Testing the GMC Sierra 2500 four-door pickup

Testing the GMC Sierra 2500 four-door pickup

Burch, Monte

Nothing beats a four-door pickup truck. I discovered that testing the GMC Sierra 2500 extended– cab pickup last summer. For example, the driver doesn’t have to circle around to the passenger’s side to reach the back seat as with a three-door truck. With four doors, you can easily get in and out from either side.

Since the Sierra’s basic design already included strong door frames and body structure, the optional fourth door was added with few design changes and only 56 lbs. of additional weight. Normally, when another door is added, the chances for vibration and noise increase. However, the GMC Sierra’s high torsional rigidity/low NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) characteristics effectively eliminate those concerns.

The rear doors aren’t small either, so you won’t have to shoehorn your line– backer buddies in the back seat. The Sierra extended-cab rear door openings are the largest in full-size pickups. Dimensions include a generous 38.8″ width between fully opened door pillars both front and rear, a 44.5″ opening height from roof to rocker panels and a 66″ length of opening from the front A-pillar to the rear C-pillar. Bulky items such as gun cases, bow cases and fishing rods-hard items to maneuver through small back doors-proved no problem for the four-door Sierra.

In 1999, the Sierra was redesigned from the ground up. At the same time, power of the Vortec V8 engines was increased. The 2000 model I tried was a four-wheel-drive, Sierra 2500 four-door with the Vortec 6000 V8 SFI (sequential fuel injection) gas engine rated at 300 horsepower at 4,800 r.p.m. and 355 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 r.p.m. With its four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, the 2500 model I tested is big enough to handle most recreational hauling or towing chores as many full-size travel trailers are rated well below the Sierra’s towing capacity. For added heavy hauling/trailering capability, the Sierra also features an exclusive, “Tow/Haul” mode built into the automatic transmission. Selecting the “Tow/Haul” mode changes shift patterns to prevent “shift busyness” when climbing hilly terrain and reduces heat buildup in the transmission, thus improving performance and durability. Additional options on the model tested included a heavy-duty trailering group and a locking rear differential.

With 300 horsepower on tap, acceleration of the Sierra is extremely quick, especially in the mid-range area. I found handling of the vehicle superb for a full– size truck. The ride is solid with no rigid bounce just an extremely comfortable, up-high feeling that provides good visibility and a sense of safety. The independent front suspension does an exceptional job of “picking its way” through rough terrain as I discovered in a bit of Ozarks rough-road testing. The off– road feeling was one of good stability provided by the two-stage rear leaf spring suspension and wide track.

Sierra offers several optional suspension packages including an Adjustable Electronic Ride Control, which allows the driver to select shock damping rates using a switch on the instrument panel with settings for either a smooth road or heavy trailering/hauling.

Four-wheel, anti-lock, disc brakes are standard on all Sierra models-another GM exclusive. The Sierra features the largest discs, pads and calipers on extended-cab models for quicker stops. Pads are also designed to last up to four times longer than previous pads.

More security and convenience have also been built into the new Sierra models. Standard automatic locking/unlocking doors are a new feature. You can program the system to lock automatically when the truck reaches 15 m.p.h., automatically unlock when you stop and remove the keys-or both. You can also program the system to unlock either the driver’s door only or all the doors.

A redesign of the illuminated entry feature has the interior lights activated only by remote keyless entry, as opposed to coming on each time the door handle is lifted. That provides more vehicle security by shielding the contents of the cab at night from potential thieves. Hunters should appreciate it also as cab lights are often unwelcome when unpacking gear in the pre-dawn darkness. Lighting systems include daytime running lamps, automatic headlamps and a cargo bed lamp that operates independently from the interior lights. Tail lamps on the wide side cargo box feature a three-tier integrated unit with amber turn signals that stand out clearly from the brake lamp.

Interior comfort is tops with the best in class front headroom and rear leg room. The rear seat in the extended cab is angled 18 degrees for more comfort. My wife and I both liked the 40/20/40 bench front seat arrangement with three-across seating. A fold-down console in the center seat area provides an armrest for both driver and passenger, as well as lots of storage space. Pull-out cup holders on the dash are large enough to handle the biggest cups offered by convenience stores. Another feature we liked was the wide storage shelf on the passenger side with a molded lip that retains items placed upon it.

The front seats feature seat-mounted safety belts on the outboard positions that move with the seats to provide increased comfort and better access to the rear seat. Also, the grab handles for both front and rear seats are convenient and sturdy. That’s something that has become a more significant factor as I’ve gotten older.

An extremely rigid squeak- and rattle-resistant instrument panel features a cluster with easy to read, well placed analog gauges including speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, water temperature and a unique readout for the odometer and transmission selection indicator. Another feature I liked was the clearly visible location of the 4WD status panel on the driver’s left-hand side. The panel features instant push-button switching between 2WD, 4WD and Autotrac. The Autotrac system automatically engages the front axle whenever it detects rear-wheel slippage. As most long-time 4WD users know, by the time you manually shift to 4WD, you may already be in trouble.

The gray metallic finish on the test model is an attention Better, and the optional, soft black tonneau cover, which provides excellent protection for shooting supplies and range equipment, also looks great.

The new Sierra 2500 offers numerous standard features, along with numerous optional features that allow it to be customized for nearly any taste or task.

GMC 2500 Four-Door

Model tested: GMC Sierra 2500 4WD, four– door, extended cab pickup with short bed

Engine: Vortec 6000, V8 SFI gasoline Displacement (cu.-in./cc): 364/5,967

Horsepower: 300 at 4,800 r.p.m.

Torque: 355 ft.-lbs. at 4,800 r.p.m.

Transmission: four-speed automatic with tow mode

Fuel Capacity: 26 gallons

Base Payload: 1,680 lbs.

Maximum Towing Capacity: 8,300 lbs. wheel Base: 143.5″

Size: 227.7″ long, 78.5″ wide, 73.9″ high

Standard Vehicle Price: 530.256.

Options on test vehicle: Convenience Plus Group with power-operated driver and passenger seats, electrochromic rearview interior mirror, and active transfer case.

Other options included: heavy-duty trailering equipment, locking rear differential, tonneau cover, electric rear window defogger, front fog lamps, deep-tinted glass, wideside body, polished aluminum wheels, 40/20/40 split-bench seat and AM/FM stereo with CD player.

SLE decor package included: power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, and chrome grille and rear bumper.

Total with options, less destination charges: $32,668.

Copyright National Rifle Association of America Nov/Dec 2000

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved