GMC Sierra Crew Cab Diesel test drive.

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While the GMC Sierra is basically the same truck as the Chevrolet Silverado, GM did make an effort by giving the GMC different body panels.

 At around 240 inches long, it is basically huge. Longer than a Chevrolet Suburban or Cadillac Escalade. 

Which means that parking it almost anywhere is quite a chore. At least around town. 

As you can see on these pictures, the tailgate has a cool trick and actually transforms into steps for easier access to the cargo bed. Which is good since the cargo area is really high.

The interior is basically the exact same thing as the less expensive Chevrolet version (bottom picture) Which makes you wonder why GMC even exists in the first place. 

 Of course, that interior is super roomy. The seats are very comfortable, front and back. 
The 8 speaker Bose system sounds very nice. 
But most of the plastics are still pretty cheap. Which would be OK “for a truck”. But my test model was almost $60 000 already. And not loaded with all options.

The truck itself is also high. I mean very high. As you can see on this picture, here in Los Angeles, it was just too high to even enter some parking structures.

 And, at over 55 inches high, the giant hood is higher than many cars! (The poor little fiat 500 pictured here is only 4 inches higher total) Which means, you just cannot see what is right ahead of you.

 The drive is, well… Very trucky. Not much different than what these trucks were 20 years ago or more.

(just like the Silverado…)
It seems the big tires do most of the job of absorbing road irregularities. Not the suspension. Therefore, while if feels soft, you still feel every single bumps. You and your passengers are constantly moving up and down, side to side. 

 The steering is pretty lazy but also accurate enough. 

The transmission is excellent. You barely need to push your foot down to downshift and it always seems to be in the right gear.
The best part of this truck is the wonderful 3.0 Liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel.
It is actually amazing how quiet and smooth it is. Pretty much all the time, even when cold. And the power is also very impressive. This is a very punchy giant.
The official numbers for the gas mileage are 23 city and 30 highway. I did get 23 around town. Which is quite amazing. And reached around 35MPG on freeway trips. Which means, this huge truck pretty much uses the same amount of gas as a mid sized sedan.
More surprising to me is the difference with the standard 5.3 Liter V8 which I drove a few weeks ago. (In the Chevrolet version) Where the mileage was 11 city and 20 HWY.
The diesel basically uses half the amount of gas, or less.
One of my favorite drive is going to Malibu from where I am, which includes freeways and canyon driving. 
My 38MPG average on this local trip is nothing but amazing. I remember when the best number I was getting, years ago, was from an Altima Hybrid. Which was also 38MPG.
To get the same number with a huge truck is quite something…
I think the Duramax is well worth the $2500 cost f the option. I also think this will be an amazing engine for the all new Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. It could make these giant SUVs almost as efficient as a Toyota RAV-4.

 The GMC Sierra is almost like a time machine that brings you back to the 1970’s. 

At around 240 inches long, it is longer than most 1970’s American cars. (A 1978 huge Chrysler New Yorker was 231 inches long)
It basically still drives like a 1970’s car, although with a better steering. And if you’re not getting the diesel, 11 MPG around town is also what you used to get in the huge 70’s boats.
This is basically strictly for “people who really need one”.
But, somehow, GMC and Chevrolet sold over 800 000 of them in 2018. Which is about twice as many as the best selling “non-truck” vehicle in the US.
These are very appealing to a much larger audience than strictly ‘truck people”. Or those  who actually need one.
It is still a hard thing to understand for someone like me, who grew up and lives in a large city, and has zero need for something like this.

Click on the picture above to see all the pricing details of my test truck.

Conversation 4 comments

  1. GMC was created for rural areas for farmers and more urban business needs. The rigs were mostly the same as Chevy but Chevy trucks were advertised more for retail purposes. There were complete line ups from pickups to pretty large HD trucks on a GMC lot. Sometimes it would be just a GMC dealership, other times it could be GMC and a Not Chevy dealership.

    If you remember 2008, there will be blood if you try to take or close a dealership down by discontinuing a brand. The way auto dealers influence state politicians with rules favorable to them, GM saying "That's it" could cost some real big money. Besides, there's a market for GMC. There's no way GM is going to change GMC dealerships in small town America to Chevy ones.

  2. At $60K, I would love to know the profit margin for the dealership on one of these. It must be huge.

  3. this needs the new Denali interior – especially for that price tag (i'm in Canada so that 60k is more like 80K)

  4. The other reason for GMC, has recently been to get a Chevy that wasn't "hit with an Ugly Stick"… I can see here that that "Ugly Stick" has been getting wacks in at the GMC styling department.

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