As part of their pre-production introduction of the new 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickup truck line, GMC (on May 31) spoke to the importance of trailering and how they have developed, what they say are, class-leading advanced technologies that are available in the new Sierra trucks to maximize capacity and ease of towing.
It is no secret that pickup truck owners most often measure the worth of their truck by its towing capacity.
GMC Sierra owners are no different than the rest.
Six in 10 full-size pickup owners use their trucks for trailering, according to General Motors’ survey data. Along with class-leading trailing capacities, the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 offers customers a full suite of trailering technologies that aid everything from acceleration to safety and braking.
“Trailering is a fundamental capability that customers invest in and depend on when they purchase a truck,” said Tony DiSalle, vice president of GMC Marketing. “The 2014 Sierra backs up its unmatched capability with a host of ingenious driver aids.”
GMC says that before the 2014 Sierra is even in motion, systems are monitoring conditions and preparing the truck to perform. On any grade of about 5 percent or higher, Hill Start Assist automatically engages the Sierra’s brakes for 1.5 seconds or until the gas pedal is pressed. This keeps the truck from rolling rearward and helps in trailering situations like climbing a boat launch.
Tow/Haul mode, activated by a button on the shift lever, modifies the standard six-speed transmission’s shift mapping to take full advantage of the Sierra’s powerful new EcoTec3 engines. Under acceleration, shift points are higher for more power, while downshifts are initiated earlier to promote engine braking, reducing wear on the Sierra’s disc brakes.
With Tow/Haul mode engaged, Sierra’s Trailer Grade Braking is activated when the driver lightly applies the brakes. This feature initiates downshifts to assist with braking on long downgrades. In addition to slowing the vehicle more efficiently, Auto Grade Braking can reduce brake rotor temperatures by 100 degrees Celsius during a braking event.
For drivers who prefer full control over their truck’s shifting, improved TapShift controls on the shift lever are backed by a patent-pending shift algorithm that improves shift response time by up to 60 percent compared to previous systems. When the TapShift controls are in use, Sierra’s Trailer Grade Braking is deactivated because the driver is manually controlling gearshifts.
Trailer Sway Control works with the Sierra’s standard StabiliTrak to provide the driver with additional assistance when towing a trailer. When it senses trailer sway, it intervenes with braking and/or reduced engine power to bring the trailer under control and keep it on its intended path. It also uses the electric trailer brakes when a trailer is plugged into the standard wiring harness of the truck.
2014 Sierra 1500 owners can also fine tune a trailer’s braking performance right from the driver’s seat. With an available high-mounted Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, the driver can adjust gain – the level of output to the electric trailer brakes – via buttons to the left of the steering wheel. System information is displayed in the Driver Information Center on the instrument cluster.
The Trailer Brake Controller allows owners to quickly modify trailer braking force based on the weight of a trailer. For example, a driver delivering heavy building supplies could adjust the controller to lower trailer gain for an empty trailer on the return trip, minimizing the chance of trailer wheel lock-up.
The 2014 Sierra’s optional Max Trailering Package allows trailering up to a class-leading 12,000 pounds with the optional 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8 engine.
The Max Trailering Package is available on 2WD and 4WD V-8 crew cab and double cab models and includes:
• Trailering package with seven-pin and four-pin connector
• Enhanced cooling
• Automatic locking rear differential
• Heavy-duty 9.75-inch rear axle with 3.73 ratio
• Increased-capacity rear leaf springs
• Revised shock tuning for increased control
• Integrated trailer brake controller.
The standard Sierra 5.3L EcoTec3 V-8 offers maximum trailering of 11,500 pounds, more than any competitor according to GMC and Sierra’s 4.3L EcoTec3 V-6 can trailer up to 7,200 pounds, 500 pounds more than a Ford F-150 3.7L pickup and 700 pounds more than a Ram 1500 3.6L.
Based on this and other information made available by GMC to date, the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup will definitely score high with owners as they measure the worth of their new truck.