2014 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD SLT Crew
A colleague clambered into the 2014 GMC Sierra. He looked around at the interior. “Is this the top-of-the-line model?” he asked.
But it is really, really nice inside the cabin.
I look out the second-story window of my office to the parking lot. There are two guys walking to their car. They stop at the Sierra and begin pointing at various aspects of the exterior as they walk around the truck.
Chances are, their lunch hour was attenuated by the striking design of the Sierra.
I need to shift some vehicles in my driveway. It is night. I pull the Sierra out to the street and get out to move a car out of the way.
The headlamps are illuminated. I stop and look. The LEDs used in a forceful, horizontal array, not like some LEDs that seem to be there only because someone in marketing said that vehicles need to have LEDs to look contemporary.
The front-end is purposeful. Especially at night.
Let’s call it like it is.
The GMC Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado are twins. Not fraternal, because they are made of the same fundamental stuff. Not identical, because they have a different appearance and different execution and content.
While it might be said that the GMC is the “professional” variant, in the world of light trucks, professionalism has more to do with towing and cargo capacity, not square inches of bright work.
The Sierra and Silverado are both pros.
The Sierra is the one that you buy when you want something a little more in the way of style, more of an upscale appearance.
Even if the one that you get isn’t the top-of-the-line model (the Sierra Denali).
People generally buy trucks first and foremost to get stuff done. If they can get stuff done with their truck and it happens to have nice internal amenities, as the Sierra does, and if it happens to have an overall attractive look with things like LED lamps, then all the better.
But it’s the other stuff that matters more.
So there are things about this truck that don’t meet the eye, but help it do work. Like a fully boxed frame with high-strength steel main rails and cross members. Shear-style body mounts. An electric power steering system that improves handling vis-à-vis hydraulic systems—and helps fuel efficiency, to boot.
There’s an automatic locking rear diff that kicks in without the driver needing to engage it.
There are discs all around, and GM’s patented DuraLife brake rotors that extend rotor life, eliminate rust, and improve pedal feel.
Back to the box. It is sometimes the case that the person who is going to open the tailgate is someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time at the gym lifting. And were it not for the “EZ Lift & Lower” tailgate, which employs rotary dampener for lowering and an integrated torsion bar for lifting, the opening and closing the tailgate would not be the ease that it is.
LEDs are not only used on the truck for their stylish attractiveness. They’re used under the box rails to illuminate what’s back there.
To move it, the Sierra SLT has a 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 that’s SAE-certified at 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. It has “Active Fuel Management,” which means that it runs as a four when it doesn’t need the performance of an eight. This results in improved fuel economy. Why burn it if you don’t need it?
Engine: 5.3-liter, direct-injected V8
Horsepower: 355 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 383 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
Material: Aluminum block and heads
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic
Steering: Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Wheelbase: 143.5 in.
Length: 229.5 in.
Width: 80 in.
Height: 74 in.
Box: 5 ft., 8 in.
Cargo volume: 53.4 cu. ft.
Maximum payload: 1,957 lb.
Towing capacity: 11,200 lb. (w/trailering package)
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway
Plenty of interior components are injection molded. But some companies—such as VW—are using a process for trim pieces that both mold a component and cover it in fabric in a single molding process. And it is coming to the U.S. in the not-too-distant future.
Ram Truck chief exterior designer Joe Dehner talks about how they’ve developed the all-new pickup. “We’ve been building trucks for over 100 years,” he says. “Best I could come up with is that this is our 15th-generation truck.”
Here’s a look at how Johnson Controls creates leading interiors as well as cool ideas for clever products.