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Everybody has a story about their first vehicle. When I first started driving, I was lucky that my parents had an extra vehicle that I could call my own. But a month after I turned 18, I purchased my very first vehicle all on my own. It was a 1997 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 with the mighty 5.7L V8 engine. It was a gorgeous truck and I really enjoyed it but, within a year I had sold it, finding the cost to keep the tank full too much for my part-time paycheck to handle.

1997 Chevrolet Silverado Z71

1997 Chevrolet Silverado Z71

Fast forward almost 8 years and I am once again behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Silverado. This time it is the redesigned 2014 Silverado. In many ways, my 1997 Silverado and this 2014 Silverado are exactly the same. Both are V8 powered, have four wheel drive, an impressive design and legendary GM performance. But in many ways they are light years apart. With fond memories of my 1997 Silverado in mind, I set out in a Deep Ruby Metallic 2014 Silverado to see how seventeen years of innovation has made this truck even better.

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Had I owned the 2014 model back in 2006, I probably would not have sold it within a year. Three engine choices, each with Active Fuel Management make the Silverado and Sierra the most efficient pickup trucks on the market today. Active Fuel Management will deactivate half of your cylinders to save fuel during low-demand situations. Combine that with Variable Valve Timing and Direct Injection and you have a truck that sips fuel without compromising on power.

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In the LTZ model I test drove, the interior was near luxurious. You will have a difficult time finding a quieter interior . GM designed the seats to be comfortable even if you have to spend hours behind the wheel and all of the buttons and controls are intelligently laid out. For someone like me who can not exist without their smartphone, the Chevrolet MyLink system was a dream and the touch screen audio system was a beautiful feature to have.

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At the end of the day , if a truck does not function like a truck, it’s not worth your money. I really liked some of the features that make the Silverado and Sierra function better as trucks. The rear of the truck is generally neglected, but on these models you will find a rear Cornerstep Bumper that allows you easy access into the bed. Previously you had to perch yourself on the bumper (and hope you didn’t slip off mid-step), kneel on the tailgate (which is horribly painful) or contort yourself into a yoga pose to step directly onto the tailgate. Those days are over thanks to the Cornerstep and its something you never have to fumble with and fold away.

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For 2014, the Extended Cab version of the Silverado and Sierra has been¬†reengineered as the Double Cab model. The rear doors are now forward opening, which means if you are sitting in the back, you are not at the mercy of the front seat occupants if you want to get out. The Silverado Z71 and Sierra Denali models are also great choices if you are looking for more features and goodies. You can add a Driver Alert Package, which adds vibrations to the driver’s seat related to the Forward Collision and Lane Departure Warning Systems. This will increase reaction times to help prevent a crash.

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Overall the new 2014 Silverado and Sierra trucks are a proud reinvention of two iconic nameplates. Thought went into literally every inch of the redesign and I personally think it was a huge success. I challenge you to come down and pit the 2014 Silverado against any other trucks you have owned or currently own. When you sit in them, drive them, and use them like you would in your own life, you will find that they respond with everything you need and more.