On the Road review: GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

If you could drive a full-size pickup that delivered 30 plus mpg, could tow up to 9,300 pounds and pump out 460 pounds / foot of tire-twisting torque – all while driving five people on the road in extreme comfort – you might be tempted to think, where do I register! The reality is that this is possible from GM, Ford and Ram with their latest diesel-powered halftone pickups. This week’s GMC Sierra is the latest example of what has become the norm.

The all-new 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel, introduced last year in the Sierra and its Silverado siblings, is a pure design based on an aluminum block. A straight six-cylinder layout, while Ram’s EcoDiesel and Ford’s Powerstroke are both 3.0-liter V-6 engines, Duramax uses variable geometry turbocharging and a stratospheric 36,000 PSI common rail injection system to record the highest horsepower in this class. 277 hp and the second highest torque figures. For comparison, the Duramax’s torque is equal to the optional 6.2-liter V-8’s 460 pounds / foot – and that diesel torque comes low in the rev range and holds almost up to the truck’s high rev limiter of 5,100. The Sierra was always quiet, but when pressed, the engine note is remarkably similar to the 6.6-liter Duramax V-8.

Combined with the 10-speed automatic designed with Ford, Sierra’s EPA estimates are 23/30 with 2WD, while our heavily equipped AT4 Crew Cab is listed at 22/26 mpg with 4WD. In actual use, the fuel economy hovered around 25 mpg with a maximum of 31 mpg – damn impressive numbers for almost three tons of work / play pick-up car, as well as fuel economy that surpasses our previous experience of Ford’s new F-150 hybrid.

And unlike the steep economic boost required to jump from gasoline engines in the powerful pickups to diesel power, the 3.0-liter Duramax requires only $ 995 more than the 5.3-liter V-8 common in many Sierra pickups. This makes more sense every minute.

GMC makes Duramax available in all pickups except the base model SL, plus it is available on the latest Yukon and Denali tuned SUVs.

The refined driveline shows the latest AT4 version, the equivalent of the Chevy’s Trail Boss series. Using X31 off-road components (sanding pads, 2-inch chassis lift with larger Monotub dampers, Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, rear diff with limited slip, 4WD electric traction, traction package and lowering control), the AT4 also adds excellent non-slip uprights. the sill plates, trailer brake control and front and rear towbars.

GMC also shipped our Summit White AT4 ($ 54,300 bass, rising to $ 64,430 shown) equipped with the Multi-Pro tailgate coupled to the CarbonPro composite pickup bed ($ 1,070) which has 12 anchor points, LED lighting, electrical outlets, rear speaker system, plus a cab-mounted camera and LED lamp.

Although there are inherent benefits to the CarbonPro bed, it is lighter, will not dent or rust, the MultiPro tailgate is a mixed bag from this point of view. The electric release is handy, the various folding components offer load-bearing options, but the whole package usually requires two hands to manipulate. It is heavy to lift it closed, and if you forget that your receiver’s bracket is attached, you will get a nasty dent (or worse with the light and rear camera module in the risk zone) in your nice tailgate.

Critics will argue that the GMC is not as good looking inside as the latest Ram or Ford cabs, or the info / entertainment screen is too small. GMC fans can counteract that the intuitive and easily accessible array of conventional buttons, knobs and knobs in the Sierra are much more comfortable to use than touch screens, while the list of standard and available amenities is just as extensive. Android / Apple compatibility is standard, while heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, heated and cooled front seats, plus a rear-view mirror that acts as a camera are standard here and more available on other Sierra details.

Sierra increases the pace with its trailer-pulling camera algorithms, excellent 15-inch Heads-Up screen (excluding class), plus all the driving aids you can realistically use in the technology package.

In the end, GMC offers a modern turbodiesel driveline that performs excellently and achieves a real 30 mpg, all in a nicely designed package that uses a conventional instrument panel instead of superior technology. The rear seat is spacious, the daily drivability is top notch and Duramax will really change the driver’s impression of what a half-ton diesel pickup can handle.

Tim Plouff

Tim Plouff has examined cars on the sides of The Ellsworth American every week for almost two decades.

Tim Plouff

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