4.18.2014

The 2014 GMC Sierra Is Why People Buy Full-Size Pickup Trucks


Front 3/4 view of 2014 GMC Sierra
The 2014 GMC Sierra.

Have you read my review of the 2014 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X?  If not, you can click that link or maybe scroll down a post, if the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief is posting these in sequence (I am.-Ed.).

For those not so inclined, the short version: The PRO-4X is a ten-year-old design, refreshed five years ago. A midsize whose roots in the past give it a powertrain that can only manage 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway, with an as-tested price of $36,050.

In contrast, look what is happening in full-size trucks:

This is the newly-redesigned GMC Sierra 1500. It and its corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Silverado, are full-size pickups that embody the state of the art of trucks today, engaged in an ongoing game of oneupsmanship with RAM and Ford.  Until the new F-150 arrives in a few months, this is as good as it gets.




Rear 3/4 view of 2014 GMC Sierra
2014 GMC Sierra.

In mid-level SLE trim, the base price for a double-cab four-wheel drive is $37,065.  That is a mere $1,015 more than the PRO-4X. And it comes with OnStar, power windows and locks, air conditioning, a color driver information display, a leather-wrapped steering column, essentially everything the Nissan does, plus more room, more comfort and....

Better fuel economy.

Than a smaller Nissan.

The Sierra, thanks to a 4.3-liter Ecotec3 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, is EPA rated at 17 city/22 highway.  That is better than the smaller truck on both counts.

This is the flip side of the coin.  The Sierra is a textbook example of competition improving the breed, with all three American manufacturers of full-size trucks in a pitched battle to deliver the cutting edge in utility, comfort and efficiency.

Interior view of 2014 GMC Sierra
2014 GMC Sierra interior
The Sierra we drove had extra-cost options.  There was a convenience package that included power adjustable pedals---a must, in my book---rear park assist and a power sliding rear window ($665).  The SLE Value Package adds the trailering equipment package, a driver's side power seat adjuster, remote vehicle state, fog lamps, a rear window defroster, an AC power outlet, a universal home remote, and upgrades the air conditioning to a dual-zone climate control unit ($1,620).  An upgraded audio system with satellite navigation was added ($795).  It also had the off-road suspension package consisting of 18-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels, a high-capacity air cleaner, hill descent control, an underbody shield, a Z71 badge, and monotube Rancho shock absorbers ($775).  A trailer brake controller cost $230 and all-terrain tires $200.  Add $995 destination charge and subtract $750 for the SLE Value Package discount and the as-tested price is $41,595.

Yes, that is $5,000 more than the Nissan, but look at what you get. And what would the monthly payment difference be over a five-year loan? Is it any wonder people who really do not need a full-size truck are buying them anyway?

It's been said that what American automakers build best are pickup trucks.  And this is the best yet.

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