When we announced our 2014 Truck of the Year, loyal GM truckers lobbed some epic epithets our way. "Idiots! The Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra are way newer and more changed than the Ram -- how could you morons possibly do this?!" Well, we're not here to re-litigate that argument, but it seemed like the least we could do was to invite this exceptionally worthy ToTY runner-up to stay for a year and see how we like it. In fact, we'll be able to compare things gone right and wrong, costs of ownership, and so forth with our ToTY long-term Ram, though the two will not exactly be living the same lifestyle.

No, while the Ram predominantly enjoys sunshine and temperatures modulating between 50 and 90 degrees in the City of Angels, our Detroit-based GMC Sierra has probably already enjoyed more winter remote starts than it has key-twist ignitions. It has also survived a couple polar vortexes with deeply sub-zero temps, and it's trudged through and around snow piles the size of grizzly bears. Between new-engine break-in and seasonally rising temperatures, we expect a dramatic improvement in our observed fuel economy in the coming months.

When spec'ing out our GMC Sierra, we showed little restraint, reaching for the very top model offered: a Denali Crew Cab 4x4 with the 6.5-foot bed and chromed dub-deuce (22-inch, $2295) wheels. We managed to resist the hotrod 6.2-liter engine, and ordered only one other option, the sensible $230 trailer-brake controller. Our price out the door: just $54,585. Our opinion so far? Worth it! This 7200-pound GVWR rig has proven unstoppable. Driven sensibly on snow and ice, it has yet to put a wheel wrong, or to slip or slide an inch, while the IntelliLink telematics system has kept us apprised of the latest travel advisories via the big, bright 8-inch color touch screen.

Sometime after temperatures stabilize at short-sleeve levels, we'll conduct our regular battery of performance tests and we might also try running several tanks of E85 through our flex-fueler's digestive tract to see how it affects the truck's performance and operating costs. We promise to use this show horse as a workhorse on trips long and short and to report on what all goes right and wrong. And maybe if we're really lucky, we'll get to take it to the Sierras -- or to Denali!


2014 GMC Sierra Denali (1500 4WD Crew Cab)
BASE PRICE $51,360
AS TESTED PRICE $54,585
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
ENGINE 5.3L/355-hp/383-lb-ft* OHV 16-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT 5450 lb (estimated)
WHEELBASE 153.0 in
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 239.0 x 80.0 x 73.8 in
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 16/22/18 (gas), 12/16/13 (E85) mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 211/153 (gas), 200/150 (E85) kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.06 (gas), 1.01 (E85) lb/mile
*SAE certified gasoline output, E85 output: 380 hp/416 lb-ft