Pickup Review: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 1500 4WD Crew

Overview High-end pickup
Pros Roomy, comfortable, feature laden
Cons Thirsty, pricey
Value for money Fair
What would I change? Weight reduction (like what Ford is doing with its new F-150)

Being a man of simple pleasures (my wife would say I’m just plain simple), I am often bemused by the plethora of features found in cars and trucks today. Not that I’m a complete luddite, but vehicles should reflect their design and intent, something my dear old dad — a mechanic — impressed upon me while I was very young. Thus, sports cars should be sporty, family cars should be family oriented and, for the purpose of this review, pickup trucks should fulfill their utilitarian roots. The few pickups he owned (he much preferred Jeep station wagons) were pretty much barebones.

So, while I can’t say no to such features as heated seats and air conditioning (Canada being a country of extreme climates, after all), ventilated seats, navigation systems, power-sliding rear windows and the like are well beyond the call of a pickup as a working vehicle. That said, these fancy mod cons, as well as numerous others, do make for a very comfortable truck. And, if nothing else, the Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew is comfy. As well it should be, considering its as-tested price of nearly $60,000. Dad would be shaking his head in disbelief.

Pickup Comparison: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 vs. Ram 1500

I was doing enough shaking. I don’t test many pickups — with two family cars taking up most of the space of my suburban driveway, full-sized trucks don’t easily fit in. So, the Silverado’s price was a bit of a stunner. Actually, it was more the fact that the LTZ 4WD Crew isn’t even the topline trim level — it’s fifth on the list of the Chevrolet’s seven trims, below the LTZ Z71 and High Country. How much more luxury does one need? No more for me, the reason I got the Silverado in the first place was to haul stuff — specifically furniture and boxes. A short cab and a long box would have been perfect. Anything more was a bonus. Ironically, the Crew tester was long on cabin and short on box.

Numerous modern conveniences inside the Silverado make for a very comfortable pickup. This is not a barebones truck by any means.

Numerous modern conveniences inside the Silverado make for a very comfortable pickup. This is not a barebones truck by any means.
Brian Harper, Driving

Still, in emptying a house of its contents, my brother and I got done what needed doing and, in the process, grew rather familiar — and appreciative — with the big Chevy’s amenities, and what General Motors has done to it for the 2014 model year.

From front bumper to back hitch, the Silverado (and its GMC Sierra sibling) has been thoroughly reworked. To a non-truck guy like me, the 2014 model, aside from the front grille, might not look appreciably different from my neighbour’s 2011 pickup without a side-by-side comparison, but, having ridden in his truck, it’s easy to spot the cabin upgrades as well as the improvements to the ride and handling. These revisions include a stronger, quieter cab, thanks to the increased use of high-strength steel as well as wind tunnel testing to reduce drag. New inlaid doors, which fit into recesses in the bodyside, reduce wind noise for a quieter cab. That same high-strength steel now composes the frame’s main rails and crossmembers for added strength and rigidity.

The Silverado LTZ’s cabin itself is one of functional elegance, though not in the same class as the Ram Laramie I drove recently. Still, the Chevy’s long list of features and conveniences are well integrated with the cubbies and bins for storage and work-related usage. The back doors of the crew cab have been made larger, making entry and exit a breeze, and there is more than enough head- and legroom in the rear seats for six-footers.

The most noticeable feature of the LTZ is its eight-inch colour touchscreen with MyLink that controls major functions including driver information centre, radio and navigation as well as the backup camera. The graphics are sharp and the menus are easy to scroll through. The coolest feature, though, is the safety alert driver seat, part of the optional driver assist package, which vibrates when the forward collision alert or lane departure warning systems become active.

The Silverado LTZ 1500 will easily fulfill any moving and cargo needs. Only adding to the pickup's utility is an enjoyable ride.

The Silverado LTZ 1500 will easily fulfill any moving and cargo needs. Only adding to the pickup’s utility is an enjoyable ride.
Brian Harper, Driving

The Silverado 1500 comes with a choice of three direct-injection EcoTech3 engines — a 285-horsepower 4.3L V6, a 355-hp 5.3L V8 and a new 420-hp 6.2L V8. The tester was equipped with the 5.3L V8, with more than enough power for our in-town schlepping, as well as merging into highway traffic. Foot to the floor, it takes a little more than eight seconds to hit 100 kilometres an hour. As for fuel economy, considering the amount of city usage we put the truck through, the 16 litres per 100 kilometres averaged wasn’t overly surprising. More surprising was how easy it was to pilot the big pickup around town. Considering its size, the crew cab was easy to manoeuvre into tight spots, the electric rack-and-pinion steering providing a light touch to the proceedings and the backup camera being worth its weight in gold. Equally, the ride — credit the coil-over-shock front suspension and multi-leaf rear setup — coddled all aboard without being overly floaty.

While I blanch at forking over nearly $60K for the LTZ Crew, the best thing about the Silverado line — and the pickup segment as a whole — is that one doesn’t have to. The myriad configurations available literally offer something for everybody. So, while a basic 1WT model might be more in keeping with my light hauling needs — or, better yet, the upcoming mid-sized Colorado — I can see how those who live and breathe trucks might want to load up on the features.

Ultimately, not being a pickup guy, my opinion as to whether the Silverado is better than a Ram, an F-150 — or even a Tundra or Titan — means diddly to the hardcore types. What I can say is that the new Silverado is noticeably better than the previous model, that it easily fulfilled its cargo-carrying obligations and that the overall driving experience was positive — even enjoyable.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 1500 4WD Crew

2014 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 1500 4WD Crew
Brian Harper, Driving

The Specs

Type of vehicle Four-wheel-drive full-sized pickup
Engine 5.3L OHV V8
Power 355 hp @ 5,600 rpm; 383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Tires P275/55R20
Price (base/as tested) $48,235/$57,775
Destination charge $1,650
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km) 13.3 city, 9.0 highway
Standard features Dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt and telescopic steering column, universal home remote, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 4.2-inch colour driver information centre, MyLink audio system, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, tire pressure monitoring system, power sliding rear window, power folding mirrors with integrated turn signals, front fog lamps, remote vehicle start, rear-view camera
Options Custom Sport package ($2,280), includes 20-inch chrome aluminum wheels and Bose speaker system; power sliding sunroof ($1,325); white diamond tri-coat paint ($995); MyLink audio system with eight-inch colour screen and navigation system ($995); Driver Assist package ($945), includes ultrasonic front and rear park assist, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and safety alert seat; heated and cooled front seats ($745); six-inch chrome assist steps ($735); front bucket seats ($695); Cargo Convenience package ($485), includes floor mats, under-seat storage box, front centre console organizer; LTZ Plus package ($390), includes heated steering wheel and power-adjustable pedals; trailer brake controller ($300); engine block heater ($100); cargo tie downs ($65)

About Brian Harper