Just two years after the GMT T1XX-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups launched, GMC is stirring the pot with useful new features designed to relieve some of the stresses of towing a trailer. That’s a great place to innovate, given that more than half of Sierra 1500 owners and 90-plus percent of Sierra HD owners report towing regularly. And there are a few other upgrades coming for 2021 as well.
Trailer Length Indicator
Flip on the turn signal of a 2021 GMC Sierra and the center display will show a blind-spot view of the side you’re heading toward, just like on lots of Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia vehicles, but GMC will shade the road surface in red hashmarks to indicate the area covered by the trailer (actually, twice the length of the trailer, for safety). If you can see a vehicle in this red-hashed area, better wait until it goes by or drops back out of this danger zone before changing lanes. The various bed, tailgate, and side-mirror cameras used to stitch together the 360-degree overhead view also inform this system as to the length of the trailer. The driver need not measure and enter any info to activate this system.
Those same cameras keep a close eye on the proximity of the front corners of the trailer to the rear bumper of the truck and sound an alert (and/or vibrate the Safety Alert Seat) to caution the driver, who must then take action. The system will not apply the brakes to prevent a jack-knife impact.
Rear Trailer View Guidelines and Trailer-Angle Indicator
The existing Rear Trailer View system, which requires installing an accessory camera on the back of a conventional bumper-hitch box/camper/horse-type trailer and currently provides the Transparent Trailer function, gets augmented with those helpful guidelines to suggest the path the trailer is set to follow. Superimposed in the top right corner of the central display screen is an icon depicting the current angle of the trailer to the truck. This system is not currently programmed to work with gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailer setups.
Rear Side View Enhancement
This split-screen view shows both sides of the truck and trailer split evenly down the screen when driving straight ahead. But when the truck begins to turn, the image showing the inside of the turn expands to fill more of the screen, so that you see the entire trailer and can monitor whether there’s any danger of running something over with the trailer wheels. For 2021 this view is available in reverse as well as drive.
Cargo Bed Zoom View with Bed Hitch Guidance
This new feature on heavy duty models promises to ease the task of aligning a fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch, with the camera sensing the truck and trailer components that must align and drawing a line between them to help the driver steer the truck into position.
Other Enhancements to the GMC Sierra 1500
Availability of the MultiPro “Swiss-Army” tailgate extends to SLE and Elevation trims for 2021 along with a handful of new paint colors. The off-road-optimized AT4 trim grade gets a new 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tire fitment along with an off-road high-clearance assist step. Oh, and the above trailering goodies come bundled in the Technology Package (it costs $2,125 on certain models for 2020).
Other Enhancements to the GMC Sierra Heavy Duty
The popular Denali trim grade gets a new Black Diamond Edition package, which includes 20-inch high-gloss black wheels, power-retractable steps, and other unique features. Denali heavies also get HD Surround Vision and Bed View camera technology as standard for 2021. The MultiPro tailgate becomes standard on SLE and there are three new colors. Echoing changes on the 1500 AT4, HD versions of the AT4 get the option of a high-clearance assist step and 18-inch Mud Terrain tires. The above trailer tech comes standard on Denali models (accounting for more than half of sales); SLT and AT4 buyers must select “HD Surround Vision with Two Trailer Cameras” to receive Trailer Length Indicator, Jack-Knife Alert, Rear Trailer View with Guidelines and Rear Side View. For the enhanced Cargo Bed View, they need to select “Bed View Camera.”