The pickup truck competition has heated up with the arrival of the 2019 GMC Sierra pickup, which has received a total makeover for the new model year. Even casual observers of the full-size pickup scene are probably aware that the Ford F-Series is the sales leader, followed by the GM entries, the Sierra and its stablemate the Chevrolet Silverado, and closely trailed by the RAM 1500 with the Toyota Tundra and the Nissan Titan bringing up the rear. None of the competitors appear content to let the status quo stand, resulting in a punch and counter-punch of new and upgraded features each model year. This year is the Sierra and the Silverado’s turn to take a swing.
Here are the top five new features on the 2019 GMC Sierra.
1. Multi-Pro Tailgate
This feature is the first on the list because it’s the distinguishing exterior feature on the Sierra that could influence buyers to switch to GMC. The unique tailgate design was developed as part of a GM internal Shark Tank-style competition. A team of GM engineers looked at the traditional pickup truck tailgate, and designed a new version that could do much more with the same space. The Multi-Pro Tailgate is a 6-function design that offers innovative utility. Without any fuss, it can operate as a traditional tailgate, as a step, as a standing work station, as a platform for second-tier loading, as a load stop and as a closer access point for the bed. Since every full-size pickup has a tailgate, having one that is substantially different (and better) than the others is a significant advantage for the Sierra. The Multi-Pro Tailgate is standard on SLT, AT4 and Denali trim level Sierra pickups.
2. Dynamic Fuel Management
Cylinder deactivation is nothing new. It has been employed for decades as a way to enhance fuel-efficiency, shutting off cylinders in lower-demand situations like coasting downhill or highway cruising. Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM) elevates simple cylinder deactivation to a fine art with sophisticated computer control. Standard on the new 5.3-liter gasoline V8 (standard on all but base Sierra) and 6.2-liter gasoline V8 engines (available on SLT, AT4 and Denali), DFM uses 17 cylinder activation combinations to achieve the best possible balance of fuel-efficiency and performance. This system is an upgrade of Active Fuel Management (AFM) that was a feature in previous GMC and Chevrolet vehicles. AFM was capable of shutting off 50 percent of the engine’s cylinders, while DFM can run on three, two or even one cylinder in certain circumstances.
3. Rear Camera Mirror
A feature that is already available on a few other GM vehicles makes its first appearance on a full-size pickup truck in the new Sierra. Rear Camera Mirror supplements the standard rear view mirror, using the same space for a new visual. When switched on by the driver, Rear Camera Mirror replaces the reflected view of the standard mirror with a high-resolution video feed from a camera on the tailgate. This feature can be incredibly useful in several circumstances: When carrying a load that blocks the driver’s rearward view, and when the second row of the cabin is occupied by passengers or cargo that blocks the rear window. Unlike a backup camera that only turns on when the vehicle is in reverse, the Rear Camera Mirror can be constantly active while driving. Once the driver is acclimated to the view, which is slightly different from a true reflection, the clear outward visibility is a welcome benefit. Rear Camera Mirror is available on SLT and Denali models, and is not compatible with the Trailer Camera option.
4. CarbonPro carbon fiber cargo box
A first for production pickup trucks, the CarbonPro carbon fiber cargo box will be an available feature on Sierra AT4 and Denali models later in the 2019 model year. Carbon fiber is a high-tech man-made material that is lighter and stronger than steel in certain layouts and configurations, and can be tougher and more resistant to scratching and cracking than steel. Carbon fiber doesn’t rust and isn’t subject to corrosion, either, weaknesses that can afflict steel and other metals. The CarbonPro bed will replace the Sierra’s steel bed floor, inner panels and tailgate liner, and will not require any additional bed liner or other protection. Choosing the CarbonPro option results in a 62-lb weight savings. Pricing will be announced closer to availability.
5. Multi-Color Head-Up Display
Head-up displays have been available on full-size pickup trucks before, but they’ve been monochrome. For 2019, the Sierra can be ordered with a Multi-Color Head-Up Display that projects a 3-in by 7-in image on the windshield in front of the driver. The display is customizable for content, brightness and height, so drivers can choose the configuration that they find most useful. Head-up displays were originally developed for airplane pilots, and can greatly reduce the time that vehicle operators need to take their eyes off the road to gather important information. The Multi-Color Head-Up Display can be configured to show the vehicle’s speedometer, tachometer, audio, navigation, phone, safety alerts and low-fuel warnings, and can also give readings from an off-road inclinometer. Multi-Color Head-Up Display is available as part of the optional Technology Package on 2019 GMC Sierra Pickup AT4 and Denali models only.