2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Delivers Added Power, Added Size, Added Efficiency
Offered in regular cab, extended cab and crew cab body styles with short, standard and long bed lengths, the new 2014 Sierra 1500 showcases three new EcoTec engines. Each power plant is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission equipped with Cruise Grade Braking, and includes direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management technology that shuts off half of the engine's cylinders under low-load driving conditions in an effort to conserve fuel.
The standard 4.3-liter V-6 engine is developed specifically for truck duty, with GMC pointing out that the new engine is not a repurposed V-6 designed to power passenger cars. Upgrades include a new 5.3-liter V-8 and a new 6.2-liter V-8.
All three engines are more powerful than the power plants they replace, and they are more fuel efficient. However, final horsepower, torque, payload, tow, and fuel-economy ratings were not final as this article is written. Expect to see these figures closer to the truck's official unveiling at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
In addition to the revamped engine lineup, the new 2014 Sierra offers a stronger frame and body structure comprised mostly of high-strength steel. The frame rails and major cross members make extensive use of hydroforming to reduce weight while maximizing strength, according to GMC, and the Sierra's cab is protected by high-strength steel construction.
Wrapped around this structure are body panels designed to slip through the atmosphere with as little aerodynamic drag as possible, with the goals of increasing fuel economy and making the Sierra's interior quieter.
The front of the truck is sealed to improve aerodynamics, and the Sierra is equipped with drag-reducing spoilers on the roof and the top of the tailgate. Spats located forward of the wheels help smooth airflow around the truck, as do special side mirror caps, cab-to-box seals, underbody panels, and "inlaid" side door designs. Even the hood is shaped to direct air up and over the windshield wiper arms to reduce aerodynamic drag. GMC equips the Sierra with low-rolling-resistance tires to help maximize gas mileage.
From a styling standpoint, the GMC Sierra is equipped with a chrome-ringed grille, projector-beam headlights, black wheel arch moldings, and a range of wheel choices ranging in size from 17 inches to 20 inches in diameter. The GMC dealer can also install a number of extra-cost 22-inch wheel designs. Optional LED running lights are available for the new Sierra.
The Sierra's rear bumper is equipped with integrated corner steps which make it easier to tie down a load when used in conjunction with the handgrips located on the cargo box rail protection strips. The Sierra's cargo bed is equipped with standard adjustable tie-down cleats and offers two-tier loading. A locking tailgate is standard, and buyers can opt for an EZ Lift and Lower assisted tailgate design as well as LED lighting tucked under the bed rails.
Inside the Sierra's cab, new seats with dual-density foam padding are standard, and available with a new stain- and water-resistant cloth upholstery or optional leather. They face a redesigned dashboard with controls that GMC says are designed for easy use when wearing work gloves. The instrument cluster includes 6 different gauges and, on most models, a 4.2-inch information display. The 2014 Sierra is equipped with dual glove boxes, numerous storage compartments, several USB ports, and both 12-volt and 110-volt power outlets.
For 2014, it is easier to load passengers into the back seats of the Sierra Extended Cab and Sierra Crew Cab models. The extended cab version has forward-hinged rear access doors, replacing the former rear-hinged design. The crew cab version has longer rear doors for easier entry and exit, as well as a redesigned rear bench seat with 2 extra inches of leg room.
Sierra models equipped with IntelliLink technology, which provides a wireless connection between the on-board infotainment system and up to 10 mobile devices, are equipped with an 8-inch, in-dash, high-definition color touch screen. IntelliLink employs natural voice-recognition technology for truly hands-free operation. Navigation is optional.
In addition to IntelliLink, the new 2014 GMC Sierra is offered with a reversing camera, front and rear park-assist sensors, and several new safety-related technologies. The forward-collision warning system and lane-departure warning systems are self-explanatory, while the Active Safety Seat system is designed to give the driver tactile warnings associated with these features, a subtle vibration through the seat cushion to let the driver know they ought to pay closer attention. Trailer sway control is standard on the new Sierra, with an integrated trailer brake offered as an option.
To serve Sierra buyers who might take their new truck off-roading, GMC offers the All-Terrain package on SLE and SLT models. The 2014 Sierra All-Terrain includes off-road suspension tuning, automatic locking rear differential, transfer case skid plate, hill-descent control system, and all-terrain tires mounted to 18-inch or 20-inch aluminum wheels. A painted grille, front tow hooks, brushed metal doorsill plates, and unique interior trim identify the Sierra All-Terrain.
The new 2014 GMC Sierra Crew Cab goes on sale by the end of June 2013, with regular cab and extended cab models arriving later in the year. More details about this truck will be available after it debuts next month at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
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