2014 GMC Sierra

With a squared jaw and rugged looks, the GMC Sierra has been redesigned for 2014. The truck gets a new EcoTec3 engine lineup with all the grunt needed for tough chores, plus better fuel efficiency across the board.

The new engine choices are worthy of Sierra’s 111-year heritage of truck performance, including a 4.3-liter V6, a 5.3-liter V8 and a 6.2-liter V8, all hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Sierra also gets an exterior facelift for 2014, with aerodynamic improvements that help with fuel economy and cabin noise. The new truck gets a lightweight aluminum hood and high-strength steel in its fully-boxed frame, as well as in the A and B pillars, roof rails and rocker panels.

All Sierra models also get chrome grille surrounds and black wheel arch moldings. Overall, Sierra retains its boxy and squared off style, as well as its unmistakable GMC truck look.

Our test truck for the week was the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT model with the 5.3-liter V8 with active fuel management that helped the truck deliver 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. With a 26-gallon fuel tank, the test truck had a highway range of up to 572 miles.

In a recent development, the government just completed its safety tests on the new GMC Sierra, and gave it a top 5-star overall rating thanks to six standard airbags, stability and traction control systems, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and a host of available safety features.

Louisiana truck drivers today demand more than just grunt and performance from their pickups; they want to feel comfortably at home on the job as well as in the valet line at the Ritz.

The Sierra delivers premium materials and attention to detail inside the cab. The instrument panel is big and upright, with six gauges directly in front of the driver. The center stack has rubber coated, easy-grip knobs.

But perhaps one of the best things about our test truck was the presence of three USB ports, two 12-volt sockets and a 110-volt outlet all lined up at the stack, just above the convenience trays. Some vehicles have the same kind of connectivity, but it is placed in inconvenient locations. In the Sierra, you won’t need elbow surgery after plugging in your devices. The truck is available with up to five USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and an SD card slot.

Our Crew Cab 4WD cabin was roomy and comfortable, with 42.8 inches of front seat headroom and 45.3 inches of legroom. The back seat is spacious too: Headroom is 40.5 inches and legroom is 40.9 inches.

Our test truck also had some Cadillac-like technology features like a Forward Collision Alert that flashes a red light and vibrates the seat to notify the driver of an imminent collision. The same seat vibration is used in conjunction with the available backup camera and lane-departure warning system. GM research shows that drivers react quicker when they get “goosed” by the seat, and we can vouch for that.

The Sierra backs up the advanced technology with performance. Our test truck’s towing capacity was 9,600 pounds with the 3.42 axle and 11,200 pounds with a trailering package. The maximum payload was 1,957 pounds.

Tough and capable with a refined cabin, the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 is an excellent full-sized pickup.

2014 GMC Sierra 1500

4WD Crew Cab SLT

Engine:

5.3-liter V8

Horsepower:

355

Transmission:

6-speed automatic

Test model base price:

$43,425 ($49,855 as tested)

EPA mileage rating:

16 mpg city / 22 mpg highway