GMC Sierra - The Power of General Motors
The GMC Sierra is all-new for 2007, just like it's Chevrolet Silverado twin. Also like it's twin, the Sierra is available with an insane number of options and configurations. You can choose between regular cab, extended cab, crew cab, short bed, long bed, and there are a stunning 5 different engines available. Power is up vs last year, but so is gas mileage. The 5.3 liter engine earns a 16 mpg city / 20 mpg highway rating - that's pretty solid for such a big truck.
Interior Design has experienced a substantial improvement over the last iteration. Despite the continued use of cheap plastics, there's a level of GMC Sierra Accessories that's been missing from pickup trucks of any manufacturer - save a luxe model like Lincoln's Mark LT. But the most striking change from the previous model is how much more quiet the new trucks are (via a new spray-on foam sound-deadener and 19-mm-thick insulation under the carpet). One point deducted because, although the mouse-hair roof liner's gone, it has a tactile equivalent to nothing I know of - and that's no good thing.
When unladen and fitted with a V8 engine, particularly the big 6.0 liter V8 VortecMax the trucks have serious drive-your-ass-into-your-seat acceleration. Still, they seemed to lack the confidence-inspiring pull to drag 10,500 lbs. around town on a regular basis. Such is the job of the heavy duty versions. Even when stressed by a loaded bed and full trailer, the stoppers felt substantive at first, but soon tuckered out, despite the four-wheel discs. In Phoenix, an on-site test against competitors produced the expected impressive results, though I did see very little yaw during those at-the-limit stops.
Company reps are quick to point to the fully boxed frame that's "62% stiffer in beaming and 230 torsionally stiffer." Whatever the reason, after driving 45 minutes down the highways and byways of Phoenix in the old model, my ass was in pain. An hour into driving one of the new GMC Sierras along the same highway later in the day, and I had not a single complaint about jarring and jolting from road bumps - the ride's much more refined.
The new pickup should only have three stars even with the upgrade made by the new rack-and-pinion steering system and the Hotchkiss-type live axle rear suspension. It's just that the previous model of the truck was just that bad. Still, they've included StabiliTrak electro-nanny as a standard feature, and everyone who's ever driven a fully loaded truck in a quick-brake situation knows, it's so much better to not get into one - they get an extra star for that.
Nothing special with the standard five-speed, we would have liked to have seen a truck with the new six-speed, as the General tells us they'll be almost 10% more fuel efficient with them. Unfortunately, in the rush to get the trucks to market, they seemed to have been unable to get the six-speed's production ramped up as well. They claim they'll be standard issue starting mid-year.
Come on, man - it's a truck - what do you expect? Still, with the level of quiet in that cab, even the standard radio system sounded above and beyond anything we'd heard previously in a pickup. The best part of the system is that all radios now come standard with an aux-in jack. Also, the rear-seat entertainment's top-notch - we even played Playstation in the back of a Sierra going around the Phoenix "performance course" at the GM test facility - all of which makes up for the difficult-to-follow touch-screen nav system. Still, you get the hang of it after a few miles.
Not much to speak of on the inside other than the rear bench features a really cool one-handed fold-flat option that gives full access to the floor of the rear area. It's the truck bed where the real cool kit can be found. It features a three-rail cargo management system running the length of the box sides and the forward box wall. You can order all sorts of accessories including tool boxes, bike mounts and sliding bed dividers that when coupled with moveable tie-downs, allowing customizable storage options.