Shortly after we tested the new-for-2014 GMC Sierra, Chevrolet sent us its version of the new GM truck, the Chevrolet Silverado. It proved every bit as quiet as its sister.
Perhaps you’re saying, “Well, duh,” right about now. Granted, beneath the skin, the trucks share most of their running gear and chassis features. But the difference in trim was substantial. The Silverado was powered by the new Ecotec 3 4.3-liter V6 engine, while the Sierra got the Ecotec 3 5.3-liter V8. The Silverado was two-wheel drive, while the Sierra was four-wheel drive. Perhaps the biggest reason I wondered whether the Silverado would be noisier than the GMC: The Chevy was a middling LT trim, while the Sierra was a more loaded SLT, just a notch below the high-option Denali trim.
Nevertheless, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado proved just as quiet as its sister GMC truck. It had the same fibrous insulating spray in the underbody cavities, notably the wheel wells. It also had the same triple-sealed doors and was generally the quietest of the full-size trucks I’ve driven this year, just like the GMC.
Beyond the things outlined above, there were other noteworthy differences between the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and the 2014 GMC Sierra we tested:
- The Silverado was a four-door “double cab” configuration. It has about the same space as a traditional extended cab pickup, but rather than having suicide doors that can only be opened when the front doors are open, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado’s doors have traditional front-mounted hinges and exterior door handles. That means you can open the back doors without opening the front doors. That’s cool, but it doesn’t change the scant legroom in the back row. This was probably the tightest back seat legroom to which I’ve had to subject my toddler son since the Scion FR-S, no lie. The 2014 GMC Sierra we tested, meanwhile, was a full crew cab, with four full-size doors and plenty of rear seat legroom.
- The ultimate trade-off between the cab sizes was bed length. Where the 2014 Silverado double cab had a 6.6-foot cargo box behind the cab, the 2014 Sierra crew cab had a shorter 5.8-foot box. If you want to buy a 6.6-foot box Sierra with a crew cab, that’s entirely possible. Perhaps because of its shorter bed, however, I did seem to have an easier time lining up the GMC while parking. Conversely, I had some real botched parking jobs while driving the Chevy. The trucks are the same length — 19 feet, 2 inches — so perhaps it was the Chevy’s longer bed playing visual tricks on me as I tried to back into parking spaces, as I usually do.
- The Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system in the 2014 Silverado used the same screen and basic control layout as the GMC IntelliLink system in the 2014 Sierra, but had a few less features. There was no navigation in the Chevy other than those provided by calling OnStar, whereas the Sierra had a nav map that was easy to pull up and similarly easy to use. However, the Silverado’s infotainment interface had multiple visual themes to choose from, and I found the overall look of those themes more appealing than the IntelliLink system’s default.
- It’s a small item to some, but a big deal to awkwardly-shaped me: The Silverado lacked a telescoping steering column. The Sierra had one. This made for two very different seating positions in each truck. In the Sierra, I was able to position the seat pretty much as low to the floor and as far back as possible — good for my long legs — and remain comfortable for long periods of time. But with the Silverado, I had to actually raise the seat and bring it forward a few inches to get comfortable — mostly because my arms prefer not to be extended straight out while driving. It makes my shoulders and neck hurt. Perhaps this, too, contributed to the difficulty I had parking the Silverado.
- Another feature difference I didn’t mind so much: The Silverado’s lack of power adjustment on the front passenger seat. Given this truck’s more blue collar aesthetic, I was impressed at GM’s thoughtfulness in placing the fore-aft seat adjustment release lever under the corner of the seat closest to the driver. This made it easy to pull the seat forward if my son protested about the close quarters between his shoes and the front passenger seatback. With the Sierra’s power-operated passenger seat, this would have been a lot more difficult — and definitely not something I would tr to do while driving.
Again, none of these feature differences are surprising, given the trucks’ common parentage, but it’s heartening to see the old-school blocking and tackling of cabin isolation and insulation technology is taken just as seriously on the $36,000 Silverado 1500 2WD LT DBL as it was on the $50,000 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT.