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Why GMC Is a Staple of American Culture and How to Navigate Their Dealerships

A black 2021 GMC Yukon is driving on a tree-lined road after leaving a GMC dealer.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a GMC Dealer? Maybe it’s the clean interior or friendly staff. For most people, it’s what type of cars you can expect to drive away in. GMC has some impressive cars in its lineup currently, both aesthetically and performance-wise, and it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with your options before moseying down to your local dealer.

Any car dealership can become overwhelming upon a cursory glance. There are tons of models to sort through, and plans can quickly change as you see new and exciting models on the lot. Even for each type of car, there are multiple models. For instance, for GMC SUVs alone, you have the options of the Terrain, Yukon, Yukon XL, or Acadia. Alternatively, for work vehicles, GMC also offers trucks such as the Sierra. While you could simply go and try the vehicles out yourself, you may be better off first knowing their performance metrics and highlighted features before taking all the information in at the dealership.

A Brief History of GMC

A couple is driving a 1916 Chevy 490, shown in black and white.

GMC was America’s largest automaker for over 75 years. The General Motors Company was founded in 1908 in Michigan and was created as a holding company for the American automotive brand, Buick. The company also picked up Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Elmore, and Oakland in the early 1900s. The big consolidation happened in 1909 when General Motors picked up the companies that are the origin of the GMC truck; the Reliance Motor Truck Company and the Rapid Motor Vehicle company. The 1910s were tough for General Motors. At one point, the control of the company was lost by its president, who started a small company in his short period away from General Motors, called The Chevrolet Motor Car Company. You may have heard of them.

While the original president was gone, General Motors made a massive breakthrough and launched the electric self-starter. Upon the president’s return, the company was reorganized into the General Motors Corporation and released the first vehicle under the Chevy brand name; the 1918 Chevrolet 490.

GM soon became the most dominant figure in American manufacturing. They even moved to other countries, becoming one of the first global car manufacturers. Several revolutionary changes even allowed the company to overtake Ford in the first half of the century. These changes included things you will still see at GMC dealerships today, such as offering consumers the option of monthly payments and offering more stylish and powerful car models.

Not many know this, but in the early 1940s, GM was responsible for almost half of all the cars being made in the United States. As you can imagine, the company was even entrusted with the task of manufacturing equipment and vehicles for the World War 2 war effort. During the next decade, GM introduced luxurious models such as the Chevrolet Impala and Pontiac Bonville. In the following decade, GM created the compact class and offered models we still hold dear today, such as the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird.

The company began to downscale in the 1970s, following a lack of success in some since-discontinued models. Where the company really struck gold was in the 1990s, where Chevrolet trucks and SUVs were put on the market. Although the financial crisis weighed heavily on the company, General Motors has shown the ability to rebound from tough times time and time again. With plants and centers making cars, trucks, and automotive parts around the world, General Motors is certainly one of the world’s most important and largest manufacturers today.

Your Options at the GMC Dealer

A black 2020 GMC Terrain is driving past mountains.

With a bit of history under our belts, we can rest assured that GMC is capable of building quality vehicles and has a strong track record of doing so. The models you will find out on the lot at the GMC dealer currently include the Terrain, Yukon, Acadia, or Sierra models as well as others. The following will go into a bit of detail about each model so that you have a general idea of what may be best for you.

Starting with the 2020 GMC Terrain, this crossover SUV starts at $25,000 and rocks a 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder engine on the SL, SLE, and SLT trims, which produces 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque and is able to tow 1,500 lbs maximum. Optional on the SLT and standard on the Denali trim is a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, which produces an impressive 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is able to pull 3,500 lbs maximum. The 1.5L engine is expected to run at 26 MPG city and 30 MPG highway, while the 2.0L engine will be around 22 MPG city and 28 MPG highway. The car comfortably seats 5 occupants and is praised for its luxurious interior and advanced safety systems such as cross-traffic monitoring, which is essential when backing out of spaces in busy parking lots.

The 2021 GMC Yukon is a full-size SUV that is truly massive on the road. You will be a spectacle to all who travel alongside you on the road. There are four trims to choose from; the SLE, SLT, Denali, and AT4. Where the SLE, SLT, and AT4 house a 5.3L V8 engine that produces 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, the Denali has a 6.2L V8 engine with 420 hp as well as 460 lb-ft of torque. This vehicle is powerful. The main draw of the Yukon is its impressive size and 8-person seating. If you find yourself needing to travel with an entourage regularly, this vehicle may be for you. Price-wise, it is on the higher end of things. The MSRP of the 2021 GMC Yukon starts at $50,700.

The 2020 GMC Acadia is also worth mentioning. Starting at $33,800, it is an affordable crossover utility vehicle that has a comfortable ride with impressive technological features. It houses a 2.0L Turbo engine that produces 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, which gets around 25 MPG combined. Other engine options include a 2.5L 4-cylinder with 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque, which gets around 23 MPG combined. Also, a 3.6L V6 with 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque, which gets 22 MPG combined. With seating for 7, the 2020 Acadia is a great option for those seeking an affordable crossover SUV while driving many passengers around regularly.

Moving on to the trucks, GMC dealers will be proud to showcase the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500. The vehicle comfortably seats 3, 5, or 6 occupants, depending on the body style you select. The truck houses a 2.7L turbo engine, meaning you could be responsible for 310 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque, translating to a max payload of 2,182 lbs and max conventional trailering of 6,900 lbs. Of course, there are other options if you need more power, as this is GMC’s bread and butter truck-wise. Other options include a 3.0L Duramax turbo-diesel I6 engine, which sports 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. This bumps the max trailering to 7,400 lbs. Next up is the 4.3L Ecotec3 V6 engine, which produces 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque, allowing for 7,700 lbs max trailering. You have the option of a 5.3L Ecotec3 V8 engine, which produces 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, allowing for 9,600 lbs max trailering. Finally, there is the 6.2L Ecotec3 V8 that produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, with a max trailering of 9,300 lbs. This truck is able to be customized to fit your needs. Whether you are doing light-duty or heavy-duty work, the GMC Sierra is a good option to consider truck-wise.

Conclusion

While GMC dealers may seem overwhelming, the truth of the matter is there is something for everyone. The company has an extensive history of vehicle manufacturing and is very knowledgeable of the car industry, a knowledge that is passed down to its associates to help you make your decision. GMC is an amazing company with its roots deeply entrenched in American culture and always impresses us with its ability to recover from setbacks and overcome obstacles.

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