It's not often there's an all-new pickup. In fact, four years have passed since the arrivals of the 2009 Dodge RAM and 2009 Ford F-Series, the last all-new pickups to have come on the market. It's been even longer since there was an all-new GMC Sierra, which hasn't been redesigned in seven model years. Finally, the wait for a new truck -- and a new Sierra -- is over. We recently took the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra on a drive to see how it matches up to its rival full-size pickups.
Still Looks Good
On the outside, the Sierra puts a futuristic twist on its characteristic good looks. It's easy to tell apart from the old model, yet the features that made it distinct -- such as oversized fender flares and a large, muscular grille -- remain. In essence, it looks like a modernized version of the outgoing model, and that's a good thing. It's also easy to tell apart from its mechanical twin, the Chevrolet Silverado, giving GMC fans a more unique look than ever before.
A few minor details also enhanced our opinion of the truck's exterior. For example, we like the oversized running boards. They make it easy to climb in the truck, which can be a big problem considering its ever-increasing size. It's hard to fault the EZ Lift Tailgate for ease of use. But most important, we were impressed by the LED bed lights, which go a long way toward making it easy to load the pickup's bed at night or in dim lighting conditions.
But while the exterior was heavily revised, we were more impressed with the Sierra's retooled interior. One major plus was the center-mounted, 8-inch LCD screen, which is positioned perfectly so you don't have to take your eyes far off the road to use it. The same is true of the LCD screen mounted in the gauge cluster. It's far better than the Sierra's former pixelated display. And we enjoyed the huge sunroof, though wind noise got a little loud.
We also loved the Sierra's gadgets. Compared to just a few short years ago, it's hard to believe a truck now has USB ports, navigation, in-vehicle apps and a center-mounted touchscreen. The only gadget we didn't enjoy was the voice control system, which we had trouble using for both navigation and audio functions.
Our test vehicle was equipped with the 5.3-liter V8. That's the mid-level engine, as GMC is also offering a 4.3-liter V6 and a 6.2-liter V8. All three engines are new, and the 5.3-liter puts out 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. That muscle was welcome, and the Sierra wears it well. The engine always lets you feel as though you're in command, and the 6-speed automatic shifts smoothly and responsively.
Beyond its powertrain, the Sierra rides and handles better than the old model. That's largely due to the new fully boxed frame, which clearly makes the truck feel more rigid and stable than last year's model. It also helps towing, as do the fully integrated trailer brakes. And we couldn't live without tow/haul mode, which takes the guesswork out of manually operating the automatic transmission when you'd rather be focusing on things such as guiding the pickup safely up a hill.
Our test Sierra was a 4-wheel-drive SLT All-Terrain model, and at $50,620 with shipping it wasn't cheap. But it wasn't more expensive than similar models from rivals. Overall, it's a great pickup that's improved in nearly all areas -- and we think it'll pose a strong challenge to competitors. We wouldn't expect anything less from the 2014 GMC Sierra.