2014 Chevrolet Silverado Z71
2014 Chevrolet Silverado Z71
2014 Chevrolet Silverado Z71
2014 Chevrolet Silverado Z71. Click image to enlarge

In your correspondent’s Northern Ontario locale, the arrival of the latest pickup truck is a sacred thing. I’ve seen it numerous times – with the posh, last-generation GMC Sierra Denali, the highly anticipated Ford Raptor, and then the EcoBoost-powered F-150. Most recently, the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado made its first appearance.

The latest model participating in the battle for American pickup supremacy comes with numerous promises – including fantastic mileage and the most refined Silverado driving experience ever. Designers, planners and engineers have put in the overtime on this one – and the result of their work recently landed at dealer lots across the continent.

Shoppers visiting said dealer lots for a test drive will feel instantly at home in the presence of the latest Silverado. Inside and out, design elements are familiar, though enhanced and updated. The blocky, hulky body remains similar in proportion to the last-gen model, as does the front fascia, which displaces more air than a Canadian Tire rolling down the road.

On board, much of the switchgear and controls, right down to the column shifter and even the fonts on the buttons are familiar, too. It’s mostly new and fresh, but those familiar with the interior of an older Silverado will feel right at home. The new cabin’s layout is more dynamic, detailed and daring than the outgoing model – though hard plastic lining the entire thing will let soft-touch buffs down slightly.

Shoppers will also find plenty of space on board, a very commanding driving position, and, depending on the model selected, nice touches like automatic climate control, lights, motorized seats and a slick driver-computer screen in the middle of the busy but highly informative instrument cluster.

As a vehicular pack-rat, your correspondent loved the abundance of clever, well-thought-out storage compartments and cubbies all around the front seats. Ditto the presence of no fewer than three 12-volt outlets, four USB power points and one household outlet just inches from my fingertips. On one jaunt with some pals, four cell phones, one MP3 player and my camera battery recharger were all drawing on the system for juice.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado Z712014 Chevrolet Silverado Z712014 Chevrolet Silverado Z712014 Chevrolet Silverado Z71
2014 Chevrolet Silverado Z71. Click image to enlarge

The rear seating area is generous in size for adult passengers thanks to the crew cab configuration, and even more generous in size for any sort of gear you don’t want to keep in the box when the seats are folded out of the way. Don’t miss the back-up camera, touchscreen infotainment interface or cluster-mounted big-screen computer readouts, either. None of this is revolutionary feature content, of course, and it all works towards an environment that’s still instantly Silverado – just more handy and high-tech.

Some of the biggest news surrounding the latest Silverado is under the hood – a notion validated by the crowd of a dozen or more folks that gathered for a glimpse at the latest in Chevy truck engineering after I popped the hood at my nightly coffee social. The 5.3L engine bolted behind the picnic table–sized grille will likely be the Silverado range’s most popular option. A member of the new EcoTec 3 engine lineup, it sits between the available 4.3L V6 and 6.2L V8 options while delivering 355 horsepower. That’s up from 315 in the last-generation machine.

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