2014 GMC Sierra Review

Is this the quietest, most refined truck on sale today?
Imthishan Giado

2014 GMC Sierra

I’ve got a real soft spot for GMCs. Way back in the late ‘90s when I was still learning the ropes of piloting an automobile, one of the first vehicles I ever drive was a coal-black ’78 GMC Sierra pickup that belonged to a college friend. What a beauty: short bed, single cab, 350 V8, and an oilfield of torque to mine all day on the open highways (when it wasn’t mining actual oilfields for nourishment).

With this latest generation Sierra, GMC has resolutely stuck to the classic formula: body-on-frame construction, V8 engines under the hood and manly squared-off looks with an endless bonnet, much like the endless flat roads of its homeland. Conservatism? Perhaps, but why mess with a winning formula? See one of these coming up behind you on the highway and there’s no question you’ll move over!

2014 GMC Sierra

Besides, there’s a reason trucks are boxy things – a square is the most practical shape. The sturdy bed is ready for anything you can throw at it, from concrete to ATVs and it’s now easier to get in too with a side step moulded into the rear bumper. One of my favourite features on this new Sierra is the simplest: a damped tailgate, allowing you to unlatch it and then let go without it crashing hard onto the rear bumper. Simple, but saves a lot of fingers over the longer run.

My test Sierra had a slightly unusual double-cab with a standard box configuration; to be honest, it’s not ideal. The long bed makes manoeuvring tricky in tight spaces, and the rear seat room is only average for passengers. If I were in the market for a Sierra I’d spring for the full-size Crew Cab with a short box; good enough to haul, a full-size four seater for everything else. Naturally, you can also get a long box for even more cargo carrying space.

2014 GMC Sierra

Interior
Plush. Comfortable. Words you never thought to associate with a pickup. But it’s true; the new Sierra is a surprisingly refined place, putting the Japanese competition to shame. I’ve sat in a Tundra and it felt like a tarted-up Hilux with hard plastics and scattered switchgear; the Sierra’s interior wouldn’t feel out of place in a luxury SUV. Of course there’s a reason for that: you’ll see an upscale version of this interior in the next Yukon.

Heated and cooled seats, navigation, truck apps for towing and trailer control, five USBs and a laptop power point – you name it, the Sierra has it. Crucially for a car that has the capability to function as a mobile office, the seats are mega-comfortable, and the driving position excellent.

There’s also a brace of safety systems including forward collision alert (warning if you get too close to the car in front) and lane departure warning, vibrating your seat cushions if you cross the lines abruptly. The latter I switched off and pleasingly, it stayed off permanently until I turned on again. Choice is a good thing to have, isn’t it?

GMC is pushing refinement hard with this next-gen Sierra and indeed, that’s the biggest impression you’ll be left with after driving it – smooth, confident and refined. While the old Sierra I drove back in college rode like a swamp boat in the midst of a Caribbean squall,  this is a well-sorted SUV. You could take the impressions I wrote for its Silverado cousin and apply them equally here: pleasant to drive, agile for something so enormous and rides exceptionally well.

2014 GMC Sierra

While I only had the chance to test the Silverado on tarmac in the US, the Sierra proved a good performer on the sand. Sure, you’ll need to remove some of the aerodynamic gubbins at the front if you want to climb the big dunes (or drop off the sides of it) but the excellent 355bhp 5.3-litre V8 and responsive six-speed auto mean you’re never short of oomph. Traction from the standard 18-inch wheels with General rubber is good though the shock damping is slightly soft; of course, this isn’t the Z71 Sierra which comes with stiffer Rancho shocks. Get a single cab, a short bed and a modicum of lift and I reckon it’ll go absolutely anywhere that a Raptor might.

2014 GMC Sierra

Verdict

Try as you might, you’ll struggle to find fault with this new Sierra. GM’s done an excellent job of updating it to modern standards and the hardest decision you’ll have is whether to pick this upscale Sierra or the more plebeian Silverado. Decisions, decisions.

2014 GMC Sierra

Specs
Price: AED140,613 ($38,283)
Engine: 5.3-litre V8, 355bhp @ 5600rpm, 383lb ft @ 4100pm
Performance: 0-100kph 8.2s (Est), top speed n/a
Transmission: Six-speed auto, selectable four-wheel drive
Weight: 2359kg

Here’s Shahzad’s review from the UAE launch of the Sierra

Let us know what you think of the GMC below

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