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This Truck Works

2014 Chevy Silverado 1500

Personally, I’ve never needed to own a pickup truck. My brother-in-law has one, bless his heart. But a lot of you out there do need a pickup truck. Not the high-falutin’ ones you see at Samuel’s Grande Manor; I’m talking about the working stiffs out there who actually throw stuff—and yes, they’re usually throwing it—in the back.

This truck, is for them (and a few pals), as the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 double cab has seating for six. In previous years it was called an extended cab, but Chevy has made enough design improvements to warrant the name upgrade. It still has two full-sized front doors, like always, but the back doors are now larger and front-hinged. There’s now a B-pillar for added safety and rigidity, and the rear seat is now thinner, allowing it to be moved back for more leg room.

The front seating area is almost car-like; the biggest difference being the long step up to get in. Once there, you’re treated to a comfortable seat with a huge fold-up center armrest with enough storage for a weekend getaway. Folded up, it affords a spot for a third front-seat passenger. The dash is also very un-trucklike. But this was the “work truck” after all, so don’t expect a lot of bells and whistles. (It’s not even carpeted, for easier cleaning.) The audio/HVAC controls are conveniently mounted in the center panel; the sound system is an AM/FM/CD/mp3 unit with USB and audio outports located in the center armrest. One really neat thing pointed out to me by Ki-Po Chevy sales consultant Greg Taylor, and one which unfortunately the test truck didn’t have, was the rearview camera. Not just the camera, mind you—those are now a dime-a-dozen—but Chevy engineers have cleverly added a simple stop to keep the tailgate slightly ajar, which ends up aiming the tailgate-mounted rearview camera directly down at the trailer hitch, making it a piece of cake to make that hitch-to-ball connection.

Styling? Although the 2014 truck is completely new, there’s no mistaking what it is. But the front now has a bolder look, with a massive grille which, depending on the model you choose, can be the plainest-looking black thing, or a fancy-schmancy chromed honeycomb affair. The back is…well, there’s not much styling going on in the back of most pickups. It’s a tailgate between a pair of taillamps, but at least it’s not offensive.

The bed on the double cab is six-and-a-half feet long, also standard on the regular cab Silverados (with no back seat). The regular cab trucks have an optional eight-foot bed, while the crew cab’s bed is five-and-a-half feet long. Also standard is rear-wheel-drive, with 4X4 capability being available across the board.

The powertrain on the test truck might be of some interest to local folks—it’s the 4.3-liter Ecotec V-6 which is built at the GM Powertrain plant in Tonawanda. This is an all-new engine, putting out 285 horsepower and is EPA-rated at 18/24 miles per gallon city highway. It’s very quiet both around town and on the interstate, and is equipped with direct-injection, and Active Fuel Management (which shuts down two cylinders when at speed to conserve fuel). Trucks equipped with the 4.3 are capable of pulling up to 7,600 pounds, which is heaviest in its class.

Pricing? The test truck had a base price of $29,620. Options included the trailer-towing package and 17-inch all-terrain tires. With shipping, the bottom line was $31,585.

Feeling extremely frivolous? One of the options is a bed rug. Hah! Try finding one of THOSE on a work truck.

More info at More photos here, on AV Daily.

Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.

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