Competes with: Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan
Looks like: Has a hint of the GMC Canyon and Nissan Titan
Drivetrain: Reengineered 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s paired with an all-new 10-speed transmission, all-new turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, two- and four-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Denali and SLT trims go on sale in fall 2018
During a relatively quiet press event today in Detroit, GM's other shoe fell. Behold the all-new 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck, revealed just a little more than a month after the debut of its sibling, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
As you might expect, many of the GMC Sierra's foundational parts are similar to its Chevy sibling, such as the frame, its basic suspension strategy and overall size; however, the new GMC half ton delivers a unique look along with new technologies and features that will give more upscale buyers plenty of choices.
Outside and In
All 2019 GMC Sierra 1500s will be taller and longer, and a unique grille design will distinguish each trim level. The half ton also will have several new headlight looks. The larger grille and flat-sided front bumper surfaces make the wheels appear closer to the corners, giving the Sierra a more substantial, planted look similar to the Chevy. Add to that the optional 22-inch wheels (standard for the Denali trim) and a host of segment-first technology features, and you can see how GM wants GMC to continue to be its cash-making machine, especially in the Denali trim. Expect GMC to play with special editions, possibly allowing customers to mix and match exterior colors and accessories.
The first thing you notice about the new exterior design is how much attention was given to aerodynamics. Bumper nostrils, hood slopes, roof channels and even the tailgate have small wind-cutting features to help smooth out any rough air that might pass over or around the truck.
As far as interiors go, the Denali trim is the star of the new GMC lineup, benefiting from some of the most polished and premium materials ever used in a vehicle without a Cadillac badge. The Denali features top-of-the-line, large-pebble-grain leather seating, accent stitching, open-pore wood trim and dark-finish aluminum accents. The center console offers new configurations and storage options; it also can be used to charge and hold a laptop or iPad. The rear seats have several new storage bins and a sizable hidden storage bin in each of the seatbacks.
Under the hood, the GMC Sierra 1500 lineup will share all engine choices available for the new Chevrolet Silverado 1500, meaning the GMC will use the two existing V-8 engines (a 5.3- and 6.2-liter). However, for the 2019 model they'll be available with GM's Dynamic Fuel Management system that allows software to determine the number of cylinders needed — from one to eight — depending on driving conditions. That means depending on the terrain you're driving, the load you're carrying and the sensitivity of your throttle foot, the engine computer can always be saving you fuel.
Additionally, the new half-ton GMC Sierra will eventually get an all-new turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine (similar to the inline four-cylinder Duramax diesel available in the GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado but with two extra cylinders). Finally, the all-new 10-speed transmission will be available as well, first in the bigger V-8 and straight-six diesel, then likely rolled out to more configurations. GM has not released any official power ratings or fuel-economy numbers for its new engines, but executives have already boasted the engines will lead the segment in torque and fuel economy.
Technology and Beds
Among some of the more interesting new technologies debuting on this new pickup is an all-new ProGrade Trailering System that works with a smartphone app to provide owners with towing data such as trailer-light tests, tire and temperature monitoring, and other diagnostics. It's standard on the Denali and SLT. Also, GMC Sierra 1500s will be available with one of the most advanced multicolored head-up displays in the class, as well as an intelligent camera system that can deliver screen views from several angles on the main navigation screen and in the rearview mirror.
Other impressive exclusives include the first-ever use of carbon fiber in a pickup box, providing added strength and weight savings of 60-plus pounds. Called the CarbonPro, the multilayered system (see photo below) will be stronger than regular steel or aluminum beds, and provide more durability, as well as more scratch and corrosion resistance. This bed will feature a new inner wall design to deliver more capacity and tie-down points than anything in its class; it will be available later in the model year. Finally, all Sierra beds will be available with a bed-mounted 110-volt three-prong outlet and a unique tailgate-in-a-tailgate called the MultiPro. Standard on the Denali and SLT, the dual-level tailgate offers more versatility and workspace configurations now matter how you use your pickup; It even works as a great step pad for getting into the bed more easily.
Suspension and Safety
The GMC Sierra 1500 Denali has one of the most advanced suspension systems GM has ever offered on a pickup truck. Called Adaptive Ride Control, it will provide a soft ride on smoother roads with slow inputs and will firm up considerably when detecting faster, harsher inputs. Sensors in the electronic shocks at each corner monitor road conditions in real time, responding to changes every two milliseconds. New available safety features for the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali include blind spot warning, pedestrian detection and low-speed forward automatic braking. The new Sierra also will be available with surround-view cameras for safer parking and trailer towing in tight spaces.
Pricing will be announced closer to when the pickup goes on sale in the fall, with the first available Sierra 1500s scheduled to be the well-equipped Denali and SLT trims. Lower trim levels will still be offered on the old frame and body style; however, since those models will be from a the plant producing current-generation Silverado and Sierra pickups, those trims and configurations will be less expensive and less likely to offer many mid- or upper-level upgrades. We should get our first chance to drive the new pickup this summer. Look for a few, more detailed videos on the new Sierra 1500 to come.