It was a clean sweep this year for Chevrolet at the North American International Auto Show, winning the 2014 Car of the Year award for the new Corvette Stingray, and Truck of the Year for the redesigned Silverado 1500 pickup.Although announced at the Detroit show each year, the awards are separate from the event and are decided by a group of 48 independent auto writers from across the country. It’s the first time the Chevrolet brand has swept the awards, but General Motors took both in 2007, with the Silverado as truck of the year and the Saturn Aura sedan as the top car.GM’s own Cadillac CTS, which has been redesigned for 2014, was one of the three car finalists; the other was the Mazda 3. The Silverado’s final competitors were the Acura MDX midsize crossover utility vehicle and the all-new Jeep Cherokee.Only two other automakers have swept the awards in the past -- Honda, in 2006, with the Ridgeline SUV-pickup and Civic compact sedan; and Ford, in 2010, with the midsize Fusion hybrid sedan and compact Transit Connect van. The truck category includes pickups, vans, sport utilities and crossovers.“The Corvette and Silverado truly embody the passion, commitment and focus that are driving us to deliver the most-expressive designs, innovative technologies, and engaging performance in every vehicle that wears the bowtie,” GM’s global Chevrolet boss Alan Batey said in response to the awards.He said the brand is “in the midst of the most-aggressive product transformation” in its history.There were a total of 11 cars and 12 trucks considered for this year’s awards, chosen from among vehicles that were either all-new or significantly redesigned for the 2014 model year.GM led the field with six contenders overall. Besides the Silverado, Corvette and CTS, they included the GMC Sierra pickup, which is a virtual clone of the Silverado; the Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan; and the Buick Encore compact crossover.The Silverado beat the redesigned San Antonio-built 2014 Toyota Tundra pickup, which was one of three Toyota nominees, along with the Corolla compact sedan and Lexus IS sport sedan.Chevy’s redesigned, seventh-generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe went on sale last fall, and the convertible versions will begin arriving within a few weeks. It revives the Stingray (originally Sting Ray) name for the iconic American sports car for the first time since 1976. Coupe prices begin at $51,995, including freight, while the convertibles start at $56,995.Under the hood is the most-powerful standard Corvette engine ever, a 6.2-liter V-8 with 455 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of torque (460 horsepower and 465 foot-pounds with the optional performance exhaust system).With this engine, the coupe can go from zero-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, run the quarter-mile in 12 seconds at 119 mph, and stop from 60 mph in just 107 feet, GM said. Available is either a six-speed automatic or seven-speed manual transmission.EPA fuel-economy ratings are 17 mpg city/29 highway, the best among all sports cars now on the market (except electric).GM brought back the Stingray name on the 2014 Corvette, the first use of that designation since the 1976 model. The Sting Ray name was used on Corvette models from 1963-67, and then the one-word version, Stingray, appeared on 1969-76 models.The newest generation of the venerable Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup went on sale late last summer.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 is quieter, with lots of available amenities that make the truck much more carlike.The new design is more muscular, and includes a new twin-port grille, full-width bumper and dual power-dome hood, along with sculpted body sides and fender flares. The 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. 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.Starting prices for the 2014 Silverado regular cab model are $25,575 (plus $1,095 freight), while the Double Cab version begin at $29,600, and the Crew Cab at $33,700. Three cargo-box lengths are offered: 5-foot-8, 6-foot-6, and 8-foot. The longer 6-foot-6 box is available on the Crew Cab as an option over that model’s standard 5-foot-8 box. The 6-foot-6 box is 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 is the Z71 off-road package, offered in the midlevel LT and top-end LTZ models. This is the one for trail-driving enthusiasts. 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 2000. Contact him at email@example.com.