GMC Sierra 1500 Gets Tech-Packed Update

The half-ton battle is heating up. GMC has just released an updated version of the Sierra 1500, featuring a new diesel mill, expanded options for the 10-speed auto, and tons of tech toys.

2020 Sierra Elevation Crew Cab. Photo by GMC

The Sierra is still based on the GM T1 platform, which is also shared by GM’s other full-size trucks and SUVs. On the outside, GMC refreshed the truck with a more aggressive front end. Thankfully, the Sierra’s restyled snout looks more pleasing than the gaping grill of its distant cousin, the Chevy Silverado. Though it should be noted that the newer grill is not as aerodynamic as the old one, resulting in a slightly lower MPG rating.

Beneath the skin, you’ll find a bevy of engine options, ranging from a 2.7L turbocharged four-cylinder mill up to a beefy 6.2L V8. A new addition is the 3.0L Duramax turbodiesel engine, which is rated for 277hp and 460 lb-ft. of torque.

For those who don’t like to row their own gears, the slushbox option has been expanded. The 10-speed AT is now available for all Sierra trims from SLE up, while it comes standard for the Denali, AT4 and diesel models.

Out back, buyers now have the option to outfit the bed with GMC’s CarbonPro. The carbon fiber-infused plastic bed has a higher payload capacity than standard steel beds, boasts 6x the impact resistance, and requires no spray-on bedliners. The bed is available in the Denali and AT4 trim.

Sierra Denali CarbonPro Edition, shown in Onyx Black. Photo by GMC

In terms of tech, the high-tech gizmos of its bigger HD brother have finally trickled down to the 1500. The 5.3L gas engine now benefits from GM’s “Dynamic Skip Fire” system that made its debut last year. This fuel management tech improves fuel efficiency and power delivery by deactivating cylinders as needed.

There’s a new adaptive cruise control option for the Denali, AT4 and SLT trim, featuring full stop-and-go functionality for city traffic. Inside the cab, drivers can feel like a fighter pilot thanks to what GMC says is a segment-first heads-up display unit. The customizable HUD projects relevant vehicle and trip info onto the windshield using a 15-inch display. There’s also a rear camera feed built right into the rearview mirror. Unlike the traditional mirror view, the feed provides a wide-angle view of what’s behind, without being obstructed by rear passengers or bed cargo.

And finally, GMC’s signature trick, the ProGrade Trailering System, is now available for the 1500. First introduced in the HD, the innovative tech overlays the view from the trailer-mounted camera over the trailer, effectively providing an “X-ray view” of the road behind.

The 2020 Sierra light duty will be assembled at GM’s plants in Flint, Michigan and Fort Wayne, Indiana. It’s expected to become to available sometime between Q2 and Q3 this year.


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