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Best of 2019 GMC

What to Buy and What to Stay Away From When it Comes to GMC in 2019

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali front 3/4 view

The GMC division has always relied on platform sharing with the General Motors’ volume brand Chevrolet. This model remains in place today as the GMC soars towards new heights. Unlike the Chevy whose lineup offers a vehicle from almost every segment imaginable, the GMC relies mostly on trucks and utility vehicles to survive. In recent years they’ve expanded to the increasingly popular crossover segment which complements their traditional lineup of body-on-frame SUVs. The GMC brand has marketed a total of 560,687 vehicles in the U.S. and additional 99,508 units in Canada during 2017. This is one of the best years in the automaker’s history which is now well on its way to reach the 2004 production when the brand sold 581,684 in the U.S. alone. What’s more, the GM division’s luxury Denali lineup amounted to 29 percent of total sales during 2017. The 2019 GMC lineup will sport no additions, but we’ll dissect it regardless.

The biggest news for the GMC in 2019 is the all-new Sierra 1500 half-ton full-size truck. Like its Chevrolet Silverado 1500 sibling, the Sierra 1500 too has slightly grown in size while simultaneously shedding some weight in the process. Moreover, the GMC version of the General Motors’ full-size truck offers something its Chevy sibling won’t, but more on that later. The rest of the GMC lineup for MY 2019 is mostly carried over, although both of GMC crossover SUVs have been revamped recently, while the current-generation full-size Yukon SUV and mid-size Canyon pickup trace their roots to MY 2015. Last but not least, a large chunk of the GMC sales falls on the Savana passenger and cargo vans. The Savana vans found 29,679 new owners in 2017 which is a staggering 44 percent increase compared to 2016. Here’s what the new GMC models have to offer in 2019.

What’s Hot In the New 2019 GMC Lineup

02. 2019 Sierra 1500

The fourth-generation GMC Sierra 1500 is restyled, larger in pretty much every dimension, and 360 pounds lighter than its predecessor. The full-size pickup truck dons a more contemporary frontal fascia with a new headlight, foglight, and bumper design, complemented by a larger grille and taller hood. The interior has also been restyled and enlarged, while a list of available features now includes an 8-inch touch screen display, a surround-view camera, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alerts, a pedestrian detection system, and a lane departure warning. Despite being virtually a clone to the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, the new GMC Sierra 1500 offers something its more popular sibling doesn’t. The all-new CarbonPro bed constructed out of integrated carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The revolutionary bed will be 62 pounds lighter than the conventional steel box, while also offering better protection from scratches, dents, and corrosion. In addition, the intelligent MultiPro tailgate offers no less than six different functions in order to minimize the loading effort.

The 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 will initially be offered with no less than four different engine choices. A familiar duo of revised 5.3L and 6.2L gasoline V8 units will be carried over from the outgoing model. They will sport a new stop/start technology and Dynamic Fuel Management system which will enable them to run on any number of cylinders depending on necessity. The all-new 3.0L turbo-diesel inline-six will be responsible for fuel economy and towing alike, and will be mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The larger of the two gasoline V8s will also pair to a contemporary 10-speed gearbox, while the smaller continues with an 8-speed auto. Finally, the GM also decided to offer a turbocharged 2.7L 4-cylinder engine, making 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque, in both of its full-size trucks. When it comes to Sierra, the four banger will be tied to an 8-speed auto, and be exclusively available with the Elevation models – a trim level that’s otherwise only an appearance package. The new Sierra Elevation will be available with the optional X31 off-road package, though. That way, the half-ton truck will sport a set of upgrades which includes a locking rear differential, upgraded shocks, bolstered skid plates, dual exhausts, and all-terrain tires among others.

