New Model News

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 gets improved trailer capability, upgraded features

New features and some trim level shuffling are in store for the Silverado in 2021.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is getting a refined list of offerings for the new model year, including the Multi-Flex Tailgate that was announced last week. Production of the model will begin in September and it will arrive at Chevrolet dealerships throughout the autumn.

According to the company's polling, 96 percent of light-duty pickup truck owners tow less than 10,000 pounds. Two Chevy trucks are getting a boost to get them closer to that benchmark.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 The new Multi-Flex Tailgate is just like GMC's MultiPro Tailgate.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Models powered by Chevy's turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that are equipped with a Crew Cab and Short Box see their towing rating increased by 2,500 pounds to 9,300 pounds for the 2021 model year. A new Regular Cab/Long Box configuration offers a tow rating of 9,600 pounds with the same engine.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 models powered by a 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine have their trailer capacity increased by 1,900 pounds for 2021 to 9,500 pounds on two-wheel drive models. Chevy has also given these trucks a $1,500 price decrease for the new model year.

The Silverado 1500 has also gotten new camera technology for 2021. These upgrades are similar to what is in the GMC Sierra for the coming model year. In addition to its previous 15 unique camera views, Chevy adds:

  • Trailer Length Indicator - When making a lane-change maneuver with the turn signal activated, a red overlay twice the length of the compatible trailer is shown on the center console screen, which can help show when other vehicles are present.
  • Jack-Knife Alert - Tracks the position of the compatible trailer in relation to the vehicle and provides an alert if a potential jack-knife situation is imminent.
  • Cargo Bed View enhancement - Cargo Bed Zoom View and Bed Hitch Guidance are now available, which help to align and hook up a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer.
  • Rear Trailer View now features guidelines and Trailer-Angle Indicator - Enhanced to include assisting guidelines when backing a compatible trailer into place and a Trailer-Angle Indicator shows the relationship between the truck and trailer3.
  • Rear Side View enhancement: Provides a split view, automatically biased based on the trailer's angle, of the left and right sides of the truck and compatible trailer. This view was previously only available while driving forward and is now available in Reverse for better visibility when positioning a trailer.

The 2021 Silverado 1500 also adds more customer-friendly content at all price points to an already compelling truck lineup, including:

  • Custom and Custom Trail Boss are now standard with Custom Convenience Package and Infotainment Package, which include EZ Lift power lock and release tailgate, bed LED cargo area lighting, remote start, available SiriusXM radio, available OnStar, and more.
  • Work Truck, Custom and Custom Trail Boss now offer 40/20/40 split-bench front seat and a new Safety Confidence Package (late availability), which includes Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, steering wheel audio controls, and 4.2-inch driver information center.
  • Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss are now available with 20-inch black wheels with Goodyear Territory MT Tires (late availability).
  • LT and RST now come standard with the All Star Edition content, which includes the Convenience Package, Trailering Package, and an auto-locking rear differential.
  • LTZ now comes standard with the LTZ Convenience Package, Safety Package, and 20-inch polished wheels.
  • Wireless phone projection through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability is standard on LTZ and High Country, and available on LT, LT Trail Boss, and RST.
  • A first for Chevrolet, Adaptive Ride Control is now available on High Country models with 22-inch wheels to provide enhanced ride comfort.
Three new packages are available: All Star Edition Plus, Texas Edition Plus, and LTZ Premium Texas Edition. Details on these packages are forthcoming.

Three additional exterior paint job options are also being made available: Mosaic Black Metallic (late availability and at extra charge), Oxford Brown Metallic (available at extra charge), and Cherry Red Tintcoat (available at extra charge).

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The new Safety Insights software takes away time delays and legwork issues surrounding traffic issue solution responsiveness.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Henry Ford opened his first Canadian operation in 1904 just over the boarder from Detroit in the City of Windsor, Ontario. Today, the town is the country's first Canadian customer for Ford's Safety Insights platform. The platform, a new software tool the company is rolling out connects government workers with vehicle insights that give them an in-depth look at their city's streets without having to step outside the door of their office.

Safety Insights utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithms to deliver crash reduction predictions that can be explored using simulations and deep data dives without having to deploy any human resources to comb through police reports, send public works employees to sit at an intersection all day to investigate, or wait for calls from concerned citizens to come pouring in.

