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Bottom-buzzing safety tech
The High Country comes standard with Front and Rear Park Assist, an array of sonar sensors on the front and rear bumpers of the truck that notify the driver when approaching obstructions. It also features a rear camera that outputs to the large 8-inch dashboard display when reversing. The camera's feed features a dynamic distance and trajectory overlay that twists with the steering wheel to estimate the truck's reversing course and warning icon overlays that integrate with the Park Assist sensor.
The aforementioned Driver Alert Package further fleshes out the Silverado's safety tech, adding the camera-based Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert systems to the mix. Respectively, these systems let the driver know when the truck is unintentionally crossing into the next lane or approaching a lead vehicle too quickly.
Both of these systems, as well as the Front and Rear Park Assist, integrate with the Silverado's oddest safety feature: the Safety Alert Seat. This adds a pair of vibrating motors the driver's seat cushion to silently notify the driver that one of the safety alerts has been triggered. So, for example, if you start to drift over the right lane marker without signaling, the Safety Alert Seat will, ahem, buzz your right butt cheek. If you're approaching an obstruction on the left when reversing, it will, err, buzz your left butt cheek. And, if you're approaching the lead vehicle fast enough to trigger the Forward Collision Alert, it will buzz both cheeks while flashing a group of red LEDs at the base of the windshield. That'll grab your attention, for sure.
It's weird, but I really liked the Safety Alert Seat's haptic feedback -- no, not like that. By allowing me to turn off the beeps associated with lane departure and proximity sensors, the Silverado's cabin became much less annoying. I didn't have to worry about missing an alert because the stereo was too loud. Plus, the alerts are more discreet and only I was aware of them, which put my passengers' minds at ease.
The Silverado's safety tech system is fairly full featured, but there are a few notable omissions. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are not available, both features that would be extremely useful on such a large vehicle. Despite featuring a Forward Collision Alert system that can judge distance to a lead vehicle, the Silverado also doesn't feature adaptive cruise control. However, it does feature an array of towing and 4X4 features that can technically be counted as safety features, so it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison with what we've come to expect from passenger cars.
A V-8 that sometimes isn't
The Silverado High Country comes standard with a 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8 engine that makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. It uses direct injection and cylinder deactivation technology to achieve an EPA estimated 16 city mpg and 22 highway mpg in 4WD trim. It's also E85 Flex Fuel compatible -- though, depending on your opinion of E85, that may not be a selling point.
However, that's not the engine that our tester arrived with. For $1,995 more than the base price, the High Country is upgraded with a 6.2-liter version of the EcoTec3 V-8 that boasts 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. It still uses direct injection and Chevrolet's Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation tech but doesn't seem to be Flex Fuel compatible. The EPA reckons this variant will get 14 city, 20 highway, and 17 combined mpg in its 4x4 configuration.
During my testing, I took it very easy when cruising on the highway to take maximum advantage of the EcoTec3's ability to drop from a V-8 to a V-4 configuration under light loads, halving its displacement and reducing its fuel use. However, I shared driving duties with CNET's video team, an occasionally lead-footed bunch. Between us, we were only able to average 13.6 mpg over the week, just below the EPA's guess for this truck.
Missing from the EcoTec3's bag of fuel saving tricks is an automatic stop-start option, which would shut the engine down when stopped to reduce fuel wasted to idling.
The engine is paired with a single-option, 6-speed automatic transmission that features a manual shift mode. In our 4WD model, torque then heads to a 2-speed 4WD transfer case where it is split between the two axles. Drivers can choose 2WD, Auto, 4WD, and 4WD Low settings for the 4x4 system.
In this configuration, with the High Country's towing upgrades, the Silverado is good to pull up to its 7,200 pound GVW rating.
Other options and pricing
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country 4WD starts at $47,380. Our truck also came equipped with $700 optional chrome side step rails and $60 worth of LED cargo box lighting. That's on top of the $1,995 for the larger engine and $1,345 High Country Premium package. Add the $995 destination charges to bring our example to a $52,475 as-tested price.
At that price, the Silverado High Country costs about what you'd pay for a similarly-equipped 2014 Cadillac XTS AWD, further reinforcing the Cowboy Cadillac metaphor. Both feature nearly the same level of excellent available cabin and safety tech (though the Chevy's got more than double the number of USB ports), which speaks volumes of the truck's level of appointment.
|Model||2014 Chevrolet Silverado|
|Trim||High Country Crew Cab 4WD|
|Powertrain||6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8, 6-speed automatic, 4WD|
|EPA fuel economy||14 city, 20 highway, 17 combined mpg|
|Observed fuel economy||13.5 mpg|
|Navigation||Standard OnStar turn-by-turn, optional 3D navigation|
|Bluetooth phone support||Standard|
|Disc player||Single-slot CD|
|MP3 player support||Standard analog 3.5mm auxiliary input, 5 x USB connections with iPod compatibility, Bluetooth audio streaming|
|Other digital audio||SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, SD card slot|
|Audio system||7-speaker Bose audio|
|Driver aids||Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Alert, Front and Rear proximity sensors, rearview camera|
|Price as tested||$52,475|