If you haven’t noticed, trucks are going upscale. Premium trim levels and larger rear seating areas are in high demand as buyers transition to using a single truck for work, play, and daily life. The segment is seeing some of the highest average transaction prices in the market. It’s no surprise, then, that manufacturers have been adding premium features and technology up to the heavy duty trucks. GMC invited us to their Tow Like a Pro event at Citi Field in Flushing Meadows, NY to check out the all-new 2020 GMC Sierra HD trucks.
Debuted in Detroit back in January and arriving at dealers by the end of the month, the 2020 GMC Sierra HD is bigger and more imposing than the 2018 Sierra Denali HD we drove last winter. The new truck has a longer wheelbase, stands taller, and has a larger grille and more defined hood line. Despite the size increase, functionality has improved with a one-inch lower bed lift-in height. Combined with the new cargo bed side steps and larger corner steps in the rear bumper, it’s easier than ever to access the bed. The six-function MultiPro tailgate, debuted on the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali, is also available across the lineup. It opens several ways and converts to a bed extender or large entry step to make every cargo situation simpler to handle. A 2020 Sierra Denali Carbon Pro light duty was on hand for us to see the carbon composite bed. This bed is stronger and more durable than metal and can take a beating (with a bat) without denting.
In addition to the functional improvements, the 2020 Sierra HD introduces technology and features to the heavy duty segment to make it easier to live and work with on a daily basis. Have you ever struggled with trying to test your trailer lights by yourself? The Sierra Denali HD now features a lighting test mode and pre-departure checklist so you can head out onto the road with confidence. The Seirra HD is also the first heavy duty truck to feature a heads-up display and GM’s second-generation rear camera mirror. Originally debuted on the Cadillac CT6, this second-gen camera mirror has higher definition and can be zoomed in and panned up and down to accommodate driver preference. Finally, the Sierra HD has the segment’s first automatic 4WD transfer case. This Auto 4×4 feature is a staple of light duty trucks, and we’re glad to be able to set it and forget it in the HD class.
When equipped with a compatible trailer and a few optional extra cameras, the Sierra Denali HD also provides an unprecedented 15 unique camera angles for every situation. Being able to see a full 360 degrees around both the truck and trailer make navigating tight areas a breeze. There’s even an “invisible trailer” feature using one of those extra camera to provide a clear view rearward when the trailer would normally block your sight line. The downward angles are also great for parallel parking or crawling down an off-road trail.
We didn’t get a huge amount of wheel-time in real-world conditions, so we’ll leave driving impressions for another day. But we did get to tow almost 12,000lbs, which is a hefty load for any truck. We got a peek at what we were towing thanks to an in-trailer camera. Today’s cargo was the 2020 GMC Canyon AT4. Expect to hear more about that truck next Spring as GMC continues to expand its AT4 premium off-road sub brand. But the Sierra HD’s 6.6L Duramax diesel engine and all-new 10-speed Allison transmission didn’t even flinch. It’s no wonder the HD is rated to tow a ludicrous 35,500 lbs when properly equipped.
With features that improve daily comfort and technology to make it safer to haul, life with a heavy duty truck will be easier with the 2020 GMC Sierra HD. Expect for a week-long test in real-world conditions and driving impressions to follow within the next month or so. We can’t wait to spend more time with the big new brute.