High Sierra: GMC Introduces Elevation Package for 2019

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
high sierra gmc introduces elevation package for 2019

There are several truths in this world: death, taxes, and the profitability of pickup trucks. General Motors has shown us several iterations of its 2019 half-tons since they dropped one from the sky at Texas Motor Speedway in December, despite the trucks not being scheduled to be found on dealer lots until this fall.

Now, GMC is rolling out another trim of its Sierra cash machine, the Elevation. Think of it as a color-keyed whip that can be opted with an “off-road lite” package. One thing’s for sure: fans of the brand will be spoilt for choice when the new truck appears in showrooms.

And, oh yeah, it’ll come standard with a 310 horsepower inline-four. Will truck buyers embrace a machine with half the traditional cylinder count?

At the GMC’s introduction earlier this year, The General chose to display copies of the luxo Denali and off-road AT4, complete with goodies like a carbon fiber bed and trick multifunction tailgate. Photos have since popped up of the volume SLT trim, as well. This Elevation trim is a color-keyed and black-accented truck, sporting a set of 20-inch wheels and based off the double cab model, not the crew. It’ll be offered in two- or four-wheel-drive configurations.

Optional is a X31 Off Road package that’ll imbue the truck with a decent level of kit, including unique suspension tuning with Rancho shocks, locking rear diff, and Hill Descent Control. Think of it as an AT4-lite and you’ll be on the right track. That X31 package also includes protective underbody skidplates, what GMC describes as a dual exhaust system, and a two-speed transfer case with low range.

All-terrain tires are described as standard equipment and indeed shown in the photo, but a quick zoom-in on the picture shows they are scrubbed of any sidewall markings, leaving us guessing as to manufacturer and size specifics beyond their 20-inch diameter. Twenty-inch hoops will clear GM’s performance brake system, although that option goes unmentioned.

Bound for the middle of the Sierra range, the Elevation packs GM’s 8-inch infotainment system, which incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. USB ports abound, of both the Type-A and Type-C variety, making this as more than a garden-variety work truck.

Under the hood of 2019 Sierras with the Elevation package is GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged engine as standard equipment. Interestingly, the company is careful not to identify the unit as a four-banger in its marketing materials. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic and said to deliver 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque.

The 5.3-liter V-8 is also available, deploying a Dynamic Fuel Management system that enables the engine to operate on one to eight cylinders. Early next year, the truck will also be offered with a tasty 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-six, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The example shown here has its engine size, 5.3L, displayed on its upper fender port. It’ll be interesting to see if that styling flourish is included for the four-banger, as some owners may not be keen to advertise their four angry squirrels. Surely, macho diesel models will have those six letters hammered into the Sierra’s body somewhere, likely in a ten-foot tall font, or optionally carved into the owner’s face with a hunting knife.

Showing all these trims may seem like the world’s most pointless striptease, but GM will at least avoid the ire currently being directed at Ram, which arguably rushed its new pickup to market by sending it to dealers initially in only a handful of bodystyles and with a single engine choice. Popular options such as the neato RamBox were also unavailable at launch. By choosing to fling its new pickup into the market fully baked, The General stands a better chance of capturing a wider customer base.

[Images: General Motors]

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3 of 31 comments
  • "scarey" "scarey" on Jun 07, 2018

    2.7 L 4-cyl engine and 8-speed automatic transmission with a 2-speed transfer case. Anybody else think that the transmission is larger than the engine ? A new era in car design.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jun 07, 2018

    At my last job I caught a lot of flack from the "shevolay" fans for my F150's "tiny" twin turbo 2.7 be v6. Wonder what they think of this thing. I wouldn't discount it until I drive it but I'm not a fan of the styling on GM trucks. Do like the new Rams but my F150 has been so good l the competition would have to really bowl me over especially since it is just about paid for.

    • Ajla Ajla on Jun 07, 2018

      Anecdotally, the two GM truck owners I socialize with are not very receptive to the new truck's design or the turbo offering and have vowed to "upgrade" to a 3/4 ton (still from GM) when they buy their next truck.

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.