Speaking of off-roading, GM has finally taken a step forward and offered their second best-selling pickup truck in an official off-road guise. Enter the first-ever Sierra AT4 – hopefully a future badge for many GMC vehicles and many years to come. Although not technically a fully-fledged off-road truck like the Ford F-150 Raptor, the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 still offers 2 extra inches of ground clearance and Bridgestone Dueler A/T tires wrapped around 20-inch wheels. Apart from a blacked-out chrome grille, the AT4 is otherwise identical to the range-topping Sierra Denali. However, it’s 129 pounds lighter and some $2,000 less expensive than its Sierra Denali counterpart. At around $65,000, though, the Sierra AT4 is anything but a cheap workhorse. Especially considering it’s lacking a number of key features it’s competitors offer for similar value – namely adaptive cruise control. It’s a step in the right direction, but there’s still work to be done.

01. 2019 Terrain

The compact Terrain was updated in early 2017 and went into production during the Summer of the same year as a 2018 model. The GMC Terrain doesn’t offer any substantial changes for MY 2019, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less attractive. It’s a stylish, well-built crossover SUV with quiet and comfortable ride and surprisingly good driving dynamics. The Terrain also offers more passenger space than most of its competitors, and more upscale trim even in entry-level models, but it also costs more. Prices start at just under $26,000 for the base SL models with front-wheel-drive and go all the way to $40,000 for the top Denali trim in all-wheel-drive configuration. Considering most of the advanced electronic safety gear needs to be ordered separately, the entry-level price tag can hardly be justified.

The 2019 GMC Terrain offers no less than three different turbocharged 4-cylinder engines which is more than most compacts do. Most models are offered with a standard 1.5L four banger that makes 170 horsepower 203 lb-ft of torque. A larger and more powerful 2.0L turbo four is optional across the mid-range models and standard with the range-topping Denali. It develops a much healthier 253 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Both are paired with a 9-speed automatic gearbox. Last but not least is a 1.6L turbo-diesel inline-four which generates 137 ponies and 240 lb-ft of torque. It’s slow, not as refined as petrol options, more expensive, and paired with an older 6-speed automatic, but it returns the best figures when it comes to fuel economy. 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway to be more precise. On the other hand, the larger petrol unit can tow up to 3,500 pounds, whereas the remaining two can pull only 1,500 lbs.

What’s Not In the New 2019 GMC Lineup

04. 2019 Acadia

Redesigned for early MY 2017, The mid-size Acadia is one of only two GMC models that’s managed to record an increase in total sales during 2017 (the other one being the Savana van). A total of 111,726 U.S. buyers flocked to buy then-freshly redesigned Acadia which is a 26 percent increase compared to 2016, when 88,466 people bought the all-around crossover SUV. The new Acadia doesn’t only tackle different types of roads with almost equal fervor, but offers a contemporary cabin environment with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, ans 4G LTE connectivity all standard. The family favorite three-row crossover, however, isn’t large enough for the third row to be comfortable. A lack of room carries over to the cargo area as well which means the Acadia owners will have to choose between the two. Then again, the second-generation Acadia is almost a full 7.5 inches shorter than its predecessor, so we can’t be too harsh on it.

The 2019 GMC Acadia is available with a couple of traditional powertrain choices. A smaller 2.4L 4-cylinder with 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque is supposed to be the efficient one. Only thing – at 21 mpg in the city and 25/26 mpg on the highway (depending on choice of FWD or AWD) – it isn’t. Nor is quite powerful enough for modern American family’s tastes. Especially under a full load of the entire seven passengers. An optional 3.6L V6 rectifies the inline-four’s lack of power by developing 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, it deteriorates the fuel economy even further by returning only 17/18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Both options are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Despite being the brand’s second best-selling vehicle behind the Sierra, it’s evident that the Acadia is quickly losing ground when compared to its alternatives on the market. Especially when starting price that’s just under $30,000 and expensive advanced safety gear get taken into account. The GM will likely update the Acadia sometime during 2020, so sitting out on MY 2019 is not a bad idea.

03. 2019 Yukon / Yukon XL

The Chevy Tahoe clone within the GMC lineup enters yet another year without any major changes. The full-size old school SUV has been available since early 2014, and only the addition of the Graphite special edition stands out for MY 2019. The 2019 Yukon Graphite Edition can be ordered in either Onyx Black, Dark Sky Metallic, or White Frost Tintcoat colors, and adds unique grille and trim inserts. Other than that, the new Griphite Edition is practically based on the mid-level SLT grade, and can be ordered in both the standard and long-wheelbase XL guise. The body-on-frame SUV still guzzles fuel like there’s no tomorrow, costs almost $50,000 with basic package, and drives in accordance to its size and weight. On the other hand, the 2019 GMC Yukon is well-built and refined (especially in the top Denali trim), quite powerful, and spacious. Although not as spacious as you might have expected with a standard wheelbase.

