For the GMC faithful, the new 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickup truck pretty much hits the bulls-eye for a subtle yet sophisticatedly rugged truck with a bed load of capability, amenities and technology that meet their needs – plus styling, both inside and out, that looks really good and rides even better with competitive fuel economy.
The new Sierra has been a long time coming and GMC truck enthusiasts have been patient year after year as the ‘other guys’ brought new trucks to market leaving the Sierra brand getting a bit longer in the tooth year after year.
But no more. The new 2014 Sierra is here – the faithful are delighted and, more importantly for the brand, others are now giving the GMC Sierra a serious look.
Where we consider the new companion 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 as a city truck that can do country nicely (based on a recent first drive) – we see the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 as a serious country truck that also does city with subtle sophisticated style.
Last week, GMC delivered us a brand new – from the factory with just 350 miles on the odometer – 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT Crew Cab Z71 4×4 to test for a week.
There are lots of things to like besides just being ‘new’ in styling, with soft touch materials, aluminum accents and amenities.
Sierra has new engines including a strong 4.3L V-6 , a solid 5.3L V8 and a robust 6.2L V8 (which will be available later this year).
With optional towing packages available, the new Sierra – in 4WD – has tow capacity of 9,600 pounds with the 3.42 rear end and up to 11,200 pounds with the 3.73 rear end. Though we have not seen the 6.2L power train yet, it has been said that its tow capacity may well exceed 12,000 pounds making it the strongest in the segment.
Our test Sierra SLT Crew Cab came in a really sophisticated Stealth Gray Metallic with a Jet Black /Dark Ash interior. It rode – almost arrogantly – high on the optional 20-inch Chrome Aluminum Wheels and was absolutely loaded with features, comfort and capability – all for a total delivered price of $51,185.
An increasing share of pickup trucks sold by all manufacturers each year are crew cab models that are being purchased to be used for work and play interchangeably by families – making the crew cab pickup truck the new family vehicle of choice.
As the new family vehicle of choice, they want it to have all the whistles and bells they formerly got on a very well equipped full-size SUV which is resulting in a large share of this segment now having delivered prices from $45,000 to $55,000.
Our GMC Sierra 1500 SLT Crew Cab Z71 4×4 had a base price of $43,125 with the new 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine with Active Fuel Management (standard on all EcoTec3 engines) that enables cylinder deactivation for the engine to shift from V8 to V4 to improve fuel economy when the engine is not under load.
Standard on all Sierra 1500 trucks is the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control (tap shifting) that is mated up very nicely to this power plant and delivers very smooth performance.
The 5.3L power train puts out 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque with an EPA fuel economy rating of 16/22 MPG city/highway for the 4WD with slightly more in the 2WD configuration.
The standard Sierra equipment included Electric Power Steering, 2-speed Automatic Transfer Case, Auto Locking Rear Differential, Trailering Equipment Package, Stabilitrak with Trailer Sway Control, Hill Start Assist, 4-wheel Disc Brakes with the new high performance Duralife Rotors, Daytime Running Lamps, the new EZ Lift and Lower Locking Tailgate, Projector LED Headlamps, Power Heated Outside Mirrors with Turn Signals, Fog Lamps, Front Recovery Hooks, Chrome Bumpers Front and Rear, the new and innovative Rear Bumper Corner Step feature and LED Lighting in the Cargo Box.
Inside the new Sierra is all about comfort created nicely in premium materials and carbon-fibre inspired accents along with leather stitching and lots of feature functionality – standard.
The standard front seating is Leather-appointed 40/20/40 with a substantial storage and multi-purpose functional Console, 60/40 Rear Folding Bench Seating to allow access to a very generous flat floor cargo area, Remote Vehicle Start, Power Windows and Locks, Rear Window Defroster, Dual Zone Climate Control, Soft IP Top Pad (dash), 110-volt Power Outlets, USB Ports, Steering Wheel Audio and Info Controls, Leather Wrapped Tilt and Telescoping Steering Wheel, Rear Vision Camera, HD Radio, Sirius XM and Bluetooth for Smart Phone Integration and a Single Slot CD/MP3 Player.
Already a really well equipped truck, our Sierra SLT had these additional option packages and features:
- SLT Preferred Package ($400) that included a Heated Steering Wheel and Power Sliding Rear Window.
- SLT Crew Cab Value Package ($2,195) which added the 6-inch Chrome Assist Cab Steps, Bose Audio System and 20-inch Chrome Wheels.
- Off-Road Suspension Package $430) includes High Capacity Air Cleaner, Hill Descent Control, Underbody Shield, Monotube Rancho Tenneco Shocks and Z71 Badges.
- Drive Alert Package ($845) adds Front and Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert System, Lane Departure Warning and the new Safety Alert Seating.
The stand alone options included, Audio System ($795) with 8-inch Diagonal Touch Screen, Navigation and GMC Intellilink; Power Sunroof ($995); Heated and Cooled Seats Driver and Passenger ($650); Full-Feature Leather Appointed Front Bucket Seating ($325); Trailer Brake Controller ($230) and All-Terrain Tires ($200).
With the newly designed, noise suppression engineered using high strength steel, larger Crew Cab cabin, this Sierra is about the roomiest and quietest full-size pickup we have ever driven. Both ear noise and “body” noise are very effectively all-but silenced with the improved suspension and body design and materials.
We liked most all of what we experienced in this new GMC Sierra. It is well designed and well executed with several unique features (like the Active Fuel Management, Cargo Box Steps and EZ Lift Tailgate) included that make it stand out.
On the slightly negative side, we would like to have seen the cargo bed insert replaced with a spray-in bed liner as we think a spray-in liner performs much better over time.
Lastly, the new Sierra could be even more fuel efficient if an 8-speed transmission was available for 2014 – the word is that it will be available as part of a refresh in the next year or so.
We were able to achieve only 16.2 MPG over the course of week, but acknowledge that we drove the test Sierra in many situations including off-road using 4-wheel LO, 4-wheel HI, Automatic and 2-wheel HI mode at varying times which contributed to our lower fuel economy.
After a week, our bottom line is that the 2014 GMC Sierra SLT Crew Cab Z71 4×4 is a really serious country truck that also can do city with style and comfort.
The final verdict will come from the consumers who buy this truck and we think they will buy a lot of them.
Oh yes, the top of the line 2014 GMC Sierra Denali is still to come later this fall. The word is that it will take Denali to a new high of luxury and amenities. We are looking forward to seeing it.