Driven: 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ 4WD

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The current truck market is hot – the combined competence of my recent spate of pickup loaners can attest to that. You can also tell from the significant efforts (and development dollars) truck makers have been throwing at these “cash cows” over just the last year. The GM twins, the Chevy version of which you see before you, were brand new for 2014. Ford recently introduced an all-new 2015 F-series at the Detroit show, photos of which can be seen further down our front page. The RAM models received a light freshening, and a six-cylinder diesel was introduced for the light-duty 1500 model – a combination capable of achieving 28 mpg on the highway, a feat considered decent even by small sedan standards not so long ago. The Toyota Tundra, which I sampled a few months ago, also benefited from a significant revamp for 2014, and to take on the stalwart Tacoma ‘tweener, GM is bringing the like-sized Colorado and Canyon twins back from the dead for 2015. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to see that the pickup market is back with a vengeance, and there’s plenty of room for manufacturers to line their shareholders’ pockets. Nothing wrong with that.

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At least, not when it produces vehicles like the Silverado before you. For an in-depth review of this platform, have a read through my GMC Sierra 1500 review earlier this year – for the lazy among us, here are the cliffs: I liked it. A lot. It’s a pickup that seems to do everything well, from comfort – the cabin is about as well-equipped as it gets at this price point – to versatility, with a massive back seat and a usable cargo bed containing niceties like built-in bumper steps and a fully damped tailgate. Even as the “small” V8, the 5.3-liter ECOTEC is both punchy and economical, averaging over 16 mpg in my hands and returning closer to 20 on highway-heavy jaunts. It’s not hard to see why these former workhorses are now taking up an increasing part of the new car sales pie.

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD LTZ Crew

Base price: $44,645

Price as tested: $50,475

Options on test car: Driver Alert package ($845), LTZ Plus package ($770), 20” chrome wheels ($1,395), MyLink 8” navigation and touchscreen ($795), 6” chrome side steps ($700), heated and cooled front seats ($650), leather seating ($325), trailer brake controller ($230), moveable upper tie downs ($60), LED cargo box lighting ($60)

Powertrain: 5.3-liter V8 engine w/ cylinder deactivation, 6-speed automatic, 4WD – 355 horsepower, 383 lb-ft torque

S:S:L-observed fuel economy: 16.4 mpg

Chevy provided the vehicle for testing purposes and one tank of gas. Photos by the author.

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