2014 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Double Cab
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Jan 22, 2014
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John-Fredrik Wright and Zoran Segina Moses finds the six-cylinder engine to run like a Rolex. Andy, his short-stature assistant, is impressed with the feature that brings the pedals up. Ready to buy the truck, Andy is inquiring if we could sell it to him for less than the full sticker price of $41,995 if he pays cash. Jim finds the metal on the front quarter panels, as compared to his old car, "tissue thin." Another person believes the fenders are thinner than on his old Jeep. Jasmine likes the electrically operated rear window "so that the kids cannot play with it." Many opinions for one vehicle. Maybe due to the fact that this truck has a lot to offer. The GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Double Cab SLE with the Z71 Off-Road Suspension package is a full-size truck; there is nothing subtle here at all. As a matter of fact, it is huge. The front has an aggressive, in-your-face look with two massive towing hooks, even though the angle of attack is limited by a plastic skirt under big chromed front fenders, undoubtedly to improve overall aerodynamic performance and contribute to the 15 mpg fuel economy. The skirt makes the truck less capable during an off-road forays, but probably still very capable for the “off-roading” that the average truck owner will do. Our tested model uses a 4.3 V6 Ecotec engine for power and a six speed automatic transmission to put that power to use. Acceleration with a six cylinder engine in this large vehicle is decent, the shifting, however, sometimes feels jerky. Adding to the truck-feel, the leaf suspension provides a jarring ride, and the engine seems to have turbo lag. On the section of the 10 freeway east of downtown with undulating roadway the leaf springs supporting rear live axle with two simple shock absorbers get into harmonic convergence with the road resulting in a very wavy ride. Given its size, the Sierra is not to be used for speeding. It is a heavy machine whose sheer mass commands respect both from those who encounter it and the driver. But since this is a truck, we would expect nothing else. Please excuse the political incorrectness, but this is a manly truck. Go to GMC’s website and “build” a Sierra and you’ll see what we mean. The available accessories and options paint a picture of mud-drenched back-country roads and working conditions with temperatures well below zero and head-high piles of snow. The way GMC chooses to present these options makes the city-slicker yearn for a new harsher life. But, realistically, even loaded with all the macho features available, most of us will likely venture this truck no further than moving furniture through the concrete jungle we call home. Perhaps once every year or so, at that; mainly due to the unavoidable question from friends: “Will you help me move?”. Even without all the options, the Sierra is still pretty testosterone-ish. Moreover, there are a lot of neat details that make driving this behemoth a lot easier, both around town and in more inhospitable environments. The rear-view camera eases parking, but will also make hooking up a trailer a lot easier. A light helps finding the lost items in the massive truck bed a breeze, and the hill descent assist will do just that; assist in descending hills. The navigation system might be hard to locate at first, but the on-screen QWERTY keyboard and the option of entering complete addresses (street, comma, city) in one go makes finding your destination simple. For those needing even more assistance there is also the OnStar system with their helpful team standing by around the clock. The people-cabin of the Sierra nominally seats six. The front seats are comfortable, even though in the tested model only the driver seat can be electrically adjusted. There is plenty of space in the front, both for legs and shoulders. There is no need to cuddle up to your passengers. Our review vehicle has a nice grey interior with dark grey surfaces, contrasted with white stitching and wood accents on the doors. That the Sierra is spacious has already been established. But the GMC engineers have managed to use the space wisely, providing room for the smaller toys that should not share the same place with larger things that might crush them. The center divider has two elbow rests; you really don’t have to get close to the person next to you. Lift the center divider and you’ll find more storage, first a box for small items, but below it, a bigger box with a 110 Volt outlet. The top box has a partition which can be deployed to make the space smaller to prevent stuff from rolling around, a very handy feature when there is an abundance of space for cell phones and other roll-around small gadgets. In the front of the center divider lie three pockets for small items and cup holders. Here comes the fun part; lift the whole assembly (storage boxes and all, so make sure not to keep in there anything there that minds being little shaken