2014 GMC Sierra – Review

All-new trucks out to reclaim their turf

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 GMC Sierra

You wouldn’t know it to look at me, or from reviewing my background and upbringing, but I think somewhere in my DNA there is a bit of Redneck. Not sure how it got there, but its presence is confirmed by the fact that I go just a little bit too giddy at the thought of driving a big pick-up truck.

Logically speaking, I don’t know why I’d want one. I’m not a plumber/painter/decorator, I don’t indulge in ‘leisure activities’ so have no need to cart about quads/bikes/jet skis, and I don’t go off-road too much either. Plus where would I park it, how would it fit in shopping malls, and what use would I make of that expansive flatbed at the back?

And yet…

I want one.

2014 GMC Sierra

But which? Well the Ram has always been my favourite simply because of its style and character. On the other hand the Ford F-150, particularly in Raptor guise, has been stealing all the headlines of late. However the Sierra is the big seller – 45% of the market according to GM, with Silverado taking 21% and the Ford’s at 27%.

And now the Trucks from GM are back to grab the headlines too, all-new, better, bolder, stronger and backed by 111 years of GMC pickup heritage. So we start with a local first drive of the GMC Sierra, whilst Imthishan will be bringing you a first drive of its sister Chevrolet Silverado directly from the States in a few days time.

2014 GMC Sierra

Well a big truck needs to make a big entrance, so GMC launched the Sierra in style in Ski Dubai, blasting up the ski slope on the regular tyres in impressive style.

Pricing and engines

These will be in showrooms in late October and will be offered in Regular Cab, Double Cab (now with four proper doors rather than the smaller rear suicide style doors) and full-size Crew Cab and Denali models.

UAE prices start at AED107,983 ($29,400) for the Regular Cab, AED115,428 ($31,426) for the Double Cab; AED120,915 ($32,920) for the Crew Cab and AED198,392 ($54k) for the Denali version.

2014 GMC Sierra

Engines include a 4.3-litre V6 producing 285bhp and 305lb ft, a 5.3-litre V8 producing 355bhp and 383lb ft, and 6.2-litre V8 producing 420bhp and 460lb ft. The latter is only available on the flagship Denali model.

All are available in two-wheel drive or selectable four-wheel drive mated to six-speed transmissions and whilst the lengths vary due to the cab configurations, there also two sizes for the rear box (1727mm and 1981mm).

2014 GMC Sierra

All-new for 2014

As Jeffrey O Luke, GM’s Chief Engineer of Global Full and mid-size Trucks, said, these trucks are all new from ‘hood to hitch’.

He was particularly proud of the cab to box seals; the way the doors now cut into the body; the fact that the wheelhouse linings have been soundproofed to cut out the noise of road debris clattering around in the ample wheelarches; how the B-pillars have moved forward in the Double Cab to enable proper doors, and that this is the first pickup to receive a full 5 Star overall crash safety rating from the NHTSA.

2014 GMC Sierra

Inside it’s all new and the emphasis is on utility, as such there are five USB ports in the cabin, and three power points including a regular domestic plug-point, plus an SD car reader.

The cloth seats now feature high wear material which is easier to keep clean and dual foam for firmer seating and support.

Luke says the goal was to make this a quieter more comfortable truck and as such there are new suspension bushes and improved sound insulation.

2014 GMC Sierra

Butch new looks – inside as well as outside

It’s a handsome beast. The silhouette is familiar of course, and it’s instantly recognisable. But the grille is a powerful statement, the bumpers are beefier, the square-cut wheel housings are more aggressive and the bulging fenders more potent.

There’s a greater cohesiveness to the relationship between the cab and the flat-bed, the latter no longer looks and feels like it’s on a separate chassis, it comes as across as an integral part of the structure.

2014 GMC Sierra

Inside things are more divorced from the previous car, and in a good way. Whereas the previous model was trying to ape a car-like dashboard, the new version glorifies its truck identity with big blocky architecture, stacked instrument panel, expansive infotainment centre (borrowing the best bits of the latest systems fantastically showcased in cars like the Chevy Impala) and featuring large distinct switches and buttons, including a bank of purposeful toggles.

