Drive Type: Automatic
Number of Cylinders: 8
Trim: Bagged Patina Shop Truck Slammed Air Ride
Citrus Heights, California, United States
The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, having stared at the Impala across the showroom floor for a year, gets nips and tucks all over inspired by its larger brother. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the base car will get a stop-start system and 23 city miles per gallon, 35 highway, each number representing a one-mpg improvement over the 2013 car. Output is 196 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque.
Opt for the 2.0-liter turbo and, while power holds steady at 259 hp, torque goes up by 14 percent to a striking 295 lb-ft (a figure Chevy calls best in the class). The final details include newly programmed transmission shift points and faster shifts, for better engaging and enjoying the added power.
Looks-wise, the grille's been reshaped to be more in line with the new Chevrolet look, a narrower upper grille hovering over a larger lower grille.
For nine years, Diesel Power magazine has run the Diesel Power Challenge, this year's grindfest being "a week-long torture test that features seven events, nine trucks, 8,000 horsepower, and nearly 15,000 pound-feet of torque." The road to being crowned "the most powerful truck" starts with a dyno run, and then continues through the completion of a CDL-style obstacle course, an eighth-of-a-mile drag race while towing a 10,000-pound trailer, a quarter-mile drag race without a trailer, a fuel economy test in the mountains and finally a sled-pulling test through a 300-foot-long packed-mud pit.
What kind of trucks get into such a fight? Last year's winner, for instance - who upgraded his truck this year to prove he didn't "luck into the win" - drives a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 upgraded with a custom intake, Elite Diesel triple turbos and a two-stage nitrous system. Another competitor has a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six, upgraded with Garrett turbos, dual-stage nitrous, a seven-inch exhaust stack and twin fans built into the bed to cool the Sun Coast Omega transmission. The numbers on that truck: 1,255 horsepower, and 2,063 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. Naturally, as the image above might suggest, things don't always end well.
You'll find all five videos covering this years challenge below. A scene in the dyno video sums it all up perfectly: a competitor leaves his nitrous on too long and the crew is treated to some ominous poppings, he leans out the window, throws both hands up and shouts, "Amer'ca!"
Chevrolet has thrown down the next hand in the pickup truck poker wars and revealed at least a couple of potential aces - depending on which numbers matter most to you. The 2014 2014 Silverado 1500 with its 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 gets 335 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, is mated to a six-speed automatic, can tow 11,500 pounds with the optional Max Trailer Package and costs the same as the outgoing Silverado, $24,585 (*including $995 destination fee). Chevy says the Silverado also stands atop the fuel economy charts when comparing any competitor with a V8 engine - and some competitors with V6 engines. The two-wheel drive model returns 16 miles per gallon city, 23 mpg highway, 19 mpg combined in two-wheel drive guise and 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined as a four-wheel drive.
For context around those numbers, the most fuel efficient V8-powered 2013 Ford F-150 pickups lose about two mpg in every metric compared to the Silverado, the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost returning 16 city, 18 highway and 22 combined in two-wheel drive. However, that EcoBoost does have 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. You can get a Ram 1500 with a 3.6-liter V6 that gets 25 mpg highway, but it has 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The 2013 Ram with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and its 395 hp and 407 lb-ft drops one mpg in every category to the Silverado. Its tow rating is 200 pounds beyond its nearest competitor, the F-150 with the Max Trailer Tow Package.
Elsewhere, the new Silverado gets a quieter cab with a redesigned interior, a new bed with improved load-management possibilities, disc brakes all around, tweaked steering and suspension, along with free standard scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles.