Vital Stats

Engine:
5.3L V8
Power:
355 HP / 383 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
Four-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
5,309 LBS
Seating:
2+3
MPG:
16 City / 22 HWY
Base Price:
$43,125
As Tested Price:
$50,485
Is the Best GMC Truck Ever Made Good Enough?



We've got a bright aluminum Airstream camper hitched to our rear bumper as we head up Southern California's coast because GMC says that 60 percent of all full-size pickup owners will use their trucks for towing.

Rather than forcing us to absorb its capabilities in a long-winded PowerPoint presentation, the automaker brought us to Los Angeles and handed us the keys to its all-new 2014 GMC Sierra 1500. After jumping behind the wheel of a 5.3-liter V8 model, we drove up the foggy Malibu coast (locals call the soggy early-summer weather "June Gloom") and made our way to the Camarillo Airport for a towing refresher. Once completed, a brand-new 23-foot Airstream was hitched to our aft end and we were pointed towards a campground just west of Santa Barbara.

The luxury RV would serve as our "glamping" base for the next couple of days and the Sierra would be our transportation as we explored the surrounding coastline. It was a unique look at the automaker's truck, and it offered us plenty of fresh insight for our first drive of the newest GMC.
2014 GMC Sierra side view2014 GMC Sierra front view2014 GMC Sierra rear view

Side-by-side, we feel the Sierra is the more attractive of General Motors' two pickups.

It was only about a month ago that we first jumped behind the wheel of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. Mechanically speaking, the full-size Chevrolet pickup is a virtual clone of the new Sierra pickup as the two share chassis, engine and powertrain options.

To differentiate itself from the Silverado cosmetically, the Sierra does away with the stacked headlights and replaces them with a single projector-beam bulb on each side surrounded by LED daytime running lights. The prominent grille features GMC's three-bar signature design, open wide for plenty of cooling. The lower chrome bumper looks similar to the one on the Chevrolet, but closer scrutiny reveals it has a bit more character and curves, despite featuring two tow hooks and round driving lights in the same general vicinity of its cousin. The side profiles and rear views are nearly identical between the two, except for the stepping rails and prominent badging on the torsion-spring tailgates. Side-by-side, we feel the Sierra is the more attractive of General Motors' two pickups (a poll we conducted last December shows that 70 percent of our readers agree).

2014 GMC Sierra headlight2014 GMC Sierra badge2014 GMC Sierra taillight2014 GMC Sierra rear bumper

GMC is able to brag that the aluminum surround on the center stack is real aluminum – yet the wood and chrome are still plastic.

Don't expect the interior of the Sierra to be a great departure from the Silverado either, even though the GMC is decidedly more upscale and premium in materials. Both share the same basic layout, steering wheel, console, dual passenger storage compartments and power ports. However, the GMC is able to brag that the aluminum surround on the center stack is real aluminum – yet the wood and chrome are still plastic. With the exception of some badging and unique upholsteries, they are almost twins.

GMC currently offers its Sierra in two body styles (crew cab/short box and crew cab/long box), but it will add three more later this summer (regular cab/standard box, regular cab/long box and double cab/standard box) bringing the total to five body styles. There are also three different trim levels (Sierra, SLE and SLT).

In addition, consumers are offered three different engine choices. Each is a member of GMC's new EcoTec3 family. All boast aluminum blocks, direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation – the advanced engines are all capable of switching to four-cylinder operation under light loads.

2014 GMC Sierra2014 GMC Sierra towing2014 GMC Sierra towing

Following today's trends, the power steering is electrically assisted.

The standard powerplant in the Sierra and SLE is a 4.3-liter V6 (LV3) rated at 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. The upgraded engine, optional on the Sierra and SLE trim but standard on the SLT, is a 5.3-liter V8 (L83) rated at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The 6.2-liter V8 (L86) rated at 420 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, will be offered on the SLT and upcoming Denali model later this fall. All three engines are mated to GM's trusted Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic (6L80) transmission. Despite their unique displacement, the gear ratios are identical (the final drive ratio does change with the optional Max Trailering package). The standard driveline is rear-wheel drive (4x2), but four-wheel drive (4x4) is an option on all models.

As a refresher, the full-size underpinnings include independent aluminum suspension arms up front with twin-tube shock absorbers, and a solid axle in the rear with semi-elliptic, variable-rate, two-stage multi-leaf springs and twin-tube shocks. Following today's trends, the power steering is electrically assisted. As expected, and mirroring the Silverado, there are four-wheel disc brakes featuring Duralife rotors with ferritic nitrile material to reportedly extend their replacement interval. Standard wheels are 17-inches in diameter and constructed in steel, but higher grade trims and option packages fit 18- or 20-inch alloys with all-season or all-terrain tires as large as 275/55R20.

2014 GMC Sierra badge2014 GMC Sierra wheel2014 GMC Sierra suspension

Acoustically, the Sierra seemed as quiet as a late-model luxury sedan.

Our upmarket test model was a Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT painted in Quicksilver Metallic over Jet Black leather upholstery. Its base price of $43,125 was boosted with the addition of the SLT preferred package ($400), Driver Alert package ($845), power sunroof ($995), 20-inch wheels ($995), navigation with Intellilink ($795), heated and cooled front seats ($650), Bose audio package ($500), Z71 off-road suspension package ($430), upgraded seats ($325), trailer brake controller ($230) and all-terrain tires ($200). Add in the destination charge ($995) and its MSRP climbed to $50,485.
We first climbed behind the wheel of the full-size truck near Los Angeles Airport. Being a weekday, this meant our first 30 minutes were spent stuck in traffic. Normally, that does nothing but raise our pulse. But seated in a new vehicle, it allowed us plenty of time to become familiar with the cabin, its appointments and the equipment.

Overall, we found the interior of the Sierra to be a very serene place to watch the miles pass – forget all of those noisy and harsh-riding full-size pickup stereotypes. The seats were comfortable, with a multitude of controls that allow a wide variety of human frames to find their optimal driving position. Acoustically, and this was something we repeated to ourselves several times during our many stints behind the wheel, the Sierra seemed as quiet as a late-model luxury sedan (credit plenty of sound deadening, noise-absorbing fender liners and triple-seals on the doors). But even though GMC touts the interior as upscale, we still didn't consider the choice of materials top shelf. The best way to put it: Even though GMC has clearly made an effort, the interior still falls far short of an equivalent $50,000 luxury sedan.

2014 GMC Sierra interior2014 GMC Sierra front seats2014 GMC Sierra dash cover2014 GMC Sierra center console trim

On the subject of cabin likes and dislikes, we praised the bank of USB, cigarette lighter and household outlets at the bottom of the console and the array of gauges on the dashboard that allowed us to monitor just about everything mechanical. We appreciated the storage space, and the generous headroom (the headliner appears cut out for a ten-gallon hat).

The Bose audio upgrade was also a big disappointment as it lacked bass.

On the other hand, we didn't like the noisy seat ventilation (it was so annoyingly loud that we chose to turn it off rather than tolerate its drone) and lousy overhead sunglass holder (the opening is so small that few glasses will fit). The Bose audio upgrade was also a big disappointment as it lacked bass. Our opinions were mixed on the column-mounted shifter. The traditional location keeps it up and out of the way, but it slides through the gear detents so easily that we inadvertently dropped it into manual mode more than a few times (the engine won't auto-shift, so we found ourselves stuck at redline in a low gear with each occurrence).

The ride around town, and on the highway, was very nice. Electrically assisted steering seems to be hit-or-miss these days depending on the automaker, but GMC has done a fine job balancing weight and feedback. Straight-line tracking was good, even though it did feel a bit numb at times. We recall a time when full-size pickups were expected to ride with a bounce (a load in the bed would calm it down). The Sierra apparently didn't get that memo, as its empty ride rivaled that of a late-model full-size SUV – in fact, a blindfolded passenger would have a hard time telling the two apart.

2014 GMC Sierra colum shifter2014 GMC Sierra gauges2014 GMC Sierra drive mode controls2014 GMC Sierra USB and power outlets

Power from the 5.3-liter V8 was strong and the well-proven six-speed shifted very smoothly (despite its creamy refinement, the transmission will likely be replaced by an eight-speed automatic in the near future that will deliver better acceleration and improved fuel economy). Punching the throttle from a stand-still left rubber on the pavement, and passing at speed was an effortless maneuver.

We found the colored cylinder deactivation icons on the dash a bit gimmicky.

There is a little display on the bottom of the instrument cluster that displays a red "V8" while driving. However, during cylinder deactivation, it switches over to a little green "V4." The changeover only seem to occur during downhill grades, when fuel cut-off would have been expected anyway. Bottom line: We found the colored cylinder deactivation icons on the dash a bit gimmicky. In any case, the EPA estimates the 5.3-liter V8 (4WD) will achieve 16 city and 22 highway. We reset the trip computer and averaged 21 mpg during a 15-minute cruise on level highway at 70 mph.

Out of curiosity, we also spent some time with the 4.3-liter V6 in a 4WD crew cab. For those who haven't been following too closely, this engine has been significantly upgraded from its predecessor. (Are we the only ones who can't stop thinking about the lethargic 165-horsepower "4300" under the hood of the 1985 Chevrolet Astro van?) Acceleration was good and the six handled the full-size truck nearly as effortlessly as the eight, but acceleration was down a tick or so to 60 mph. As of press time, fuel economy figures have not been released for the V6 engine. However, running the same route as we had with the V8 earlier in the day, we reset the trip computer and averaged 22 mpg during a similar 15-minute cruise on level highway at 70 mph.

2014 GMC Sierra engine

Considering how close the V6 and V8 seemed to be in real-world highway efficiency, and the fact that GMC only charges a petty $895 premium for the 5.3-liter, the V8 seems the no-brainer choice in the showroom, especially if the owner is among the 60 percent who will tow.

We've towed many different things, but few as competently as the Sierra guided the RV along the highway.

Speaking of towing, we put about 100 miles on the 5.3-liter Sierra with the bulbous Airstream firmly on its bumper. Even though the 5,000-pound trailer was well below the V8's 11,500-pound maximum, it gave us a good idea of how the truck responded to the extra load. During his First Drive of the 2014 Silverado, Zach pulled an empty horse trailer and said, "...you'll never know it's there." He was spot on. We've towed many different things over the years, but few as competently as the Sierra guided the RV along the highway. As expected, acceleration was down a bit and overtaking slower traffic required a bit more planning. Yet the combo had no difficulty pulling up the steep (nearly seven percent) 2.7-mile long Conejo Grade southbound on US 101. We reset the fuel economy while towing, and averaged 12.5 mpg overall while cruising at about 60 mph.

After three days of driving, the all-new Sierra left us with plenty to smile about. With few exceptions, we approved of its fresh styling, comfortable cabin, smooth ride, efficient power and towing capability. GM has done an excellent job with its new full-size pickup, and it deserves plenty of praise.

2014 GMC Sierra rear 3/4 view

But we aren't wearing blinders.

The 2014 GMC Sierra is the best truck in the brand's 111-year history.

This segment used to be boring, bland and stagnant, as the machines were nothing but work horses. Yet today there is fierce competition as trucks have evolved to be as capable in the ruts of the dirt field as they are being valeted at a country club. GMC has traditionally owned the reputation of offering more premium trucks than Chevy, but even that's under threat with the arrival of higher-spec niche trims for the Silverado, such as the recently unveiled High Country model.

