The Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck is world-renowned for dependability, performance, and value. Over the past few decades, truck makers Ford, Chevy, and Dodge have continually flirted with higher horsepower ratings, bigger towing capabilities, and more big-shouldered brawn in their pickup truck offerings. While the consumer is no doubt the beneficiary of any inter-company one-upping, these horsepower wars have also seen another issue arise – curb weights on contemporary pickup trucks. The 2013 Ford F-150 weighs in at 5,586 pounds, versus 5,192 for a 2003 model. Even more striking is the curb weight for an extended cab 1993-model Ford F-150 – 4,200 pounds! Over the course of 20 years, one of America’s most popular vehicles has gained almost 1,400 pounds! Chevy is apparently seeking a different path with its new Cheyenne concept.
Cheyenne will make use of high-tech components to save weight
Chevy’s Cheyenne made news at the November 2013 SEMA show due to its technical specifications and its striking good looks. While other makers are offering new models with turbocharged gas or diesel mills that boast gigantic tow ratings, Chevy is seeking a different consumer. Knowing that many pickup truck drivers use their trucks more like lifestyle vehicles than actual work rigs, the new Cheyenne concept seeks to fill this void in the current lineup.
The first area that Chevrolet addressed? You’ve got it – the curb weight! By employing carbon fiber for the bumpers, tailgate, and the inner cargo box area, Chevy was able to shave a massive 200 pounds off the curb weight of a standard Silverado. Interior design changes, the omission of some acoustic sound dampening materials, and lighter brakes and wheels also contribute to the Cheyenne concept’s overall weight reduction.
Knowing that Cheyenne drivers will want their trucks to go, and not just show, Chevy saw fit to equip the concept with their new, more economical 6.2L V-8. This motor delivers 420 horsepower and 460 ft.-lbs. of torque – plenty to motivate this much more svelte truck to 60 miles per hour far quicker than any contemporary pickup truck. The Cheyenne also features a lowered ride height, ceramic Brembo brakes borrowed from the Camaro Z/28, and a performance exhaust system that not only saves weight but also provides a burly exhaust note to complement the additional power of the 6.2L V-8.
Interior upgrades include a flat-bottomed, race ready steering wheel, and several design cues that seem just at home in a new Corvette as they do in a street-based pickup truck. Chevy isn’t attempting anything revolutionary when you consider the history of the American pickup truck – after all, Ford had the F-150 Lightning in the early 1990’s, Dodge offered the Ram SRT-10 up until a handful of years ago, and Chevy has built a history of performance-bred pickup trucks (like the Syclone, the 454SS, and others). What the Cheyenne is, is timely. Pickup trucks these days have become lumbering behemoths – laboring under their own weight and practically begging for weight loss surgery. Ford is reportedly working on this very issue with their Atlas concept truck – undoubtedly a preview of the next F-150, and truck makers today must focus on keeping pickup truck curb weights as low as possible to contend with the innovative new trucks that are emerging each year.