By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
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.
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.
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.
KBB Expert Ratings
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 Impressions 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.
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.
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.Exterior
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.
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.
285 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
305 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 17/22 mpg (4-wheel drive)
355 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 16/22 mpg (4-wheel drive)
420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
450 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 14/20 mpg (4-wheel drive)
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.