up) and it becomes a back support for the front center seat. Now, suddenly, you can snuggle with the person next to you. Not only can you, but you will. Underneath this middle seat there is another big storage space that can hold legal size files and papers. There is really no end to the places to stuff your stuff. The only place where the storage could be better laid out is in the glove box which is split in half with neither section capable of holding much. But with all the other storage space around, it does not matter. Trucks are becoming more and more carlike in the way we experience the interior. This is evident in most trucks, but the Sierra's cabin really does set the stage in not resembling a truck anymore. The same functionalities available in the Sierra navigation and other infotainment systems can be found in the smaller family-size brands in the General Motors' nebula. Several buttons on the steering wheel bring up scrolling information for fuel range, life of the oil, tire pressure, timer, speed limit, engine hours, and temperature of the transmission fluid when towing 9,600 lbs (a maximum capacity with a 3.42 axle). Okay, the last one might be truck-specific, but you get the idea. For our review, and to keep in the trucking spirit, the satellite radio was permanently tuned to old country & westerns standards. You know what happens when these songs are played backwards? The cowboy is sober, still married, and hasn’t lost his truck. Another option for the driver, which earlier we’ve only found in cars, is the shifter on the steering column that allows driving in the manu-matic mode by pushing a square control button. This being a truck, however, it feels a little awkward. Something more truck-specific is the small round convex portion on the driver rear view mirror used to expand the field of vision. Unfortunately, the section is too small to provide any meaningful information to an aging driver with a deteriorating eyesight. For the younger, 20-20-crowd this might be great, especially when towing a large trailer. The “back seat” space is marginal and may not be suited for adults on long trips. There are generous handles on the B pillar and more handles above each seat to help you in, but you’ll get tired of feeling crunched-up halfway to Vegas. Four adults can ride in this truck around town and maybe on the hour-ish trips, kids will do fine in the back for somewhat longer jaunts. For that special emergency where you have to haul stuff and six people, the Sierra will do the job, we just hope you are not embarking on a cross-country adventure. But then again, if you plan on keeping people in the back seat more often, there is the option of the crew cab which solves the space problem. The Sierra 1500 Double Cab has quite the cargo bed, over six feet long. Our publisher could lay down in it and still have space to flap around with his arms above his head. It is covered in hard plastic liner that prevents damage (to the bed, not our publisher). There are also four hooks that can hold 250 lbs each for tying down cargo. On both rear corners, imbedded in the bumper, a feature named the “CornerStep" by GMC really helps in easy access to the truck bed. An opening in the side wall gives you a place to grab on with your hand when climbing up to, or stepping down from, the bed. The rear gate has the “EZ-Lift and Lower” tailgate, which, as the name suggests, is really easy to open and close. Pretty much anyone can open this with one hand. Fellow riders-along love the Sierra. On a test drive Desiree states that, unlike any other vehicle, the Sierra does not make her suffer from motion sickness (which we found somewhat weird since this is a heavy truck bouncing down the 10 freeway.) Nonetheless, she is ready to take a long(er) trip. Jackie remembers how all the girls in Virginia, where she is from, used to maneuver these trucks with ease, and Robert is delighted with the quality and design. Our rear seat occupants even find the space comfortable. OK, maybe not a transcontinental haul, but a quick hop to Nevada, anyone? And keep that country music on. For more information about GMC products, go to www.gmc.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2014 GMC SIERRA 1500 4WD DOUBLE CAB SLE Price: $37,065.00 (base) $41,595.00 (as tested with Z71 Off-Road Suspension) EPA mileage estimates (city/highway): 17/22 miles per gallon LA Car observed: 15.1 mpg Engine type: 4.3-liter, Ecotec 3 V6 gasoline engine. Horsepower: 285 @ 5300 rpm Torque: 305 @ 3900 rpm Drive configuration: Two or four wheel drive, auto locking rear differential Transmission type: Six speed automatic transmission Steering: Electrical Power Steering (EPS) assist, rack-and-pinion Suspension Front: Short and long arm independent Rear: Solid live axle with multi-leaf stabilizer bar Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors and four-wheel anti-lock brake system Wheels and tires: 17-inch alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler 265/65R17 tires. Curb weight: 5139 pounds
2014 GMC Sierra pickups at Classic Buick GMC in Arlington, Texas (Mike Stone for GMC)