The next-generation Chevrolet Silverado full-sized pickup will be 3 to 4 inches taller than the current version and will have a brawnier look when it debuts next year as a 2014 model.
General Motors executives unveiled the redesigned Silverado to a few thousand Chevrolet dealers this month in Las Vegas.
GM has added rear doors to the Silverado's extended-cab model to improve convenience for back-seat passengers, according to several dealers who attended. Some Chevy dealers say that the four-door feature -- available on comparable models of the Ram 1500 but not the Ford F-150 -- should lift sales of extended cabs, which typically account for less than 20 percent of dealers' Silverado sales.
Dealers who saw the Silverado described its styling changes as evolutionary.
"It's not a major change for an all-new model, but it'll be much bolder looking and have a lot more features," says Tom Durant, owner of Classic Chevrolet in Grape-vine, Texas, one of the nation's largest Chevy dealers.
GM also will offer an optional 6 1/2-foot bed on its crew-cab Silverado. Current crew-cab models come with 5 3/4-foot beds. Ford and Ram already offer 6 1/2-foot beds on their crew-cab models.
The next-gen Silverado's crew cab also will get several more inches of rear-seat legroom, dealers who attended the meeting said. That would eliminate a competitive disadvantage: Ford's crew-cab pickup offers 4 1/2 more inches of legroom than the Silverado's current crew cab. Ram's crew cab has about 1 1/2 inches more space.
GM also will offer optional LED lights embedded into the bed rails, dealers said.
GM has been tight-lipped about the redesigned Silverado, which is expected to go on sale by next summer. The company initially planned to unveil the next-gen pickup at the Texas state fair this month but decided to keep the wraps on longer, citing competitive reasons. A GM spokesman declined to comment on Silverado plans.
Dealers said GM offered no details on the redesigned Silverado's powertrain.
The truck will get a new version of GM's small-block V-8 engine, which is expected to feature direct injection and cylinder deactivation.
The last Silverado redesign arrived in 2006 as a 2007 model. Through August, it is GM's top-selling vehicle, with sales of 261,775 units, up 4 percent from the year-earlier period.