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Auto blogWed, 09 Apr 2014
It's been a good week for heavy-duty truck buyers. First, Ram revealed the Black Package for its HD trucks, then it rolled out its new Power Wagon, and now Chevy's getting in on the action with its Silverado High Country HD. Okay, so it may not pack quite the attitude of Ram's latest 2500-series offerings, but the High Country HD will come as a welcome addition to the Chevy Trucks range to those looking to pull their horse, boat or other trailer without skimping on creature comforts.
Rolled out a little under a year ago, the High Country trim is Chevy's answer to the likes of the GMC Denali, Ford King Ranch and Ram Longhorn. It has until now only been offered on the light duty, 1500-series Silverado, but now extends to the 2500 and 3500-series HD models, as well.
So what sets a High Country pickup apart from lesser Chevy trucks? You'll be able to pick it out based on its chrome horizontal grille, body-color bumpers, 6-inch tubular side steps, 20-inch chrome wheels (18-inch on the 3500 and 17-inch on the dualie) and, of course, plenty of special badging. But it's inside where the High Country makes its mark, with a cabin decked out in saddle brown perforated leather, seats that are both heated and cooled, eight-inch touchscreen with full MyLink suite, Bose audio and park assist functions front and rear to keep those color-keyed bumpers looking fresh. (Though Chevy hasn't yet showed us the interior of the HD model, it'll presumably look mostly the same as the cab in the 1500 High Country in the gallery below.)
The car you see above is the 2014 Chevrolet SS, and it's important both because it is the first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan from Chevy in 17 years, and because it will be the nameplate the brand uses on NASCAR tracks all across the country starting this year.
Though it wears a name as American as baseball and apple pie, the machine was actually designed and built in Australia, sharing most of its parts with the brand-new VF-model Holden Commodore. That said, the basic chassis bits are shared with other Chevrolet models like the Camaro and Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle.
While Chevrolet is happy to sell a Malibu or Impala to anyone looking for a mainstream family sedan, but the SS is reserved for buyers interested first and foremost in performance. Most sedans sold these days are front-wheel drive, which is great for everyday driving and when the weather goes bad, but the SS is instead a rear-wheel-drive vehicle aimed at enthusiasts who love to drive and who prefer speed and performance above all else.
Do not adjust your computer screen, you are not seeing the rebirth of the Pontiac brand. General Motors has chosen to use a G8 to disguise a test mule for the latest prototype of the forthcoming Chevrolet SS. The G8 was closely related to the Holden Commodore and Vauxhall VXR, the platform upon which the new Chevrolet performance model will be based. It should come as little surprise, then, that GM has opted to use the cladding from the former G8.
Thought the front clip of this mule is pure Pontiac, note the vents immediately behind the front wheel. That is a distinctive design hallmark of the Vauxhall VXR. Also note that this vehicle is right-hand drive, as the Holden and its Chevy counterpart will be very closely related. That likely includes potential drivetrains. The spy photos of this mule also reveal very wide rear tires, and rear wheels that do not match the fronts.