Ford Safety Insights software The Safety Insights software allows users to run simulations based on real traffic data.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford Safety Insights software

The data comes from Ford vehicles, simulations, and predictions that city planners and public works officials make by running simulations. The data taken from vehicles includes indicators of crash trends like harsh braking, traction control issues, and near misses. These numbers help give context to traditional crash data.

Safety Insights also integrates multi-modal traffic volume data from StreetLight Data.

Traditionally, cities use transportation data to identify traffic issues, but combing through it can be a costly and time-consuming process, according to Ford. With the combination of crash data and available simulation predictions, the Safety Insights system takes analysis and planning to the next level, allowing them to test new options for traffic flow and make more informed decisions.

Users can comb through the data, layer by layer, filtering by type of collision, including those involving pedestrians and cyclists, rear-end crashes, or rush hour collisions. The results are available in seconds rather than the days or weeks it would traditionally take.

The simulations run by the software include the impact of a crosswalk or bike line on traffic flow, or what adjusting signal timing would look like.

Ford isn't just offering Safety Insights to Canadian customers. U.S. municipalities are allowed to purchase it as well.

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The Mercedes-Benz GLA was redesigned for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz GLA was completely redesigned for the 2021 model year, taking it from a mundane tuna can-like hatchback to a zippy, more traditional small SUV. Everything about it fits into the modern Mercedes SUV lineup. It's a mini Merc. It's formulaic and perfectly fine but it's just not that nice compared to what else you can get for around $40,000 (starting price is just over $36,000)

Mercedes sells the GLA in three variants with another on the way. There's the traditional GLA 250 and GLA 250 4MATIC, and the AMG GLA 35. A more high-performance version of the model, the AMG GLA 45 is coming soon. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on most models. A variety of drive modes allow the driver to choose how much torque they want to allocate to what wheels and additional setup options for suspension and dynamics are available on pricier GLAs.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 The car's infotainment and driver information screens are housed together as one unit.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

As tested, the GLA 250 was powered by the standard 2.0-liter turbo-four that is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. It delivers 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The SUV had trouble off the line during daily driving. The GLA's turbo lag added together with low-end gearing confusion to make the mundane drive from stop sign to stop sign in a neighborhood a comfortable creep followed by a robust burst of energy. Once out of the neighborhood and up to full speed on the highway, the powertrain performed far better, however, there was nothing elegant about it.

The model's steering is numb, which is typical for its class. It's steering circle isn't as tight as is optimal.

Any promise of a tranquil ride that you would think would be relatively standard with a Mercedes is not something the GLA possesses. However, for as much road noise that permeates the cabin, it's still less than the awful rattling the previous generation GLA allowed in. For that we can all be thankful.

The added height of the GLA gives the vehicle a more SUV-like seating position than its crossover predecessor. Ingress and egress is easy, as it should be with a model of these proportions. Head- and legroom for front passengers is fantastic for a vehicle of the GLA's size.

Seats in the GLA are not uncomfortable, and certainly not the worst that Mercedes offers.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes wins points for the GLA's tech, which is easy to use, responsive, and pleasing to the eye. The GLA comes standard with the Mercedes-Benz two screens, in one large housing. Its Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) operating system runs two 7.0-inch screens. The centrally located screen, which controls the infotainment system, reacts to touch and can also be operated by a touchpad controller on the center console. The list of standard equipment also includes four USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Buyers can upgrade their model to include a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen, 12-speaker Burmester audio system, wireless device charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, head-up display, and navigation.

Mercedes gives every GLA a reasonable amount of active safety features. The list includes a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, vehicle exit warning, automatic emergency braking, driver drowsiness monitoring, and crosswind assist. To get the most desirable safety features, GLA buyers need to add on two packages, which drive up the price $2,800.

The SUV has ample space in the second row for adults.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The GLA's interior materials, cabin noise, and unrefined powertrain make it seem like a less-than premium SUV. The car's tech offerings give it a boost, but other models offer a longer list of standard and available safety technology.

Buyers who are savvy and looking to get the most bang for their buck will want to test drive similarly sized models like the 2020 Buick Encore GX, Jaguar E-Pace (it was refreshed for the 2021 model year with major changes), and Mazda CX-30 before committing to the GLA. They have interiors that are just as nice and offer price tags that are more wallet-friendly.

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