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This past year has seen Ford and Ram redesign or extensively update their full-size F-150 and 1500 pickup trucks, and now comes along an all-new iteration of the GMC Sierra for 2014 to take on the new domestic competition. The Sierra is one of two pickups in GM's arsenal—the other is the Chevrolet Silverado, a truck with which GMC's latest Sierra 1500 again shares nearly all of its DNA. Fittingly, the two GM rigs made their debuts alongside one another, but the Sierra now boasts the longest list of standard features ever for a full-size GMC truck, as well as the Chevy's updated chassis, all-new engines, and freshened styling.
All-Terrain Looks, Silverado Goods
Speaking of looks, even though the 2014 model might not mark a huge stylistic break from the outgoing truck, it's darn attractive and further differentiated from the Silverado than Sierras past. Okay, so the Sierra's flanks and tail still are nearly identical to the Silverado's, but the front-end look is markedly different. The GMC's headlights and grille are more cleanly designed than the Chevy's, and the overall styling appears to have been pulled straight off of the butch Sierra All-Terrain HD concept from a few years ago. Every Sierra comes standard with a chrome grille surround and projector-beam headlights.
Like the Silverado, the new Sierra gets an aluminum hood (saving 17 pounds versus its predecessor), doors that are inset into the body sides instead of wrapping onto the roof, and aerodynamics-aiding underbody cladding and rear-wheel spats. The chassis is again fully boxed with a hydroformed front section, but it supports a front suspension that incorporates aluminum for some of its components. GMC swapped the old Sierra's hydraulically assisted steering rack for a new electrically boosted setup, a move the company says saves fuel and improves drivability.
The Sierra's interior is massively improved, with butch new aesthetics (shared with the Silverado, go figure) and more soft-touch materials than before. Buyers can specify an aluminum-trimmed cabin, the latest version of GMC's IntelliLink infotainment system, optional heated cloth or leather seats, an eight-inch central touch screen, and a 4.2-inch driver information display in the gauge cluster. On the safety front, the Sierra is now available with camera-based forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems; the driver aids are paired with a vibrating Driver Alert Seat cribbed from Cadillac. The seat can alert the driver of impending collisions via vibrations, but it can be turned off, leaving traditional audible alerts to signal danger.