By on June 7, 2018

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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31 Comments on “High Sierra: GMC Introduces Elevation Package for 2019...”

  • avatar

    348 lb-ft isn’t a lot of torque for a pickup, I’ve got 395 in my Charger. To get that 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft out of the 4-cylinder, will you have to drive around at 5,500 rpm all day? Nice looking truck though.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s rated [email protected] so it should be fine at low RPM.

      By the SAE published power charts the 5.3L makes [email protected] and the 6.2L makes [email protected] It looks like the Mopar 5.7L is doing 350lb-ft a little over 2000.

      Now, the 2.7L will probably have a crummy mid-range and no top-end compared to the V8s but apparently some truck buyers prefer it that way. Being a high-displacement 4-cylinder it will also likely be quite warbly.

      I do agree that the peak number aren’t especially impressive for 2018, but I think GM is anticipating this engine being used mostly for light-duty/ daily driver stuff.

    • 0 avatar

      The engine isn’t for people who actually use their truck as a truck. It is for people who just use it as their grocery getter and family hauler (which is a large percentage of truck sales).

      • 0 avatar

        This majority of truck buyers should also get 2-wheel drive with traction control. 4-wheel drive is just a waste of money, weight and gas mileage for them.

    • 0 avatar

      From the talk with engineer I listened to on TFL, it sounds like they really went to get the torque to come in at very low rpms and very quickly. Who knows from those talks, but it sounded impressive. It sounded like it was designed from the ground up to do trucky things in a trucky way.

      • 0 avatar

        It will do trucky things in a trucky way, but if you are excessively doing trucky things you will probably be better off with the V8. The 4 cylinder won’t be a mileage champ when under heavy trucky load. It’s more for the users who only do trucky things on occasion.

        • 0 avatar

          “…if you are excessively doing trucky things you will probably be better off with the V8. The 4 cylinder won’t be a mileage champ when under heavy trucky load. It’s more for the users who only do trucky things on occasion.”

          Exactly- a true light duty full size. A little more capable than the current crop of V6s which were a little wanting while still getting better mileage. It fits in with what a lot of people do: occasionally tow a boat or a travel trailer, maybe haul around a couple of dirtbikes or some yard stuff. Mileage >25 on the freeway or towing legitimate >7500# with people in the cab and it’s probably a winner (not both mileage and towing at same time of course). Not sure if people can get past the psychology of the 4 cylingder though.

      • 0 avatar

        4 Cylinder Guangzhou Motors Denali Great Wall Edition for $50,000+

        Behind an eminence front
        Eminence front, it’s a 4-cylinder, Chinese-made put on
        It’s an eminence front
        It’s an eminence front, it’s a put on
        An eminence front
        Eminence front, it’s a 4-cylinder, Chinese-made put on

        Guangzhou Motors/GMC Eminence Full Frontal

    • 0 avatar

      I like getting eleventy ft-tq in my I$ mammoth truck but why am I getting 8 mpg…?

      Malaise has returned.

  • avatar

    Well, if you always wanted to drive a barn, here’s your shot.

  • avatar

    Amusingly, right before seeing this article, I was having a discussion about the benefits of turbocharged engines at high elevation… and here’s an “Elevation package” with a turbo engine as default. Maybe it’ll be popular in Colorado.

  • avatar

    As a prospective truck buyer, I will not consider the 4-cyl. And if all GM trucks have a non-defeatable auto stop-start system, I will take my business elsewhere.

    Meaning, I am becoming less and less enamored with GM these days.

    • 0 avatar

      I know it’s a little thing, but hearing those low-rent stop-start systems working overtime in stop-and-go traffic has become really irritating.

      • 0 avatar

        Ironic that the newest and shiniest vanities are the ones coughing and ticking back to life from every stop.

        At the same time that Consuela and her Merry Maids’ $4,000 Versa in the next lane purrs like a sewing machine.

      • 0 avatar

        Hmmm…I took a lot of flack in another thread for doubting the practicality of the stop-start systems. YAY ! I AM NO LONGER ALONE !

        • 0 avatar

          No your not alone, start stop system are horrible, even when “correctly implemented” as some journalists like to brag. Never will I ever buy something with start-stop.

  • avatar

    Looks good but would it kill them to make it bigger?

  • avatar

    TBH a decent 4 cylinder (with balance shafts etc) that has good low-end grunt would suffice for many. As long as it has a half decent tow rating (maybe 6k pounds or so??) it would work for me.

    But, it would be imperative that it offers meaningfully better real-world fuel economy (& purchase price!) than the bigger engines. Without these two criteria met, no dice for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      It’s like the modern incarnation of the Mack AC Bulldog, which made 70hp from a 471ci four-cylinder engine. Now all the GMC needs is chain drive and duallies out back.

      But seriously folks, is that hood really five feet tall? Seems the more powerless we become, the more we need to compensate with our vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      St. George-

      I’m sure the MSRP will be pushing $50,000 like most pick up trucks.

      It will be no bargain even with the “smaller” motor.

  • avatar

    Jeez, there sure beat that thing with an ugly stick, that’s a face only a mother could love.

  • avatar

    LMFAO. EVERY SINGLE branch on the ugly tree AND a 4 CYLINDER? Ford has nothing to worry about here. LOL at the lack of calling out GM over the use of a 4 cyl and dreadful styling after Ford took so much flack over the V-6 and its styling. I love the smell of of hypocrites in the afternoon.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

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