The all-new 2014 GMC Sierra pickup has been completely redesigned and gets lighter and more fuel-efficient for the 2014 model year. Pickups continue to be popular here in the U.S. and the GMC gets new exterior styling and gets a multitude of upgrades. This week we’re testing the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT. It comes with the 5.3-liter V8 powerplant mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
What’s new for 2014?
Just about everything is new on the new Sierra. Outside, Sierra gets a massive new grille, revised bumpers and large wheel openings outlined by larger fender blisters. But the styling looks like a big boxy square. 2014 also brings revised suspension tuning for a smoother ride, the Crew Cab’s rear doors are larger and newly available safety features such as a forward collision-alert system, a lane-departure warning system and trailer sway control.
Inside, GMC has upgraded the Sierra’s upholstery, dash and door-panel materials, and you can now get an 8-inch touchscreen display with GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment interface and smartphone integration. It also comes with a rearview camera. The interior gets roomier without expanding the outside. On the outside, it comes with handy aids that include LED under-rail lighting and a damped/assist tailgate that lifts and lowers easily. Bed rail recesses and a step in the bumper corners ease climbing up, and there are movable upper load-securing points in the bed.
SLT is top dog
This Sierra SLT tester ($43,610) came loaded with all the extras to make this pickup extremely comfortable. The cabin is roomy and luxurious and came with heated and cooled leather bucket seats up front. It also featured remote starting, power folding mirrors, a rear window defroster, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 110-volt power outlet, eight-way power driver and passenger front seats and driver-seat memory settings.
It also came with options like heated steering wheel and heated and power sliding rear window ($400). These both came in handy as we had cold and snow this week and the heated seats and steering wheel kept my seat and hands extra warm. It also came with the optional Driver Alert Package ($845) that includes the front and rear park assist, lane departure warning, forward collision alert and safety alert seat.
Whenever I was parking and approached an object that the system thought was too close, I would feel a vibration in the seat to warn me I was too close. But the warning was probably too late at that point for me to do anything. I thought that part of the safety system was more annoying than helpful. If it could be adjusted for an earlier warning, it may be a better alert.
Sierra was compliant and comfortable
Out on the road, the Sierra SLT felt more like a car than a truck. I took my two truck buddies out to lunch and they were impressed with the legroom in back. They also commented on how big the back doors were and they could easily get in and out. They liked the added 6-inch chrome assist steps. This tester came with the larger 20-inch aluminum wheels which replaced the standard 18s. Even with the larger wheel, the Sierra was compliant and comfortable over broken pavement and rough roads.
The new GMC 5.3-liter Ecotec3 V8 delivers plenty of power as would be expected from the 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque engine. The big V8 is a good size for the large Crew Cab loaded with driver and passengers. I accelerated hard to show my buddies, and we were up to 75 mph quickly on the highway. There was a small vibration during hard acceleration.
GMC says the 5.3-liter powerplant comes with Active Fuel Management and features a fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system. This saves fuel by switching between V8 and V4 modes. The Sierra was completely seamless when swapping between modes and we couldn’t even tell there was a transition. The six-speed automatic provides smooth and timely gearchanges in normal driving.
The revised suspension tuning for 2014 provides a noticeably smoother ride over the previous generation Sierra. Overall ride and handling dynamics are improved. This GMC feels solid and the all-wheel-drive system worked well in the snowy week I had the truck. When I returned the pickup, it was covered with ice and snow that had been packed in the wheel wells and 6-inch assist steps from the big 20-inch wheels.
Whether you like the new styling of the GMC Sierra or not, there are definite improvements that have been made to the suspension for a smoother ride, and the Crew Cab’s bigger rear doors make getting in the back easier. The 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT is a luxurious pickup that is almost too nice to take to the construction job site. It’s more suited for a comfortable family hauler and using it for occasional light duty work. The new safety features work well except for the safety alert seat function that may need to be tweaked. Overall, the new-generation GMC Sierra SLT is a tough truck with a luxury ride.
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