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2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 Long-Term Report 3 of 4

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on April 15, 2015
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Our Pickup Truck of the Year-winning Silverado has earned high marks this quarter for being supremely durable and trouble free. This truck has also continued to impress everyone with absolutely quiet and smooth commuting, road trips, and some light off-road use. Passenger’s reactions are always focused on the quiet ride and high quality of interior design and materials. As mentioned in previous reports, even BMW-driving co-workers are impressed during ride shares. If you’re looking for a truck that’s wonderfully comfortable for commuting to work and taking the family on extended cross-country jaunts, this is it.

During the previous update, we noted some pre-ignition under part-throttle acceleration, as well as an audible squeak when the engine switches from four to eight-cylinder mode. Switching from 87 to 89-octane fuel easily solved the pinging, but the squeak remains a mystery. Fortunately, gas prices have taken a plunge this winter, which has taken the sting out of the gas upgrade.

Guaranty Chevrolet, in Santa Ana, California, handled the second service when the onboard diagnostics finally requested an oil change at 16,394 miles. After learning about the engine squeak, our friendly service advisor requested a test drive so we could demonstrate the issue. A quick trip around the block found him agreeing and promising to have his technicians look into the problem. We’ve also experienced an issue with the truck occasionally being balky at accepting fuel with California’s vapor recovery-equipped nozzles, so we asked that he check into that as well. The truck was ready for pick up later that same day, but sadly the technicians could not replicate or solve the engine squeak or fueling difficulty.

GM’s use of a heavy key fob that’s separate from the ignition key is perplexing, especially when all other manufacturers incorporate key with fob in a one-piece unit. The constant noise from the fob clanging around with other keys and slapping the steering column on dirt roads is seriously annoying, especially because the rest of the vehicle is so tight and rattle free. In fact, why not use keyless ignition on a $56,000 truck? The rest of the interior feels like a European luxury car, so why not the key switch?

Finally, we stand by our assessment that the Z71 suspension tuning is wonderful for smooth highways and twisty pavement canyon carving, but not aimed at the off-road enthusiast. That’s not a condemnation of the suspension (if you’re looking for a truck with wonderfully direct steering and a high level of cornering ability), but it does leave room for a version of the truck with a higher level of compliance that’s actually tuned for use in the dirt. During our recent 2015 Pickup Truck of the Year testing, it was noted that the Ram Power Wagon, which is a 3⁄4-ton platform, rides far better on trails and dirt roads than our Silverado. Obviously, we don’t need to mention Ford’s Raptor, especially now that the word is out on the upcoming aluminum-bodied version.

Look for our fourth and final update on this long-term test truck in a few months. Until then, we’ll be hoping GM has something up its sleeve for those of us who prefer their trucks dirty.

The new engine is fantastic. Access for maintenance is great, with plenty of room to reach around, and everything is well marked.

Report: 3 Of 4
Previous reports: Dec. ‘14, Mar. ‘15
Base price: $45,050
Price as tested: $53,210
Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time, electronically controlled, two-speed

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 17,599
Miles since last report: 5,284
Average mpg (this report): 15.9
Test best tank (mpg): 17.1 (Highway between 70-75 mph)
Test worst tank (mpg): 14.1 (Around town, short trips)

This period: Oil and filter change, tire rotation, software re-flash, $0 (Service included for 2 years/24,000 miles)
Problem areas: Squeak, fuel filler

What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Build quality, fit and finish, quiet cab
Not: Separate key fob, highway-tuned ride

Logbook Quotes
“Grade braking is an interesting function, but woefully inadequate at actually slowing the truck on downgrades.”
“Transmission will downshift to hold speed while on speed control, but only after exceeding set speed by 20 mph.”
“So amazingly quiet and comfortable for long hauls.”

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