crankandpiston tests the comfort and capabilities of the new-for-2014 GMC Sierra. Yep, we’re looking for refinement in a 2.5-ton pick-up truck![Not a valid template]
Okay, the launch of the new-for-2014 GMC Sierra didn’t exactly have crankandpiston.com written all over it? Updated infotainment and ‘practicality’? Please! However, after a few minutes of chortling derisively amidst much banter of horsepower and supercar dream combos (such is the way on an average day at the crankandpiston oval office), one word in particular stood out on the GMC Sierra press information: ‘refinement’.
Really? Comfort and amenable surroundings in a pick-up? That seems barely creditable, and yet given that General Motors’ portfolio already boasts the down-to-earth Chevrolet Silverado, adding another rival from within its ranks is nonsensical. Consequently the new-for-2014 GMC Sierra reaches a little higher, its target demographic being more affluent and more likely to be window-shopping in the premium class.
Step inside the Sierra’s newly updated cabin, and it’s difficult not to be impressed with the model’s newfound refinement. It’s obviously not to Bentley Flying Spur standards, a few plasticky surfaces and some rough edges taking the shine off considerably, but it’s hard not to be impressed though with the new soft-touch upholstery and aluminium trim. On the uncluttered centre console you’ll find an easy to use eight-inch touchscreen (an updated six-gauge 4.2-inch digital instrument panel sits behind the wheel) and large buttons that make navigating the various systems a doddle. New technology includes front collision alert, hill descent control (whereby the truck controls descent speed automatically) and lane departure warning with vibrating seat, a first for the Sierra. There’s buckets of storage space, the cavernous bin in the centre cluster capable of swallowing most adult humans, with yet more under the centre armrest and in the doors.
Refinement does take a backseat here and there. Surely a lid for the centre storage bucket wouldn’t have cost that much more, and I do wonder if a one person needs five USB ports in their car. Given the lack of legroom in the back of our 1500 Dual Cab test model – and indeed the difficulty involved with getting in and out through the half doors for anyone over six-feet tall – the irony of the Sierra’s marketing slogan – ‘without compromise’ – speaks for itself. The rear passengers have no air vents for the climate control, and in a bitter twist, the vents for the front seat coolers blow arm air directly at the rear passengers; hardly ideal in 40-degree temperatures. GM has already confirmed though that steps are being taken to alleviate this, and the larger Crew Cab model will also be available from launch.
On the exterior it’s pure pick-up, with a whopping great bumper, new ‘C shape’ headlamps, a new grille at the front and some pretty tricky bonnet grooves. Move along the sides to the re-designed square wheel arches, intended for a sportier look. What does impress though are the corner steps in the six-foot six-inch trailer box, which despite not looking particularly neat offer easy access, as does the EZ Lift tailgate.