It's a fact, though, that the 2014 GMC Sierra is the best truck in the brand's 111-year history. But we'd be crazy if we didn't admit the same is true about the Silverado, as well as the latest Ram 1500. And will the best GMC truck ever made be enough to handle what Ford has in store for the all-new 2015 F-150?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 154 Comments
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 1 Year Ago
      "The best way to put it: Even though GMC has clearly made an effort, the interior still falls far short of an equivalent $50,000 luxury sedan." I would bet the profit margin on a pickup is way higher than on a luxury sedan. At $50,000 GM must be making a killing on these things.
        TrueDat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        In 2004, the profit margin on a $25,000 F150 was about 40%... I would think the Sierra and other pick ups would be similar. There is a huge demand for these trucks, which is exactly why average sale price is up 8% in 10 years, far beyond any other segment.
      Jake
      • 1 Year Ago
      "The best way to put it: Even though GMC has clearly made an effort, the interior still falls far short of an equivalent $50,000 luxury sedan." Do believe that it is fair to compare a $50,000 truck to a $50,000 car? Aren't you buying a lot of capability in that truck that has to be valued as well?
        11fiveoh
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jake
        Agreed, a luxury truck need to be compared to other luxury... Trucks.
        Carpinions
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jake
        There's a damn good reason it falls or always will fall short in terms of material quality: At the end of the day it's a work vehicle. What German luxury car is sprouting power outlets galore in the front seat? What German luxury car has a veritable desk between the front occupants? What German luxury car can be optioned in thousands of different ways to serve wildly different market segments? Maybe GM could have done better, but seriously. I don't cross-shop loaded half ton pickups with compact German sport sedans.
      Koushiro Izumi
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really like the look of the Sierra more as opposed to the Silverado.
      Matt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not too surprised the 5.3 was so close at 70 to the 4.3, the 5.3's V4 torque should be less than the 4.3's V4 and so it should run with less throttling and close the efficiency gap. I'd imagine the 4.3 would be able to run V4 lower in the rev range and really pull away below 65, while also being able to maintain V4 mode at higher speeds than the 5.3. Author, next time can you run the static speed fuel test at 75-77 and also 60-65?
        Michael Harley
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt
        Sure, I'll try to do more of those when I have multiple engines at my disposal. - Mike
      karlhungus
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a tall man with a long torso, I'm glad to read about the additional headroom. Although manufacturers publish measurements, they don't seem to have any correlation to the real world. The current generation of half tons looks similar from the outside, the F-150 is by far the most spacious in this department. I also like the fact that you can get a 2WD with a locking differential, better traction without the upfront cost and MPG penalty of 4WD.
      KG363
      • 1 Year Ago
      I feel like the GM twins would look better if they lopped off the dark plastic beneath the shiny metal on the front bumper. It makes it look terrible with all that overhang.
        TrueDat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @KG363
        I feel like they would look better if there was only ONE of them! Seriously, wtf are we talking about here?! Remember the Mark LT and all the criticism resembling, "it's just a marked up F150 with a fancy grill.." That last what, 3 years? And with good reason! The criticism was accurate. The same is true with these GMT twins.. I'm tired of it. Give us one damn truck already GM...
          John Lucas
          • 1 Year Ago
          @TrueDat
          What difference does it make? They've done this for decades and no one complained except trolls like you.
          The Friendly Grizzly
          @TrueDat
          GMC provides a truck line for dealers that do not sell Chevrolet. In fact, in the dear dead past, I worked for an AMC store in Pasadena California. In addition to the AMCs, we had the complete GM truck line, right on up through the Astro 95. The Astro at that time was a heavy-duty line of trucks, not a van.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        paqza
        • 1 Year Ago
        You can get yourself a Chevy Spark or a Nissan Versa. The rest of us who actually use and NEED work trucks will read these posts and appreciate the effort GM engineers have put into this. I mean seriously, this thing gets better mileage than the V6 Nissan Frontier we're currently using and is a hell-of-a-lot more truck. Of course, we paid 16k for our truck used...
        Justin
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yeah because full size truck buyers, the majority of which are located in southern and conservative states, are typically blue square Obama supporters... More likely GM is betting that ignorant conservative rednecks will continue to buy their Chevy trucks due to blind loyalty. I agree that this truck is a sorry effort and risks GM's only cash cow segment, but it has nothing to do with being labeled 'Government Motors.' This is classic GM strategy at work. A very dated vehicle hiding behind a new front end and sporting an awful new dashboard.
          Luke
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Justin
          You made the same point as Laser, only without all the stupid Government Motors references. Good job showing how that post should've been! This effort, while a good one, still is half-baked and won't hold up against the next F150...or the current Ram for that matter.
        NICK1234
        • 1 Year Ago
        Shut up-
        Pj Taintz
        • 1 Year Ago
        you lose all credibility when you use the term "government motors" this truck is beautiful, well executed. will it be enough to be the best? time will tell but the truck is beautiful and well equipped.
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        500 pounds too heavy? Then your complaint should be against all full size trucks, not just the GM twins. It's a full size body on frame truck that's meant for hauling and towing, how light is it supposed to be? It's in line with any other truck. And V8 fuel economy to me seems rather competitive. The EB only claims I think 22-23 highway and I'm not sure what they're actually getting real world so 21 out of a 4wd V8 seems good to me.
        Julius
        • 1 Year Ago
        "Laser" + "Government Motors" = TL;DR.
          EXP Jawa
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Julius
          No doubt. Laser, grow up and drop all the bloody name calling. The repeated use (both in general and in any given post) of the very tired "Government Motors" is immature. At this point, I'm sure I'm not the only one that immediately stops reading and automatically downvotes when I see that...
        Carpinions
        • 1 Year Ago
        LOL now Laser's shedding crocodile tears over CAFE standards. I thought the regulations of big bad guv-mint were keeping the people down and that Ford was a paragon, fighting "guv-mint handouts" (when they clearly aren't). Now suddenly it's CAFE standards that GM can't compete with...
        PriusBlack
        • 1 Year Ago
        The negativity you get blasted with reeks of "stick my head in the sand" Why fuel economy matters ? 1. Economic Importance 2. National Security 3. Emissions Reduction 4. Improved Technology 5. Common Sense 1. The US economy and the economy of many developed net oil importing countries are negatively affected by the widespread use of inefficient vehicles that waste the imported fuel. 2. The US is forced to import oil from countries that sponsor terrorist acts against the US. 3. Hybrid vehicles release up to 95% fewer emissions than conventional vehicles. Better for public health, and thus they help to reduce the rising health care costs. 4. The technology used in hybrid vehicles is a nice contrast to the boring repeated regurgitated internal combustion suck squeeze bang blow mantra of conventional vehicles. "Stealth mode" offers a glimpse of how awesome electric vehicles can be, without any range anxiety. The Hybrids off a good mix of improvements without sacrifices other than increased upfront costs in exchange for long terms savings. 5. Does it really make sense to waste fuel and needlessly create pollution that harms other people while fouling the environment and contributing to unpredictable climate change. Why should an engine idle if the driver is not requesting any motive power from the pedal? Because the alternator has to keep up with the electrical loads and hydraulic loads. To liberate the engine from the toil of always running, electric motors can be integrated into the drive-train that help or replace the function of the gasoline motor where the gasoline engine would be least optimal to use, such as in low speed conditions where very low power is required, or when stopped at a traffic signal. I can feel some down ranking coming. LOL
          Rich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @PriusBlack
          CANADA SAUDI ARABIA VENEZUELA MEXICO COLOMBIA IRAQ NIGERIA KUWAIT ECUADOR ANGOLA Top ten countries importing oil into the U.S.A. Damn Canadian terrorist! http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20130530-711531.html
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Carpinions
        • 1 Year Ago
        Laser, get a job.
        Tourian
        • 1 Year Ago
        The GMC has the accent \"eybrows\" in the headlamps. The Chevy doesn\'t. The GMC has the chrome strip under the windows in the side. The Chevy doesn\'t. The GMC has (of course) different bumper and grille treatments.
        Tourian
        • 1 Year Ago
        oh yeah, I think the GMC has the better wheel well insulators, or perhaps the Chevy doesn\'t have them at all. Then of course the real brushed aluminum on the inside. This is the biggest differentiation between the two almot in ever I think.
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        Shut the **** up Laser.
        Michael Harley
        • 1 Year Ago
        I mentioned the unique front end, and then said, "The side profiles and rear views are nearly identical between the two." I followed that with, "Don't expect the interior of the Sierra to be a great departure from the Silverado either." Dishonest? Out of curiosity, what kind of car do you drive? - Mike
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          [blocked]
          Eric M
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          The aluminum trim inside the GMC is real, and unique to the GMC The GMC has LED running lamps, the Chev does not The GMC has wheel arch mouldings, the Chev does not The GMC has bright window belt mouldings, the Chev does not All trim differences, but differences nonetheless
          carguy1701
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          He drives a 1997 Ford (Escort most likely). He is like this on EVERY post pertaining to GM. We think a GM engineer ran over his dog or something. Seriously, you guys should ban him.
      Terry Actill
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anybody saying Government Motors will be ignored and given a -.
      PriusBlack
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is not the best truck that GM will build for several reasons. 1. boxy aerodynamic inefficiency, wastes extra gas and money pushing the air around a poorly designed shape. 2. The abundant use of heavy metals like iron and steel severly limit this trucks performance potential, handling dynamics, breaking performance, acceleration and fuel economy. 3. The lack of high strength composites in this truck indicates that future versions with high strenth engineered materials will be able to haul more, farther, with less fuel and lower emissions. 4. Inefficient heavy wheels and tires combine to rob the drive-train of power. More weight on the wheels ruins handling performance and real world vehicle dynamics. Especially since these kinds of vehicles are so often operated while not pulling a load as commuter vehicles for much of their operating lives. 5. An all aluminum version of this truck would be just a strong (with steel used sparingly in critical areas where its strength density is required. 6. If GM took the powertrain for the Volt and modified it with a large more powerful diesel generator and far larger much more powerful Lithium Iron Phosphate energy storage system, the truck would be able to haul more, farther with less energy. The durable Iron Phosphate battery could handle the load created by an industrial polyphase electric drive motor. The diesel range extender can likewise be made to burn its fuel cleanly and efficiently if it only has to run as a generator. 7. The low fuel economy of this truck means that future more efficient and better versions will be offered to consumers in areas where fuel is relatively expensive. 8. The fading 20mpg era is drawing to a close because gasoline is no longer $1 gallon. Many American consumers have sobered up to realities of $4/gal gas, and this is reflected in the growing popularity of fuel efficient vehicles in the global vehicle market. 9. Many automotive companies are focused on improving the energy efficiency of their automobiles for a variety of reasons. By achieving greater fuel economy, the environmental performance of a vehicle is improved. Lifetime net energy of a vehicles operation is largely determined by its operating fuel economy or energy efficiency. 10. Piston engines and piston engine generators are only efficient at a narrow range of operating RPM. In a vehicle dynamic power requirements from the drivers pedal input and rapidly changing traffic conditions translate into a need for variable power production. Electric final drive systems are far better suited to conditions that require variable power across a large range of possible power output levels. The Chevy Volt is a great example of why Range Extended Electric Vehicles are superior to their gasoline ICE only counterparts.
        Julius
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PriusBlack
        To wit: 1) "Boxy" - well, it is a truck. What do you expect, a jelly-bean shape? Besides, much of the aerodynamic loss isn't the nose, it's the bed and the underside. 2) then again, aluminum is much more ductile/bendable than comparable steel - and since trucks may need to carry heavier loads than cars, well... having the bed bend under a load of gravel dumped into it may be problematic. 3) true, but how many mass-market vehicles are using "high strength composites" now? Those that are sold, are being sold at a small fraction of the volume these trucks are. I'm not sure the technology is there to feasibly scale up to the volumes needed (several hundred thousand per year) yet. 4) yes, these vehicles operate as commuters much of the time - but is that the fault of the manufacturer, or the buyer? Making a pickup suitable for commuting duty would take much of the pickup capacity out of it. Besides, for "light-duty" pickup work, GM will have the Colorado replacement. 5) is a rehash of #2... and how many all-aluminum vehicles are there on the market? 6) the Volt is sold at nearly double the price of a comparable Cruze. That system won't transplant into a pickup - and I doubt the Volt's transmission system can handle towing 11,500 lbs - so more would be needed than just a bigger motor/generator and battery system, which will cost money. Besides, can you see a market for a $80k-$100k pickup? 7) "low fuel economy" is relative. Compared to previous models, these are arguably 10-15% more efficient. 8) again, comparing a 20-mpg pickup to a 50-mpg Prius is problematic. how many sheets of plywood can a Prius handle? (and yes, many of these things are actually bought for work - which is why pickup sales slumped when home prices bottomed) 9) true, but is true regardless of vehicle. And note that overall, bumping a pickup from 15 to 20 mpg is much better than bumping a Prius from 45 to 50 mpg. 10) somewhat true, but less true at higher speeds. Remember, the Volt ICE actually powers the wheels directly above 70 mph. And you're forgetting that mechanical transmission of energy alone is potentially much more efficient than converting mechanical-to-electrical-to-mechanical energy. The big reason why diesel-electric locomotives use this method is that it is much more reliable - and multi-unit scale-able - than mechanical-only (which was also tried). That said, the average automobile isn't pushing 4,500 hp out to pull several thousand tons of payload.
          Julius
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Julius
