As much as Prius drivers claim moral high ground when it comes to getting around town on a whiff of gasoline, the fact of the matter is that people still like trucks. Big ones. And not just in Texas. And not just for contractors.
Indeed, there are many people who just like big pickups, and for them there may be none better than the 2014 GMC Sierra. Along with its twin, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado (which, to be fair, is just as slick), the Sierra wears square-jawed styling that is both butcher and classier than ever. A little extra glitz comes via LEDs above and below the big headlights, while massive chrome wheels are available to fill the wheelwells. Seriously, this is a truck that brandishes its gleaming, chrome-grilled hugeness with chest-thumping pride.
Now, given that not everyone is keen on brazen displays of bling and bravado these days, I didn’t know what reaction to my silver SLT test truck was going to be like during the week I had it, but without exception, people loved it—especially after they climbed inside. The heated and cooled seats inside were covered in supple brown leather, with a stitched dashtop and huge swathes of real aluminum contributing a sense of richness once reserved for Cadillacs. Lighting is all provided by LEDs, while the center screen presents its many controls in an app-like arrangement not unlike your iPad. Bluetooth is included, of course, as are two household power plugs and no fewer than five (yes, five) USB ports to plug in and charge your gadgets. This is one luxe rig.
The sense of luxury continues on the road, with cabin tranquility rivaling that of Lexus’s big LX570 SuperUte. The engine is quiet (too quiet, perhaps), while brilliant aero tuning allows utterly zero wind noise in, even at high speeds. Steering is accurate, though the brakes and accelerator both feel spongy and rather unresponsive. Also, as a full-size truck (a 4X4 in the case of my tester), the Sierra does retain a bit of bounce over the road, though hardly enough to rattle the fillings out of your mouth. At least parking is a cinch, thanks to front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera. And even with its big V-8, fuel economy is more akin to crossovers than big trucks, with EPA ratings of 16 city/22 highway and 18 overall.
While this truck’s $49,710 out-the-door price may sting (base for a 4X4 SLT Crew Cab is $43,125), consider that it also came with forward collision warning, OnStar, land departure warning (handy on a truck this high and wide), a moonroof, powerful Bose audio and even a heated steering wheel. Overall, it convinced me that, greenies be damned, trucks are more awesome than ever. Long live the big Amurrrrican pickup!
2015 BMW i8: The High-Style Hybrid
Taking the Frankfurt Auto Show by storm earlier this month was BMW’s much-anticipated i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, this time in full-fledged production trim. What you see here is exactly what BMW will sell starting next year as a 2015 model—butterfly doors, radically disjointed body panels and all. A turbocharged gas engine powers the rear wheels, while an electric motor powers the fronts; together they help the i8 scoot to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. With prices starting at about $138,000, you’re gonna have to bring some green to go green.