GMC Sierra is tougher outside, classier inside
Over the years I've looked for excuses to buy a pickup, trying to justify a need for the cargo bay. Many guys, my son included, didn't worry about it so much; they bought one anyway.
But the wife, who manages to mow down with her bicycle anything in her way, may have helped me out a couple of weekends back. She managed to roll over five — count 'em, five — thorns on a fallen branch. Is there a flat-tire-of-the-month club?
Anyway, I easily tossed the bike into the 6.5-foot bed of the 2014 GMC Sierra (not available in last year's crew cab) and carted it to the bike shop. That, maybe some bags of mulch next week — yes, I think I can justify one of these after all.
Especially the flashy, chrome-laden Sierra SLT with the off-road-geared Z71 trim.
The Sierra and its cousin, the Chevrolet Silverado, have been redesigned for 2014, and there is plenty of newness to sink your teeth into: stronger yet more fuel-efficient engines, more refined interiors, and a quiet ride that will make you forget what a brute it is — it can haul some 12,000 pounds.
While there are many similarities between the cousins, I think Sierra's redesigned front end sets it apart. While the Chevy looks similar to last year with its stacked headlights, Sierra dropped that style and has small projector-beam lights underscored with LEDs on the SLT.
You'll discover differences in the grille, hood and fenders. Plus, there are chrome rails at the bottom of the side windows.
A welcome improvement this year: The rear doors of both extended cabs open like traditional doors. Gone are the rear-hinged “suicide doors.” Said my Silverado son: “That's a big plus — I don't know how many friends were confused by those doors.”
But the major upgrade is the lineup of powerplants. It starts with a stronger V-6 available on all but the SLT trims.
This is not the smaller V-6s that the competition shares with its crossover kin, but rather a beefy 4.3-liter V-6 with 285 horses and 305 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is likely to satisfy most of those buyers who aren't hauling around a cabin cruiser. Properly equipped, it can tow 7,200 pounds. And yet it manages 18 mpg city, 24 highway with the 2-wheel-drive. Not too shabby.
Next, a 5.3-liter V-8 — standard on the SLTs — puts out 355 horses and 383 pound-feet of torque. This can tow 11,200 pounds and gets 16 mpg city, 23 highway.
For the workhorse needs, an optional 6.2-liter V-8 produces 355 horsepower and 383 foot-pounds of torque. Zero to 60 takes around 8 seconds, which is a full second slower than the Ford 150 and Ram. But does that second really matter when we're talking pickups?
if you're trying to convince yourself that you need to have that first pickup, get your significant other on a bicycle. And tell her to follow my wife.
Barry Spyker writes for The Miami Herald.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- FAA: Cockpit email system reduces delays
- Financial planning for disabled people a little-tapped field
- AT&T evolves beyond phones
- Taxes matter in fund investing, even when there’s no bill
- This robot is cute, artificially intelligent and employed
- How to cover work history gaps
- Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs
- Keep pesky neighbors from stealing your Internet
- Drenching rains green pastures, bode well for cattle herd expansion in Great Plains
- Pa. sees widespread job gains; jobless rate holds at 5.3%
- Developer hopes to make Allegheny Center a tech hub