The interior of a big pickup truck should reflect its tough persona, and the new version does it so much more faithfully than the old car. Even the steering wheel has a meaty look about it. I would have preferred a centre console shifter rather than the traditional column-mounted arrangement, but it does free up a lot of usable space between the front seats.

2014 GMC Sierra

It’s more truck-like sure, but the quality and trim levels have definitely taken a jump forwards. We’re not talking luxury car levels, but for an interior that’s designed to take abuse and neglect it’s impressive, and there’s a sense that it’ll all hold together better than the old one too.

Driving the 5.3-litre Crew Cab

On the brief launch drive, we grabbed a 5.3-litre V8 Crew Cab with starts at AED140,613 ($38,283).

This is a bluff brick of a behemoth, so on the highway the dramatically reduced wind noise and road roar is immediately noticeable and probably one of the most stand-out features of this new offering from GMC. I’d say Luke can tick off ‘make quieter’ from his checklist.

2014 GMC Sierra

The ride is impressive too, and it surprisingly well damped and controlled with little of the pitch, yaw and float you might be expecting. It’s no Range Rover, but it is well managed for this segment.

That big V8 up front means it never wants for power or indeed acceleration, although you are well aware that you’re perched high above the road in something that weights 2359kg, and arriving at 100kph from rest in just over 8 seconds is not bad for something this size. It’s a lusty motor with good pull from lower down.

Which makes it pretty handy off-road too. You drive the truck in rear-wheel drive normally and that’s good enough to handle most rough trails and even excursions into the wadis.

2014 GMC Sierra

You can then use the knob on the left of the steering wheel to put it into four-high or four-low where it will automatically switch off the traction control, although you can also do that manually by pressing and holding. Having said that, it does switch it back on if it detects excessive slip. So for hard-core dune-bashing you might wanna keep an eye on that, or just pull the fuse out!

And with the tyres deflated, it’ll run reasonably well all day long in the sand pit with the torque and momentum keeping it out of trouble. Our off-road course was relatively mild in complexity, but it was enough to demonstrate that the Sierra was more than competent enough.

Back on the road and it holds ground very well indeed for a big ’un. It’s remarkably grippy even in two-wheel drive and understeer is not as prevalent as you might expect, with much keener turn-in than you’ll remember.

2014 GMC Sierra


It must have been a tense, difficult and ultimately a brave decision to produce this truck. The redesign started back when the recession hit and GM was teetering. The Government was stepping in but demanding more socially-acceptable cars. Smaller, more economical, more environmentally aware, and less ostentatious.

The old line-up of trucks and full-size SUVs were on the way out and the designers were looking at a clean slate project. They could have gone with an entirely different type of vehicle – one that was more conservative, cheaper to build, perhaps even a parts-bin special.

2014 GMC Sierra

But they stuck to their guns, and praise the Lord they did. Because what we have now is still very much an old-skool truck but designed, engineered and built in a very modern and contemporary style. So it’s more of what you remember and want from the old trucks, but it’s better in every way.

The main thing that I took away from my initial first drive is that the new range is much more refined and sophisticated – in truck terms of course – than before and perhaps even more so than its rivals.

Hmm…maybe we need a group test?

2014 GMC Sierra 5.3 V8
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

Were GM right to keep on truckin’ or did you want something smaller and more sensible? Tell us below


3 responses to “2014 GMC Sierra – Review”

  1. Jay says:

    You guys did the iconic LR Defender recently! Could we see the other old-school iconic Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Double-cab Pickup, which is at more home to the native Emirates and every other freedom fighter around the region! Is the TLC better suited to being more durable/reliable to the local environment? + offers a MT. Which other viable full-size pickups are available in the local market for Ace Hardware and Al-Warsan Gardening runs?

    • Jay says:

      ….also actual testing for what they are designed application purpose: hauling full-size loads (trailers, boats), cargo box form and function

    • admin says:

      [Shahzad] Thanks Jay. The only problem with the Land Cruiser is that, as we understand it, it’s been classed as a commercial vehicle only, so whereas trucks like Sierra/Silverado, F150 and Ram can be bought by private individuals, the LC pickup cannot – you need to have a business licence to buy one. We’ll see what we can do. But they are tremendously tough and durable though – witness the examples on Fujairah beach used to tow in the fishing nets – rusting away but still doing their duty!

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