Full-size trucks in America are a big deal and are not to be taken lightly. Big and bad to the bone, these rolling mammoths haul tree trunks and motorcycles effortlessly and tow trailers and construction equipment sizeable enough to live in. Ranchers drive them, contractors drive them, and horse owners drive them to name a few. The question is, which of the top truck models do you dance with at a barn party? Is it the Ford F-150, Ram, Toyota Tundra, or the General’s corporate cousins the GMC Sierra or the Chevy Silverado? They all present themselves with formidable characteristics and typical workhorse capabilities. For the 2014 model year, Chevy welcomes a premium level and truly special edition for Silverado, the High Country.
Chevy is currently on a roll and plans to keep the pedal to the floor with roughly 13 new or redesigned products hitting the market within a year. You name it and they have it including the all-new 2014 Corvette and an upcoming midsize pick-up called the Colorado. The compact market is relatively small with less than 2% market share but Chevy doesn’t mind snagging a good percentage of that volume. They don a 3-truck strategy which provides the full range for anyone perusing the showrooms. Additional good news for the GM division comes from Consumer Reports as they have awarded the Silverado and GMC Sierra with their top honors in the full-size truck category.
To explore what the High Country talk was all about Automotive Rhythms hightailed it to truck country itself, Texas, to explore the power, capabilities, and newly appointed luxuries of the full-size trucks. Firstly, the indomitable High Country is the first premium name Chevy has assigned to the Silverado and is expected to hit dealers in November and December. With 30% of all full-size pickups selling for over $40,000 Chevy felt confident about the potential of this new nameplate.
The other big news for the Silverado is the introduction of a third engine in the family which is the 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8. It’s an optional engine with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque and allows the High Country to tow 12,000 pounds. The other two engines are the base 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque and the entry level 4.3-liter V6. Chevy is exultant about the fact that all three powertrains have all three of their touted standard technologies: Direction Injection, Active Fuel Management, and Variable Valve Timing. On the 5.3-liter the cylinder deactivation know-how helps the Silverado achieve 16 city mpg and 22 highway which is pretty amazing for a full-size! EPA estimates for the 6.2-liter EcoTec3 engine enable 2WD Sierra and Silverado models to reach 15 mpg city and 14 mpg city for 4WD. EPA highway estimates are 21 mpg for 2WD versions and 20 mpg for 4WD models.
We drove a Black 6.2-liter High Country Crew Cab 4WD with the 6-speed transmission and it felt smooth and fluid. The days when your pickup feels like a big rig are long gone. A digital read-out in the instrument cluster displays when Active Fuel Management is working as a 4-cylinder. We also towed massive loads up hills without a qualm. Never did the High Country struggle for is breath!
The High Country receives quite a few add-ons to alter its appearance from the standard Silverados and adds a bit more aggressive and sporty styling. There is the addition of a good amount of chrome such as the unique 20” rims and the bigger chrome grille; body colored bumpers with CornerSteps; and specific, premium leather and perforated seats (heated and cooled) finished in a Saddle Brown hue. Sitting in the cabin felt like I was home in my office. You can literally pull out your laptop and a portable printer and get to work since the Silverado has 5 USB slots, 12v outlets, and middle console storage for all of your supplies. The 8” LCD for Chevy’s MyLink multi-media services features sizable touchscreen input icons to minimize distraction. MyLink comes with a suite of apps such as Pandora to make the truck experience as convenient as driving a 4-door sedan. In addition, a Bose audio system is standard on the High Country.
Base price was $47,380, but totaled $54,265 with final equipment. For example, our High Country was equipped with the $1,345 Driver Alert Package which gives you Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and a Safety Alert Seat that vibrates when the vehicle veers out of its lane without using the turn indicator. The 6.2-liter is optional at $1,995, the sunroof is $995, the Navigation Radio is $795, and the 6” Assist Steps go for $700.
Whether you are riding high like cowboys or moving rapidly similar to sportbike riders, the High Country will fit all of your workhorse lifestyles suitably.