By on March 2, 2018

On a snowy Thursday in Detroit, GMC unveiled the newest, and arguably most important, product in its portfolio. The 2019 GMC Sierra was designed and engineered to lead the charge to take back control of Truck Mountain. In an attempt to redefine the luxury truck segment, GMC is introducing a truck that’s all-new from the ground up.

The next-generation pickup also boasts a number of segment-exclusive features, including a tailgate that can open in six different positions, and a bed made out of Blue Oval tears.

The Sierra is one of General Motors’ most profitable products. It has the highest average transaction price of any full-sized truck in the United States. Over 75 percent of Sierras roll off dealer lots decked out in SLT or Denali trim. Because of this, the Denali sub-brand continues to be a profit center for GM.

In 2017, the automaker sold 140,000 Denali vehicles. Overall, GMC’s Denali lineup enjoys greater volume and a higher average transaction price than most luxury brands in the United States. One third of all GMC sales are Denali trim vehicles. The new Sierra, therefore, is all about building upon these successes.

For 2019, the Sierra is bigger and bolder in almost every way. A taller stance and hood, plus a larger, more dominating grille gives the truck a broad-shouldered look that shouldn’t alienate the rugged American truck buyer. (In stark contrast to its image, the Sierra launched amid a laser light show in a techno music-filled warehouse normally populated with artists. Roving servers tempted journalists with tuna ceviche push pops.)

Back to the truck — the designers at GMC clearly took the last Sierra and turned it up to “11.” Larger wheels, a more pronounced C-shaped lighting signature, and more prominent badging adorn GM’s most premium truck. But looks aren’t everything, so GMC called on Professional Grade engineering to take care of the rest.

Building on the brand’s “Right Material for the Right Application” strategy, GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss called the revamped model a “mixed material wonder truck.” The new frame is stronger and lighter than before. Most body panels are steel, but GMC did incorporate more aluminum and structural adhesives in the new Sierra. Not satisfied with building the exterior of a truck out of only metallic substances, GMC also announced the addition of carbon fiber to the 2019 Sierra.

Under the hood, new versions of the venerable 6.2-liter and 5.3-liter V8 engines will be joined by an all-new 3.0-liter inline-six turbo-diesel engine. GMC also mentioned that additional — and “exciting” — engine news will arrive later this year.

The 5.3L and 6.2L engines feature stop/start technology and a new Dynamic Fuel Management system that enables the engine to operate on one to eight cylinders, all in the interest of power and efficiency. GM’s new diesel builds on the company’s expertise with the Duramax turbo-diesels offered in the automaker’s heavy duty and midsize pickups. Joining the available 6.2L and 3.0L engines is a 10-speed automatic transmission.

For 2019, the Sierra’s interior also gets an update. Rear seat legroom increases three inches over the outgoing model. GMC has also added many storage bins and pockets to the interior. The Denali model’s interior turns up the glitz with leather-appointed seating, authentic open-pore wood trim, and dark-finish aluminum decor. The leather’s large-pebbled grain with contrasting stitch pattern is premium in both appearance and touch, without sacrificing durability.

During the reveal, GMC pressed home of the importance of every last one of the 2019 Sierra Denali’s features. Some of its segment-exclusive goodies include the following:

A multi-function tailgate GMC calls MultiPro Tailgate, the CarbonPro carbon fiber pickup box, the ProGrade Trailering System with Trailering App, a Multi-Color Head-Up Display, and a rear camera mirror offering an optimized view via an available dual-function interior mirror. This mirror expands the driver’s field of vision to overcome common visual obstructions like occupants or cargo. However, the features GMC focused most heavily on were the multi-function tailgate and carbon fiber pickup box.

Billed as the “most innovative tailgate ever,” the MultiPro Tailgate comes standard on SLT and Denali models. This trick gate boasts six unique functions and positions, offering enhanced second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, a standing workstation mode, and easier access to items in the box. Maximum weight capacity is 375 pounds, and it can be used as a step to get into the bed.

Let’s talk about how the tailgate works. There are two buttons on the exterior of the tailgate that activate the different functions. By pressing one, or both, the Sierra’s tailgate has six different positions. (Complete all six and unlock a secret tailgate level!)

