Winnipeg Free Press

GMC Sierra continues its growth spurt

by Kelly Taylor . Mar 09 2018
General MotorsThe 2019 GMC Sierra pickup truck has managed to increase in overall size while coming in lighter than the 2018 edition, and features a slate of optional creature comforts, including a pebbled-leather interior.

General Motors

The 2019 GMC Sierra pickup truck has managed to increase in overall size while coming in lighter than the 2018 edition, and features a slate of optional creature comforts, including a pebbled-leather interior.

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. — It’s longer. It’s wider. It’s taller. It has more cargo room and more passenger room. It has a bold, new grille that will fill rear-view mirrors and strike fear into the hearts of car drivers.

It’s the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali and Sierra SLT.

If you’ve ever leaped down from the seat of a current pickup truck, struggled to reach to clean snow off the windshield or needed a step-stool to check the oil and thought, “Man. Nice truck, but why does it have to be so puny?” GMC has your back.

The seemingly relentless march upwards in size continues to the point it won’t be long before these trucks are assigned their own postal codes. Today’s 1500-series pickups dwarf yesterday’s 2500- and 3500-series pickups by comparison, and today’s compact trucks rival yesterday’s full-size pickups in size.

And it’s all, amazingly, driven by customer demand, or at least that’s how Matt Noones, GMC’s director of exterior designs, interpreted customer feedback when planning the new truck.

“Customers want the design of their truck to communicate its capabilities,” he said. “The 2019 Sierra is larger than its predecessor. It sits higher, is longer, has greater presence, has a more confident stance and more commanding view of the road.”

Yes, because the outgoing Sierra was psychologically insecure of its stance, but I digress. Sarcasm aside, the new Sierra is an attractive new design, not only for the little details that elevate it above a typical workaday truck, but also because despite its added size, GMC has shaved off 180 kilograms of weight (211 kg if you order the late-availability carbon-fibre bed) and made it more fuel efficient in the process.

The days of walking up to the side of your truck, reaching over the side of the box and placing something on the bed died a decade ago. Today’s truck bed can sometimes be as high off the ground as yesterday’s side sill.

So, with the Sierra Denali, and optional on the SLT, a new tailgate design seeks to answer that, at least partially. The MultiPro Gate features a fold-down centre section that serves multiple functions: it gets part of the gate out of the way to make reaching the bed easier. It can serve as a step to get into the bed. With the gate down, part of it folds up to create a load stop to keep longer items from sliding out. With the gate up, it can be a stand-up desk or, with the load stop, hold another layer of cargo, such as 4x8 sheets of plywood.

Redesigning the box creates a space nearly seven inches wider, which means, according to Mark Reuss, executive vice-president of global design for General Motors, the Sierra’s short box has more volume than competitors’ standard boxes.

Reuss said work on redeveloping the chassis — adding high-strength steel where needed, aluminum for the hood, doors and gate — brings two benefits to the truck.

“The new frame is lighter and stiffer, providing better ride quality and performance,” he said. “We looked for every opportunity to add capability and performance, but not mass.”

The Denali and SLT versions will come with three engines: a new 6.2-litre V-8, a new 5.3-litre V-8 and a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder. Both V-8s have auto start/stop and the latest version of GM’s active fuel management.

That latest version now deactivates a number of cylinders in a variety of combinations to save fuel when cruising. Previous versions would deactivate the same cylinders each time, raising durability concerns for those cylinders.

The 6.2- and 3.0-litre engines are mated to 10-speed automatic transmissions while the 5.3 gets an eight-speed automatic.

The interior, particularly at the Denali level, gets some touches typically only seen previously on luxury-brand cars — including natural, pebbled leather; open-pore wood trim, real aluminum trim and a 3x7 infotainment display screen. The infotainment system also offers improved voice-recognition.

Towing is also addressed, with something GMC is calling ProGrade Trailering Assist with trailering app. The system eases the process of hooking up with a hitch view camera, including a camera mounted on the trailer. As well, the app allows for hands-free activation of turn signals and brake lights for one-person testing of lighting systems. It also offers tire-pressure monitoring, electrical system diagnosis and tire-temperature monitoring.

GM’s rear-camera mirror makes an appearance, too. Instead of just a rear-view mirror in the cab, the system uses cameras to replicate the view of a rear-view mirror, despite anything in the truck bed blocking the view. It can zoom and tilt, as well.

Full specifications will be available closer to launch in the fall of 2018.

kelly.taylor@freepress.mb.ca

Kelly Taylor / Winnipeg Free Press filesAn available 6.2-litre V-8 and 10-speed transmission ensures pulling a trailer with the GMC Sierra will be no problem, and a hitch-view camera makes hooking up to your trailer a breeze.

Kelly Taylor / Winnipeg Free Press files

An available 6.2-litre V-8 and 10-speed transmission ensures pulling a trailer with the GMC Sierra will be no problem, and a hitch-view camera makes hooking up to your trailer a breeze.

General Motors2019 GMC Sierra Denali MultiPro tailgate, inner gate with work surface configuration.

General Motors

2019 GMC Sierra Denali MultiPro tailgate, inner gate with work surface configuration.

General Motors2019 GMC Sierra Denali

General Motors

2019 GMC Sierra Denali