As the 2014 Silverado and Sierra have undergone major refreshes, the GM divisions have taken the opportunity to roll out with the Silverado High Country and Sierra Denali models, both of which handily break the $40,000 price point.
The Silverado High Country (like the Sierra Denali) comes exclusively in a crew cab body configuration. A 5-ft, 8-in. or 6-ft, 6-in. cargo box can be fitted. The exterior design changes to the High Country, in addition to badges, include a chrome grille with horizontal chrome bars, chrome body-side moldings, chrome door handles, chrome mirror housing, and body-color front and rear bumpers. Halogen projector headlamps are standard. There are specific 20-in. chrome wheels for the truck.
Inside the Sierra Denali the focus is on tech, as in the customizable 8-in. driver display centered in the gauge cluster, as well as the 8-in. color touch screen in the center stack for navigation and infotainment (the GMC Intellilink system). There are five standard USB ports. Other high-trim level details include “Denali” embroidered on the headrests of the leather seats and actual aluminum trim throughout the cabin.
Although this isn’t what one would like to see happen in the real world to one’s premium pickup (or non-premium ride), both the 2014 Silverado and Sierra are the first pickup trucks to receive the five-star Overall Vehicle Score in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (The testing was done on crew cab models, which, as noted, is the exclusive configuration for the premium pickups.) There are a variety of factors that go into achieving this high rating. For one: steel. 67% of the cab is constructed with high- and ultra-high-strength steels. There are hydroformed front frame rails designed with darts that manage crash energy, as well as vehicle compatibility brackets under the front frame rails to manage collision conditions with lower vehicles. There are various active safety technologies available for the vehicles, such as camera-based forward collision alert and lane-departure warning, and the Driver Alert Seat (vibrations in the lower seat bolster, on the appropriate side where, say, lane departure is occurring, get the driver’s attention).
Both the High Country and the Denali are available with a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 420 hp, 460 lb-ft of torque and which allows appropriately equipped trucks to trailer 12,000 lb. In addition to which, the V8 is rated at 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway for 2WD trucks and 14/20 mpg for 4WD models.
In the world of light-duty pickup trucks, the whole notion of down-and-dirty is giving way to a more rarified air. That is, according to Lloyd Bierman, marketing manager for the Chevrolet Silverado, 30% of light-duty pickups sold in the U.S. have an average transaction price of $40,000 or more. If you look at the category of premium trucks, you’ll find a rather wide array, with Ford having both the F-150 King Ranch and Platinum, Toyota having both the Tundra 1794 and Platinum, and Ram having the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn. Each of these trucks has an MSRP in excess of $40,000.
What is perhaps surprising is that General Motors has not had specific models competing in this leather-clad category, despite the fact that both the Silverado and GMC Sierra are stalwarts in the overall sales numbers for GM, with the Silverado 2012 sales coming in at 418,312 units (making it GM’s biggest-selling product, with its second, the Chevy Cruze, back at 237,758 units) and the GMC Sierra at 157,185. This is not to say that consumers couldn’t configure a Silverado or Sierra for $40K-plus, but that the corporation didn’t have luxe trucks ready to roll off the lot.
But as the 2014 Silverado and Sierra have undergone major refreshes, the GM divisions have taken the opportunity to roll out with the Silverado High Country and Sierra Denali models, both of which handily break the $40,000 price point (e.g., the High Country starts at $45,100, including destination, in a 2WD configuration with the base 5.3-liter, 355-hp/383 lb-ft EcoTec3 V8; the Denali, with the same setup, comes in at $47,810).—GSV