General Motors has been content to let its GMC brand harvest top-shelf pickup buyers for some time now – particularly with its high-line Denali models – but it's hard to turn away easy profits. GM says over 30 percent of new pickup sales now transact above $40,000, and that figure is growing by the year. Thus, it's no surprise that execs are finally letting Chevrolet get in on the action with this new range-topping High Country trim for the 2014 Silverado. Officials tell Autoblog that it's the first premium-branded Chevy pickup since the Cameo Carrier of the 1950s.
Sitting above the LTZ and Z71 off-road model, the Silverado High Country sets itself apart with trim-specific chrome grille and body-color bumpers front and rear – the only fullsize Chevy so equipped – along with unique 20-inch alloy wheels and a few bits of chrome frosting to go with the usual complement of badges. Available only in crew cab configuration, High Country will be offered in both two- and four-wheel drive with the buyer's choice of V8 engines – 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter – along with either a 5-foot, 8-inch or 6-foot, 6-inch box. There are no specific powertrain or suspension calibrations for the model.
Inside, the changes continue the somewhat restrained Western theme, with saddle brown leather (a grade nicer than what's found in lesser Silverados) lining heated and cooled bucket seats that have the High Country logo embroidered on the headrests. We've already had the chance to sit in the truck, and it's a comfortable, high-quality environment that's perhaps a notch or two down on the cowboy overtones compared to something like an F-150 King Ranch. GM knows they need this model to perform well in Texas, the nation's largest truck market, but they're also hoping the model plays well on the coasts.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but options will be few. A High Country Premium Package with driver alert technologies (read: lane departure and collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert and haptic seat), power pedals, trailer brake control and heated steering wheel figures to be the big-buck bundle, while other options will include navigation, sunroof, rear-seat entertainment, and GM's new CornerStep bumper finished in chrome.
Interestingly, Chevy's research suggests that pickup buyers at this elevated price point are less brand-loyal than those under $40k, so the company is eying more conquest sales than it might with lesser models. Yet officials say they don't think High Country will cannibalize GMC Sierra Denali buyers, because despite their close mechanical and visual kinship, the two brands support different owner demographics (GM labels target High Country buyers as "Everyday Hero" and Denali customers as "Disciplined Achievers"). As it is, the High Country will be priced above the starting price of well-equipped Sierras but fall short of Denali models. The latter will also keep some exclusive features to ensure it remains GM's most prestigious pickup, including a reconfigurable eight-inch screen in the instrument cluster. Chevy Truck director of marketing Maria Rohrer says the two GM divisions are working "closer than ever," presumably to make sure the divisions don't step on each others' toes as they approach each other at the high-dollar summit of the truck market.
Silverado Adds Rugged Luxury with New High Country
• New crew cab model to compete in premium pickup segment
• Unique exterior appearance, saddle brown interior
• Standard 5.3L V-8 with 355 horsepower, up to 23 mpg highway
SAN ANTONIO – The 2014 Silverado High Country will further broaden Chevrolet's portfolio in the premium pickup segment when it joins the LTZ and Z71 models in the Silverado lineup this fall.
Silverado High Country is distinguished by a unique chrome grille with horizontal chrome bars, halogen projector headlamps and body-color front and rear bumpers. Unique 20-inch chrome wheels with P275/55R20 all-season tires are standard, as are chrome body side moldings, door handles and mirrors.
Inside, Silverado High Country features an exclusive saddle brown interior, with authentic materials throughout. Features include heated and cooled perforated premium leather front bucket seats with High Country logos on the headrests, Chevrolet MyLink connectivity with an 8-inch touch screen, Bose premium audio and front and rear park assist.
"High Country will be the top model in the Silverado lineup, with a higher level of premium features and materials with a rich, Western themed appearance," said Maria Rohrer, Silverado marketing director. "But at the same time, High Country is 100-percent Chevy truck, with the capability and dependability customers have relied on for more than 95 years."
Standard engine for the Silverado High Country is the 5.3L EcoTec3 V-8, SAE-certified at 355 horsepower (250 kW), with class-leading V-8 fuel economy of up to 23 mpg highway (2WD models). The all-new 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8 also will be available. Both engines feature direct fuel injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing, proving the refined power and torque truck customers expect. Both seamlessly switch to four-cylinder mode to save fuel during light-load driving.
Because of the high level of standard equipment, Silverado High Country will offer only a few options. In addition to the 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8, they include a chrome rear bumper with CornerStep, integrated trailer brake controller, sunroof, navigation, and a rear-seat entertainment system as well as a High Country Premium Package which includes heated steering wheel, driver alert package, adjustable pedals and integrated trailer brake controller.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
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