Whether it is bringing home a new project for the backyard or to take new material to the jobsite, a good pickup truck must be there to get the job done.
You know that I love a good pickup truck.
A good pickup truck must be easy to drive, powerful enough to do a few big tasks, and comfortable enough to bring some friends on a good day trip. Did I mention that it should be fun to have around.
Granted, a pickup truck was born to do some work. Whether it is bringing home a new project for the backyard or to take new material to the jobsite, a good pickup truck must be there to get the job done.
This is exactly the description of the 2024 GMC Sierra 1500 I just sampled recently.
It is always a treat to ger behind the wheel of one of General Motors’ full-size half ton pickup trucks. It Is also a rare occasion these days, considering how many Fords, RAMs, and Toyotas I worked with these past few years.
What makes this particular GMC Sierra 1500 a treat is what I actually worked with. Granted, one could easily do a story based on the Denali Ultimate or the AT4X – both very important trim levels that tell the Sierra 1500’s story. However, I was able to take out for a spin a humbler version of this popular pickup truck.
I would not say that the Elevation trim is “third from bottom.” That’s not how GMC wants to promote this model. Rather, the Elevation trim is a value-packed pickup truck that has its own personality and delivers on the promise of being something more than just a work truck.
In fact, one would find the Elevation model a comfortable pickup truck. One that could accommodate six passengers. The front seat is a split bench with the center portion attached to the passenger side. The center backrest folds up with a third seat belt for that extra passenger up front. If that seat is not used, then it folds down for an armrest, cupholders, and additional stowage.
The cloth upholstery is comfortable and supportive. I would sit behind the wheel for hours, if I had the chance. Overall cab space is superb, with a lot of room on the rear seating area. The seats themselves are also comfortable for longer journeys, as well.
The other part of this value proposition is what lies underneath the hood. Normally, a V8 engine would reside there. Not on this tester. This is the first year the turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine has a name. GMC calls it the TurboMax.
The TurboMax’s numbers are impressive. We’re talking 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. These are numbers one does not associate with a four-cylinder engine – turbocharged or not. It is an impressive piece of engineering that delivers performance normally associated with a small V8 – or a small twin-turbocharged V6 engine – in a half-ton full-size pickup truck.
Rounding out this tester’s driveline is an eight-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel drive system with a two-speed transfer case. This configuration is rated for a maximum payload of 2,120 pounds with a maximum towing rating of 9,200 pounds.
The Elevation’s feature list is far from “base” (or, as GMC calls it “Pro”). You do get wireless smartphone mirroring connected to a 13.4-inch infotainment touchscreen system. A standard set of speakers emits sound throughout the cavernous cab.
Instrumentation is available on a 12.3-inch fully digital customizable screen. It’s a great looking screen, except that I wished the tilt steering wheel was adjustable for even taller people – especially those of us who are comfortably sitting tall behind the wheel.
What is it like to drive a turbocharged four-cylinder full-sized pickup truck that is far from one of the more luxurious and desirable trim levels? For starters…very nicely, thank you.
The TurboMax puts down the power with a pulse that encourages you to drive it at any speed. Highway speeds are simply no problem. Acceleration was great – no hesitation from the throttle whatsoever!
One thing to note is the fuel economy. The Environmental Protection Agency tested the TurboMax in the four-wheel drive configuration for a combined loop an average of 17 MPG. That’s not bad, but I have earned better fuel consumption with a V8. Maybe if I had more time, I could get a better rating.
The GMC Sierra 1500 does not sport a fancy suspension. Yet, it rode extremely well and absorbed rougher sections of road like a champ. Handling was good, as maneuverability was easy yielding minimal roll and lean.
The steering system was fine. It exhibited a decent on-center feel despite a larger turning radius. Braking power was good was well as the feel from pedal. Stops were solid in normal, panic, and wet situations. No need to pre-brake from a normal speed.
Our Elevation tester came in a Crew Cab with a 5-1/2-foot box – a common configuration these days. GMC adds a blacked-out grille with similarly finished 20-inch alloy wheels to finish up the Elevation’s appearance package. The Corner Step bumper is your way up into the box, along with a conventional tailgate.
The Elevation trim level is among one of eight for the 2024 GMC Sierra 1500. You can choose from five cab/box configurations, four engines, and either rear drive or four-wheel drive. This tester came with a sticker price of $58,660. The Sierra 1500 lineup starts from $39,695.
Funny how the price of America’s most popular type of vehicle had skyrocketed since before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Of course, supply chain issues causing production and inventory challenges had plenty to do with the rise in cost of the automobile. Now that things are returning back to a new normal, we’ve already crossed the point of no return in regard to vehicular affordability.
Which is why one should be smart in terms of matching needs over wants when shopping for a vehicle – in particular a half-ton full-size pickup truck. If you ask me, this specific 2024 Sierra 1500 Elevation gives you exactly what you need with plenty of features that you want. You might even get one with incentives and discounts to a more relatively reasonable price.
There is one thing I took away from this particular 2024 GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation. I just loved the experience I had with it. So much that I considered even bringing it home for a longer stint. Sadly, my workflow has been overflowing lately. Maybe some other time, GMC…
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Walser Buick-GMC, Roseville, Minnesota
All photos by Randy Stern