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  • Factory Fresh - GM Fullsize Trucks - Then & Now

Factory Fresh - GM Fullsize Trucks - Then & Now

What They Got Right for 2014, and What They Didn’t

Dan Ward
Feb 25, 2014
Photographers: Les Bidrawn
No truck is perfect, but the engineers behind the 2014 GM trucks did their best (budget restraints always looming) to create a fullsize truck that makes no compromises. Last month we showed you a behind-the-scenes look at how the new 2014 Sierra is made, and in previous issues, we’ve covered our first driving impressions of the Chevy and GMC. This month, after spending more than a week in each truck, we tackle the good, bad, and downright ugly of GM’s most important pickup. We want to hear your opinion too. To let your voice be heard, check out facebook.com/truckinmag
Things they got right: (2007-2013 Versus 2014)
Thin-rimmed steering wheel with cheap vinyl wrap vs. Better materials and more girth
Photo 2/10   |   TRUP 140200 VIEW 003
Terrible and frustrating HVAC controls vs. More logical and easier to use with larger buttons
Basic driver info system vs. Full 4-inch multicolored display with information menus
Small low-res navigation screen with limited functions vs. HD 8-inch screen with expanded navigation capabilities and Intellilink
Heated/cooled seat switches on door panel vs. Now placed on center stack for easier accessibility
Steering feel was too heavy at low-speed vs. EPS makes a big difference in parking especially when towing
Cheap vinyl-grade leather vs. Full leather seats now available
Rear drum brakes still standard vs. Now rear discs are standard on all cab models
• Finally ditched the awful Goodyear Eagle LS tires and upgraded to Goodyear Wrangler SR-A
• Interior material quality is very nice and the cabin is as quiet as a vault

Things they didn’t fix:
Six-speed auto only transmission available vs. Ram has eight-speed automatic
No subwoofer for audio system vs. F-150 and Ram both have subs
• Throttle-body blade activation (full throttle never fully realized), which translates into less overall performance feel
• Backup camera quality isn’t very good compared to competition
• All trucks with rear passenger seating should include dedicated rear A/C vents, yet there aren’t any on the new GM trucks
• No under rear seat storage. It’s just a giant space that isn’t being properly utilized
• Traction control cannot be fully disabled. We know this is probably a safety issue, but come on, let us have some fun
• Wheels are round, tires are round, and yet GM fenders are more square than ever
• The new sheetmetal is more of an evolution than a fullsize truck game changer

Things they added that are segment-leading:
• Forward collision and lane departure alert
Photo 7/10   |   TRUP 140200 VIEW 007
• LED light strips are super-bright and make a bold statement
• Fastest Bluetooth we’ve used in any car or truck
• Great navigation setup and functionality (fullsize keyboard is awesome)
• Charging stations in center console (110V, 12V (x2), multiple USB ports)
Photo 8/10   |   TRUP 140200 VIEW 008
• Powered sliding rear window is ultra-fast
• Cabin is quiet, however, our tester had been put through the wringer and had bad wind noise at speed coming from the driver-side mirror area
• New interior LED lighting is focused and pinpoint

Things they added but don’t stack up against the competition:
• Projector halogen headlights aren’t true HIDs even on higher-end GMC
• Heated steering wheel gets lukewarm at best
• Despite three exclusive EcoTec3 engine technologies, our average MPG was 15.3, not much different than F-150 EcoBoost or Ram’s HEMI
• Tailgate handle locks, but not with key fob remote
• Bumper step is convenient, but it’s basically a revised first-gen Avalanche piece