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Class: Large Pickup Truck
Miles driven: 347
Fuel used: 19.8 gallons
There’s a lot new in the redesigned 2020 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty pickups, but five things stand out:
- Maximum towing capacity of the 1-ton 3500 has been raised an astounding 52 percent to an equally astounding 35,500 lbs.
- For those who tow – and GMC says 93% of heavy-duty pickup buyers do – the Sierra offers up to 15 different camera views, including remote cameras that can “see” inside of and behind the trailer.
- Buyers opting for the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine – which most do – will find it’s now mated to an Allison 10-speed automatic transmission.
- All models are available with GMC’s exclusive MultiPro tailgate.
- Newly available is a large, multi-color head-up display, along with a rearview camera that can project its image into the rearview mirror (which keeps things like rear-seat passengers or tall cargo in the bed from blocking your view straight back).
Okay, maybe that’s six things. And yet there’s still more.
It seems pickup-truck boxes are no longer the simple cargo-carrying addendums they used to be. In fact, they’ve become the new battleground over which pickup wars are being waged.
The 2019 model year is a momentous one for domestic-brand full-size pickups. The Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Ram 1500 are all redesigned, and the Ford F-150 sees some notable updates. As always, these big haulers are available in a dizzying array of body and cab styles, trim levels, and powertrain options, and the GMC Sierra roster gets even bigger with the mid-year addition of the new AT4 trim level and an accompanying performance package.
GMC has long used the tagline, “Professional Grade,” promoting the brand as being a cut above others in the same class. That has been best demonstrated in the top-line Denali trim level — recently offered on nearly all GMC models — which has been elevated to essentially a “luxury” sub-brand. It’s been particularly noteworthy in the case of the company’s Sierra full-size pickups, as the rest of the lineup didn’t really offer much over its very similar Chevrolet Silverado cousin. But that’s changing.
Even if you are only a casual follower of the new-vehicle marketplace, you are likely familiar with GMC’s popular Denali trim level. Denalis are the best-equipped, most luxuriously trimmed trucks in any given GMC vehicle model line. Denali has proven to be a profit center for GMC, with the customer take rate on the pricey trim level running as high as 50 percent on the Yukon/Yukon XL large SUVs.
In advance of the 2018 New York Auto Show, GMC unveiled the Sierra AT4, an off-road-ready variant of its soon-to-be-released 2019 Sierra 1500 pickup truck.
“The Sierra AT4 is designed for the customer who wants an elevated presence on the road and the ability to venture off life’s beaten path,” said GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred.
If you’re looking for obvious visual differences that separate the 2017 GMC Sierra HD Duramax from its 2016 predecessor, there is one main tip-off: a new hood scoop. That might not sound like much, but that scoop sits atop the ’17 Sierra HD’s biggest news: a revamped 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 diesel engine that cranks out class-leading horsepower.