2000 Sierra 2500 New Car Test Drive
For 2000, the GMC Sierra has some significant updates. Topping the list is the availability of a four-door extended cab. New options include fender guards for 4x4 models, soft tonneau cover, a new automatic dimming mirror with a built-in compass and exterior thermometer.
There's also more power: Horsepower and torque ratings are increased for the 4.8-liter V8 and 5.3-liter V8 engines; and trailer towing ratings have been revised upward.
The 2000 GMC Sierra is built on a frame that is the stiffest and lightest truck frame General Motors has ever built. The frame rails are hydroformed, a process that uses high-pressure hydraulics to shape steel. Tubular crossmembers and roll-formed mid-rails increase rigidity further. This stiff structure enhances handling and ride quality immensely, while improving crashworthiness.
Three V8 engines are available, in 4.8-, 5.3- and 6.0-liter displacements, from 270 to 300 horsepower. All three are based on the new GM small-block V8. A 4.3-liter V6 is still available and comes with a number of improvements, but the V8s will be sold in much higher volumes.
A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard in the base truck. More popular are the 4L60 and 4L65 4-speed automatics, which feature a new delayed-upshift feature for towing.
The aluminum short- and long-arm front suspension uses coil springs on 2-wheel-drive models and torsion bars on 4-wheel-drive models.
Brakes are large, heavy-duty discs on all four corners; ABS is standard on all models.
The GMC Sierra ranges from $16,640 for a two-wheel-drive regular cab base-trim V6 model to about $30,616 for a four-wheel-drive three-door extended cab SLT with a 6-liter V8. All offer a smooth, quiet ride and quality feel.
The GMC Sierra's interior is one of the most inviting and comfortable in the business.
The interior reflects traditional GMC pickup truck thinking. The door openings are now the largest in the industry and the cab is the roomiest. The instrument package comprises a large speedometer and tachometer flanked by four smaller gauges. All use pleasant graphics in white on black. The sound system control panel is located above the climate controls. The climate control system uses a rotary dial layout that works perfectly. There are three 12-volt outlets at the bottom center of the dashboard for radar detectors, cellular telephones, laptop computers, and other accessories. New for 2000 is a programmable door locking feature that can be armed to automatically lock and unlock doors.
Our test truck was an SLE Extended Cab four-door equipped with bucket seats, that provided good support in hard corners. The front seats were equipped with optional heaters. The SLE package comes with a lockable floor console that's large enough to hold a picnic lunch for a family of four; it comes with a reversible, removable cupholder tray and a storage nook in front of the lid. Air-conditioning outlets and a set of drop-down cup holders are built in for rear-seat passengers. A compass is incorporated into the SLE's overhead console, along with three storage areas for sunglasses, garage door opener, and small items. The door trim is a nice combination of vinyl panels and dotted velour that is soft and warm to the touch.
We were pleasantly surprised when we climbed through the new fourth door on the driver's side of the extended-cab Sierra, as the back seat has been redesigned and remounted for far greater room and comfort. With the fourth door, the rear compartment, and the compartment as a whole, seems cavernous, and at least 50 percent more convenient. When cargo capacity is more important than hauling passengers, the entire rear seat assembly can be removed through either of the side doors with a wrench. With the availability of the fourth door, GMC now offers a complete, competitive line of American pickup trucks leaving no advantage to Ford or Dodge.