We start the tailgate Kama Sutra with pose one. This configuration has the truck in the traditional horizontal tailgate position. Pose two starts with gate down — then, a pop-up load stop extends the bed for lumber and other items that are two long for the box. Pose three splits half of the tailgate, via the inner gate, to give truck owners easier access to bed contents. Pose four puts the primary tailgate in the “up” position and folds down the dinner gate, creating a work surface or Timbits-and-beer shelf. The fifth pose is basically pose two with the primary tailgate up. This works in conjunction with the second tier loading system. The sixth and final pose is a full-width tailgate “man step” that will not meet the approval of noted tailgate prude Howie Long.

The 2019 Sierra Denali will offer, later in the model year, an available GMC-exclusive and industry-first carbon fiber box. The CarbonPro was developed to increase the durability, efficiency and functionality of the truck. It replaces the standard steel inner panels and floor with a lightweight, purpose-designed carbon fiber composite that allegedly offers best-in-class dent, scratch, and corrosion resistance.

This all adds up to the most durable truck bed on the market. It is also might be one of the greenest. We’re told the supplier that developed the bed makes it with a significant percentage of recycled materials. Soon, Real People everywhere will be seen dropping loads of cinder blocks, toolboxes, and small children into truck beds. (GM did demonstrate that a $500 Yeti cooler does not scratch the carbon fiber bed when set down gently.)

Overall, the 2019 GMC Sierra is a continuation of the formula that has earned the model many repeat customers. It’s bold and ostentatious, with some new and interesting content.

While there’s little doubt this truck will sell extremely well, the biggest questions surround GMC’s exclusive new features. Will things like MultiPro and CarbonPro become things truck buyers want, or will they become another Quadrasteer and GM’s Pro-Tec composite bed? We’ll find out when the 2019 GMC Sierra goes on sale this fall. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

[Images: Adam Tonge/TTAC]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

87 Comments on “2019 GMC Sierra: Hey, My Face Is Up Here!...”


  • avatar
    ernest

    I predict a win here.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I know a lot of commenters on TTAC don’t like the Tundra for various reasons, but when I read about all the new whiz-bang stuff GM/FCA/Ford are trying to hang off their latest trucks it personally makes the idea of the old school Toyota much more appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The tailgate worked well. However, I don’t know how it’ll work after it’s 7 years old and it goes through weather like we had today.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Literally, the only thing in the whole article I liked was that the Denali has real wood in its interior.

        Even the mighty 6.2L is being “enriched” with non-defeatble GM stop/start and single cylinder mode.

        But maybe this stuff is what the target market wants? I’m sure some Sierra/Silverado owners will chime in tomorrow.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’ve been very happy with both the 2011 and the 2016 Tundra I owned. They truly were the best pickup trucks I have ever owned, in every aspect. And I owned a bunch.

      Once my wife and I quit traveling and settle down permanently in one place, I may buy another half-ton pickup truck.

      My first choice remains the 5.7L Tundra. You really need to live with one to appreciate what a great truck it is.

      I was 64 years old before I bought my first Tundra, 69 years old when I bought my second Tundra.

      Yep, I’m a convert. I’m sold and based on the number of Tundra trucks I see on the road these days, more people are sold too.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Old school vs. new school fuel economy
      Tundra-15cty/19hwy/17combined
      F150-20cty/26hwy/23combined

      Assuming $3 per gallon fuel and a 50/50 city/highway driving mix to go 100,000 miles it will cost you $4,600 more in fuel for the Tundra.

      On the bright side, when all your friends start laughing at you for buying an outdated truck. You will probably won’t want to leave home. So it will take you much longer to get to 100,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        YMMV, but I anticipate my friends would laugh at me much more if I bought an Ecoboost Ford or leather-daddy Denali over if I bought a Tundra.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          Apples to Oranges

          Lets compare similarly priced Full sized pickups. The GM, Ford and Ram buyers may argue about who has the best truck, but they will all agree with consumer reports and say the Tundra is the Worst full sized pickup on the market.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Peter Gazis, not everyone worries about gas mileage.

        People who have to worry about gas mileage ought not to buy a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          Gas mileage is obviously not a truck buyers number one priority but it is still something they notice. Nobody likes being the negative outlier, the Tundra’s poor fuel economy versus its competition is probably one of the biggest complaints against the model.

        • 0 avatar
          MrIcky

          I think Peter is cherry-picking his numbers. But, you’d be surprised how many truck buyers worry about their MPG. All fleet buyers worry about it. If you ever go to RV campsites, the friendly dudes always ask a) how did it do up (insert long 7% grade here)? and b) what kind of mileage are you getting? Mileage definitely isn’t the primary selector, but it’s on the list. When it’s the difference between 5 and 8 mpg on some long grade you do every vacation that’s hundreds of $ on just one trip.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            People most definitely worry about mileage in a truck, even the luxo-barge buyers. All of us were stung when gas went up to $5.50 USD per gallon several years ago. It only makes sense to incorporate mileage improvements on any new truck, no matter how trivial they may seem.

