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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2020 GMC Sierra

This week we are reviewing the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation. Our vehicle was assembled at the Fort Wayne, Indiana plant and has an MSRP of $65658.00 CAD.

Picture by Luis G Manrique

Fun Factor: 7 Can it Family: 7 Fuel-Friendly: 7 HWY-warrior: 9 Karaoke-Friendly: 5 Baby-Friendly: 5 City Cruising: 3

Picture by Luis G Manrique

Pick up trucks are always touted as being gas guzzlers; many forget that these trucks are the backbone of small businesses and essential sectors of the economy. The GMC Sierra equipped with the 3.0L inline 6-cylinder Duramax Diesel does this efficiently, it produces 277hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The torque figure of this engine can easily compare to large gasoline engines. The 10-Speed transmission shifts between gears smoothly while keeping the engine soundtrack enjoyable. In our real-life acceleration test with a fully loaded bed, we achieved 100km/h from a still stand in 17.05 seconds using 20-inch winter tires. The estimated figure should be around the 15 seconds mark with summer tires, and with an empty bed, we achieved 9.9 seconds. However, this engine is not about acceleration; it is about raw towing power; in the case of this engine, it is 5035kg (11100 LB.). The added clearance also helped us off-road get through the snow smoothly.

Picture by Luis G Manrique

The Sierra Elevation seats 5; our model was equipped with the standard cloth seats. Those seats never felt uncomfortable during our test, even if they were on the firmer side. Smaller drivers may have a hard time finding a position that will be comfortable for them to have adequate visibility as the height adjustment of the driver seat doesn't move that high. The rear seats were large enough to accommodate our family with our son's car seat, and we can even imagine they could seat three adults as the middle seat is wide enough. The legroom in the back is also generous, as you would expect with such a large cabin.

Picture by Luis G Manrique

In our fuel consumption test, we averaged 10.4L/100km; we were not able to do our regular test due to the current pandemic. Hence most of the driving was done in the city, increasing our average. Despite this, the average HWY fuel consumption we observed was 7.8L/100km, which is quite astonishing if you consider the size and weight of this truck. We averaged 11.9L/100km in the city, which is also a very good result; we have tested some SUVs with higher fuel consumption. This makes the Sierra the truck of choice for construction companies, thanks to its low fuel consumption and its capacity to tow. GM announces an estimated combined fuel consumption of 9.1L/100km in the city 10.5L/100km and 7.8L/100km on the HWY with an estimated range of almost 1000km with one tank. We conducted these tests while exterior temperatures oscillated between +16c and -10c. The Co2 emissions of the Duramax engine are 245 g/km, a figure that not even the base F-150 with the 2.7 EcoBoost is beating as its Co2 emissions are 249 g/km.

Interior GMC Sierra
Picture by Luis G Manrique

On the HWY, the Sierra shows that it has the upper hand when it comes to fuel consumption, as we mentioned earlier. The cabin is well soundproofed, allowing passengers to have conversations without needing to raise their voices. The height of the truck, in conjunction with the softer suspension, does affect stability at higher speeds. It's a small price to pay as, in return, you get to enjoy a comfortable ride. We were quite surprised that even larger road imperfections didn't feel so bad inside the cabin. The Sierra, in our view, would be suitable for long road trips, and if you need to go off-road in the snow, you can rest assure you will not get stuck.

Our Sierra came equipped with a premium 7-speaker Bose sound system; it was satisfying for our needs. The only negative point we found is that different types of base levels all sounded the same and emitted the same vibration even if they were completely different styles. The infotainment included in the Sierra was GM's 8-inch touch screen and is so simple to operate that even our kids found their way to use it without any difficulty. It naturally offers you the option to either use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Both these still require to be physically connected via USB cable. Wireless Apple CarPlay may become available as this is something several new models in GM's 2021 line up will have. As for USB ports, you will find 2 below the instrument cluster and 2 in the second row. In addition, you also get a full-power outlet in front and in the back to charge you large electronics such as your laptop or tablet, or if you need a portable fridge.

Getting car seats inside the cabin is quite simple as the doors open wide. Once the car seat is in place, the LATCH ports are hidden underneath both outer seats; there are none on the middle seat. We had to fiddle around a little to attach the car seats, and then to remove them. The same goes for the anchor LATCH located beside the headrest, making it quite challenging to attach once the car seat is in place and removing it did not simplify this process. As for young children opening the door by themselves, they will not require any adult intervention. Where our help was required was helping them up in the cabin as our version of the GMC Sierra came without a step rail. Once inside, the bench height makes it easy for kids to slide in their seat and get comfortable. The seatbelts are accessible, and the buckles clip in effortlessly. We have to give extra credit for the generous legroom, and overhead space, kids or any other passengers are not tight together. Also, our kids enjoyed the feeling of riding in a truck.

In the city, the large Sierra still found its way; yes, it requires paying attention to your surroundings, especially in some of our narrow streets. Our model came with a rear-view camera of decent quality; the angle of the camera gave us a clear view around, and we had no trouble parking the Sierra perpendicular in reverse within a crowded parking lot. The suspension evens out pretty much all potholes, while speed bumps become barely noticeable. What really stood out was the fuel consumption of the Sierra in the city; even with our spirited driving, the fuel consumption stayed below 10.5L/100km. The Sierra checks a lot of boxes for the commuter that needs to drive long-distance and also has to drive within an urban environment to visit clients.

Why would we buy the 2020 GMC Sierra Elevation, or what we liked about it? The diesel fuel consumption is a no brainer for anyone that needs to drive long distances, plenty of space in the 2nd row including tons of legroom, quiet interior, interior spaces built to see abuse, the sound of the diesel engine.

Why we would not buy the 2020 GMC Sierra Elevation, or what we did not like about it? The shorter driver will have trouble finding a suitable position to see well outside the vehicle; it could have a better sound system, we noticed with our kids that the cloth seats would get dirty quickly and were not easy to clean.

GM's dealer network deserves a special mention as they jumped in to support their communities either by helping front line workers or making sure that those most vulnerable get the supplies they need.

GMC has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with GM Canada. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above.

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