There’s nothing like an off-handed jab at your husband during a dinner party to bring the conversation to an awkward halt.
Not long ago at a friend’s house the conversation turned to new cars. Susan would love to upgrade her minivan, she said, but her husband just spent $50,000 on a truck. She would have to wait.
The word Truck hung in the air like an expletive from a toddler. No one knew what to say.
“Well, um, I need it for work,” Bob managed apologetically, then changed the subject. But the flush of guilt remained on his face all evening. He recently bought a new truck and he knew what that meant, even if the rest of us didn’t.
This may be Silverado’s BEST feature
Yes, we get boys and their toys: large, powerful machines that give the driver super strength and ability. And Bob, a builder, needs a truck for hauling materials, towing equipment and driving through rutted, dirty building sites. But I had to wonder, was there more to it?
The Dirty Little Secret About Trucks
These things, so macho on the outside, are built to pamper its occupants. Seriously pamper.
Recently Chevrolet loaned us a 2014 Silverado LTZ Z71, a four door off-road Crew Cab. The 2014 model was recently re-thought and redesigned, filled with a lot of smart details and conveniences. And while it has all the power and machismo that you would expect, its creature comforts are pure dreamy:
-It has the most organized cabin of any car, ever. Places for stuff everywhere, including a ‘gutter’ at the base of the center dash so you can prop your phone, or phones, or tablet or framed picture of your kids; the center console is a double space with a deep well in front for stuff like keys or sunglasses; it has two cup holders in the middle; and between the front seats there’s a large, deep center console that closes. You could set up an office in here and never need to leave your truck.
-The closing console between the seats is big enough to hold my purse and still close. Seriously. Or, I could store my laptop, iPad, notebook and pens. Or, if Bob were inclined, he could store his murse.
-Enough places to charge every device you and your family own. Three USB ports, two cigarette ports and a household plug at the front of the center console, and two USB ports and a cigarette port inside the closing console.
-And still, you can stream your music and make calls wirelessly with Bluetooth.
-Incredible leg room in both the front and back. Clearly, the back seats are intended for large people to sit comfortably, which means that an antsy fourteen year old won’t get on the nerves of the 11 year old next to her, and a toddler can kick her feet until she’s exhausted and no one else in the car will feel it. Or you can take your friends out to dinner and no one feels cramped.
-Storage wells in the door panels, behind the closing console (facing the back seats, sort of like a magazine rack and perfect for holding tablets or small electronics), in the armrest that pulls down from the center rear seat, and carved into the center console next to the driver’s seat and passenger seat.
-Rear seats that flip up for cargo space and that also allow storage underneath.
-Heated seats and a heated steering wheel. Cuz you gotta have that.
-Push-button adjustable accelerator and brake pedals.
-Steps carved into the bumper that allow easy access to the truck bed. You can easily and gracefully get in and out of the truck bed in a skirt and sandals. I know, cuz I did. (And this is key; driving a truck and hauling heavy stuff shouldn’t mean you have look the part.)
Putting It To The Girl Test: Hauling Stuff Home
The week we had the Silverado we put it to the test. We loaded its lovely bed up with furniture four times, toting home two sofas, two tables, four big chairs, four small chairs and a small variety of other stuff. We delivered furniture to my cousin, helped a friend move and took a family road trip to Hershey, PA. The truck rallied on all occasions; the truck bed was easy to load and the step assists on the rear bumper made it easy for anyone to hop in to help. The comfort of the cab made the 3.5 hour drive to Hershey a breeze.
One of our excursions took us down a steep gravel and dirt drive to pick up a sofa. The drive selector did its work that day. While we drove in 2-wheel drive in the city, the truck’s heavy front end caused the wheels spin on the gravel hill; but once I put it in 4-wheel drive, it mastered the road like a champ.
The only drawback is that this truck is hard to park. The Silverado is huge: 239” or nearly 20 feet long; the Suburban is 18’ 5”, and the GMC Acadia is 16’ 9”. Maneuvering into a tight space might be possible; backing out of it later may not, even with the backup camera.
I found that it was easier just to park on the outskirts of a parking lot and not try to jockey for a close spot. The silver lining is that you always end up taking a few extra steps wherever you go.
I have a dream garage in my head (don’t you???). In it, next to the Corvette Stingrays (1967 and 2014), a Shelby Mustang, a BMWi, a Sienna minivan and a Range Rover, there is a pickup truck. I never thought much about which truck, just something good for hauling antiques or bedding plants or towing a boat, something I could get nice and dirty and then leave for the butler to hose down. But now I know: There’s a Silverado in my dream garage, and hopefully, one day, in my real garage.
The Silverado compared to its sister truck, the Chevy Tahoe
What We Loved:
Chevrolet MyLink entertainment console, navigation and phone connectivity
Sirius XM Radio
Telescoping accelerator and brake pedals
A great package of safety features, including a backup camera, lane departure warnings and park assist
A light over the truck bed
Passenger assist step makes it easy to get in and out of the truck and in and out of the truck bed
2-wheel, 4-wheel or al-wheel drive dial
Back window that slides open (at the push of a button, too!) and a sunroof, making getting fresh air easy-breezy
Heated and cooled seats
That AWESOME center console. This alone makes the truck worth it
Flip up rear seats
Flex Fuel vehicle: it can use E85 ethanol or regular gas
Automatic folding mirrors (for when you have to park in a tight spot)
What You Need to Know
MSRP $49,665; base model, about $43,000
V8 Engine, which means not great fuel economy: 16MPG city/22highway (about what we averaged)
Parking can be a challenge
The truck’s big engine and high stance make for a large hood that takes some getting used to
Disclosure: Chevrolet provided the Silverado for this review; opinions here are purely my own.