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The High Country is one of the highest trim levels available on the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Sitting parallel with the more sporty Z71, the more luxurious High Country is, in the words of CNET's parking attendant, sort of a Cowboy Cadillac.
The Cowboy Cadillac
Outside, the High Country features a unique chrome grille, a body-color matched front bumper and 20-inch chrome wheels. The headlamps are upgraded to halogen projectors, and foglights are standard. Out back, the bed has been upgraded with corner steps, hidden black tie downs, and an EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate that opens slowly (rather than just crashing down) and can be closed with one hand.
It features premium, perforated "saddle leather" seats with heated and cooled front buckets that also boast 12-way power-adjustment. The cabin tech is upgraded, which we'll discuss in a bit, and the suspension and amenities have been tweaked for better driver and passenger comfort.
Our pickup truck wasn't equipped with a sunroof (though one is available on the Silverado as a $995 option), so I was momentarily confused to find a window slider on the roof console. Flicking it, I was please to see that the motorized rear glass could be opened from the driver's seat. This is good, because there's no way that I was reaching over the great distance that affords rear passengers of this crew cab some considerable leg and foot room.
Truck tech featuring MyLink and OnStar
Though not standard for the entire Silverado 1500 line, the 8-inch Chevrolet MyLink audio system is the standard infotainment system for the line-topping High Country trim level.
Via this large central touch screen, users have access to HD Radio radio tuning, Sirius XM satellite radio, a single slot CD/MP3 player, and a 3.5mm analog auxiliary input. Digital media inputs include a whopping five USB ports (no, that's not a typo) on the dashboard and in the center console and a single SD card slot. There's also Bluetooth for hands-free calling, audio streaming, and full Pandora radio app control when paired with a compatible smartphone. (Interestingly, Stitcher app control seems to be missing from this version of MyLink, despite being present on other contemporary Chevy models.)
There are also at least three 12V and one 110V outlet scattered around the cabin for charging your devices on the go.
Whatever the audio source, it reaches the driver's ears via the High Country's standard Bose Premium audio system. Audio quality is good, but not amazing. The 7-speaker system features a subwoofer and uses active noise cancellation to somewhat mitigates the rumble of the 6.2L V-8 engine, but aside being competently clear and sufficiently loud, nothing about this system really stood out to me -- which is fine.
Our tester wasn't equipped with the optional 3D navigation system, but that omission doesn't exactly handicap its ability to get you from point alpha to bravo, thanks to Chevrolet's inclusion of a GPS-enabled flavor of OnStar as a standard feature and a six-month trial of the OnStar service. The combination of MyLink and OnStar gives the 2014 Silverado High Country an impressive set of standard features.
You can tap the "On" button located on the Silverado's rearview mirror to ask the concierge to find a destination or address. The service will then beam the directions to your truck over OnStar's data connection. Now, you'll be able follow the directions as displayed on the 8-inch center screen or the small color display in the instrument cluster.
OnStar navigation is pretty rudimentary -- you don't get a displayed map of the route, just the turns displayed in sequence -- but it gets the job done. It will handle simple rerouting, should you stray from the course. But, it may need to reconnect to the OnStar server to download new instructions should you get too far from the preset path.
The presence of OnStar also enables remote diagnostics, emergency services, stolen vehicle recovery, and hands-free calling at its various levels of service.
If you're like me and don't want to talk to a person to start every trip to the nearest Krispy Kreme, there's another control option in the OnStar RemoteLink smartphone app. Using the app for Android, iOS, Blackberry, or Windows Phone (how's that for cross-platform?), you can search for destinations and send them to the OnStar turn-by-turn navigation system. The app also gives access to the rest of OnStar's functionalities, most useful are the remote engine start and stop, door lock and unlock, and light and horn flasher without having to speak with an operator.
If you don't want to rely on OnStar for directions, the same 3D Navigation system that we've seen offered on other Chevrolet and GM vehicles is available at an additional cost of $795. It also ties into the OnStar systems and can receive destinations from an OnStar concierge or the RemoteLink app.
A $950 High Country Premium package adds a heated steering wheel, power adjustable pedals, and a trailer brake controller, not to mention rolling in the Driver Alert Package, which we'll get to in a bit.