By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT, MI – One of GMC’s advertising tag lines for its pick trucks is “Professional Grade.” It appears that designers and engineers took that to heart in creating the 2014 GMC Sierra pickup truck.
The truck was a hybrid of sorts. Not in terms of its powertrain but rather how it was designed to accommodate both form and function. In today’s world, a lot of pickup trucks try to simulate sedans. But the designers and engineers of the Sierra did not lose sight of the fact that pickup trucks are work trucks.
Thus, the 2014 Sierra was an astute blend of practicality without trying to package it like a car. Oomph was provided by a direct injected 355 horsepower V8 that made 383 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Sierra could tote almost two-tons and tow 9,600 lbs.
The truck had an EPA rating of 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. No doubt, fuel efficiency was aided by what GMC called active fuel management. It means when not needed, the Sierra’s V8 uses only four of its eight cylinders.
This truck ran quiet. Power was ample and instant when needed. On expressways, the GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab smoothly stepped away from traffic. The suspension was firm without being harsh but not so soft as to be bouncy. It was a fairly smooth riding truck.
GMC revised the Sierra’s steering, suspension and brakes for 2014. The adjustments resulted in a truck that handled well, responded to driver input smartly and was easy to drive.
After employing the remote start, the Sierra sounded as though only four cylinders were being used while idling. Since the truck was not going anywhere that made perfect sense.
This GMC Sierra SLT had four-wheel-drive and it was equipped with an electronic transfer case that could be set on automatic. The rear axle ratio was 3.42. For the week-long test drive, the truck remained in two-wheel-drive mode. Four-wheel-drive, high or low, was just not needed.
But the rearview camera and the front and rear park assist provided much needed assistance when backing out of driveways as well as backing out of spaces in cramped parking lots. The heated steering wheel as well as the heated and cooled front seats were creature comforts that made sense as the cold weather of winter months arrived early.
This GMC Sierra was also equipped with the trailer package that included trailer brake light controls and tow and haul mode. It adjusted the transmission shift patterns to reduce shift cycling and provided increased performance, vehicle control and transmission cooling when driving down steep grades while towing or hauling.
The pickup was really made for work. There was a light that illuminated the cargo bed as well as corner steps on the rear bumper to make accessing the bed easier. But there were all sorts of creature comforts too. A power sliding rear window, tire pressure monitoring system, 20-inch wheels, adjustable pedals, satellite radio, voice controls and Bluetooth were just some of the stuff that the 2014 GMC Sierra SLT had.
There was 40.5 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of legroom in the second row. Three full-size adults could easily fit in the rear seat. Of course, the 2014 GMC Sierra SLT was equipped with OnStar with its turn-by-turn navigation.
If you’d rather do it yourself, the truck was also equipped with an internal navigation system, a touch screen and there were jacks galore. Five USB jacks, an auxiliary jack, and a slot for an SD card meant that just about anything could be connected to Sierra. There were three 12 volt sockets and one 110 volt socket and movable upper tie downs in the bed.
About the only quibble with the truck was there were two unobtrusive levers on the steering column. One controlled tilt, while the other controlled telescope of the tilt and telescoping steering wheel. That could have been combined into one lever for both functions which are usually used in tandem.
The base price of the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT was $43,910. As tested, the truck came to $48,895.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.
This column was printed in the January 12, 2014 - January 25, 2014 edition.