Like our time with the 2014 GMC Sierra V6, I’ll be brief. After piloting a crew cab model in a particularly dashing shade of blue around the busy and battered Detroit streets, and a sprint down Interstate 75, here’s what was immediately identifiable with the truck:
Compared to the outgoing GMT900 model, the K2XX GMC Sierra 1500 is an improvement in every category. Especially in the ride/handling department. It’s pleasant mystery how on earth this four-wheeled brick returns minimal wind noise, while the now electric power steering unit gives the half-ton truck a sharper feel (though not returning nearly as many sensations as the outgoing setup). Meanwhile, the shocks absorb the many potholes and imperfections of the cratered Detroit roads as well as expected. To be clear, the Sierra isn’t a mobile couch — the suspension does have to be stiff enough to handle what will be as much as 12,000 pounds max towing with its 6.2L V8 engine which will be made available later this year — so don’t assume into thinking as such. It’s simply balanced.
Many would agree in saying that GM’s new trucks are the quietest in the segment right now, and the fuel economy promise of 24 highway miles per gallon out of the 4.3L V6 engine with class-leading power makes the 2014 Sierra a standout everyday truck. More impressively, the 18 city/24 highway miles per gallon with the 2WD model is achieved with the use of a six-speed automatic. Gotta love direct injection and Active Fuel Management.
We expect that these class-leading numbers will be reset again as soon as next year with the implementation of the upcoming eight-speed transmissions.
During the mapped-out loop, consisting of mostly city driving up Woodward avenue, and a heavy foot to get a good feel of the 4.3L engine’s power, I averaged 19.5 MPG. And despite being a V6 model, the output is currently class-leading, at 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. That torque figure is as much as what the outgoing 4.8L V8 motor was putting out, and just 30 lb-ft shy of the outgoing Vortec 5.3L engine. At the same time, it’s 45 lb-ft more powerful than the outgoing 4.3L Vortec V6, which by the way, only produced a glacial 195 horsepower.
By numbers alone, it’s apparent that this new EcoTec3 V6 isn’t just some afterthought of an engine — as was the case with GM’s entry-level truck engines in year’s past. And it feels that way, too. At no point did I wish for more torque. Though, if one did, the 5.3L V8 is just $895 away. If there was anything to gripe about, it would have to be that the automatic transmission doesn’t react as quickly as my right foot would like it do under overtaking maneuvers. But just barely.
We’re looking forward to spending more time with this truck, and its many engine variants, very soon.