What's New for 2000
GM has refined the Sierra Classic's lineup, dropping all 1500 Series (half-ton) trucks in favor of workhorse 2500 (three-quarter-ton) and 3500 (one-ton) Series models. The only other news is the addition of a new paint color, as this old truck platform (based on the previous-generation C/K pickup) soldiers on into its second decade.
The GMC Sierra became the "Sierra Classic" to distinguish the old C/K-derived version from the all-new Silverado-based Sierra that arrived in showrooms for 1999. To help bolster stocks of work-oriented pickups until heavy-duty derivatives of the new Sierra can be built, this previous-generation model continues to be offered, albeit now only in 2500 or 3500 series form. In other words, if you want a traditional half-ton pickup, you've got to buy the new Sierra.
Like last year, changes are limited to some mechanical upgrades and a new exterior paint color, Emerald Green. After the all-new Sierra hit the showrooms, it made no sense for further revisions to this stopgap version whose days were numbered. So why bother even considering a brand-new copy of the old model? Simple: It's all a matter of availability, and cost. Available as a regular cab, extended cab, four-door crew cab and even as a bare-bones chassis cab in either two- or four-wheel drive, these trucks are both plentiful and competitively priced. Besides, some truck traditionalists actually prefer the Classic's squared-off look over the new Sierra's sculpted lines. Despite the design age of the Sierra Classic's underpinnings, both of its gasoline engines benefit from the very latest Vortec GM technology, which means healthy power and torque ratings. The standard 5700 Vortec V8 makes 255 horsepower, and is a much more satisfying powerplant underfoot than Ford's new overhead-cam truck engines. For even more power you can opt for the 7400 V8 (standard on the 2WD 3500HD Chassis Cab) with 290 horses and some 410 pound-feet of torque. If you need true stump-pulling muscle, there's also a 6.5-liter turbodiesel, which cranks out a whopping 430 lb-ft of torque when mated to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. A rugged five-speed manual is also available.
Just because these are previous-design vehicles, creature comforts aren't totally forgotten. The Sierra Classic was part of the 1990s truck revolution that saw manufacturers strive to make their trucks more carlike. Consequently, seats in the Classic are sturdy and comfortable, shoulder belts are height-adjustable to fit a variety of physiques, and upholstery choices include leather.
Power speaks volumes in the truck market, and having competitive horsepower numbers goes a long way toward selling the consumer on these aging pickups. The burly, workhorse nature of these pickups gives both Chevrolet and GMC's Ford/Dodge rivals a ''Classic'' run for their money.