If you need a truck that can do all the hard work, but want a plush interior and cutting-edge communication features, the 2015 GMC Sierra has you covered.
General Motors is the only manufacturer who continues to use a two brand strategy with some of it vehicles. This is most evident with its pickup truck twins, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
The GMC brand differentiates itself from Chevrolet by offering a slightly more premium product. As a result, the Sierra buyer is someone looking for a few more creature comforts than the average Silverado customer.
New in 2015, the Sierra gains a new 8-speed automatic transmission on 6.2-litre V8 models to improve efficiency, and the Denali gets GM’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension for a smoother ride. Also, OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot creates a mobile hub to keep occupants connected and Siri Eyes Free and Text Messaging Alerts allows the driver to communicate safely.
Like the Silverado, the Sierra doesn’t look much different down the sides and around the rear than it did with the previous generation. The biggest changes come in the standard features that come on the Sierra that you won’t find on the Silverado.
On the base 1500, those include projector beam headlights, the unique three-bar style grill, exclusive wheels, and the wheel arch body mouldings. The result is a look that feels more like a Cadillac than a Chevrolet.
To further that feeling, customers can opt for the Denali edition. This features a signature chrome grill, 20-inch chrome wheels, polished stainless steel exhaust, and body-colour front and rear bumpers.
A first with this generation, double cab models now feature front-hinged rear doors with outside pull handles. This makes entering and exiting easier in tight spaces.
The rear bumper has corner steps allowing you to climb into the truck bed, regardless of whether the tailgate is up or down. Once inside the bed, the four standard upper tie downs can be placed in nine different locations. A spray-in bedliner is also available on all models.
Off-road enthusiasts may notice the lower chin spoiler added to the front to improve aero efficiency. GM engineers made this piece easily removable so the truck can have better ground clearance.
However, the Sierra’s cabin is the highlight of the package. Useful technology, premium materials and attention to detail define the interior. Soft-touch materials and available aluminium trim make it as comfortable as it is practical.
The new interior is a significant improvement compared to the previous generation’s. The cabin has been simplified with all of the controls large and easy to read.
The available IntelliLink infotainment system is the same as it’s easy to learn with the first use. It uses a HD, fully customizable, eight-inch touchscreen that’s responsive with no confusing menus.
The upright dash provides great visibility and accessibility. The large knobs have a rubber coating allowing them to be gripped easily, even with gloves on.
Special mention must be given to the trailer brake and AWD controls. Most trucks have these located low and/or in awkward places, but in the Sierra they are high on the left side of the dash. This means they are only a few inches from your hand, making them convenient, especially if you need to reach them in a hurry to pull a trailer back in line.
Storage is plentiful. With an additional glove box and a centre compartment designed to hold most laptops, there’s no shortage of secure places to hide you valuables.
You also won’t be left wanting more connectivity options. The Sierra is available with up to five USB ports, four 12-volt outlets, a 110-volt outlet, and an SD card slot.
Like its mechanical twin, the Sierra features GM’s new EcoTec3 family of engines. These consist of one V6 and two V8’s designed to increase power, torque and fuel efficiency.
All three share fuel saving technologies which include direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and active fuel management which seamlessly deactivates cylinders during light-load driving.
The 4.3-litre V6 pumps out 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque, which is the most torque of any standard V6 in the segment.
Step up to the 5.3-litre V8 and you’ll get 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. In 2WD trim, this engine boasts an impressive highway fuel consumption rating of 8.7L/100km, which is the best of any V8 pickup.
Sitting at the top of the range is a 6.2-litre V8. It produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque – the most horsepower and torque of any light truck on the market.
The V6 and 5.3-litre V8 are matched to a six-speed electronically controlled automatic with two overdrive gears and a Tow/Haul mode, Cruise Grade Braking and Powertrain Grade Braking.
For towing, GM offers three rear axle ratio choices. For the weekend warrior, the 3.08 ratio will maximize your fuel efficiency and provide decent torque for pulling lighter loads.
Customers planning on hauling heavier trailers will want to bump up to the 3.28 or 3.43 rear ends to increase their towing capability.
The driving dynamics are flat-footed and solid. In emergency situations there is not a lot of body roll as it remains quite flat and resettles itself quickly. The Sierra inspires confidence in every road condition.
The Sierra’s refined cabin is the best truck interior on the market. The improved engines are also appreciated. however, while the cabin is comfortable and practical, it would be nice if it received a few unique details to make the Sierra’s interior feel a bit more special than the Silverado’s.
Tell us what you think about the 2015 GMC Sierra in the comments below.