We’re less than 24 hours from the official unveiling of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The excitement is high, the expectations are high. And you haven’t heard about the official unveiling happening yet, you must be high. Even if that’s not the case, we’re still here to provide you the best coverage of Thursday morning’s event on the internet, and possibly die trying.
So, about these new breadwinners emerging from The General’s arsenal. What will they look like? What will they feature under the hood? What sort of technology and refinement will we find in the interior? And what trim levels can we expect? We’ve provided a short list of what to expect:
1. Both the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will take an evolutionary approach in their design. Traces of the current Silverado’s boxy looks is expected to carry over into the new model’s design language, but with a crisper, more modern look. Yes, the twin-port grille is expected to stay put in the front fascia of the new Silverado, opposite from the singular maw trend that’s beginning to happen to Chevy models lately (see: 2013 Traverse, 2014 Impala). This is evident from spy photos and even official teaser photos that have trickled out over the past several months.
As for the 2014 Sierra, the looks are expected to change more drastically, but not by much. If spy photos weren’t enough of an indicator, we can also turn to the outer looks of the massive GMC Sierra All Terrain HD Concept that made its debut during the 2011 North American International Auto Show. Aside from their pickup truck profiles, the 2014 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado will be easier to tell apart more than ever before. But both will retain equal capabilities. It’s also expected that GM will finally implement brighter HID headlamps into these trucks, with some models getting LED accents.
2. Expect an EcoBoost-Fighting Engine, but not at launch. The Ford F-150’s EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 has proven to be a hit in the marketplace, providing substantial horsepower and torque numbers while returning a segment-high 23 miles per gallon on the highway. That’s had several people clamoring for a rival engine from General Motors — an engine such as the upcoming 3.6L twin-turbocharged V6 engine that will at least find its way in the new Cadillac CTS. However, the engine’s development isn’t quite finished just yet, which means we may not see the trucks with the new engine until the 2015 model year.
In addition, GM may have an ace up its sleeve to meet the stingy CAFE requirements with these trucks. This is a subject that sources have been very, very tight-lipped on.
We know that GM plans on implementing eight-speed transmissions into these new trucks. We also know that the new fifth-generation small-block V8 that will be in these trucks features fuel-economy-boosting direct injection. And we know that GM is insisting on BAS (AKA eAssist) technology. We’re just speculating, but piece together these factors and we could very easily see a new fuel economy leader in the full-size truck market. Consider that GM was able to squeeze 22 highway mpg with the outgoing V8 engine and a six speed. With an eight-speed and the latest variant of eAssist, we could see fuel economy numbers closer to 30 mpg. If not in the V8, then definitely with a V6 version. Despite all this, both the base and range-topping powertrains are still a mystery at the moment, let alone if there will be a light-duty diesel engine or not.
3. More interior quality and technology are imminent. Also evident from spy photos is that GM will be introducing Chevy MyLink and GMC IntelliLink to the Silverado and Sierra, respectively. There will also be several switches at the bottom of the center console that will control several features from park assist to the lane departure warning system. The setup resembles that of the Ford F-Series, which is actually a good thing if you ask us. Other switches currently remain a mystery, as their symbols have yet to be found in any existing GM product. We can only assume they are things like an exhaust brake, and other pickup truck things. Additionally, the steering wheel, instrument panel… everything will be all new, and will most likely indicate what we can expect from GM’s next line of SUV models, which will be the big story late next year and the year after.
It almost goes without saying that we will find higher-quality cabin materials in these new trucks, with a more ergonomically friendly interior for glove-wearing occupants. Swollen knobs and buttons are expected to take up the center stack, while more upscale models get high-end touches such as real brushed aluminum. But these are still trucks, so expect a workmanlike function to balance with the form.
4. Multiple variants. Lots of them. Today we simply have the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 WT, LT, and LTZ trims. Meanwhile, Ford has no less than 10 F-150 models to choose from. The Blue Oval might be overdoing it, but on the same token, the Bowtie needs to up the ante to be more competitive with all of those models. The rumored Silverado Scottsdale and High Country editions would perhaps duel with Ford’s King Ranch and Platinum models, respectively, while an off-road oriented ZR2 variant would seem to rival the mighty F-150 SVT Raptor. As for GMC, the Denali version will continue to hold the top spot, and will be more luxurious than ever before.
Stay tuned to GM Authority throughout the day and tomorrow morning for more on GM’s next-generation full-sized pickup trucks.