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2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT Crew Cab Z71 4×4 Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, GMC, Test Drives

2014 GMC Sierra SLT 4X4 Z71 Beauty Left Done Small

The all-new 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 gets new EcoTec3 V6 and V8 engines with more power and enhanced efficiency including a 6-speed automatic along with improvements to the chassis, interior, aerodynamics and safety systems.

Other than these improvements there isn’t much you can do to change the styling of a pickup truck except to refine the front, double cab and cargo box.  The new front fascia is highlighted with the three new rectangular chrome grille arrangement, single projector-beam headlamps, LED strip daytime running lamps, a bold chrome front bumper, spoiler down below, dual recovery hooks, and halogen foglamps.  Black wheel moldings give the silhouette a luxury look as does the chrome pull-out door handles, a Z71 chrome badge on top of each front fender, six-inch chrome/rubber-insert full-length running boards, chrome strip at the bottom of the greenhouse with a chrome strip at the bottom of each door, power folding/heated/self-dimming sideview mirrors with chrome caps, and 20X9 inch polished cast aluminum wheels wrapped with 275/55R20 inch all-terrain Goodyear tires.  The cargo box features new LED cargo lights, an EZ Lift and Lower folding tailgate that locks, wheelhouse liners, and a cut rubber assist step on each side at the rear of the cargo box to make it easier and safer to move cargo or to climb into the cargo box.  The rear is finished with a bold chrome bumper and a single stainless steel exhaust pipe.  The new looks are tight, taut and more refined than before.

2014 GMC Sierra SLT 4X4 Z71 Engine Done Small

Sierra’s engines are all updated with increased power, torque and fuel efficiency across the board.  New 4.3 liter V6, 5.3 liter V8 and 6.2 liter engines are offered, all from the shared EcoTec engine family.  All engines feature direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, active fuel management (seamlessly switching to four cylinders during light load driving to save fuel), lightweight aluminum blocks and heads.  Each is mated to the durable 6L80 six-speed automatic transmissions with sequential shifting so that I was able to maintain a certain gear when needed.  A new ‘cruise grade braking’ feature down-shifts the transmission on downgrades which is intended to reduce brake wear.  V8 models use new larger 9.5 and 9.75 inch rear axles with the strength to accommodate the engines higher output.  The new 4.3 liter V6 generates 285hp and 305lb.ft. of torque giving back 18mpg/city and 24mpg/highway with a maximum tow rating of 7,600lbs.  The 5.3 liter V8 that I tested generates 355hp and 383lb.ft. of torque giving back 18mpg/city and 22mpg/highway with a maximum tow rating of 9,600lbs.   The new 6.2 liter V8 generates a healthy 420hp and 460lb.ft. of torque with a maximum tow rating of 12,000lbs., the highest rating in the class.

2014 GMC Sierra SLT 4X4 Z71 Beauty Side Done Small

The suspension has been refined for a smoother ride with better response to my inputs.  Up front is an independent setup with coil-over Rancho high-performance gas-charged shocks.  The rear features a solid axle with semi-elliptic, variable rate, two stage multi-leaf springs and Rancho high-performance gas-charged shocks.  When I took the new 4X4 Sierra out on the dirt it performed great and up to my expectations.  The Rancho shocks are a great addition to the Z71 off-road package.  The new electric power-assisted rack & pinion steering system saves weight and gave me a very good feel for the road with excellent reaction to my inputs when driving around slow city traffic, on the highway at speed and when I took the truck off-road.

2014 GMC Sierra SLT 4X4 Z71 Beauty Rear Done Small

Strong brakes are important for stopping trucks and the new, larger rotors are amongst the best.  Sierra features four-wheel power-assisted and vented discs.  The brakes feature new Duralife brake rotors which are a hardened and strengthened surface to reduce corrosion.  Duralife rotors-a GM exclusive technology-are expected to last twice as long as conventional rotors and provide quieter braking with less vibration.  They work as advertised and using these new improved and refined brakes were very linear and grabbed instantly with little noise or vibration.  Up front are 13 inch vented rotors clamped with aluminum-housed dual-piston calipers and 13.6 inch vented rotors in aluminum-housed single-piston calipers.  Standard ABS and StabiliTrak kept me in control when braking hard on slick or wet pavement.

