2014 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra Prediction Scorecard
How Close Were Our Predictions for GM's New Trucks?
Last week, we came up with a top-10 wish/prediction list for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Now that the wraps are off these trucks, and some (but not all) details have been revealed, we can look back and see how clear or cloudy our virtual crystal ball was. We scored a solid 5 out of 10 confirmations, and three "maybes." If you're feeling generous, that's an 8 out of 10.
We should be able to give you more authoritative answers on some of these items as GM reveals more specifics about the new trucks.
1) Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission - No, but stay tuned
As we predicted, the 2014 Silverado and Sierra will launch with six-speed automatics. The eight-speed was more of a wish than a prediction. And even though it's not going to be available at launch, we have a strong hunch that it may be coming in about a year.
2) Diesel Engine - No, but never say never
We lamented the fact that GM's promising and innovative Duramax 4500 light-duty V-8 diesel never came to market, and whether or not this intriguing engine will be dusted off again is still a mystery. But following the reveal of the new trucks, GM president Mark Reuss said "There's fundamentally a place for diesel here." We know a diesel version of Chevrolet's Cruze compact sedan is on the horizon, and Reuss kept the scribes scribbling when he said there would be "more to come" in terms of powertrains for the new trucks.
3) Turbo V-6 - No, for now
You're probably tired of seeing our "buts," so to speak, but we can't entirely rule this one out, although it won't be on the options sheet at the trucks' launch. For the time being, it seems GM is firmly committed to naturally aspirated V-6 and V-8 engines, and will likely position the direct-injected 5.3-liter as its EcoBoost competitor, offering competitive economy and power, while positioning the 6.2-liter as the high-performance option. We don't know precisely what's going on behind the scenes at GM Powertrain, but a turbocharged V-6 is likely for an upcoming Cadillac ATS-V and other models, and it could be potentially adapted for truck use.
4) Integrated Bed Box Storage - No
The 2014 Silverado and Sierra won't get a Ram Box-type storage option, but will get available LED lighting underneath the edge of the bed, which we count as pretty clever. GM also pleasantly surprised us with the integrated bumper steps, a simple, yet effective means of increasing accessibility to the truck bed.
5) HID/LED Lighting - Yes
As predicted, LED illumination figured prominently in the redesign of both the Silverado and Sierra, with several Sierra trim levels receiving frontal LED illumination, and both the Silverado and Sierra offering the aforementioned LED bed illumination. Full details on the Sierra Denali trim level and rumored Silverado High Country models have not yet come out, but it's a safe bet these upscale models will make wide use of the high-tech lighting.
6) Cabin Tech Upgrades - Yes
There were no huge surprises on the inside for either the Silverado or Sierra. Both received available MyLink and IntelliLink systems, as predicted, and get multiple USB ports.
7) Increased Towing/Payload Capacity - Ask again later, but probably yes
OK, we're going to pull our "Magic 8-Ball" on this one, since specific towing and payload capacity figures were not released at the truck's initial reveal, but it's practically a given that capacity and capability will increase. A clue is the fact that the base V-6 is now available in both extended and crew-cab configurations with four-wheel drive. It's fairly certain ratings on the V-6 will go up substantially, and with expected power increases of between 15-20 percent, will probably go up for the V-8 models as well.
8) Increased Fuel Economy - Yes
True, we don't have official numbers yet, but GM was not shy about touting the improved fuel efficiency of the new models, so we're expecting at least a 1-mpg city and highway improvement across-the-board, and more on some models.
9) Lighter Weight - Yes
Again, we don't have hard and fast specs on the trucks yet, but high-strength steel, and aluminum were specifically mentioned in press materials at the vehicles' announcement. However, that disclosure was hedged with the caveat "to offset the mass of new features such as stronger cabs, wider wheels, a larger battery and larger rear axles for V-8 models." How massive is the mass of these upgrades? We'll have to wait and see.
10) Improved Interior Materials/Design - Yes
This one we can make a pretty decisive judgment on. Not that the predecessor trucks were necessarily that egregious, but the design and materials are subjectively a big improvement, with large, prominent, clearly marked knobs and buttons, and a more visible and intuitive center stack. With Ford and Ram definitely upping their game in interiors, GM didn't have any choice but to improve, and it did.