With the recent redesign of their full-size pickups, General Motors has finally shown their sincerity in going up against the undisputed heavyweight champion, the Ford F-150. In previous years, sales numbers for the GM trucks have meddled away in behind the Ram 1500 and the F-150. For 2014 though, it’s a whole new ball game. Whereas the Ram 1500 (formerly known as the Dodge Ram 1500) was just redesigned too, the Ford isn’t due for its redesign for another year or two. The 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT I just drove (along with its sibling, the new Chevrolet Silverado) has, in my opinion, jumped leaps and bounds in looks, feel, and performance.
Much like other pickups, the Sierra has always been quite boxy and angular. The new one, however, has all-new bodywork that etches out the sides, gives more dimension to the scooped hood, and adds nice touches such as the available LED headlamps and side steps that give it a more refined and masculine look. My tester, an SLT model, came equipped with a soft tonneau cover, the LED headlamps, a tow package, side steps, and 18” wheels with some beefy tires. Even though looks are in the eye of the beholder, I feel that these small refinements truly help the Sierra stand out amongst a crowd of bland pickups that scream “spartan”.
Stepping into the Sierra, the first impression it gives off is that there’s no way this can be a work truck. I couldn’t fathom the thought of getting the cushy leather seats and luxurious interior filthy with construction apparel or gear. The GMC Sierra has an air of luxury that is rarely seen in the pickup segment, short of high-end options such as the Harley Davidson F-150 or the Ram Laramie. The leather seats are both heated and cooled, as well as the steering wheel being heated for those cold winter days that are just around the corner. The cabin in my extended crew cab tester provides enough space for a small army. There is no shortage of space anywhere, and piloting the big rig around definitely gives you the feeling of driving such a leviathan. The driving position is great, and the seats have a surprising amount of bolstering.
My SLT also came with forward collision warning, lane departure alert, and an 8” colour media centre that also has a great back-up camera. Typically I’m not a big advocate for reverse cameras, but in a vehicle this size, I’m not complaining. Another great thing about the Sierra is the sheer amount of compartments for all your gadgets, paperwork, and general pack-rat stuff. Not only is there a centre console large enough for small pets, but the doors have pockets big enough to hold essentially anything you would want. Connectivity options are just as plentiful – one household three-prong plug, three 110V outlets, and no less than five USB ports for technology.
There we have it; a big, manly-looking truck with a full redesign that seems to be made just for this modern age. An interior that would be just as at home in an upscale sedan is great and all, but where the real competitiveness of the Sierra comes out is in its powertrain. My tester came with the optional 5.3L Ecotec V8 engine, churning out a whopping 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Hammering down the throttle pretty much anywhere in the powerband causes the truck to take off with confidence. The really awesome part here is the Active Cylinder Control, which shuts off four of the cylinders to help improve fuel economy. With mainly city driving, I was astonished to see numbers continuously hovering in the 14L/100km range. To put this into perspective, my much-slower two-door Jeep Wrangler gets roughly the same numbers. GMC has also ensured that the Sierra has class-leading tow ratings, with the ability to tow 11,500 pounds.
With prices starting at just under $27,000 for a base-model Sierra, it’s a great value. My fully-loaded 2014 1500 SLT 4×4 came in just shy of $50,000, which demonstrates that GM’s lineup of trucks really does have a model for everyone. It’s one year newer, much better looking, and much more refined than its competition. The Sierra has similar fuel economy to its competitors, but in my eyes is leaps and bounds better than the now-dated Ford F-150. I’ve noticed that GM has been making a significant effort to change their image lately, but with this truck, they’re finally taking that big knockout swing needed to shake up one of the most important segments in the North American market.
2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT Gallery