The launch of the 2014 GMC Sierra will mark a notable next phase in the evolution of the full-size pickup in this country: When the V6-powered Sierra reaches dealerships later this year, all three of the U.S. automakers finally will be offering six-cylindered entries designed for 21st century customers. The Blue Oval was first, of course, with its highly successful Ford F-150 EcoBoost model, and the Chrysler Group opened eyes with the 2013 RAM 1500 that will be available with an eight-speed automatic transmission; Ram's upcoming clean diesel will rock six cylinders as well. And now the General is making its move with the 2014 GMC Sierra, which will boast an all-new EcoTec3 V6 that offers a best-in-class 305 lb.-ft. of torque.
Now, to be clear, the “class” is full-size pickups with standard V6 engines, so the EcoBoost and its 420 lb.-ft. of torque aren’t in the mix. But here’s how the output of GM’s EcoTec3 V6 matches up against its direct competitors:
GMC Sierra (4.3-liter V6)—285 hp, 305 lb.-ft. of torque
Ford F-150 (3.7-liter V6)—302 hp, 278 lb.-ft. of torque
Ram 1500 (3.6-liter V6)—305 hp, 269 lb.-ft. of torque
Toyota Tundra (4.0-liter V6)—270 hp, 278 lb.-ft. of torque
(Note: A V6 is not offered in the Nissan Titan; also, specs have not been released yet for the 2014 Chevy Silverado, but it will no doubt have a powertrain that matches that of its Professional Grade sibling.)
It makes for a fairly significant 9.7 percent advantage for the 2014 GMC Sierra as compared to its next closest rival, and that will outweigh any apparent horsepower deficiencies for most truck owners. After all, torque is what gets a vehicle on the move from a standing start, while horsepower has more to do with how fast it can go once it does get moving. And in pickups, it’s the former that is the key to towing capability—and the Sierra’s max tow rating of 7,200 lbs. As a result, the 2014 GMC Sierra will have a top towing mark that is “500 pounds more than the most capable Ford F-150 3.7L and 700 pounds more than a Ram 1500 3.6L,” according to the company.