GMC Sierra

Grown up to modernism

"It's been said that the new Sierra is the most powerful pickup in GMC's 111 years of history"

"For people who've been inside about ten years ago, it's going to be a shocker"

"Customer of the new age Sierra can be a businessman, an executive or even a student"

"Sierra can be an excellent off-rider"

Pickups aren't sexy for many but I fancy them as macho figures. Gone are the days when it was only a farmer's car. Fast forward and today it's a kind of statement. In theory, it's meant to take loads of baggage in the trunk and when required tow out a pile. Unlike the 80s and 90s, our new age pick up isn't just a piece of box. They have a whole lot of gadgets which are let's say - advanced infotainment system, modern interior and exterior styling, comfy and luxury appointments and a refined engine. Yes, the ordinary pickup truck has gone way far as evolution was inevitable

Exterior
It's been said that the new Sierra is the most powerful pickup in GMC's 111 years of history. Sierra and its cousin Silverado share a few things in common like the platform, engine and transmission. Front fascia has got the same old shape but with massive chrome grille, front bumpers, fenders and a black wheel arch around them. Chrome was spotted on mirror caps, door handles and a strip along the base of the side windows. Further, we have standard projector headlamps and LED signature accent lightings. It's easy to access the rear bed, thanks to the corner steps on both sides of the rear bumper. For better aerodynamics and quietness, GMC used triple-sealed inlaid doors, sealing around the grille, headlamps and space between the cab and box. Our tester is a double cab, standard box variant.

Interior
Next up is the striking bit the Sierra. For people who were inside on ten years ago, it's going to be a shocker. If "soft touch" dash and leather seats aren't enough to amuse you, they've got wooden planks on the center console and front door walls. All the rest including the upright instrument panel with knobs and big buttons were expected except the new instrument cluster. It has a 4.2 inch color driver information center with vehicle status information, radio, navigation and a trip. They also have a 230 volt outlet and four 12 volt outlets. As for connectivity and storage, they have five USB ports and an SD card slot. Next up is a high definition eight inch color touchscreen that features "IntelliLink" connectivity that controls audio, Bluetooth phone and navigation features with all new 3-D map displays. There are plenty of storage options. Apart from the storage couch and cup holders in the center stack, we noticed a cagey compartment big enough for a laptop in the center console.

Drivetrain
Under the hood is a new 5.3L EcoTec3 engine good to deliver 355 horsepower and 519 Nm of torque. Basically the power and torque of the 5.3L V8 has been increased. They feature standard direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and active fuel management to achieve better fuel efficiency.

Features
As for safety, the Sierra features forward collision alert and lane departure warning. Both are linked to driver alert seats which alert the driver with vibrating pulses on the seat cushion bolster. Big cars need strong brakes that last long and hence, GMC has adopted four wheel disc brakes with Duralife brake rotors. Front park assist is the new addition to help out drivers as the bonnet appears too long to view.

Driving Impressions
I had a strange feeling about the ride. It was mostly smooth, unlike truck behavior. But then let me repeat what I said earlier. Buyers today are no more the old fashioned "farmer types" who had purpose back then. Customers of the new age Sierra are a businessman, an executive or even a student. It's the updated EcoTec3 engine that makes it refined.

The electric power steering was quick and accurate with a direct feel about the move and made parking maneuvers look easy. On the street, Sierra had good handling and was decent on turns and curves. Dampers were smooth and that was because of the aluminum components used in the suspension for more rigidity and weight saving. The standard set of 18" wheels stayed tight, and was paired with low-rolling-resistance tires. They all contributed to reduce noise.

There was something that I wanted to check first hand - the jittery noise that came from under the chassis while passing over odd road. This could have been due to the shear length of the truck or the axle jump, which I've been before, but they didn't show up. Power distribution was okay and the new six speed automatic transmission was raring to go up shifts. Though there was impressive initial torque, I felt on occasion that the car lagged in throttle response when compared to Sierra's American counterparts. With some of the sleek outfits shed down, as it turns out, Sierra could be an excellent off-rider which was proven in my brief spell in a semi dune spot.

Verdict
Monstrous image, refined engine, cool interiors, advanced infotainment system and a smooth drive with little to spend on fuel; looks like a perfect formula. With the reputation of a big time seller worldwide, GMC decided to keep the V8 engine and go to the market. It's a narrow segment, we know, but I can tell you that the next Gen Sierra is going to be big. Just mind the revisions every year, as the likes of RAM and F150 are very well positioned next door!

Pros: Handling, interior and advanced infotainment, torque, storage options, easy access to rear bed, fuel economy
Cons: Too smooth, less room for second row passengers
Rivals: Ford F-150, Dodge RAM
Engine: 5.3 liter V8 engine, 355 hp, 519 Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, selectable 4WD
Performance: 0-100 kph: 8.5 sec, 12.5 L /100 km, Top speed: 180 kph
Curb Weight: 2400 kg

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