2021 GMC Sierra Changes Include New Trailering Features, Lower-Priced Diesel Option

Jack R. Nerad | Sep 15, 2020

Noting the rapid rise in the use of pickups as towing vehicles, GMC makes changes to the 2021 Sierra full-size light-duty and heavy-duty pickups that revolve around technologies designed to enhance trailer-towing. Already renowned for its available multi-camera tech, the Sierras add Jack-Knife Alert, Trailer Length Indicator, and enhanced Rear Trailer View systems to help drivers tow like a pro.

2021 GMC Sierra HD Black Diamond Edition

"Trailering is essential for pickup truck customers," said GMC Marketing Director Rich Latek. "More than half of our Sierra customers use their trucks to primarily tow equipment for outdoor adventures."

With ever-more Americans turning to recreational vehicle use, a recent study by the RV Industry Association found that more than 46 million Americans are planning to take an RV trip in the next year. Shipments of RVs have been increasing this summer with towable RVs making up about 90 percent of those sales.

Among the new trailer tech available on 2021 GMC Sierra models is a Trailer Length Indicator. It provides a visual display on the infotainment screen that shows when other vehicles are present that may interfere with a potential lane-change maneuver. When the system is enabled and the turn signal is activated, a red overlay twice the length of the trailer indicates a caution zone. Also new for 2021, the Jack-Knife Alert system tracks the position of the trailer in relation to the vehicle, warning the driver of a potential jack-knife situation.

2021 GMC Sierra Trailer Length Indicator

These new trailing features are accompanied by enhanced versions of previously available trailer-related tech. The Rear Trailer View is revised to include guidelines that assist when backing a trailer into place and adds a Trailer-Angle Indicator to show the relationship between the truck and the trailer. This system requires the available customer-installed GM auxiliary accessory camera.

An enhancement to the Rear Side View feature enables access to a split view of the right and left sides of the truck and trailer when the vehicle is in reverse, making it easier to see surrounding objects while positioning the trailer. Previously this view was only available when the truck was in a forward gear. 

Additionally, new Cargo Bed Zoom View and Bed Hitch Guidance are available on the Sierras. This tech is helpful for aligning and hooking up a gooseneck fifth-wheel trailer.

Beyond the newly available trailering features, perhaps the most welcome change is to the price of the available 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine. Its combination of high torque (460 lb.-ft.) and an EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway fuel economy have made it popular with Sierra customers. For 2021, the price of the engine is reduced by $1,500, making it available at a $995 premium above the Sierra 1500 model's 5.3-liter gasoline-fueled V-8.

In addition, the configurable MultiPro Tailgate is available on SLE and Elevation trims of the Sierra 1500, while the light-duty 2021 GMC Sierra AT4 offers new 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires and an off-road high-clearance step.

The heavy-duty 2021 GMC Sierra Denali trim will include HD Surround Vision and Bed View camera technology as standard equipment. The new Sierra HD Denali Black Diamond Edition will be equipped with 20-inch high-gloss black wheels and new power-retractable assist steps, and the 2021 Sierra Heavy Duty AT4 will offer the availability of 18-inch Mud Terrain tires and an off-road high clearance step.

The information in this article is from GMC. It was accurate on September 15, 2020 but may have changed since that date.

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