            I owned a 5.7 Tundra, loved it, but mileage was a solid 14mpg highway, 13mpg city, 10mpg towing, 8-9mpg towing into the wind. Who wants to factor in an extra $5k-$10k budget for more fuel nowadays?

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            MrIcky

            My numbers could be easily checked on line or on window stickers.

            Your’s depend on someone whose probably filling up on beer to accurately do math.

          • 0 avatar
            MrIcky

            Look at Peter taking it personal- but I just looked up 2018 Ford f150 mileage on the googles and got this: City: 15 – 20 MPG · Highway: 19 – 26 MPG

            It looks like you’re comparing the 2.7 against the Tundra. Ya the Tundra gets worse mileage but it looks like you’re taking the most extreme example.

        • 0 avatar
          Blackcloud_9

          People who HAVE to buy a truck do very much worry about gas mileage. Maybe not the ones who buy and can afford the $70k GMC Sierra Denali Super-Whammo edition (or whatever the next level of trim will be called). But if you’re Average Joe (or Jane) construction worker getting most efficiency out of a truck is very important.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Personal use luxury truck buyers usually don’t care about mpg. Everyone else, yes, they care. The company my brother works for started caring about mpg when fuel prices peaked. A business with 100’s of trucks to run sees the difference between mpg ratings.
            I notice mpg and how my disposable income priorities shift. I’d rather not put the bulk of my disposable income into the gas tank (136L) of my truck. We’ve been hit by a few big snow storms and -25C weather and my mpg plummeted. I usually can easily go 2 weeks on 1/2 tank of fuel but lately have been consuming close to a full 130 litres/2 weeks. After a 50 cm dump of snow and -25C weather my fuel consumption readout was 35 litres/100 km or 6.72 mpg(US gallon).

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          The average American puts 13,500 miles per year on their vehicle. At $3 per gallon the Tundra would cost $50 a month more just for gas.

          For an antique, that: can’t carry as much cargo; can’t tow as much; does’t ride as smooth; comes with a crappie entune infotainment system; and won’t last as long as a Silverado(a.k.a. the longest lasting most dependable truck on the road)

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      That’s the door of my 2015 GMC 1500 SLT with the 6.2 V-8 in the photo. The short answer is that the Tundra, though a reliability champ, has fewer advanced features than the Detroit brands. One example, only this year does the Tundra have a built in trailer brake controller than not only integrates the trailer brakes with the truck’s service brakes, but includes ABS integration as well. The Detroit trucks have had that for at least 5 years. Lots of folks use their pickups to pull trailers. The Toyota’s fuel economy is another point. My truck has 67,000 miles on it. The best 400 mile fuel economy is 24.6 mpg. When I first bought it in Denver (6 months old) and drove it back east, I was getting about 20 mpg at 80 mph and 22 at 65. Pulling my 7600 lb. travel trailer, I get about the same fuel economy as the big 3/4 ton diesels doing the same job.
      My truck has never required service, other than scheduled oil changes; and it’s still quiet as a tomb at 70 mph.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    The guy who wrote this sounds like he writes advertising copy for GMC.

  • avatar
    derekson

    The Denali is a bit heavy on the bling, but the SLT is the best looking full-sized truck of the new cadre to my eyes.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Carbon fiber? For what they charge for these things the bed should be made out of platinum. Start/stop, gimmicky bed, overwrought looks. Game, set, match, Ram. “Exciting” engine news forthcoming…a Pontiac motor?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      For those who really want one, the time to buy is in Aug/Sep, when the new MY starts coming in. Two of my friends do their serious shopping that way and easily save more than $10K off the MSRP.

      And still drive a brand new truck.

      And that is really all that matters; that new-car smell.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        2019 Should be an interesting model year.

        GM has announced that they’ll be selling the “old” truck along side the “new” truck.

        RAM has announced that they’ll be selling the “old” truck along side the new truck.

