The Grille Next Door: 2020 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty
Fans of heavy duty trucks with grilles the size of Texas have a lot to celebrate this year. Ram dropped its new HD in Detroit and GM previewed its alarmingly styled Heavy Chevy late last year. All signs point to Ford unfurling a new Super Duty very soon, possibly at the Chicago show next month.
Now, GMC’s into the game. The not-a-Chevy brand revealed its 2020 Heavy Duty pickups online last night. The new Sierra HD makes like Daft Punk: harder, better, faster, stronger.
Answering the question asked by all hands who clicked the jump: no, it doesn’t out-torque the new Ram HD. For now, FCA’s brute is the only commercially available consumer-grade pickup to make four-figure twist. The Duramax turbo-diesel residing under the hood of this GMC HD displaces a familiar 6.6 liters, cranking out 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque. Despite it failing to top the Ram, it is hardly a number at which to scoff.
More notably, the new Sierra HD marks the introduction of a 10-speed Allison automatic – the first of its kind offered in the heavy-duty pickup segment. The ten-cogger allows closer gear spacing which allegedly lets the engine operate in an optimal range of power at all times given a specific load and terrain conditions. That massive grille and enlarged hood scoop is said to improve cooling. Makes sense, and we look forward to putting it to the test in a First Drive.
A gasoline-fuelled mill will also be available, but GMC is mum on those details for now. Perhaps they’re waiting to see what Ford offers in its new V8, a truck engine rumoured to displace 7.0 or 7.3 liters, depending to whom you listen.
Hauling a trailer should be easier than ever with the 2020 Sierra HD, given that the driver can avail themselves of up to fifteen different camera views. This includes an industry-first transparent trailer view, merging an amalgam of data to display objects astern as if the trailer wasn’t there. This trick Cloak of Invisibility will do wonders for hauling on the highway, allowing that tailgater to be seen before they pop out from behind your 37.5-ft travel trailer just as you’re entering a tight traffic circle. This may or may not be a real-world example from your author’s summer travels.
Further playing to the towing and hauling crowd is tech which allows the monitoring of trailer functions through the GMC app or the infotainment system. Depending on how a compatibly equipped trailer is configured, owners of the 2020 Sierra HD may be able to turn on the trailer’s air conditioning or water heater, check water and holding tank levels, or monitor fuel levels on trailers equipped with generators. Sierra’s maximum towing weight is given as “over 30,000 lbs”.
And I thought I was fancy with my remote-controlled levelling jacks and slide outs. Pfft.
Those trailer mirrors are new, as well, if a bit odd looking. Current units are mounted on twin posts sticking horizontally from the door, while these new single-posters look like a 90-degree plumbing elbow. An automatic parking brake keeps the truck right where you want it while hitching to a trailer solo and the transmission’s tow/haul mode remains engaged for the next key cycle. Don’t discount how handy of a feature that is for frequent haulers.
In terms of design, GMC ladles on the chrome for Denali models but tones it down a bit on mid-level SLT trim. New for 2020 is an AT4 model, a trim which first appeared on the half-ton and has enjoyed immediate success. Dark chrome exterior finishes abound, while the front & rear bumpers and grille surround are nattily finished in body color. AT4’s interior is appropriately sombre, as well.
Underneath, the AT4 earns Rancho-branded shocks, skid plates, and an Eaton locking rear diff. Michelin all-terrains are sized a sensible 18-inches, while the traction system is configured with a specific off-road mode.
For better or worse, the interior looks a great deal like the one found in its half-ton brother. Complaints have been made from many corners of the web that these quarters aren’t sufficiently high-zoot enough, especially when compared with the dandy new Ram.
The MultiPro tailgate is found on this new HD, too. If you’ve missed that memo, MultiPro is a six-function unit that allows for easier bed access by creating an alcove into which a person can step and reach into the bed. Just watch the thing doesn’t smack into your trailer hitch. It’ll be available on all trim levels and standard on SLT, AT4, and Denali.
The 2020 Sierra HD goes on sale later this year in 2500HD and 3500HD dual rear wheel and single rear wheel configurations. Pricing and complete specs will be announced later. It’ll be built in Flint, Michigan.
[Images: General Motors]
Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.
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