I don’t know about you, but I love tailgating. Before a sporting event, there’s nothing more enjoyable than cooking up some delicious food and consuming maybe a few adult beverages to wash it all down. Tailgating is a rite of passage before many sporting events. With that in mind, it only makes sense for the big evolution in trucks to revolve around the tailgate. My tester this week is a real show-off when it comes to tailgates and would surely be a hit at any stadiums. Heck, the only thing it’s missing is a built-in grill.
This week I drove the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500. It’s completely redesigned for this model year. It has new looks, new trims and new engines.
The biggest buzz around the Sierra is GMC’s MultiPro tailgate. This versatile feature serves multiple purposes as a bed extender, work surface, load stop, built-in audio system and full-width step. But that’s not all this newest Sierra offers.
The grille and front end are handsome. There’s a distinctive shape to the Sierra that will make it stand out on the road. The shape of the headlights is also singular with high-intensity LED headlights and LED daytime running lights. The LED fog lamps are below and have their own distinguished shape. All in all, the front end is highly stylized and it’s one of the boldest-looking trucks on the road.
The Sierra has numerous engine options this year including a new four-cylinder turbocharged 2.7-liter and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel. There’s also 4.3-liter V6. My tester came with one of two optional V8 engines – the more powerful 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 420 horsepower and 460 lbs.-ft. of torque. Mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission, this engine is magnificent. It has all the power you could want from a truck, but the shifting keeps it all controlled. As such, the Sierra has a maximum towing capacity of 12,500 pounds.
There’s a special trailering package to assist towing. Hill descent control and a heavy-duty locking rear differential further contribute to this truck’s ability. My four-wheel drive crew cab would be great in the snow and the mud with off-road suspension. Interior road comfort is outstanding, with minimal bouncing.
One of the biggest improvements for the redesigned Sierra is the interior. The previous generation always felt upscale, but this model takes the luxury to a whole new level. The truck segment continues to have a demand for trucks that feel high-end. The 2019 Sierra offers that, and then some. My tester had heated front and back leather seats. The rear seats had a 60/40 folding option that allowed for additional under-the-seat storage. Separate vents for rear passengers increase comfort. The rear window has a power open option.
The overall ride quality is outstanding; even when compared to the Chevrolet Silverado, touchpoints are significantly better. If you like comfort and luxury in a truck, then the Sierra is an ideal pick.
The new and improved infotainment system jumps to the top of my list of favorites. If you read my reviews regularly, you know I’m critical of and very picky about infotainment systems. This one, with an eight-inch color touchscreen display, has everything, including Apple CarPlay, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth and personalization capability. It’s a modern and intuitive infotainment system.
My tester was one of two new trims (the other being the Elevation trim) for this model year – AT4. This trim is aimed at the weekend warrior and truck owner who needs a little off-road ability.
The base price for the Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab AT4 trim is $53,200. But my tester came with the AT4 Premium Package which included the bigger infotainment screen as well sensor-based safety features like traffic alert and parking assist as well as an advanced trailering package. With those options my tester had a final MSRP of $64,500.
As tested, my Sierra had an EPA rating of 15 mpg/city and 19 mpg/highway. The bigger engine loses some fuel economy. I averaged about 17 mpg in a week’s worth of driving. I did not tow or haul anything during my frigid week (thanks, polar vortex) in the Sierra.
The 2019 GMC Sierra represents today’s modern full-size pickup truck well. It has plenty of power, plenty of technology and is loaded with luxury. It seems to be what today’s truck buyer wants to pull their recreational vehicles or take the family on a weekend adventure. And that tailgate is amazing!
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