In one of the bigger unveil events of the year, General Motor's GMC premium truck and SUV brand has just revealed its new 2020 GMC Sierra HD. The heavy-duty, full-size pickup is touted as "the crown jewel of the GMC lineup" and the model that most lives up to the brand's "Professional Grade" motto, so it's important that they get it right with this new generation.
Let's cut right to the most important detail you need to know about the 2020 GMC Sierra HD: when properly equipped, it has an estimated towing capacity in excess of 30,000 pounds. If you could find a trailer big enough to carry an F-250 Super Duty, a Nissan Titan XD and the previous generation Sierra HD, this new 2020 Sierra HD could tow 'em all. That's like two African elephants (or 3,000 cats) worth of mass; we're talking serious pulling power.
Towing and tech
That towing prowess is made possible by a larger, beefier frame, a new 10-speed Allison automatic transmission -- the first 10-speed in this heavy-duty pickup class -- and GMC's 6.6-liter Duramax turbo diesel. Thanks to improved breathing and cooling, the Duramax is now good for 445 horsepower and a whopping 910 pound-feet of torque, which can be put to the road with better control thanks to the transmission's close-spaced gear ratios.
Towing, you may have guessed, is a big reason people consider heavy-duty pickups, so GMC has loaded the Sierra HD with a laundry list of trailering technologies and electronic traction and stability control acronyms and even integrations with the ProGrade Trailering System's in-vehicle Trailering App.
I'm most impressed, however, by the new camera-based trailering technologies. The Sierra HD boasts a ridiculous 15 selectable camera views and a class-first Rear Camera Mirror that allow the driver to get the best view of the road around the large pickup and its payload. None of those 15 views is more impressive than the "Transparent Trailer" mode that stitches together views from two tailgate cameras and an accessory remote camera mounted at the back of the trailer to make the trailer appear invisible when viewed through the dashboard display. It's like your very own x-ray machine that lets you see through the trailer you're towing.
Easier to work and live with
Aesthetically, the Sierra HD is looking pretty good, leading off with a grille and headlamp design that's much less… divisive than its recently debuted cousin, the Chevrolet Silverado HD. The Sierra HD's C-shaped LED light signature doesn't differ too much from the standard-scale Sierra, but its grille is significantly beefier.
That grille isn't the only thing that's larger. The 2020 Sierra HD is longer with a taller hoodline than the 2019 model, which gives it a more imposing look. However, GMC has designed the Sierra HD to be more approachable and easier to live with, thanks to details like a 1-inch lower bed height that makes for easier loading.
GMC also brings itsto the HD party. This soft-opening tailgate has a smaller tailgate nested within it that allows a total of six functions including full-open, half-open, easy access, step-up and extended loading modes. The bed also features box steps on all sides, 12 tie-down points and an available in-bed 120-volt outlet.
Inside, the Sierra's dashboard is home to the familiar GMC Infotainment System -- a dark reskin of General Motors' MyLink/IntelliLink software -- featuring snappy navigation, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Like other Sierra and Silverado models, the Sierra HD will also feature available USB-A and USB-C ports, 120-volt outlets and available wireless charging to keep any devices onboard juiced up.
Denali and AT4
GMC tells us that more than half of the Sierras it sells are the pricier, premium Denali trim level. So, the 2020 Sierra HD will step up its game to appeal to those buyers with premium leather seating, open-pore real wood trim and dark-finish aluminum details.
New for 2020 is an off-road focused AT4 trim level that matches trail-busting capability with the Sierra HD's heavy-duty capacities. The Sierra HD AT4 will feature an off-road suspension with Rancho Shocks, an Eaton locking rear differential, skid plates and, of course, bright red tow hooks. The rubber meets the dirt road at 18-inch wheels -- or optional 20s -- wrapped in Michelin all-terrain tires.
In addition to the hardware, the AT4 will also get a special off-road software setting for its Traction Select System with hill descent control and hill start assist features. The Sierra's 15-inch head-up display gets augmented with an off-road inclinometer that shows how severely you're ascending or descending at a glance and a standard surround-vision camera helps the driver spot the vehicle's surroundings on tight trails.
The 2020 Sierra HD goes on sale later this year in 2500HD and 3500HD dually and single rear wheel configurations. Pricing, packaging and more complete specifications will be announced later closer to launch.