GMC is promising big things for its lineup of pickups. While the bulk of the spotlight is brightly shining on the upcoming Hummer EV, the truck-focused brand is also preparing some welcome updates for the GMC Sierra, especially for customers who regularly tow with their rigs.
“Trailering is essential for pickup truck customers. More than half of our Sierra customers use their trucks to primarily tow equipment for outdoor adventures,” GMC Marketing Director Rich Latek said. “We continually listen to customer feedback, which tells us they want class-leading safety, technology and comfort to tow what they need, whether it’s a boat, an RV or a trailer hauling off-road toys.”
To help those buyers out, GMC is rolling out a suite of technologies to help make towing a trailer safer and easier. A key addition is an all new “Jack-Knife Alert” system, which can sense when the front of the trailer is approaching the rear of the truck. If this happens, an audible tone and a vibration in the seat bottom alerts the driver to take corrective action. This is a big deal, since jack-knifing is one of the most dangerous situations that you can encounter when towing a trailer.
Usually seen in dramatic fashion on the local news when a big rig jack knifes, the phenomenon can also happen with smaller trailers and is created when the trailer is jostled out of sync with the towing vehicle (usually when the trailer wheels lose traction). This creates a snaking motion, which can then transfer into an L- or V-shaped skid. While the technology can help give you an advance warning, it will not help correct the jack-knifing itself, thus its up to the driver to ultimately correct the situation before its too late.
In addition to this technology, the Sierra also debuts an all new Trailer Length Indicator system which essentially acts as an enhanced blind-spot monitoring system. The tech works when the driver activates the turn signal, which then projects a red overlay onto the infotainment system screen that extends twice the length of the trailer. This allows drivers to determine if an other vehicle is in the red zone or not which in turn helps make lane changing safer.
Other goodies include an all new Trailer-Angle Indicator, as well as a Cargo Bed View enhancement system for buyers that happen to own goose neck type hitches. Amid all the new additions, one revision serves to round out the list of trailer towing aides, with the rear side view function being tweaked for 2021. On 2020 Sierras, the system only worked when the trailer was moving forward, but 2021 now sees it work when the trailer is moving forward and backward.
All of these additions can be equipped to both Heavy Duty and 1500 Sierra models, but it depends on how the truck in question is equipped. On 1500 models, it’s part of an optional Technology Package that buyers have to equip to their trucks. Heavy Duty models go about things a bit differently, with the technology being standard equipment on the range topping Denali. Buyers of SLT and AT4 models on the other hand will need to climb their way up through the options list, with the HD Surround View and the Bed View Camera system needing to be equipped to get everything.
Other updates are also splashed into the mix for 2021, with 1500 owners now being able to equip the versatile MultiPro tailgate to SLE and Elevation models, while the AT4 can now be equipped with optional 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory off-road tires, as well as a welcome high clearance step. Meanwhile trucks equipped with the 3.0 liter Duramax diesel engine get a massive $1,500 price cut, with SLT and AT4 diesels now only being a mere $995 more than the 5.3 liter V-8 model. Heavy Dutys will now bring the MultiPro tailgate to the SLE model, with the AT4 now having the option of being equipped with 18-inch mud terrain tires.
GMC however saved the most elegant announcement for last, with the confirmation of an all new Denali Black Diamond model. Like other blacked out trucks that have appeared recently, this is a design exercise that replaces the bulk of the bright work with darkened accents. That includes the sinister looking 20-inch high gloss black chrome wheels that are a Black Diamond exclusive. Power retractable side steps are also a part of the Black Diamond package, and add a subtle degree of flash to the already luxury soaked Denali.
GMC hasn’t released full pricing or availability information for the 2021 Sierra as of yet, but we suspect the wait will not be long, with the first models making their way to dealerships this fall. With some new tricks up its towing hat, and equipment revisions for the rest of the trim lineup, the Sierra is shaping up to be a very potent truck offering, and we cannot wait to hear more about it.