Like its near-twin the Chevrolet Silverado, the slightly more upscale GMC Sierra arrives in fresh form for 2014 with more power and a well-designed interior blessed with the latest tech and safety features. The 2014 Sierra still spans a variety of trims and configurations to appeal to a broad range of pickup buyers, from a rather basic work truck to the leather-laden Sierra Denali. All benefit from new V6 and V8 engines that can pull more than their predecessors yet travel a bit farther on a gallon of gas. While it's no secret that brand loyalty is a key buying factor in a segment that includes the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra, the Sierra distinguishes itself from rivals with surprising creature comforts and potent powertrains.
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The 2014 Sierra's innovative powertrains and handsome aesthetics should appeal to longtime GMC fans and tempt buyers new to the brand. In just one of many "mine is bigger" battles in the half-ton truck market, the 2014 Sierra's 12,000-pound max tow rating is expected to be king – at least for now.
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The 2014 Sierra's 6-speed automatic transmission isn't as smooth as the Ram 1500's available 8-speed. There's also no denying that this is indeed a full-size truck whose big dimensions are noticeable every time you pull into a small lot or garage. Smaller, more maneuverable alternatives are the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.
From its exterior and interior design to its three engine choices, the GMC Sierra is all-new for 2014. Gone is the slow-selling hybrid version.
Driving the Sierra 1500 Double Cab
The 2014 GMC Sierra is a truck ready for work and play, with the power and creature comforts ably doing their part in both respects. In our test-drive of a...
... Sierra with the new 5.3-liter V8 engine, it felt capable in nearly every situation. On the highway, the Sierra is surprisingly quiet. Most road imperfections are absorbed well by the truck's suspension, though we were reminded of its rugged body-on-frame construction during one particularly bad stretch of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. There, the Sierra bucked like a bronco, and it would not be our choice if driven daily on that type of road. Towing ability is a strong point. We had no problem hauling a 5,000-pound Airstream trailer up steep grades with the 5.3-liter engine, and appreciated that the available trailer brake controller is within easy reach of the steering wheel. The telematics system gets a solid B grade, but the rear-view camera could be higher resolution (especially if you routinely hitch up), and audio functions could respond faster.
CONNECTED INFOTAINMENT The Sierra's available technology gives new meaning to "work truck." Higher trims include the IntelliLink touch-screen system to operate navigation, audio and more. We were equally impressed by its five (5!) USB inputs and an AC outlet that can keep a bounty of devices juiced and ready to play.
DRIVER ALERT SEAT This optional but important safety feature works with the Sierra's lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems by vibrating the seat to alert the driver of potential danger. Ingeniously, it can vibrate each side independently. If you drift to the left, for example, the left side of the seat vibrates.
2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Double Cab Details
With big buttons and knobs coated in rubber for easy grip even when wearing gloves, the Sierra's roomy interior is built with work in mind. Yet it also can be as luxurious as your checkbook is large, with features such as ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and communication ports that will outnumber most drivers' devices. Cab configurations include regular with a bench seat for up three passengers, double cab with seating for five or six, and crew cab with the most room for five or six. As should be expected in a big truck, the front seats are massive. Flip-up rear seats offer more cargo versatility.
GMC has wisely taken an evolutionary approach to the 2014 Sierra's freshened exterior. We'll dub it "contemporary macho." Like previous models, this full-size truck features blocky styling highlighted by swollen fender flares and a grille that would do a semi-truck truck proud. With the new styling come practical innovations like corner steps built into the rear bumper. These provide a foothold for bed access, and by design are covered to mitigate slipping in wet environments. Handgrips and available bed-mounted LED lights are other features we like. Bed lengths range from 5 feet, 8 inches to 8 feet. Double-cab models now have standard front-hinged rear doors for easier access.
