The next generation of the venerable Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup is on its way for 2014, with production expected to begin by early summer. Dealers should begin receiving the trucks by late summer.The new Silverado 1500 will be part of a three-truck lineup for Chevy, which also includes the redesigned midsize Colorado, coming later this year, and the Silverado heavy duty models, known as the 2500 and 3500.GM says the 2014 Silverado 1500 is "new from hood to hitch," and has been "engineered to be the strongest, smartest, and most capable Silverado ever."There are three all-new EcoTec3 engines, a new exterior design that is more evolutionary than revolutionary, and a more-refined interior that GM says is quieter, with lots of available amenities that make the truck much more carlike.Although the exterior is new, it's still unmistakably a Silverado. This is not a product where consumers appreciate radical restyling, which really isn't necessary anyway - the outgoing model was superb in its own right.The new design is "more muscular, more functional and more aerodynamic," GM says. It includes a new twin-port grille, full-width bumper and dual power-dome hood, along with sculpted body sides and fender flares.There is function in the new form, though. The Silverado's new front end is engineered to improve engine cooling, and the body's overall shape was tweaked using wind-tunnel testing to help reduce wind drag and improve fuel economy. Special attention was given to the roof and tailgate spoiler,Even the door openings have been redesigned to reduce drag, which helps make the cabin quieter at highway speeds by cutting down wind noise.Engine choices are a 4.3-liter V-6 and two V-8s - a 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter. GM says all three were specifically engineered for use in full-size trucks. All have direct fuel-injection, as well as cylinder deactivation technology that reduces them to four cylinders during level highway cruising to improve gas mileage.Horsepower, torque and fuel-economy ratings will be released closer to the vehicles' launch date. Production of the Crew Cab model, with four full doors and capacity of up to six passengers, will begin first, GM says, with the regular and extended-cab models arriving later.Three cargo-box lengths will be offered: 5-foot-8, 6-foot-6, and 8-foot. The longer 6-foot-6 box will be offered on the Crew Cab as an option over that model's standard 5-foot-8 box. The 6-foot-6 box will be standard on the extended-cab models, while the regular-cab versions, with no back seat or rear doors, can be purchased with the 6-foot-6 or 8-foot bed.GM's new CornerStep bumper and built-in hand grips have been added to make it easier to step up into the bed. The tailgate is better balanced to make it easier to raise or lower it. Two-tier loading, a cargo-box light, and a locking tailgate are standard.Also available are upper tie-down hooks, and LED lights under the bed side rails, which light up the bed at night for easier loading or unloading in the dark.Also back will be the Z71 off-road package, offered in the midlevel LT and top-end LTZ models. This is the one for trail-driving enthusiasts (like me). It has four-wheel drive, low-range gearing, monotube Rancho shocks, front tow hooks, a transfer-case skid plate, and either 18- or 20-inch all-terrain tires. Hill-descent control and an automatic locking rear differential are included, as well.For safety, two-thirds of the new Silverado's cab is made of high-strength steel, and standard features include electronic stability control, trailer-sway control, antilock brakes, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags with rollover protection, and tire-pressure monitoring.New optional safety gear includes a lane-departure warning system, rearview camera, forward-collision alerting, and front-and-rear park assist.GM's great OnStar system continues to be standard, and it offers turn-by-turn navigation. But new is the optional MyLink infotainment system, which is available with or without an in-dash navigation system.The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.