It doesn’t happen too often – particularly with pickup trucks – but terrific innovations do come along in the automotive industry. The term “game-changing” is tossed around with abandon by some automakers and auto journalists, but in the case of the 2019 GMC Sierra and its new MultiPro tailgate, the term applies.
Ford started the ball rolling several years with its innovative tailgate step, but in my opinion GMC’s new tailgate is the largest leap in user-friendly technology ever seen from the backside of a pickup.
The new tailgate has six functions that are mostly operated by pressing two buttons near the top of the tailgate, which is really two tailgates in one. There’s a smaller inner tailgate on top that folds independently from the main tailgate.
Push the top button and the inner tailgated drops flat, creating a chest-high workstation. The main tailgate is dropped with the lower button. No, you don’t have to raise the inner tailgate when you drop the main tailgate; the two work independently and they’re both damped.
When the main tailgate is down, the inner tailgate has a fold-up shelf that can serve as a backstop for long items in the bed. Your long cargo won’t fit in the bed? Just drop the tailgate and fold up the backstop to keep it from sliding out.
But like the infomercials say, “Wait, there’s more!”
You can lower the main tailgate, then drop the inner tail gate and fold out the backstop and you have a nearly full width step to help you climb into the bed. On the left side of the bed, a fold-out handle can be raised to assist in climbing up into the bed.
For us old guys, this tailgate is hands-down the best thing to come along on trucks in a long ti…err, EVER.
My test Sierra for the week was the super-upscale Denali edition, and it’s not what you’d call inexpensive. It started at $58,000, but with all the bells and whistles plus freight, the out-the-door price was $67-grand.
If you’re thinking, “For a truck!?” you haven’t seen this one. The 2019 Sierra has been redesigned from the ground up. It’s bigger and better – and lighter – than the previous model, and even offers an industry first carbon fiber cargo box option if you really want to splurge. The cargo box can hold up to 20 percent more than the outgoing model, and depending on the bed configuration, has up to a
Offered in regular cab,
double cab and crew cab, the
Sierra is available in six trims: Sierra, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4 and the Denali. The Denali is only offered in crew cab and the Elevation in double cab, and the AT4 is outfitted as the Sierra’s off-road trim.
The new Sierra has a wide range of choices when it comes to engines. First, there’s a 4.3-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque. Next is a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. There’s even a 2.7-liter turbo four with 310 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft. of torque. The big boy, and the one in my test truck, was a 6.2-liter V8 that kicks out 420 horses and 460 lb.-ft. of torque (a 3.0-liter turbo diesel 6-cylinder is on its way). Transmission choices abound too, with 6-speed, 8-speed and 10-speed automatics all on the menu.
The cabin of the new Sierra takes advantage of the truck’s longer wheelbase, offering an additional 3 inches of legroom in the rear seat. Also new is a segment-first multi-color head’s up display, which offers customizable vehicle information on the windshield. GM has always been a leader in head’s up technology, and the Sierra takes it to the next level.
Like most luxury trucks, the cabin on the Sierra Denali is dressed to the nines, with all manner of features and technologies. Exterior camera systems on the Denali are fabulous, offering multiple views in front of, on the side of and behind the truck, including a closeup of the trailer hitch.
Heated and ventilated seats and other creature comforts separate the occupants of the cabin from the hard work that’s going on in back. Maximum payload is 2,240 pounds and the maximum trailering load is 12,100 pounds.
LED headlights are standard on all models.
2019 GMC Sierra Denali 4WD Crew Cab
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 420/460 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Price: $58,000 ($67,735 loaded, with freight)
EPA mileage estimates: 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway/17 mpg combined
Estimated Highway Range: 480 miles
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