          @ PriusBlack: 1) outside of the hood/front fenders/roof, where else would you put aluminum? (BTW, GM has done that before... we don't know if it's been done with these models.) And yes, tens of thousands of aluminum-bodied cars were made, but most are.luxury cars, not mass-market (several hundred thousand per year) trucks. That said, the entire frame and cab of a pickup could be considered a critical area... a contractor might use a front-mounted snow plow in winter to go with his trailer hauling in summer. 2) those composite panels are being developed, but neither car you've mentioned are employing them now. Oh, and I'd also point out that the "over-the-road" diesel-electric locomotives are NOT hybrids. Any energy generated by what in a car would be regen is actually just radiated as heat via "dynamic brakes". It is NOT stored in a battery. The only "hybrid-like" locomotive in common use is actually the electric-only Acela and Metroliners, which dump electricity back into the grid when decelerating.
          PriusBlack
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Julius
          1. They can make the truck more aerodynamic by addressing the underside and the bed area, and many people do that with aftermarket solutions already, and it is very popular with trucks to cover the bed with a canopy or a bed cover. 2. I said that steel would be used in areas where its critical strength density is required, where aluminum would be used in the rest of the vehicle to reduce its overall mass and thereby improve its towing capacity, fuel economy, and safety simultaneously. 3. Composite fiber reinforced plastics are already being developed for consumer segment vehicles: yes like the Toyota Camry and Chevy Cruze. 4. Using a truck like this to go grocery shopping makes absolutely no sense and never will, unless you own an oil company. 5. Tens of thousands of aluminum vehicles are on the road today, and many are electric. See Auto S models and the Tesla Model S, ect. 6. The drivetrain of the Volt proves that it is possible to build a high power compact range extended electric vehicle using a steel body. So this truck, with more space, more strength, more of everything: can take a much larger diesel generator set, and a much larger (Tesla Model S) style battery, and give the truck better fuel economy, better towing capacity, and better performance all around. 7. Yes, technological improvements in engine design are making all conventional ICE only vehicles better. 8. I never compared this truck to a Prius, and most of the points I made could be applied to improve the Prius as well. 9. Yes, improving the fuel economy of the least efficient vehicles provides a better net reduction in emissions. Correct!@ 10. The energy system configuration of the VOLT is obviously not optimized for towing huge truck loads of gravel. GM would need to tailor a special uniquely designed truck type range extended electric platform so that the improvement gained for the better technology could be fully realized by the truck operator over the functional life of the truck. The big reason that Diesel trains used hybrid drive-trains is the same reason that Toyota Prius gets close to 50MPG's in the real world. Adding electric motors and a well designed battery energy storage system to a gasoline engine makes the net output of that Hybrid power-train cleaner, more efficient, more reliable, and better in terms of torque delivery and power smoothness over a large range of output levels. It is the reason you mentioned that it makes the most sense to employ an electric final drive in a utility truck that tows loads through road traffic.
        Carpinions
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PriusBlack
        All of those objections could apply to any truck of any size. Your post might as well read like Lorem Ipsum. You have said nothing.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PriusBlack
        [blocked]
        Papi L-Gee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PriusBlack
        *reads the first 2 1/2 points* *looks at username* *decides to tl;dr the rest*
        paqza
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PriusBlack
        Okay, so you want to turn this truck into an $110,000 aluminum/composite hybrid? The only change I would make is to add a respectable turbodiesel option, which could likely maintain towing capacity but increase mileage up to 28 or so on the highway.
          PriusBlack
          • 1 Year Ago
          @paqza
          Yes, and a smartphone would have cost billions in 1993, so.... get with it... I think your information is stale. Yes, using our somewhat limited technologies of today (steel based automobiles), switching over to the technologies I mentioned would add costs. Over time however those technologies will be produced at industrial scales, bringing the costs down such that they can be feasibly integrated into profitable vehicles. People said that Toyota would never make a profit on the Prius because the parts and technology cost too much: and over time these fools were proven wrong by real world realizations and realities.
        Matt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PriusBlack
        Everything you just said would increase the price to produce the truck, eating into the profits made by these trucks. These things wont happen until costs drop. So while everything you said would help, its not cost effective so why would GMC do it? Your points are thus moot...
          PriusBlack
