GMC is on the ground floor making headways with the Sierra pickup, including the recent news of a collaboration with Harley-Davidson and Tuscany Motor to unleash a 250-model limited-edition Harley-Davidson branded GMC Sierra which is bad to the bone. Inspired by Harley’s famed Fat Boy model, expect over 65 edition-specific enhancements that make this unique, custom truck one of the toughest on the block.
Ironically, when the broadcast passed by my desk regarding H-D and GMC, I was currently testing the 2020 Sierra 2500 Denali 4WD Crew Cab with the all-powerful Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbo diesel engine and Allison 10-speed automatic transmission. Quite naturally, I focused on heavy lifting, incorporating multiple roundtrip excursions to my local landscaping supply center for firewood and gravel loads. I also had to remove a few dead trees in the yard, which was easy work for the truck in comparison to its top-end capabilities. Additionally, my collegiate football mentees were home on winter break and needed work, so the four jumped inside the crew cab to join me and were amazed by the head and legroom in the rear. The new Sierra Heavy Duty features a longer wheelbase and a more domineering hood line in comparison to the model it replaces.
On the other hand, this model is not cheap! The pickup’s base price is $63,700 but totals to a whopping $78,455. Yes, the $2,870 Denali Ultimate Package adds an array of bells and whistles that make it enjoyable riding in comfort and semi-luxury while hauling a yard of wood chips. Denali essentials include quality leather seating, genuine open-pore wood trim, and dark-finish aluminum touches. Then, you have a small group of typical truck owners who want the brawn and not the prestige. My neighbor, who refuses to upgrade his 2002 Ford, is one of them.
The other main price culprit is the $9,750 Duramax option, but how can you go without it when you have a truck of this proportion, size, and demeanor at your disposal? Of course, with a rig this big, I want it to sound like a school bus and tow a house or 35,500 pounds of something else if needed. The powerplant backs you with 445-horsepower and 910 massive lb-ft of torque and is more efficient due to better cooling from improved air induction techniques such as functional hood scoops and a larger grille. I was amazed that I didn’t have to fill up after a week of steady driving.
“The all-new 2020 Sierra Heavy Duty is the most capable heavy-duty truck that we’ve ever offered,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC. “For customers who demand a premium, innovative heavy-duty truck that supports their passions, the next-generation Sierra HD can pull like a pro.”
Since the boys I mentor are super active like myself, we went mountain bike riding and had to traverse on a light off-road path to reach the trails. Even after a rainy night, the muddy terrain was no problem for the HD. GMC outfitted it with Goodyear Wrangler 275/65R20 tires, which is an on/off-road light truck commercial traction tire. This rubber is specifically designed to venture through dirt, gravel, and mud while also concentrating on stability in dry, wet, and wintry environments. Moreover, the Wrangler tire’s tread compound is rugged enough to help offset tread block chipping and tearing during long-term towing and loading usage. The 2020 Sierra Heavy Duty is additionally engineered with Rancho Shocks, an off-road suspension, skid plates, and an Eaton auto-locking rear differential.
Whether it’s the top-selling Ford F-Series, second most popular Ram, or sister brand Chevy Silverado, which was the third best-selling truck in America in 2019, a pickup brand has to attempt to outduel its staunchest competitors in every category. In this case, GMC paid extra attention to its tailgate technology for leverage. The 6-function MultiPro Tailgate flips down and out to form a step for easier access into the gargantuan cargo bed. Or, you can flip out just the top portion of the gate to create a landing pad for more extended hauling materials or tailgating items. In fact, KICKER makes a Bluetooth speaker tailgate option – dubbed MultiPro Audio System by KICKER — so your ride becomes the life of the party. Though the Sierra Heavy Duty is taller overall, the bed height has been lowered by an inch for apparent reasons. The HD’s rear versatility is enhanced by a 120-volt power outlet, 12 corner tie-downs, LED cargo lighting, spray-in bedliner, power rear sliding window, bed view camera, gooseneck trailer hitching, cargo bed side steps, and a hideaway pull handle.
Rise up using the chrome assist steps and enter an interior world that is similar to that of the Yukon Denali experience. The well-thought-out cabin is ultra-comfortable and pretty savvy. I loved the big and easy-to-adjust buttons and tabs for everything from the HVAC operation to Exhaust Brake actuation for towing. It’s frigid here in Maryland, so the heated 10-way power seats, heated rear seats, and heated steering wheel were lifesavers. Dual glove compartments and storage areas, such as in the rear seatbacks, allow you to tuck away tools and gadgets while wireless charging and multiple USB-c ports keep passengers powered up. As well, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and a 7-speaker Bose premium sound system come standard. The sound experience features a high-performing Bose Richbass woofer stashed in a 10-liter custom-engineered enclosure and a Bose digital amplifier with Bose digital signal processing. An 8” GMC touchscreen infotainment system was simple to use and not too distracting, and the colored Head-up Display shows details like AWD status, for example. But one of the most unique and forward-thinking applications is the Brake Pad Life meter, which indicated that the truck had 98% life upfront and 99% life to the rear. Impressive!
Trucks are big business with a 15% stake in the consumer market and can be quite profitable for manufacturers. To a greater extent, they are necessary for everyday jobs, from construction to landscaping. I know, trucks are hard on the environment with excessive fuel demands, but how could we progress structurally without them?