What's New for 1999
With an all-new Sierra 1500 just months away, changes are limited to a few new colors.
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. All Sierras have four-wheel antilock 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 though, for 1999, Ford and Dodge will offer rear doors on both sides of their respective trucks. The Sierra's door deficiency will not be addressed until the 2000 model year, at the earliest.
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 1999 are limited to some new exterior colors. An all-new Sierra is due in late-1998 as a 1999 model, so revisions this year are understandably minimal. Why introduce the 1999 Sierra with the upcoming debut of an all-new Sierra right around the corner? Well, it seems that GMC was running into Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) problems. In order to get around this, GMC began selling 1999 models early. Problem solved, for now.
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.