2014 GMC Sierra SLT 4X4 Z71 Dashboard Done Small

My SLT trim Sierra 4X4 Z71 came with an interior that reminded me of a full-size luxury sedan.  The front of the dashboard and dash shelf was covered in black leather.  The bottom of the dashboard, even the dual-tiered glove box was covered with new soft-touch materials, as well as aluminum trim.  Attention to detail and purposeful technology defines the Sierra’s all-new cabin.  The new upright instrument panel is designed for visibility and accessibility.  Knobs and buttons are large, legible and within easy reach.  All knobs are coated using a rubber-over-mold technology, so they’re easy to grip even through gloves.  The leather-wrapped/tilt/telescopic/heated steering wheel felt perfect in my hands for optimal control.  The new instrument cluster features six gauges with a centrally located, 4.2 inch color Driver Information Center that is reconfigurable with everything you need to know such as your trip computer, radio station and navigation system.  A second high-mounted glove box with a flat floor joins the traditional box below.  Each of Sierra’s doors has storage crafted to hold most beverage containers and other personal items.  Along the center stack and center console are additional cupholders, discreet compartments large enough for most laptop computers, and connectivity options.  The SLT Sierra features a 110-volt outlet, up to five USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and an SD card slot.  Optional IntellLink connectivity uses a high-definition, fully reconfigurable 8-inch color touch screen with an intuitive layout and easy-to-read icons that control audio features, a Pandora app, Bluetooth phone feature, and optional navigation with an all-new map display.  Most of the system’s features can be controlled by voice command, allowing me to keep my eyes on the road and my hands on the steering wheel.

2014 GMC Sierra SLT 4X4 Z71 Front Seats Done Small

The crew cab can hold up to six adults and uses dual-density foam designed to stay comfortable over long hours and continue to look great after years of use.  Leather and cloth are offered, and Sierra’s new high-wear cloth seats are designed to last longer and resist staining.  They were very comfortable and supportive with power adjustments on the driver’s side.  For the first time on double cab models, the 2014 Sierra has new front-hinged rear doors with outside pull handles at the rear, providing improved access in tight parking spaces.  Unlike trucks with rear-hinged doors, Sierra’s layout allows rear passengers to enter and exit the truck with the front doors closed.  It’s just another innovation that makes the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD SLT Crew Cab one of the best on today’s full-size pickup truck market.

2014 GMC Sierra SLT 4X4 Z71 Rear Seats Done Small

Standard equipment not mentioned above includes leather-wrapped seats with power adjustments up front, memory for two drivers, heated/cooled front seats, remote vehicle start, theft deterrent system, power windows/door locks with driver-side express up/down, floor mats front/rear, rear window defroster, dual-zone A/C/heater, self-dimming rearview mirror, lighted dual visors, dual cupholders, power-adjustable pedals, power sliding rear window, Universal Home Remote, steering wheel audio control, rear vision camera, audio system with six-speakers, Sirius XM radio, HD radio, single-slot CD/MP3 player, front/rear park assist, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, safety alert seat that vibrates, 6-inch chrome assist steps, Bose Audio system, power sunroof, color navigation system, high-capacity air cleaner, variable-speed wipers/washers, underbody shields, Z71 badges, trailer brake controller, dual map lights, grab handles on the front passenger A-pillars, above each door and on each B-pillar, six-3-point safety belts with front pretensioner/load limiters, airbags-front driver/front passenger front/side impact, outboard front/rear seat side curtain airbags, hill start assist, tire pressure monitor, LED strip of daytime running lamps, OnStar crash response and personal connections.



  • Price: Base GMC Sierra $33,210 / As Tested Sierra SLT 4×4 $50,185.00
  • Wheelbase: 143.5 inches
  • Overall length: 229.5 inches
  • Overall width: 80 inches
  • Overall height: 74 inches
  • Track: f/r-68.7/67.6 inches
  • Minimum ground clearance: 8.9 inches
  • Ground to top of load floor: 34.3 inches
  • Step-in height: 22.2 inches
  • Approach angle: 19
  • Departure angle: 23.2
  • Headroom: f/r-42.8/40.5 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-45.3/40.9 inches
  • Curb weight: 5,292 lbs.
  • Fuel capacity: 26 gallons
  • Turning circle: 47.2 ft.



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