Though many will choose to focus on the changes to both the Silverado's and Sierra's exteriors, much of GM's mid-cycle enhancement is happening inside the trucks and under the skin. And it's quite a group of welcome and advanced changes.
The passenger space in both trucks is significantly and similarly upgraded to make it more convenient, comfortable and safe for drivers and passenger.
Revamped dashboards on the Sierra and Silverado accommodate a new vehicle information center, conveniently housed at the bottom of the instrument panel. The information center provides data on up to 36 separate system functions and metrics.
The Sierrra Denali gets its own distinct instrument cluster for 2003. Its white needles and numbers are framed within a black background. At night the gauges glow with blue backlighting. Standard Silverado and Sierra pickups get a black background with orange pointers and white backlighting at night.
The HVAC system has been completely overhauled to now include manual or electronic operated dual-zone and tri-zone air conditioning depending on cab configuration. This is a direct benefit of the trucks' new electrical architecture (more on that later) and, according to GM Full Size Truck Chief Engineer Terry Woychowski, it provides a range of up to 30 degrees difference in temperature between zones.
GM has also made significant additions and enhancements to trucks' "infotainment" systems. All new Series 175 radios are equipped to pick up XM radio, digitally broadcast by satellite and available nationwide for around $10 per month. On the premium end of the audio spectrum, GM has teamed up with Bose Audio Systems to provide a custom-tailored stereo system. Rear passengers in crew cab pickups can watch DVD movies on an optional 7-inch flip down LCD.
A new and vastly improved steering wheel for 2003 obsoletes the old wheel which had extremely hard to reach radio controls. Easy to find, thumb-friendly buttons provide the driver with redundant control over the driver information center, stereo and OnStar for trucks with that option.
Brand new seats with more contours and easier to reach seat controls are available across the board for 2003. Silverado and Sierra pickups with bucket seats up front get a brand new console between the driver and passenger.
risk on GM's part with the 2003 freshening means lower risk for driver
and passengers in the event of an accident. Passive and active safety
systems have been significantly upgraded to include a passenger sensing
system that can automatically deactivate the passenger-side front airbag
based on that person's size and weight. Dual stage air bags are tied to
sensors that determine in 15ms how severe a crash is and whether to deploy
the airbag full or de-powered. And if an occupant is sitting in the first
third of the distance of seat travel to the steering wheel or dash, the
safety systems will deploy a low airbag for added protection.