Sierra Trailering Tech Enhances Safety and Performance

Sierra Trailering Tech Enhances Safety and Performance

Advanced systems complement class-leading trailering capability






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DETROIT – Six in 10 full-size pickup owners use their trucks for trailering, according to General Motors’ survey data. Along with class-leading trailing capacities, the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra 1500, offers that majority of customers a full suite of trailering technologies that aid everything from acceleration to safety and braking.

“When it comes to trucks, trailering is an essential capability that our customers invest in and depend on for work and play,” said Marc Comeau, vice president of sales, service and marketing for GMC in Canada. “The new 2014 Sierra delivers unmatched capability and a long list of advanced technology, including the Ecotec3 family of engines and GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system.”

Before the 2014 Sierra is even in motion, systems are monitoring conditions and preparing the truck to perform. On any grade of about 5 percent or higher, Hill Start Assist automatically engages the Sierra’s brakes for 1.5 seconds or until the gas pedal is pressed. This keeps the truck from rolling rearward and helps in trailering situations like climbing a boat launch.

Tow/Haul mode, activated by a button on the shift lever, modifies the standard six-speed transmission’s shift mapping to take full advantage of the Sierra’s powerful new EcoTec3 engines. Under acceleration, shift points are higher for more power, while downshifts are initiated earlier to promote engine braking, reducing wear on the Sierra’s disc brakes.

With Tow/Haul mode engaged, Sierra’s Trailer Grade Braking is activated when the driver lightly applies the brakes. This feature initiates downshifts to assist with braking on long downgrades. In addition to slowing the vehicle more efficiently, Auto Grade Braking can reduce brake rotor temperatures by 100 degrees Celsius during a braking event.

For drivers who prefer full control over their truck’s shifting, improved TapShift controls on the shift lever are backed by a patent-pending shift algorithm that improves shift response time by up to 60 percent compared to previous systems. When the TapShift controls are in use, Sierra’s Trailer Grade Braking is deactivated because the driver is manually controlling gearshifts.

Trailer Sway Control works with the Sierra’s standard StabiliTrak to provide the driver with additional assistance when towing a trailer. When it senses trailer sway, it intervenes with braking and/or reduced engine power to bring the trailer under control and keep it on its intended path. It also uses the electric trailer brakes when a trailer is plugged into the standard wiring harness of the truck. 

Sierra owners can also fine tune a trailer’s braking performance right from the driver’s seat. With an available high-mounted Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, the driver can adjust gain – the level of output to the electric trailer brakes – via buttons to the left of the steering wheel. System information is displayed in the Driver Information Center on the instrument cluster.

The Trailer Brake Controller allows owners to quickly modify trailer braking force based on the weight of a trailer. For example, a driver delivering heavy building supplies could adjust the controller to lower trailer gain for an empty trailer on the return trip, minimizing the chance of trailer wheel lock-up.

The 2014 Sierra’s optional Max Trailering Package will allow trailering up to a class-leading 12,000 pounds (5,443 kg) with the optional 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8 engine. The Max Trailering Package will be available on 2WD and 4WD V-8 crew cab and double cab models and includes:

  • Trailering package with seven-pin and four-pin connector
  • Enhanced cooling
  • Automatic locking rear differential
  • Heavy-duty 9.75-inch rear axle with 3.73 ratio
  • Increased-capacity rear leaf springs
  • Revised shock tuning for increased control
  • Integrated trailer brake controller.

Sierra’s 5.3L EcoTec3 V-8 offers maximum trailering of 11,500 pounds (5,216 kg), more than any competitor. Sierra’s 4.3L EcoTec3 V-6 can trailer up to 7,200 pounds (3,265 kg), 500 pounds (226 kg) more than a Ford F-150 3.7L pickup and 700 pounds (317 kg) more than a Ram 1500 3.6L.

GMC has manufactured trucks since 1902, and is one of the industry’s healthiest brands. Innovation and engineering excellence is built into all GMC vehicles and the brand is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. The 2014 Sierra half-ton pickup boasts all-new powertrains and design, and the Sierra Heavy Duty pickups are the most capable and powerful trucks ever built by GMC. Every retail GMC model, including Yukon and Yukon XL full-size SUVs, is now available in Denali luxury trim. Details on all GMC models are available at, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at