After some extensive time with both the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, and some towing adventures with the 2015 Silverado and Sierra Heavy Duty trucks, I was able to reflect on what the trucks have that make them great: such as their powertrains, refinement and real-world capabilities. But I was also able to ponder what was missing. But I wasn’t really sure until I helped my brother move from one side of the state to the other with one, and it was at that point where I had an epiphany that snowballed into a list of 10 different features.
No, this list isn’t about aluminum panels, infotainment, a Raptor fighter or a diesel half-ton powertrain. There’s plenty of talk about that stuff as it is. Instead, this list highlights possible cargo and driving solutions that GM’s trucks could use if they want to get a leg up on the competition. I’m sure somebody important will read this. Let’s start with…
1. A tailgate with integrated tie-downs
There are tie-downs located throughout the truck beds of the 2014/2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, but none on the tailgate. This would add another dimension of securing cargo, rather than just strapping things in from left-to-right.
2. A cargo surveillance system
How many times have we seen an oblivious — or even reckless — pickup truck driver with a mattress waiting for the most inconvenient moment to pounce out of the bed and on to the freeway? This is a no-brainer. Integrate a camera with night vision capability to overlook the cargo bed, allowing the driver to periodically glance at their freight to make sure everything remains where it should be. Too distracting, you say? It’s no worse than looking at a nav screen or selecting a radio station via a touch-screen, except this is far more useful. Think of it as an extra rear-view mirror.
3. A hands-free opening/closing tailgate
Hands full and the tailgate isn’t open? How about a system similar to Ford’s motion-activated tailgate that debuted on its new Escape which can be activated by the wave of a foot. Being able to close it the same way as you’re done unloading would be equally beneficial.
4. A standard side-step
The corner-step bumper is one thing. But the thought of not having to step on the tire and awkwardly reach into the side of the cargo bed is another. At least GM offers this solution through its available accessories, but something like this should be a marketed feature from the factory.
5. Vertically and horizontally adjustable bed tie-downs
To counter Ford’s BoxLink system, make the tie-downs adjustable in the bed via a small system of rails allowing for vertical and horizontal movement. This would make it both easier to isolate smaller cargo items, and to strap in separate items; such as a set of tires and a crate motor.
6. A deeper bed option
Need to stack something vertically? This would help, as larger items would be less likely to be hanging over the edges of the truck bed, moving their positioning upward.
7. 360-Degree Camera
Back in the day, this wasn’t necessary. Back in the day, trucks were smaller, visibility was better, and parking one was easier. Today, however, as trucks continue to push the limits of just how big they can possibly get, visibility aids have become necessity. Ford was wise to offer a 360-degree camera system in its 2015 F-150. GM would be wise to do the same.
8. Exterior 120V outlets
Because who wants to have to run a power cord through the vehicle’s cabin with either the door or window open just to have access to a mobile power outlet? Placing a few of these babies on the outside seems like a far more sophisticated way to plug in a buzz saw.
9. Integrated ladder racks and roof racks
Ladder racks are currently available through the accessories department, but how about a collapsible set that can be pulled right out of the bed? Adding a set of roof racks to the equation only enhances the cargo management.
10. Power folding tow mirrors
I’m not sure how GM’s gone this far into the truck game without a pair of elephant ear mirrors being able to fold electronically. Opening and closing them by the push of a button would be a delight.
Want to add something to the list? Feel free to carry on the discussion below.