All Yukon models except the range-topping Denali are offered with a 5.3L V8 mill that’s good enough for 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The engine’s tied to a 6-speed automatic and comes in either a rear or optional all-wheel-drive configuration. Opt for the expensive Denali upgrade and you’ll get an even more powerful 6.2L V8 that cranks up 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Not only that, but you’ll also receive a fresh 10-speed automatic gearbox. Before the Graphite Edition, this was the only way to get the more powerful powertrain, but, as you might have guessed, the aforementioned package doesn’t only serve as an appearance upgrade. It also pairs as a performance package. Needless to say, the Yukon Denali’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension is also a part of the deal.

02. 2019 Canyon

Not that long ago, the GMC Canyon and its stablemate Chevy Colorado stood shoulder to shoulder as the best mid-size pickup trucks on the market. They singlehandedly revived the compact truck segment after years of neglect, and for that feat alone, they deserve a fair share of credit. Fast forward five years and the competition will naturally catch up. Unfortunately for the GM’s Canyonado duo, they’ve also surpassed them in most categories. Not that the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado are bad trucks. Far from it! They’re capable, affordable, and versatile, but they’re also dying for an update. An update that’s apparently not going to happen in 2019. Moreover, they’re both somewhat light on advanced safety equipment. Other than that, the GMC Canyon is arguably as good a choice as any other mid-size pickup truck currently available on the market.

One of the GMC Canyon’s strong suites is its colorful array of available powertrains. An entry-level spot is reserved for a 2.5L 4-cylinder mill that puts up 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque and comes either with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a corresponding automatic counterpart. Most Canyons will, however, be ordered with a 3.6L V6 that’s good enough for 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, and pairs with an 8-speed automatic. Finally, the upper echelon GMC Canyons can also be ordered with an optional 2.8L turbo-diesel 4-cylinder rated at 186 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Like the petrol 4-cylinder, it too routes power to the wheels via a 6-speed automatic tranny. The diesel-equipped GMC Canyon is capable of towing up to 7,700 pounds, whereas the V6-powered units can tow a total of 7,000 lbs.

01. 2019 Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD

Unlike their half-ton sibling the Sierra 1500, the heavy-duty iterations of the GMC’s best-selling vehicle still haven’t gone through a major overhaul for MY 2019. Instead, they’ll likely follow suit in 2020 or 2021. Again, like it was the case with the Canyon, the heavy-duty three-quarter ton and one-ton Sierras only appear in the bottom part of this list due to the aforementioned reason. This has nothing to do with their capabilities which are superlative. However, considering all the recently redesigned half-ton trucks (read Silverado, Sierra, and Ram) now boast larger towing capacities, it’s evident the non-upgraded heavy-duty rigs are at a disadvantage. Until the next-gen Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD arrive, the current models will only have the new Ford super-duty trucks to fear from since only the Blue Oval had actually stepped ahead and fully redesigned their pickup truck lineup.

Like before, the heavy-duty GMC Sierra lineup offers a duo of powerful and capable engines. A 360-horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque 6.0L V8 is standard across the board, whereas a 6.6L Duramax diesel V8 comes at additional $9,000. The latter churns out as much as 445 horsepower and a whopping 910 pound-feet of torque. It also comes with a special 6-speed Allison automatic transmission that’s optional with the gasoline powertrain. Properly equipped, the GMC Sierra 2500HD can pull up to 18,100 pounds whereas its payload amounts to 3,534 lbs. The even more capable GMC Sierra 3500HD can tow up to 23,300 pounds of trailer and 7,153 pounds of bed payload. Both the Ram and Ford HD trucks are much better in that regard, and it’ll be interesting to see the GM’s inevitable response.

About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!