My 7-year-old son and I recently had the opportunity to go to Calgary, Alberta to road test the 2014 GMC Sierra pickup truck. He LOVES pickup trucks so it was an easy sell.
At my auto repair shop
, we regularly service pickup trucks but you know, nothing beats a brand new and shiny truck! During our stint in Calgary, we went glamping at the Sierra West Ranch
in a just-like-home trailer courtesy of Bucars
and checked out the Calgary Stampede
— YAHOO! We watched chuck wagon races — and to think, four horses pull that wagon and I had 355 horses in the Sierra!
I drove the Sierra on different landscapes, city driving, highway, through gravel and even gave the truck a ‘country car wash’ through the creek. I liked the rugged style of the truck without the rugged ride. It was smooth and responsive, which came in handy when I wanted to pass slow vehicles on the country roads.
Thoughtful interior features
- Storage compartments: I loved that there were no shortage of storage compartments in the Sierra. Travelling with my son in the truck was great — I had space to put my essentials (sunglasses, electronic devices, water bottles, and snacks up front) and he used a few compartments in the rear doors to put his toys too. The centre console has a compartment to hang file folders and the long storage compartments easily hold legal size documents — great for those using the truck for business!
- Power outlets: The Sierra is available with a 110-volt outlet, up to 5 USB ports, 4 12-volt outlets and an SD card slot. Perfect for multi-tasking various media devices!
- Rear seats: The rear seat is a 60/40 split-folding bench to provide more space flexibility in the passenger cabin.
- Cloth seats: While leather seats is an option, get this — the Sierra comes with high-wear cloth that is designed to resist staining. “A spilled drink will bead on the fabric, not soak in.” Great because if you’re like me, I’ve had the odd spillage in the car. D’Oh!
- Dash controls: Here’s what I mean about the thoughtful rugged style of this truck — the knobs and buttons were large and within easy reach. They also coated the knobs using a ‘rubber-over-mold’ technology so even if you're wearing gloves, they're easy to grip.
- Turn signal: There’s a feature that if your turn signal remains on for more than 1.2 kms, the display will notify you and a chime sounds. Have you ever followed a car with a never-ending turn signal?!
- Reverse tilt mirrors: When in reverse, the mirrors tilt downwards to help you get a better look. You can adjust the degree to which it tilts.
- Cargo box corner steps: The rear bumper has corner steps (also affectionately known as saddle steps) and matching hand grips in the top of each bed side to make it easier to climb into the truck bed whether the tailgate is up or down.
- Tailgate: There’s no need to hold the tailgate as it’s coming down for fear that it will come crashing down. The Sierra uses an integrated torsion bar (similar to the function a spring) and damper to ease lifting and lowering of the tailgate.
- Telescoping steering wheel: In addition to the common steering wheel tilt feature, the Sierra’s steering wheel also has the ability to telescope, bringing the steering column closer or further from you. This is great because I like to be able to hold the steering wheel comfortably, without sitting too close to the dash.
- The 2014 GMC Sierra comes with the EcoTec3 engine, which uses direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing to maximize power, torque and fuel efficiency.
- Cylinder deactivation is a technology pioneered by GM to increase fuel efficiency. My truck was a V8 and when possible, deactivated 4 cylinders to become a V4. I was told that the transition takes less than 20ms and I really didn’t notice it when I was driving the truck. Note: the Sierra uses oil pressure to deactivate the cylinders, which adds to the functions of engine oil and the importance of getting those oil changes done on time and with the right type of engine oil.
- Electric child door lock button: You can control the rear passenger door lock without having to physically go to each door. The button is located inside with the window switches on the driver side door handle. This prevents anyone in the rear passenger seats from opening the door on the inside. With the button, switching this feature on/off depending when your kids are in the truck is a cinch. This is often an overlooked and underused safety feature… remember the Toronto toddler that fell out of the moving car?
- Child car seats: The headrest of the rear bench in the truck is quite small and likely won’t interfere with a forward-facing child car seat. It is removable so it’s not a problem at all. If you are installing a forward-facing child car seat, be sure to read the owner’s manual as it has very specific instructions for how to route and connect the tether strap. The rear seats are relatively flat so you shouldn't have a problem getting the angle right for a rear-facing child car seat.
- Detailed owner’s manual: GM never disappoints me here. The owner’s manual is full of information, specifications and do-it-yourself tips about the truck and its systems. Many of our clients admit that they don’t read the owner’s manual until after something happens with their car and often tell us that they wish they read it sooner to be proactive about their auto maintenance! The owner’s manual for the Sierra includes how-to-do self-checks like starter switch check, automatic transmission shift lock control function check, park brake and park (P) mechanism check, etc.
- Under the hood: Components are laid out to be within easy access including engine oil level dipstick, battery terminals, fluid reservoirs and air filter.
If you know me or have read other car reviews I’ve done, you’ll know that I LOVE my analog gauges. Love them. So I thought I was in gauge heaven when I got in the Sierra! Aside from the usual fuel level, speedometer and tachometer, the cluster also shows coolant and transmission fluid temperatures as well as battery charge.
The only item that I would have preferred to have on the Sierra is the ability to see the fuel range and trip odometer reading at the same time. The average fuel economy and trip odometer are paired together. If you’re transitioning from a passenger 2-wheel drive car to a pickup truck keep in mind that your maintenance costs will be higher. The Sierra requires synthetic oil (the 5.3L V8 engine that I road tested took 8L of oil) replacement with heavy duty components and more fluids to maintain (differentials, transfer case, etc). Overall, the maintenance schedule for the Sierra is quite reasonable.
The 2014 GMC Sierra starts at $31,615.