Trucks aren’t meant to be glamorous. Sure, they’ll pull a fabulous vintage Airstream trailer, put a wooden Chris Craft boat into crystal water, or carry home that mid-century credenza, but any truck worth its fully-boxed frame can also haul a bed load of dirt, plow through snow, and charge through muddy fields. I guess we’d call that versatile. Whatever your preference, the re-designed 2014 GMC Sierra satisfies.
The Sierra comes in regular cab, extended “Double Cab”, or full-out Crew Cab bodystyles. By far the most elegant and accommodating is the Crew Cab. Doors are significantly wider for ingress/egress. Projector headlamps with LED running lights, 20” chrome alloys, step bar, and chiseled flanks convey purpose with panache. The re-design was fairly conservative, but much more dramatic in person than in photos.
Interiors are industrial chic, combining silver finishes with soft-touch dash and doors. Buttons and knobs are thoughtfully designed to be used with gloved hands. Upper and lower gloveboxes, deep door cubbies, large cupholders, and a center console that can hold most laptops provides a full closet worth of space. There’s a port for every pleasure (almost): five USB ports, four 12-volt power points, a 110-volt outlet, aux-in jack, and SD Card reader.
Luxury continues with a big, thick, heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated/cooled leather seats, power-adjustable pedals, Bluetooth, power sliding rear window, sunroof, and Bose audio. GMC Intellilink uses the reconfigurable touchscreen to control Pandora internet radio, satellite radio, phones, navigation, and a bunch of other toys. Staying on course, our truck came with Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and adaptive cruise control systems. Fail to heed any of those, and the “rump shaker” seats get your attention.
Engineers conjured up a 285hp 4.3-liter V6, a 355hp 5.3-liter V8, and a massive 420hp 6.2-liter V8 engine for the Sierra. Ultimately, I went for Goldilocks in the middle: the smaller V8 was just right, smoothly sending power to the four-wheel-drive system through a six-speed automatic transmission. All three engines feature variable displacement that halts half of the engine at cruise to conserve dead dynos. Fuel economy is rated 16/22 mpg city/highway. Towing capacity is 9,600 lbs., so go get that glamper and get glamping.
Those who enjoy bucking around in a pickup will be sorely disappointed with the Sierra’s gentlemanly road manners. Steering is weighty, yet precise. Brakes are firm, giving assurance the truck can easily control its load. Step into the V8 on the highway, and it awakens the other four cylinders, steps down a cog or two in the six-speed automatic transmission, and lays waste to wide expanses of asphalt. The overall experience is more satin, less barbed wire.
Owners will appreciate the little details that enhance towing and hauling. Rear bumpers have steps built into the sides to make climbing into the bed easier. Tailgates lift with a finger. LED lights beneath the bed rails enlighten whatever you’re doing back there. Choose the Z71 off-road package for high style, but also hill descent control, underbody shield, and Rancho shocks.
A new Sierra Denali would be the best truck for glamour-seekers, but an SLT-grade Crew Cab suits just fine. Clip on your wheeled loft and head for the woods — or unhitch and hit the clubs. A base price of $43,425 ($50,485 as-tested) puts it comfortably in luxury terrain.
2014 GMC Sierra SLT
Five-passenger, AWD pickup
Powertrain: 355hp 5.3-liter V8, six-speed automatic transmission
Suspension f/r:Ind/Solid axle
Wheels: 20”/20” alloy f/r
Brakes: disc/disc fr/rr with ABS
Tow capacity: 9,600 lbs.
Must-have features: Style, ride
Fuel economy: 16/22 mpg city/highway
Assembly: Silao, Mexico
Base price: $43,425