Mitsubishi L200, I’m looking accusingly at you), and purely from a style point of view it’s honest and up front in its design.
To the practicalities. I’m not exactly a regular pick-up user, living as I do in a tower block in the middle of a major city, but on the face of it, much care has been taken to ensure to ensure the Silverado is as functional as its face suggests. There are plenty of neat touches: lights inside the load bed for night-time visibility; a damped tailgate that softly lowers rather than crashing down under its own weight; steps integrated into the rear corners for ease of access. If I wanted to chuck in a pile of whatever people chuck into the back of pick-up trucks (bags of cement, motorbikes, corpses), then I’d be confident of it being relatively straightforward.