For much of the past two years, one of the hottest niche markets in the full-size pickup segment has been the premium trim level.
Itís not enough that a truck can tow a house or double as a mobile office. Today, consumers want a truck that can do all that ó and be luxurious.
Today, every full-size pickup manufacturer has at least one premium trim level in their stable ó each vying to be the most luxurious, versatile, capable and featuring the most connectivity of any pickup on the road.
While I may think that luxury and pickups are two words that donít belong together, the fact is premium full-size pickups are in high demand with consumers.
This week I had the opportunity to log seat time in the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High County ó Chevyís premium trim level in the full-size pickup segment.
And yes, it is loaded ó with both capability and luxury.
There were times I actually wondered if I was driving a pickup or a cowboy limo.
For starters, the Silverado High County has more leather than a biker bar on Saturday night. OK, itís very upscale leather, like you would find on a $2,000 pair of boots with handcraft stitching and the like.
The saddle-brown tailored leather front bucket seats are heated and cooled.
It includes Chevroletís MyLink connectivity with an 8-inch color touch screen and one of the sweetest-sounding Bose audio systems you will ever hear.
For the sake of full disclosure, Iím more into Corvettes than I am into pickups, so I really appreciated the standard front and rear park assist feature ó which helped this city slicker easily maneuver the full-size pickup in and out of tight parking spaces downtown. (Normally when I have a big pickup to review the staff at the paper sells tickets to watch me try and park. Iím not making that up).
With a base price starting at $45,100, the Silverado High County is available in rear- or four-wheel drive configuration. It comes with a four-door crew cab body style, and consumers have the option of a 5-feet, eight-inch or a six-feet, six-inch cargo box.
Oh, it also comes with 20-inch wheels to go along with the elegant, upscale interior.
A 5.3-liter V-8 is the standard engine on the Silverado High Country, delivering 355 horsepower and 383 lbs.-ft. torque. It has a maximum payload of 1,957 pounds and 9,800 pounds of towing capability.
Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of up to 23 mpg highway for rear-wheel drive models.
The Silverado High County is also available with the new 6.2-liter V-8, delivering 420 horsepower and 460 lbs.-ft. torque. It is also mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Both engines feature GMís Active Fuel Management system, which is capable of seamlessly switching to four-cylinder mode when power isnít needed to save fuel during light-load driving.
And Iíve just scratched the surface of all the features. For those in the market for a premium full-size pickup, the Chevy Silverado High County is a must for the test drive list.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.
The Nuts and Bolts
2014 Chevrolet Silverado High County
(specs for High Country trim level only)
5-seat luxury pickup
Crew cab body style
5í8íí or 6í6íí box †
Rear-, or four-wheel drive
Starting at $45,100
5.3L FlexFuel V8
(355 hp/383 torque)
6.2L FlexFuel V8
(420 hp/460 torque)
EPA: 16/16 mpg city, 22/23 mpg highway (5.3L RWD/4WD)
FUEL: Regular unleaded gasoline or E85
StabiliTrak stability control with trailer sway control and hill start assist
LENGTH: 230/239.6 in.*
WHEELBASE: 143.5/153 in.* (*denotes 5í8íí/6í6íí box)
WIDTH: 80 inches
HEIGHT: 74.2/73.7 in.*
WEIGHT: 5156-5429 lbs.
FUEL TANK: 26 gallons
TOWING: Up to 9,700 pounds.