The most basic 2014 Sierra is still pretty much that and includes features like air conditioning, cruise control, cloth seats, and an AM/FM radio with a 4.2-inch color display and USB/SD inputs, but no CD player, Bluetooth, or telescoping steering wheel. Step up to an SLE trim and you'll get a rear-vision camera, 6-speaker audio and 17-inch wheels made of premium aluminum instead of steel. SLT trims bring features like the 5.3-liter V8 engine, dual-zone climate control, an 8-inch touch-screen command center, power-adjustable pedals, and leather-appointed seats. Foremen will appreciate the Sierra Denali's 20-inch chrome wheels, navigation system, Bose audio system, and leather-clad front bucket seats.
Add-ons are available across the entire 2014 Sierra lineup to make it more functional and comfortable. All Sierras can be equipped with 4-wheel drive instead of the standard rear-wheel drive. Those seeking the most power and towing capability should look to the 6.2-liter V8 available on Sierra SLT and Denali models. Other options of note include the Driver Alert Package with lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert, plus front and rear park-assist. The All-Terrain Package includes an off-road suspension with Rancho shocks, an underbody shield and 18-inch wheels. Interior comforts include heated and cooled front seats, navigation, a power sunroof, and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Under the Hood
Three engine choices are available on the 2014 GMC Sierra: a 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8, or the top-dog 6.2-liter V8 available for SLT and Denali models. All are linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission and have laudable towing capacity, including the V6's max of 7,200 pounds. On the other end is the 6.2-liter V8 that can pull up to 12,000 pounds. With the ability to tow 11,500 pounds and a highway rating of 22 mpg, the 5.3-liter V8 is the middle child in GMC's new engine lineup and offers a good balance of power and efficiency. All the engines use technology such as direct injection and Active Fuel Management, which allows them to run on fewer cylinders and thus use less fuel. The engines can run on regular unleaded gasoline or E85.
With the Sierra's wide range of configurations come a wide range of prices. A base, regular-cab 2014 Sierra has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $25,085. Double-cab models start at $29,110, while Crew Cab models begin at $33,210. Of course, start climbing trim levels and adding options, and these prices can climb by tens of thousands of dollars. A fully-equipped Sierra SLT or Denali, for example, can easily break the $50,000 mark. The Sierra's starting price is in line with that of the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra, while the Nissan Titan (available in King Cab and Crew Cab only) starts around $30,000. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Sierra's resale value is projected to be in line with that of its domestic rivals and the Nissan Titan, but behind that of the segment-leading Toyota Tundra.
Pros: "Easy to drive, quiet, reliable, handles well"
Cons: "Hard to park, back seat not padded enough"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD is my primary vehicle. I commute long distances each day in heavy traffic, and the GMC is comfortable, safe, and drives easily. I also use the GMC to tow a large, hydraulic dump trailer typically loaded to the gills with 10+ K of construction debris. No problem for this truck.
To my surprise, I am getting a solid 24 mpg in city driving. The first 12K miles I was only averaging 19 mpg. Suddenly at 15K miles the truck loosed up and I gained 5 mpg. ????
The only annoyance is that the length of the truck means parking options are fewer, something anyone who is trading up a car should consider."
Cons: "Transmission Quirks, Slow Nav and Interface"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Family and friends were shocked when I showed up with a new GMC 1500 SLT Crew Cab in the driveway. My tastes have run towards German sedans and Japanese SUV's with a 1995 Jeep Wrangler being the only domestic product I had bought in 30 years of vehicle ownership. Domestic products had never offered the reliability of the Japanese, the driving dynamics of the Europeans, or the interior quality of either (especially the Europeans).
I had intended to supplement or replace a beloved and dead reliable Toyota 4Runner with 215,000 trouble-free miles with something more modern and upscale, but similarly capable off-road. The Toyota Land Cruiser was one such vehicle that has intrigued me for a long time - with it's DNA of being over-engineered, its understated presence and well-known durability and reliability. In the mean time, I had ridden in an associates 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Crew Cab and was startled by the compliant ride and overall quietness of it in operation. I had not ridden in a pickup in perhaps 10 years. It was far more comfortable than a 2000 Lincoln Navigator that I had owned back in the day. The interior, while not the most "exciting" I have seen, surely was leaps and bounds better the the old Navigator's in quality.
