The 2019 Sierra: GMC’s Meaner, Leaner, and Smarter Pickup

The 2019 Sierra

The 2019 Sierra

Guess what? Canadians love pickup trucks. So, when a major brand announces a new generation of truck, people get excited. GM finally pulled the curtain off the 2019 Sierra at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and it looks great.

Meaner

Admittedly, we’ve only seen the face of the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado. But the Silverado and Sierra usually share everything important, so it’s safe to assume we won’t be surprised.   The 2019 Sierra is going to be both longer and wider, and you’ll notice it most in the cabin with headroom and legroom. On the outside, the headlights and taillights are sharper and brighter. They blend well into some swooping, wing-like designs along the sides. Some (it’s me) have called the new front end a little “busy”, but GMCs are usually a little more understated than Chevrolet counterparts, so don’t be surprised if the Sierra’s front is cleaner.

Leaner

Despite the increased size, the 2019 Sierra has actually gotten significantly lighter.  

In fact, it’s shed 450 pounds from the previous generation. How has GM done it? Well, in spite of its recent (obnoxious) attacks against Ford for using aluminum, they’re using aluminum. They placed the flexible metal in swinging panels like doors, hoods, and tailgates. But the fixed panels (box and roof) will remain primarily steel. But even those components are lighter thanks to the use of a high-strength variant of steel.

As a side note, the new aluminum tailgate allowed GM to add automatic raising and lowering. It’s a clever touch that makes the 2019 Sierra even more indispensable for everyday work.

Smarter

Active Fuel Management (tech that reduces the number of cylinders in use at low speeds) isn’t old tech. However, Dynamic Fuel Management has already supplanted it. The technological improvement is greater than the lexical one.

Dynamic Fuel Management, which will improve fuel economy by an additional 5%, does not deactivate the same block of cylinders every time. Instead, it uses an algorithm to determine measure the cylinder load and directs which cylinders fire and which do not on an event-by-event basis. The pattern would seem chaotic if you were watching it in action. But, as a driver, the transition between partial and complete cylinder activation will be less noticeable.  

Engines

It’s been widely reported that the two V8 engines from the previous generation of Sierra will be carried over:

  • 5.3L EcoTec3 V8: 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque
  • 6.2L EcoTec3 V8: 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque

But, excitingly, GM is adding a 3.0L Duramax Turbodiesel I-6 to the mix. The decision comes at a time when many automakers are running away from diesel after the Volkswagen poisoned public opinions. Convincing customers that diesel isn’t evil may be a challenge, but informed buyers know that a diesel engine, abiding by industry regulations, is no worse for the environment than a gasoline one. Plus, it provides far better fuel economy and increased torque for towing and hauling.

If you want the high torque and fuel savings of a diesel, you may want to wait for the 2019 Sierra to hit the dealership lots. But if you’re a fan of the current powertrains, and healthy savings, you may want to pick up a 2017 or 2018 model.

 

The 2018 Canyon

2018 GMC Canyon in Edmonton

The 2018 GMC Canyon

Encouraged by the relatively low price of oil, breakthroughs in the efficiency of combustion engines, and lightweight construction materials, automakers have continued to invest tons of resources in trucks and SUVs. For roughly the same reasons, customers have been abandoning cars in favour of bigger vehicles. And for those that think full-size pickups are too big, the choice has been an easy one. The 2018 GMC Canyon is handily the best mid-size pickup. That’s a bold claim, so let’s try to back it up.

Power

The 2018 GMC Canyon gives you the choice of three fantastic engines.

  • 2.8L Duramax Turbo Diesel: 181 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque
  • 3.6L VVT V6 with 308-horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque
  • 2.5L 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 191 lb.-ft. of torque

Those that want to prioritise towing and fuel economy will choose the Duramax Turbo Diesel, and the four-cylinder delivers some good bang-for-buck. But the star of the powertrain lineup is definitely the 3.6L V6. It comes with standard Active Fuel Management which reduces the number of cylinders in use when driving at low speeds to drastically improve fuel economy. It’s even paired with a refined 8-speed automatic transmission. Shorter space between the gears results in better fuel economy and improved acceleration.

Practicality

While the GMC Canyon is technically a mid-size pickup, it never feels too small. Inside, you get plenty of headroom and legroom, making it highly liveable. For rear passengers, the extended cab variant is a little tight, but the crew cab model offers a pretty comfortable ride. However, when it comes to trucks, the space offered in cargo areas is invariably more important to the average driver.

And you don’t have to worry there, because the Canyon offers plenty of space for equipment. At 1,879.6 mm, the Canyon’s long box is longer than the Sierra’s short box (1,760.98 mm) and only 12cm shorter than its standard box. However, even the 2018 Canyon with the short box offers plenty of room.  

2018 Canyon Denali

A Denali is the greatest realisation of professional-grade performance and luxury, and will never be mistaken for anything else on the road. That’s why the exterior of the 2018 Canyon Denali is comprised of all things bright and shiny like 20” Ultra-Bright Aluminum wheels, 5” chrome side steps, and LED signature headlights.  LED in the cargo box which turns it into a mobile workstation. Of course, these features are as much for looking like a boss as they are for performance.

The interior is polished and refined, too. Up front, you get heated and ventilated leather seats as well as a heated steering wheel. There’s a standard 8” infotainment system with onboard navigation and a standard Bose premium seven-speaker audio system. Your favourite music and audiobooks will sound even better thanks to the fact that you have Bose Active Noise Cancellation cutting out the sound of the road and the wind.

Who Should Drive the 2018 GMC Canyon?

The 2018 Canyon is the perfect vehicle for pickup owners who need a maneuverable vehicle for the city, but also need occasional extreme capability. If you need to haul a trailer on the weekends, or find yourself doing some occasional hauling, you can perform those tasks with confidence without making major sacrifices in terms of fuel economy and convenience that larger trucks guarantee.