Jackson, Wyoming – It was one year ago this week that found me standing on the easternmost point in North America watching the first sunrise on this continent. GMC chose St. John’s, Newfoundland, as the spot to debut is all-new Sierra pickup truck. The early morning rays of sunlight illuminated the new-look vehicle complete with its unique MultiPro tailgate.
To showcase its 2020 versions of the Sierra, GMC invited a select group of media to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to put their new lineup to the test amongst the beautiful Grand Tetons. The tall, snow-capped mountains and rugged terrain was a smart setting to fully utilize the capabilities of the upgraded models.
The Sierra is an integral part of a $65 billion truck business for GM. A presentation described the new vehicle as the most innovative pickup truck in the market, touting the segment’s first multi-color head-up display and rear camera mirror. Its new CarbonPro box is an industry first and a comprehensive prograde trailering feature was a spotlight as we would be towing various payloads and weights.
Enhancements and options across the 2020 Sierra line, including the new the HD 2500 and 3500 versions, are CarbonPro and Elevation Crew Cab editions. The HD lineup starts with an all-new 6.6-liter V8 that generates 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque. A 3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel Engine is also new.
Several features are added to assist the towing experience. Large trailer tow mirrors, 15 camera views and a unique transparent trailer view helped me navigate a 20,000 lb. cargo as I pulled up a mountain alongside Snake River.
The new Duramax engine has a 10-speed, automatic transmission with some innovative features like active thermal management and a diesel exhaust brake. With the push of a button on the center console I could feel the brake support the truck and its heavy cargo to a smoother, slower speed as I approached traffic lights and sharp turns.
The light duty trucks will be the largest sellers in the lineup, but GMC wanted us to go all out in their heavy-duty lineup. The SLT and Denali trims carry over to the 2020 model and a new AT4 version rounds out the category. The company launched the AT4 sub-brand last year as an adventure and off-road upgrade. It’s not as luxuriously detailed as its Denali nameplate but is certainly a head turner with its large, black grille, front red tow hooks and higher ground clearance.
A closed loop course was laid out on a large ranch so we could take the AT4 HD through paces on dirt, gravel, and rough grass. A rep said it would take me about 15 minutes to complete the loop. Apparently, he didn’t know how I drive trucks off-road. Six minutes later I returned from the course – with several thousand pounds of cargo in the bed – after tearing across the rough landscape.
The ride proved to be smooth thanks to a new, tighter suspension. The higher ground clearance made it easier traversing a small pond of water and provided more confidence.
The tech features on the new trucks are useful. The in-command smart trailering integration allows you to give commands to the trailer or view the trailer status using the myGMC app and through the infotainment system. Here, light and the HVAC system can be controlled and tank levels can be viewed.
I was particularly intrigued with GMC’s transparent trailer camera view, a segment exclusive. A camera can be attached to the back of a trailer or camper and stitches together a view with the tailgate camera. While driving forward at any speed and any length of time, the center console screen shows the scene behind you as if the trailer was transparent. Genius.
Initial pricing on the trucks was released a few months ago. The base trim level Sierra HD 2500 with a regular cab starts at $37,195; a crew cab with a long bed retails at $41,795.
Prices increase as you step up through the SLE and SLT. Base price on the AT4 is $59,295. The feature-rich Denali starts out at $65,295.
I left Wyoming with a high overall impression of each version and trim level I drove. I personally don’t live in an area with mountainous terrain that requires an incredibly powerful truck. But when you need to move a mountainous amount of payload, the 2020 GMC Sierra lineup is more than capable.
FIRST LOOK VIDEO:
CONVERSATION WITH STUART FOWLE OF GMC, AS HEARD ON IHEARTRADIO: