What's New for 1998
With an all-new Sierra just one year away, changes are minimal. Diesel engines make more power and torque, extended cab models get rear heater ducts, a PassLock theft-deterrent system is standard, 1500-Series trucks get reduced rolling resistance tires and three new colors debut. Second-generation airbags are standard.
GM has figured out a way to steal some thunder from the Dodge Ram and the new Ford F-Series. Their entire line of truck engines is infused with notable horsepower and torque output figures, which goes a long way toward selling the consumer on these aging pickups.
Every Sierra gasoline engine, from the base V6 to the king-of-the-hill V8, benefits from Vortec technology which provides healthy power and torque ratings. For example, the standard 4300 V6 makes an ample 200 horsepower, and the optional 5700 V8 is a much more satisfying powerplant than Ford's new overhead cam designs. Also available are regular- and heavy-duty turbodiesels sporting 6.5 liters of displacement. For 1998, turbodiesels are infused with additional power and torque. All Sierras have four-wheel anti-lock braking.
The optional side access panel makes the extended cab model a true family vehicle. Loading cargo into the rear of the cab is much easier, too. To qualify for the side access panel, you must order a 1500-series extended cab equipped with SLE or SLT trim and a Vortec 5000 or Vortec 5700 engine mated to an automatic transmission. In contrast, Ford provides a third door standard on all extended cab models, making life much easier. And for 1998, Dodge offers optional rear doors on both sides of the truck.
Creature comforts aren't forgotten in the Sierra. Automakers are constantly trying to make their trucks more car-like, so GM has made rear seat heating ducts standard on the Sierra extended cab. Shoulder belts are height adjustable to fit a variety of physiques, and upholstery choices include leather. Heck, you'd hardly know this was a truck, especially with the passenger car tires that give some versions of the Sierra a nicer ride and quieter interior.
Improvements for 1998 include second-generation airbags for front seat passengers, a standard PassLock theft deterrent system, reduced rolling resistance tires on 1500-series models and three new exterior colors. An all-new Sierra is due in mid-1998 as a 1999 model, so revisions this year are understandably minimal.
Although Chevrolet's own C/K Series garners the greatest amount of publicity, GMC's equivalents are pretty strong sellers themselves. Sierras, in fact, account for close to half of GMC output. Americans continue to clamor for burly pickups, whether for their macho image or for real down and dirty work. Whether you choose a light-duty two-wheel-drive (C1500) or the massive four-wheel-drive K3500 Club Coupe on a 155.5-inch wheelbase, GMC gives both Chevrolet and its Ford/Dodge rivals a run for their money.