I test drove a Land Cruiser in the following weeks, and while built like the proverbial tank, the ride was not nearly as nice as the Silverado's and the acceleration was not impressive. It quickly became clear that engineering behind the Land Cruiser was very outdated compared to the Chevy's, shown also in the 5-speed transmission and abysmal EPA figures.
For the first time I started to entertain the idea of owning a full-size Pickup or full-size domestic SUV in lieu of an imported midsize or "almost" full-size SUV.
I initially though the Toyota Tundra would be my top candidate. I like the interior of the 1794 edition, but as with the Land Cruiser, it is in need of an update, with a ride and efficiency level that couldn't compare with the Silverado's
I also looked at the Yukon and Tahoe (gorgeous interiors IMO), but the reduction in cargo space from the previous gen and inability to delete the 3rd row seating reduced the desirability for me. The biggest problem in my mind was the astronomical pricing (easily $70k when optioned) of these sleds, putting them in Range Rover/Land Rover and Mercedes GL territory, predicting a level of depreciation I can't stomach.
Long story short, I looked at all the domestic trucks and gravitated to the GMC line. The Ram is supposed to have the best ride (and also is the only one with a 1/2 ton diesel option (which I like), but the aesthetics and interior design are too "gaudy" for me. The Ford F-150 did not feel as good on the road to me as the GMC and one has to go the "eco-boost" route with a 6 or 4 cylinder because the V-8 at this point seems to be in leftover mode.
I know the Sierra and Silverado are identical underneath but I find the styling of the GMC to be more understated and elegant (if one can say that about a truck)
One does not have to venture far on the internet to find out what testers think about the 6.2 litre "Corvette" (almost) engine does to this thing. It is a blast to drive and it is addictive.I ended up purchasing an SLT Crew Cab with the 6.2 and almost all the bells and whistles, putting the price within $2,000 of an equally equiped Denali but having the Z71 Off-Road package that I wanted and which is not available on the Denali. To say this truck has exceeded almost all my expectaions would be an understatment. Other than an occasional rough downshift out of the new 8-speed transmission (which I hope will be fixed with new programming) and rather slow to respond info screen with somewhat second-rate TomTom Navi, I have absolutely no complainants. The interior is beautifully assembled and with high quality components including stitched leather real aluminum (and I am partial to Audi interiors. I can work from my truck with 4G LTE built-in hotspot. Pandora, XM, weather radar and multiple USB ports, DC and 110v outlets all in the front console, make it a pleasure and productive to spend time in this vehicle. What this vehicle most excels at however, is transporting you down the interstate in immense and effortless comfort and silence. Set the air-conditioned leather sears on, cue up the iPhone or Pandora on the Bose stereo and I'm good for a 1,000 mile jaunt. It tracks as straight as any German car I have owned - it drives and handles more like a "car" than either the F150, Ram or Tundra. The ride reminds me of a slightly stiffer version of traditional American luxury cars from the 60's or 70's - due in no small part I'm sure to the 144-inch wheelbase. With triple weather sealing and active noise cancellation, it's as quiet as a 1960's Cadillac, too. With the optional 6.2 litre passing power is instantaneous - with testing showing an under 6-second 0-60. Rest assured 55 to 75 happens in a blink of an eye. And the best part? Over the course of my initial 4,500 miles I have averaged just over 19 MPG calculated manually. Without a headwind (which has a large effect on truck MPG at highway speeds) I average around 22 MPG at 70 MPH and 25 MPG at 60 MPH. This is mind-boggling to me considering this engines feels like a barley-tamed lion underfoot, putting out 420 HO and 460 lb-ft of torque. With V8/V4 technology, direct fuel injection and the 8-speed transmission, there was simply no need to settle for the 5.3
Having grown up in the 60's and 70's in a "GM" family, I had become a hardened critic of their accountant and marketing-consultant designed products - especially since the Roger Smith era of the 80's. The products literally insulted my intelligence. Turn to 2015 - and..this is a great truck. "If" it proves reliable in the long-term, I will have become one of the lost consumers that at least one domestic vehicle maker has brought back into the fold."