        If you want to get a steep discount and don’t care about having the newest tech (like people who actually use a truck for a truck) it will be a great MY for truck buyers.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    “A lightweight, purpose-designed carbon fiber composite that allegedly offers best-in-class dent, scratch, and corrosion resistance” — note how they don’t say anything about splinter, tear, and hole-punching-impact resistance here. But they’ll certainly be happy to sell you a replacement part for a couple of thousand dollars should that occur.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      I talked to reps from the supplier. They are confident that this bed is near indestructible. They wouldn’t talk about the process too much, but they are taking carbon fibers and fusing them into something stronger. They said they’d release more info closer to launch. I’ve asked to have a more in depth conversation with them about it. You can only ask them so much, and they’ll only say so much, during an event like this.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        I’m sure it’s some variant of compression molding with long-fiber reinforcement, something I had some experience with on golf carts that were introduced about 14 years ago. Those carts used these plastic floor pans to bridge a simple structural frame and hold the body panels, fuel tank or batteries etc. They were made by pulling carbon filaments into a plastic extruder that mixed the long-ish fibers with the molten plastic and dropped a lump into a mold. The mold then closed under significant pressure to force the plastic and fibers to flow out from the lump and make the part.

        Honestly, it’s just fiber-reinforced plastic, but with ~4″ fibers instead of ~1/4″ fibers (used in injection molding). Carbon Fiber sounds way more marketable, but CF as used in exotics and BMW roof panels etc. is a carbon fabric set in epoxy resin. Dollars to donuts this bed has nothing resembling woven carbon fabric in it.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Yes, a plastics company that makes it. It seems to be chopped CF in injection molded plastic. We’ll have a deeper look at it soon.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Interesting comments. This is what I assumed as opposed to typical carbon fibre/supercar type of applications.
            still, there are owners that will damage the box or get into MVC’s. I’m betting that if damage extends into the “carbon fibre” part of the box, they will have to replace the entire box.

          • 0 avatar
            MrIcky

            Lou- I don’t know for sure about the repair on the box- but CF isn’t that tough to repair as long as it’s not left visible. I’ve seen CF mountain bikes repaired and the repair is very strong and that’s higher stress than a truck bed. I know this is likely a very different repair but I’ve got to think they’ll put out a repair guide for it.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Hey Adam, you got a little on your chin there.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Did they say anything about transmissions? Is the 6 speed being put out to pasture?

    No mention of the V6? Is that being put to bed too? My local GMC dealer simply doesn’t order the 6 cyl versions.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      No V6 mention. No mention of transmissions besides the ten speed. It seems the 5.3L won’t get the 10. However, they only talked Denali and SLT. Lower trims could get other things.

  • avatar
    redapple

    As I was reading this story on the new GMC, I thought:
    -6.2 still be very difficult to get?
    -I hate start / stop. If I cant turn it off – no sale.
    -Cylinder deactivation. My V-6 Accord had it. I could sense every time it kicked in. I didnt like it.
    -Multi function tailgate. Is this really useful? Durable?
    -Carbon fiber bed. Superfluous complexity/cost.
    -Pretty sure i dislike the ‘C’ styling Headlight theme at GMC Trucks.
    -Ram has better interior. Exterior too. All Ram 1/2 tons will be US made (?). I think 50% of 1/2 ton GM trucks are HENCO- No thanks. They ve rapped us enough.
    -GMC styling is much better than Chevrolet.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      GMC styling is better than Chevy (IMHO).

      The “we can run on one cylinder” thing bugs me too because of the issues that people with high mileage ACM 5.3 V8s seem to be having.

      • 0 avatar
        1500cc

        I agree about the styling, and I think it holds here too, although neither the Chevy nor GMC are what I’d call beautiful or tasteful. Like the Tundra, it seems GMC is trying too hard to look ‘tough’ by way overdoing the grille.

        I’d never buy a Ram, but I have to say I like their new styling the best out of the current crop of pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      The cylinder deactivation (from 8 to 4) in my 6.2 is seamless and barely detectable. The sound system does some sort of low frequency noise cancellation because the exhaust not when running 4 cylinders apparently is annoying. Folks who spring for aftermarket exhausts may regret their decision. I understand that earlier GM cylinder deactivated engines had oil consumption issues. In 67 K miles, mine does not require any oil between changes. I’m curious about the FE improvement from deactivating more than 4 cylinders.

      • 0 avatar
        Jim123

        Agree. Had a poverty spec ‘18 Silverado crew cab from Enterprise for a week and could barely tell when 4 cylinders cut out. Had to glance at the info center to confirm. That, the avg of 22 mpg I was getting (3.08 rear end), and the standard Apple Carplay were somewhat impressive…

  • avatar
    RSF

    The carbon fiber bed must be there to offset the additional weight of that tailgate. It is an interesting feature though. Wonder how much it costs to replace?

