The full-size truck market has been dominated by domestic manufacturers for more than 70 years. One of the biggest players in the pickup truck segment has traditionally been General Motors. While the Ford F-150 has found itself at the top of the sales charts for decades, the combined numbers of both the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra are enough for them to contest for the title of America's most popular pickup truck.
Chevrolet's trucks are aimed primarily at the working buyer, individuals who are looking for a pickup that they can take to the jobsite and use to carry heavy equipment, tools and supplies. GMC, while using the same platforms and engines as their Chevy compatriots, have evolved into a brand which has associated itself with a more luxury-oriented truck. Certainly a step below the vehicles offered by premium brand Cadillac, GMC pickups are nevertheless able to project an aura of greater sophistication than the more pedestrian Chevrolet.
Beginning with the generation of vehicles that made its debut in 2001, GMC trucks also received a styling update which saw them head in a much more distinctive direction than they had in the past. Instead of bearing only a slightly different grille than the Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC Sierra found itself with an entirely new front end treatment that had little in common with any other full-size trucks. The differences extended into the vehicle's interior, which featured more space, larger door openings and higher quality materials than not only the Silverado but also many other competitor's offerings. These changes have finally allowed GMC trucks to gain a measure of independence when they are evaluated against the rest of the vehicles available on the market.
GMC has also made sure that in addition to design differences, the Sierra has remained capable of distinguishing itself through its performance capabilities as well. To this end a line of HD trucks has emerged, vehicles which take the capacity of the standard half to one-ton trucks and add strengthened frames, more powerful engines and better cooling systems in order to handle extreme towing and hauling. GMC HD trucks are meant for professionals who require more from their vehicle than a standard pickup can provide, and they are rarely purchased as daily drivers.
This article takes a look at both the standard GMC Sierra and the HD version, which represent the best used full-size trucks the company has to offer.
2007 GMC Sierra
While the previous generation of trucks ushered in a new era of quality for GMC, the 2007 GMC Sierra provides a brand new design that takes the vehicle to a higher level of performance. By employing a chassis that is significantly stronger and stiffer than the pickup it replaces, GMC has been able to improve not only the comfort of the truck but also increase its durability. The truck's looks have also been updated to provide a more aerodynamic shape that is attractive and also helps with fuel economy.
Unsurprisingly, the 2007 GMC Sierra is available in a wide variety of different configurations. Base models of the truck start out with a 4.8 liter V8 engine that generates 295 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. While this is more than enough for regular-cab vehicles, higher trim levels of the Sierra enjoy the choice of either a 5.3 or 6.0 liter V8, with the latter generating 367 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. There is also the Denali luxury edition of the vehicle which makes use of a special edition 6.2 liter V8 that produces over 400 horsepower and is matched with a 6-speed automatic instead of the regular 4-speed automatic found in the other versions of the truck. Buyers can opt for traditional two or four-wheel drive, but the Denali comes with full-time all-wheel drive. The GMC Sierra can also tow well over 7,000 lbs.
The 2007 Sierra still offers buyers with the chance to de-content their interior to the point where it would be well suited for the easy hose-out cleaning needed on messy jobsites, but most buyers shopping for a GMC will instead take advantage of an interior package that mimics the popular Yukon SUV. The truck can be had with cruise control, power door locks, windows and mirrors, dual climate controls and power front bucket seats separated by a generous center console.
With both excellent power and top notch luxury options, the 2007 GMC Sierra is the used full-size truck of choice for those who need a hard-working pickup that can double as a comfortable daily driver.
2003 - 2007 GMC Sierra HD
While the standard line of GMC Sierras are certainly no slouches when it comes to turning in a solid day's work, there are times when truck owners need their vehicles to go above and beyond the call of duty. The GMC HD line of trucks are designed to step up and fill in where the standard pickup falls short. HD trucks make use of a number of different chassis, passenger compartment and engine configurations that are aimed at covering every possible situation where a truck could be needed.
To begin with, all HD trucks ride on a strengthened and stiffened version of the same frame that underpins the standard GMC Sierra. This allows these vehicles to handle a greater payload, up to 3,100 lbs in the truck bed, and also tow an extremely heavy trailer - 3500 HD trucks use dual rear wheels to help haul up to 16,700 lbs. These enormous capabilities are made possible through the use of engines which are oriented more towards torque than top speed. At the top of the range is a 6.6 liter turbo-diesel V8 that provides 360 horsepower and an astonishing 620 lb-ft of torque, matched with either a 5 or 6-speed automatic transmission, depending upon the vehicle year. A 6-speed manual transmission can be had as an option. Also available are two gasoline V8 engines displacing 8.1 and 6.0 liters. The larger of the two churns out 340 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, and both use a 4-speed automatic to handle gear changes. Four-wheel steering, called Quadrasteer, is available on non-dually trucks to help maneuver these heavy vehicles out of tight situations.
Large towing platforms are frequently offered with optional 4-door passenger compartments, and the 2003 - 2007 GMC Sierra HD is no exception. These vehicles can be transformed into virtual land yachts with their long wheelbase and imposing dually wheels. Interior comfort is quite good, as the HD avails itself of many of the same options found in standard Sierra pickups.
The 2003 - 2007 GMC Sierra HD is a more than capable used full-size truck that is at its best when it comes to handling the most challenging assignments.