2007 Sierra 2500HD New Car Test Drive
Although the Sierra HD shares its mechanical bits with Chevrolet's Silverado HD, they are no longer visual clones. A higher grille between the stacked headlights lead to a flatter, more traditionally styled hood than the Silverado, and the GMC gets unique fenders, lamps and box sides as well. For this new generation the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra do not share near-identical appearance. A new panel forming process gives the dually models integral, seamless fender flares and smoother finish for improved paint.
The wallpaper sized, ruby red GMC logo makes its origin plainly obvious but the bumper that blends into the fenders gives a much cleaner look and is unusual in HD pickups. Increased frame stiffness allows a smaller gap between the cab and body, and combined with the more aerodynamic windshield and narrower door gaps, makes the Sierra much quieter than its predecessor.
The box sides are deeper by an inch-and-a-bit, the tailgate has a optional lock and assist for closing it with less effort, and the cargo management option fits rails to three sides of the bed; these can be used for tie-down points and to carry a variety of tool or utility boxes. The stoutest Sierra HD's can tow 13,000 with the new 2.5-inch receiver hitch, and the new dual-element mirror and trailer brake control options will lower the stress level.
Most HD pickups have external dimensions close to each other and the Sierra is similar; more than six-and-a-half feet wide outside and room for a 4x8-foot sheet of building material to ride flat in the long bed. In 4WD versions the Sierra is slightly lower than competing pickups, and that inch or tow could make the difference in commercial garages or fifth-wheel/bed clearance.
The high-line SLT Sierra cabin feels just like a large luxury car, with a low-profile dash sporting lots of woodgrain trim, a compact instrument cluster, and a center stack that rolls off the dash and right into a full-length center console. It's very low-profile, sleek, and speaks of good fit and finish. All other models use a more conventional pickup layout, with a higher dash section that goes across the middle and leaves the center open for middle riders, manual-shift transfer case, or communications and safety equipment.
Perhaps not as stylish as the SLT's, the 'lower-line' dash is the more functional of the two and equally well assembled. It offers more options in small storage, a second glovebox (with a rather awkward latch), locking storage area with power point beneath the center seat section, more places to add accessory switches, radio and ventilation controls are up higher near line of sight, and the materials produce less glare in low-lying sun and night construction areas. Adjustable pedals and a tilt wheel are available, though the wheel does not telescope and is offset slightly from the seat centerline.
A regular cab has room for a XXL-sized gent and space behind the seat for his coat and boots. Extended cabs have articulated side doors that swing 170 degrees for easier loading, the windows in those doors roll down flush, and the seat cushion folds up for more storage. Crew cabs are the obvious choice for anyone hauling more than youngsters on a regular basis, just be sure the middle rider knows there is no headrest. Note that the sunroof shade on high-line versions is literally a shade (like that on a Mini) and not a solid cover, and the interior will warm faster on sunny days.
Operating controls are clearly labeled and logically placed, and the shifter offers the typical D and 1 positions, with a thumb tab for individually selecting any intermediate gear. If there's a drawback it is the quantity of similarly-shaped and labeled small buttons that butterfingers may have some issues with. Door switches have been revised so your guard dog won't wind the window up, but he may still lock you out; fortunately, OnStar (and the turn-by-turn navigation it offers) is standard and includes a few months free service.
The fact that the Sierra interior, especially on SLT models, is the most like a car will certainly find favor with those who need a pickup rather than just want one. Apart from turning circle and size, it takes no more to drive this than to drive any other GMC.