  • avatar
    carguy

    For all those buyers looking for a truck with the body repair costs of an exotic super car – GMC has finally delivered.

  • avatar
    junkandfrunk

    Much better looking than the Chevy equivalent. Grill is a bit big for my tastes, but it seems automakers and buyers are stuck in the “bigger is always better” era, so a win for them I guess.

  • avatar

    What do I not want?

    FISH ICE CREAM.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    That high flat hood and smallish windshield makes me wonder how far ahead of the vehicle that the pavement disappears from view? Maybe they would consider a front view cam to supplement the back up cam (snark).

  • avatar
    Mud

    I think the stop-start “technology” in current vehicles is one of the biggest gimmicks I’ve ever seen.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Why? Where I live in Florida, the traffic lights are ENDLESS. Like nearly 5 minutes at some major intersections. Why would you want the engine running, consuming gas, while sitting there doing nothing? Seems like a complete no-brainer in the real world.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Because the car noticeably shakes on and off. The “white noise” NVH of idling an vehicle is fine (and maybe even soothing) as long as it is constant buy once it turns into an on/off cycle it is jarring.

        Maybe on something with Rolls-Royce levels of smoothness it would be okay, but on literally every vehicle I’ve driven that uses such a system I find it extremely annoying and uncomfortable.

        If it was a defeatable feature, it wouldn’t be so bad, but GM doesn’t give people the option to just turn off the system.

        I’m pretty sure I live in your part of Florida. I’d rather pay for the extra gas.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I don’t know how long GM Powertrain warranties are off the top of my head but I’m sure by the time the warranty is up someone will be selling a tuner or chip or scanner that will allow you turn off stop-start and cylinder deactivation.

          Honestly aftermarket exhaust is half the fun of truck ownership. The Dynomax catback system on my 4.6 F150 was my favorite part about it.

  • avatar
    whynot

    The biggest problem I have with the truck is the interior center stack design makes the center screen look tiny (maybe it is, idk). I understand it is not like the new Ram iPad, but don’t deemphasize it’s size when big screens is a popular selling point.

  • avatar
    Acd

    This is much better than the Chevrolet but still seems a bit overdone. I’ve seen Freightliners and Peterbilts with smaller grills and the dashboard looks like it came out of a 20 year old GMC, not a brand new one.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    Holy hell that looks awful. But it will sell.

    Real wood inside is nice, but can anyone tell us if GM’s world-class engineers have finally figured out how to center the damn steering wheel to the driver’s seat?

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Is the steering wheel centered on the drivers seat? Or have they not figured that out yet?

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Hooray! Thanks Adam.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Not bad looking. A WHOLE lot better and sharper looking then the new Chevrolet Silverado.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Now if we could just get Airbus to put the pedals of the AS-350 directly in front of pilots seat. Oh well, at least now I can replace our Enclave in a few years with another Sierra with a “normal” steering wheel.

  • avatar
    silentsod

    That carbon fibery bed, mmmm. No need for a bed liner (full disclosure there’s no bed liner in the ‘Yota and it is beat to hell and it is painful to crawl around in with a topper).

    GMC messes up the design by slathering it in plastichrome as per usual, though.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    And man, it is UGLY!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    A few years ago I went to a focus group thing on trucks (got paid $100!), and they had some trick tailgate concepts similar to this (but not the same).

    My Tacoma has a composite (SMC) bed, and it’s been pretty durable. The only thing is you want to add a rubber bed mat, to keep items from sliding around too much.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    So this is optional? Didn’t they offer a composite box years back with fewe checking the box. Also, as an option how much will this cost?

  • avatar
    conundrum

    It’s Professional Grade. ‘Nuff said.

  • avatar
    peeryog

    It says authentic open pore wood. Authentic does not necessarily real.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If it weren’t for the 2015 F150 headlamps, it would look alright. Why do this?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • stuki: You weren’t at neither Ebay, Paypal nor SpaceX to watch him “build” any of them first hand,...
  • Art Vandelay: Maybe, but at least I’d get the LSD and rear end looks better on this. Plus I bet the 3 cylinder...
  • Fordson: Holding out for the “Don’t Tread On Me” edition.
  • theBrandler: All this push for electrification is overlooking the obvious middle ground that could capture some...
  • Mike-NB2: Back after Ford made the announcement that they were going to stop building/selling cars in North America I...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States