If you could drive a full-size pickup truck that delivered over 30 mpg, could tow up to 9,300 pounds and pump 460 pounds / feet of torque from the tires – while taking five people on the road in absolute comfort – you might be tempted to think, where should I register! The reality is that it is possible at GM, Ford and Ram with their latest diesel-powered half-ton pickups. This week’s GMC Sierra is the latest example of what has become standard.

Introduced last year in the Sierra and its sibling Silverado, the all-new Duramax 3.0-liter turbodiesel is a clean design based on a block of aluminum. An inline-six configuration, while the Ram’s EcoDiesel and Ford’s Powerstroke are both 3.0-liter V6 engines, the Duramax uses a variable geometry turbocharger and a stratospheric 36,000 common rail injection system. PSI to register the highest horsepower in this class, 277 hp, and the second highest torque figures. For comparison, the output torque of the Duramax equals the 460 lb / ft of the optional 6.2-liter V8 – and that diesel torque comes in low in the rev range and lasts almost up to the high rev limiter of 5,100 from the truck. The Sierra was always quiet, but when pushed, the engine rating is remarkably similar to that of the 6.6L Duramax V-8.

Combined with the 10-speed automatic transmission co-designed with Ford, the Sierra’s EPA ratings are 23/30 with 2WD, while our heavily equipped AT4 Crew Cab is listed at 22/26 mpg with 4WD. In the real world, fuel economy has hovered around 25 mpg with a maximum of 31 mpg – pretty darn impressive numbers for almost three tonnes of work / leisure vans, as well as fuel economy that exceeds our experience. previous with Ford. new F-150-hybrid.

And unlike the financial boost required to switch gasoline engines from heavy-duty pickup trucks to diesel, the 3.0-liter Duramax only requires $ 995 more than the 5.3-liter V8 that’s standard in many pickup trucks. Sierra. It makes more and more sense from minute to minute.

GMC makes the Duramax available in all pickups except the base SL models, in addition, it is available on the latest Yukon and Denali coupe SUVs.

The latest AT4 trim level, the opposite of Chevrolet’s Trail Boss series, shows off the refined powertrain. Using X31 off-road suspension components (skid plates, 2-inch lift frame with larger Monotube shocks, Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, rear limited-slip differential, 4WD electric shifter, tow package and hill descent control) The AT4 also adds excellent non-slip steps folded up against the sill plates, trailer brake controller, as well as front and rear tow hooks.

GMC also sent our Summit White AT4 (base $ 54,300, amounting to $ 64,430 as shown) fitted with the Multi-Pro tailgate mated to the CarbonPro composite pickup box ($ 1,070) which includes 12 anchor points, LED lighting, power outlets, rear speaker system, as well as a cab mounted camera and LED light.

While there are inherent advantages to the CarbonPro bed, it is lighter, does not dent and does not rust, the MultiPro tailgate is a mixed bag from this point of view. The electric shutter release is convenient, the various foldable components have charging options, however, the assembly usually requires two hands to handle. It’s heavy to lift, and if you forget your receiver hitch is attached, you’re going to have a nasty dent (or worse with the rear light and camera module in danger) in your fancy tailgate.

Critics will argue that the GMC isn’t as chic on the inside as the latest Ram or Ford cabs, or that the information / entertainment screen is too small. GMC fans may argue that the Sierra’s intuitive and easily accessible plethora of conventional buttons, knobs and dials are much more convenient to use than touchscreens, while the list of standard and available equipment is just as long. Android / Apple compatibility is standard, while a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, heated and cooled front seats, and a rearview mirror that doubles as a camera are standard here and no longer available on other Sierra versions.

The Sierra raises the bar with its tow camera algorithms, excellent 15-inch head-up display (category-exclusive), and all the driver aids you can realistically use in the tech package.

Ultimately, GMC offers a modern turbodiesel powertrain that performs superbly and achieves a true 30 mpg, all in a nicely styled package that uses a conventional dashboard instead of overbearing technology. The backseat is roomy, everyday handling is top notch, and the Duramax is going to really change the driver’s impressions of what a half-ton diesel pickup is capable of.

Tim Plouff

Tim Plouff reviewed the automobiles in the pages of American Ellsworth weekly for almost two decades.

Tim Plouff