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‘Professional Grade’ continues as the mantra for GMC Trucks—like the 2014 GMC Sierra. But over the past several years, the meaning of that has changed quite a bit. Those truck-using professionals—whether construction foremen, architects, or farmers—want more in-vehicle technology and refinement than they did a few years ago. And they expect better gas mileage.
That’s part of the reason GM has substantially refreshed its full-size trucks for 2014, adding new powertrains, upgraded cabins, chunkier styling, and a host of new infotainment and active-safety features.
The Sierra 1500 was also sorely in need of a visual refresh, as it hadn’t been significantly touched since the 2007 model year. Top-of-the-line GMC Sierra models carry the refined, chiseled new look for GMC, much as it’s evolved in recently refreshed models like the Terrain Denali. Details are a little crisper in the GMC compared to the otherwise very closely related Chevy Silverado, and the very bold, black-and-metallic grille, flanked by LED-lined projector headlamps (the segment’s only projector-beam units, GMC says), make a strong first impression—as do the chunky, flared fenders and more sculpted sheetmetal in between. Although we anticipate that not everyone will like that the Sierra 1500 now looks as big and buff as the Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD models. Inside, the dash is very upright, with a simple but bold design, and the doorsills are several inches lower than the dash top. Controls are arranged in several key areas, just to the left of the steering wheel or in a large center-stack area (with a wide center console just aft), and all the controls and displays are large and straightforward, with cool blue primary lighting and red backlighting.
GM has updated its entire lineup of engines in the Sierra, with a new V-6 and two new V-8 engines, all with an aluminum block and heads and receiving direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management—allowing them to run on just four cylinders when coasting or cruising in light-load conditions. The 6.2-liter V-8 also gets active noise cancellation, to help quell some of the noise and vibration when operating in cylinder-deactivation mode. All three engines can be teamed with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and a six-speed automatic transmission (with a ‘cruise grade braking’ feature to reduce brake wear) is offered across the line. Although power and torque figures haven’t yet been released for these engines, they should not only be stronger but also far more fuel-efficient than their predecessors, with the V-6 model posting much stronger tow ratings than before. Additionally, all models get electric power steering, and four-wheel disc brakes with special long-life brake rotors are standard across the model line.
A Sierra All-Terrain model gets a Z71 off-road suspension, monotube Rancho shocks, recovery hooks, a transfer-case shield, hill descent control, an auto-locking rear differential, and special wheels and tires.
New for 2014, Sierra Crew Cab models are offered with two different bed lengths—5’8” or 6’6”—while regular-cab models are offered in 6’6” or 8’ lengths and the extended-cab versions all include the middle size. Crew Cab models get longer doors as well, with the B-pillars moved forward, resulting in easier entry and exit, and extended-cab versions get front-hinged rear doors for the first time—nearly rivaling the outgoing Crew Cab models in convenience. All Sierras with leather upholstery now include heated seats, and models with cloth seats are available with seat heating. The interior is appointed in new soft-touch materials, and there’s a new aluminum-trim line. All knobs and buttons in the Sierra’s interior are large enough to be operated with work gloves on. A thinner seatback design aids rear legroom, too.
The 2014 Sierra trucks are also offered with a few innovative new features that should make cargo hauling easier. new rear-bumper cargo steps are new, as are four movable cargo tie-downs capable of securing 500 pounds altogether; LED lighting has been incorporated into the rim of the bed, and an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate has a new damping system for easier (and more refined) opening and closing.
Safety features get upgraded as well, with a suite of new active-safety aids that are optional. Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning—both camera-based—can help you stay aware of hazards, and the optional Driver Alert Seat can vibrate with pulses on either side to alert the driver quickly to issues. Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist are included as part of the standard StabiliTrak stability control system.
GMC’s IntelliLink connectivity system is optional on the Sierra; it combines full voice-command Bluetooth connectivity with Bluetooth audio streaming, a Pandora app, and available navigation, with an eight-inch reconfigurable touch screen. Some models include a 4.2-inch Driver Information Center, and all Sierras get a new six-gauge cluster. A 110-volt AC outlet is also on offer, and some models include up to four 12-volt outlets and five USB ports, as well as an SD card slot.
- Stronger, more efficient engines
- More refined cabins
- Cargo-bed innovations
- New MyLink connectivity
- Heavy-duty look
- Maneuverability (long-bed Crew Cab models)
- New heavy-duty look