U2 and GMC now have something in common, in that they both have an “Elevation” in their catalog. For the Irish band, it’s a hip-hop, rock mix that powered the record All That You Can’t Leave Behind in 2001. For the Detroit automaker, it’s a mix of ruggedness and performance that will power their truck lineup in the new year.
“The 2019 Sierra Elevation conveys a youthful, athletic presence that demonstrates GMC’s tailored approach,” explained Rich Latek, GMC Marketing Director. “With inherent truck capabilities and functionality, Elevation is able to take you off the beaten path along with your gear while standing out from the pack.”
While “High Country” may indeed be a Silverado thing, the Sierra Elevation is poised to climb right over the highest of countries. The truck comes with the X31 Off Road package, which includes unique suspension tuning, Rancho shocks, all-terrain tires, a locking rear differential, Hill Descent Control, protective underbody skidplates, and a heavy-duty air filter.
Bonus items include a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing and dual exhaust.
The integrated Traction Select System means the truck’s performance can better match the conditions at hand. The system, via a dial, adjusts the transmission shift points, throttle mapping, and other systems to give the Sierra Elevation mountain goat-like footing.
In essence, GMC echoes the sentiments expressed by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967: There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
Styling & Design
If the off-road elements don’t immediately do it, the Sierra Elevation should be easy to spot with its LED C-shape “light blade” designs. This signature look includes LED fog lamps and further C-shaped LED elements within the taillights. We see plenty of black exterior accents from the grille insert and tow hooks, to the side window trim and 20-inch aluminum wheels.
The monochromatic door handles, bumpers, and grille surround finish off the truck.
In general, regardless of trim level, the 2019 Sierra is the boldest-looking, most chiseled Sierra in the modern era.
Power & Performance
The Sierra Elevation will put the heat to the pavement, gravel, or mud with a range of engines and transmissions. The evergreen 5.3 and 6.2 return, although they are redesigned for weight savings and better performance. The 5.3 and 6.2 contain the new Dynamic Fuel Management system, a replacement for the current Active Fuel Management. Under the new system, the engine is allowed 17 different modes of cylinder deactivation to boost performance and efficiency.
Standard on the Elevation is a new 2.7-liter turbocharged engine paired to an eight-speed automatic. The engine produces 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft. of torque. Early next year, the Elevation will be optioned with a new 3.0-liter Duramax connected to a 10-speed automatic.
Hauling The Convoy
GMC says the Sierra Elevation will handle all the gear one can pile on: kayaks, mountain bikes, motorcycles and ATVs, camping and fishing equipment; nothing is off limits. There are more tie-downs, larger rear corner steps, and the available “GearOn rails” to make loading and securing cargo easier.
A 120-volt outlet in the rear supplies power to whatever equipment adventure seekers have in tow.
And when you gotta tow, you gotta tow! GMC’s new ProGrade Trailering feature is an option for the Elevation. The system includes a pre-departure checklist, trailer light test, tire pressure monitoring for the trailer, and maintenance reminders, plus a compatible smartphone app.
Pricing & Availability
The 2019 Sierra Elevation comes as a double cab in either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Expect the truck at GMC dealers this fall with pricing information due closer to that time.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.