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          The Tesla Model S was developed at Company that has been operating in debt since it started. Not everything it about an immediate high speed high rate return on ones investment. Some times intelligent solutions take time, and require large initial investments. Many people said that solar panels would never be used in anything except extremely narrow niche markets, but today solar panels are 700% cheaper than they were 15 years ago, so most of those noisy ignorant naysayers were spot on wrong, just like the people who are dismissive of electromotive power-train development, ultra-light material applications and aerodynamic improvments that every major automaker is applying to all future vehicle designs. What you see now as developed 4 years ago, and what we will see in 4 years is what they are working on now. If you get all of your facts from a business Journal, whos writers only focus on short term returns, then it makes sense that you see a cost dilemma with the points that I was making. There are many so called called low hanging fruits of improvements that the automakers can apply to vehicle designs to substantially improve the fuel economy, performance and emissions reduction. Better technology is by definition improvement. With better batteries, better engines, and better materials, future generations of this truck are going to be better, and if you don't think so, lets let time tell, and have a discussion about this in 10 years: then you can enjoy eating your words over a cup of green tea!
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PriusBlack
        Sorry, electric/hybrid vehicles aren't for everyone and every application, despite you attempting to make it sound like you have valid points. The popularity of these cars and small efficient vehicles in general aren't by people who actually need trucks.
          m_2012
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jtav2002
          Actually, an electric vehicle with range extender is a perfect application for a truck. High torque across a wide speed range with plenty of room for storage batteries and a small generator. The current engine bays are huge.
          jtav2002
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jtav2002
          I'm sure all the low mounted batteries and generators will hold out well when you take the truck through any deep water in an off road setting. I don't see electric trucks towing 10k lbs anytime soon. Even with the very good city mileage I didn't Hybrid Silverado's exactly flying off the shelves.
      endotep
      • 1 Year Ago
      That column shifter looks terribly outdated and looks like it's in a really uncomfortable position. Nice to see they're using the same engine for the past 2 decades instead of putting some money into R&D like Toyota, Ford, and Chrysler.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @endotep
        They are BRAND new engines using DI, VVT, and cylinder deactivation. I dont care for GM, but spouting ignorance is even worse. http://gmauthority.com/blog/guides/engines/l83/
          Luke
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          Part of GM's problem is ignorance like the OP here. They think that just because the displacement's the same, the engine's the same. GM screwed up there and should've changed the displacement.
        John Lucas
        • 1 Year Ago
        @endotep
        All three engines are new from the ground up. The author did not mention that.
        Eric M
        • 1 Year Ago
        @endotep
        Does Toyota have direct injection in their truck V8s? Does Ram? Does Ford? Didn't think so....
          Eric M
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Eric M
          No, not on their V8s....re-read my post
          m_2012
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Eric M
          touche..no, no they don't, but they do have DI with the engine that competes with this. Does that count? :)
          m_2012
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Eric M
          To be fair, Ford does.
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @endotep
        >Nice to see they're using the same engine Hi, is this your first day on the internet?
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @endotep
        Just because the engines are the same displacement, it doesn't mean they're the same engine. That's like saying if they ever have a 5.7L engine they must be using the same engine from the 60's. Also as a Tundra owner myself I'm not sure what big R&D Toyota is putting into their truck engines. I certainly like my Tundra and the 5.7L is a very stout (albeit very thirsty) engine however since debuting in 2007 it's had no changes and the new 2014 Tundra is getting that same engine, unchanged, with likely the same bad fuel economy. The Ram has also been using the 5.7L Hemi in the trucks for quite a long time now and while it's gotten significant bumps in power I don't think there has been an "all new" version in the trucks.
      John Lucas
      • 1 Year Ago
      What Ford has a lot is boasting. The Ecoboost is nothing more than a turbo with direct injection and Ford was way late in the game to get this. When Ford came out with this tech, they gave it a name whereas VW and GM did not give it a name. Now people think Ecoboost is some kind of magical Ford engineering.
        Luke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @John Lucas
        So what if people think it's magical engineering? Why the hell else would they market it? Ford has been EXTREMELY successful with EcoBoost marketing.
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @John Lucas
        Uh, VW DID have a name for it: FSI, which became TSI and now TFSI. GM didn't put DI on their trucks until now.
          Eric M
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carguy1701
          Okay, VW didn't have a name...they had an acronym GM didn't name theirs. They had turbocharging, direct-injection, and variable valve timing all together in one engine back over seven years ago....on the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn SKY Redline. While it was part of their EcoTec family of four cylinders, it never received any special name. I agree that "EcoBoost" as a brand has done very well with the public.
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