Redesigned Silverado, Sierra ‘Two Distinct Brands’

General Motors rolled out its newly redesigned Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 light-duty pickup trucks, with Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, saying they are “two strong and distinct brands.”

While the two new trucks are arguably more differentiated from each other in looks than their predecessor models, both the 2014 Sierra and Silverado boast a new family of fuel-efficient yet powerful EcoTec3 gasoline engines as well as dramatically styled exteriors and cabs described as quieter as well as more comfortable and functional.

A key distinguishing feature of both the Sierra and Silverado 1500 models are the trio of EcoTec3 engines—V6 4.3-liter, V6 5.3-liter and V8 6.2-liter-- that Reuss said put “proven small-block design together with fuel-saving technology for the first time in light-duty pickups.”

Jeff Luke, GM executive chief engineer said the new engines feature direct fuel injection and continuously variable timing along with cylinder deactivation— switching down to four cylinders when maximum power is not required— to provide “maximum performance and minimum fuel consumption in real-world conditions.

“Cylinder deactivation switches seamlessly to four-cylinder mode when performance is not needed,” he added. “We think a larger-displacement engine that can provide power and torque when needed but operate only on four cylinders when performance is not required is the best solution” to meet customers’ needs.

Luke said the EcoTec3s are mated to GM six-speed automatic transmissions and noted that trucks powered by the V8 will come with stronger rear axles to better handle the powerplant’s additional torque.

According to Luke, development of the new Sierra and Silverado included 13-million miles of testing by GM engineers. These trucks are “more efficient and comfortable,” he remarked, pointing out that “interior space and functionality were completely redesigned and these are our quietest cabs ever.”

He said key features of the new trucks include:

· “Inlaid” doors—doors set into the body like on pass cars--- to cut wind noise and improve aerodynamics

· Larger rear doors on crew cabs

· Forward-hinged doors on extended-cab models

· “Clean, streamlined interiors”

· Intuitively placed controls

· Cab controls that can be operated with gloves on

· First-time availability of heated cloth seats

· Dual-firmness foam in seats for greater durability

· Voice recognition “for hands-free use of many functions”

· Chevy mylink and GMC intellilink connectivity solutions

· Fully boxed frame made of high-strength steel

· Stiffer “shear style” body mounts

· Electric power steering

· Standard four-wheel disc brakes

· “Segment-exclusive” automatic locking rear differential

· Availability of Z71 suspension system

· Lane-departure warning system

· Forward-collision alert system

· Hill-start assist

· Stabilitrak electronic stability system

· Exclusive “corner step” rear bumper

· Lower tailgate with “EZ Lift” feature

· LED underrail box lighting

Luke noted that the inlaid doors, a “gently sloped” windshield, tighter body “gaps” and some other refinements together result in a more aerodynamic vehicle that has 5% lower coefficient of drag.

“Considering all their features,” he added, “our 2014 models will raise the bar in the full-size pickup market.”

According to GM, both pickup models will enter production in the second quarter of next year.

And, noted Mark Reuss, these new light-duty pickups will be followed in 2014 by new GMC and Chevy heavy-duty pickup models and then by new GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup trucks.

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