2014 Chevrolet Silverado. FIRST DRIVE

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Inside, the cabin is utilitarian but brightened with just enough trinkets to make it acceptable. Those expecting SUV-levels of material quality might be slightly disappointed, but remember, this is a pick up and in fairness it’s not far off a more car-like experience. The design is big and chunky, and there’s a proper infotainment set up, as well as masses of storage space – two glove boxes, big cup holders and a huge space under the centre armrest. The exact interior layout varies slightly depending on trim level, but in our test model there were five (five!) USB slots, two cigarette-lighter sockets and a proper plug socket mounted into the dash. I’m pretty sure you could live in here with all mod cons. There’s also a good amount of space in the back of the Crew Cab for passengers.

So what’s it like to drive? Well, it’s truckish. There’s no hiding how massive this thing is, and it’s not exactly the last word in refinement. That said, Chevy has made efforts to improve things by adding more noise insulation and it’s commendably calm inside.

In contrast to some of its rivals, the Silverado sticks with leaf spring rear suspension rather than going to more modern, refined independent rear suspension. There’s good reason for that though – leaf springs are much more capable of carrying heavy load, and with the emphasis on the Silverado being a working truck, that’s important. Chevy says it could have improved the unloaded ride and handling, but customers want that ability to haul stuff. After all, that’s the main reason for having a truck for the majority of its customers.

The downside is that, with nothing in the back, it can make the rear end feel a touch bouncy and light, but it’s not like many people will be flinging the Silverado through bends. At a cruise through winding country roads, it’s composed and balanced, and the brakes are strong. As for handling, I settled for a few dirty drifts through a field in rear-wheel drive mode (four-wheel drive is engaged through a switch to the left of the cockpit), and it was hilarious. But again, this isn’t really what the Silverado is for.

The best way of summing up the Silverado is by saying that for a truck, it’s pretty darn good to drive. The steering is a touch light and it doesn’t like to be hustled, but the V8 is strong, and hauls the 2400kg kerb weight well with a meaty grumble from the exhaust when you put your foot down. When you’re not pushing it, clever technology deactivates half the cylinders to reduce fuel consumption. The six-speed auto gearbox is agricultural by car standards, but then this isn’t a car. It does the job it’s required to do.

How does it compare to its main rivals, the Dodge Ram and the Ford F-150? Dunno, I haven’t personally driven the latest incarnations. Sorry. You can check out my colleague’s opinion of the F-150 here. But from my own past truck experience, this one is right up with the best. If you want SUV comfort and performance, buy an SUV. If you want a well-thought out working truck with a few extras thrown in to make the experience more comfortable, and a massive stack of presence for kerbside appeal, take a good look at the good-looking Silverado.

Chevrolet Silverado Z71 Crew Cab
Engine: V8 / 5328cc
Power: 355bhp @ 5600rpm
Torque: 383lb ft @ 4100rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic / switchable two and four-wheel drive
Front suspension: Coil springs / monotube shock absorbers
Rear suspension: Solid axle/ leaf spings / monotube shock absorbers
Brakes: Vented discs / 330mm (front) / 345mm (rear) / Antilock Braking System (ABS)
Wheels: 18-inch as standard
Tyres: 265/65 R18
Weight (kerb) 2400kg
0-100kph: N/A
Top speed: N/A

Categories: Car Review


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