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Yesterday, GMC introduced the electric 2024 GMC Sierra. In just a day, a lot has already been written about it. But one thing that hasn’t is front and center on the Sierra EV. Do you see it? It’s the pickup’s headlights. 

Do you see the GMC Sierra headlights?

2024 GMC
2024 GMC Sierra EV | GM

But do you see them? You may have assumed that they’re part of the band of boomerang running lights on each side of the blanked-out grille. That’s where one would expect them to be, especially because that’s what they look like, horizontal slits tying into vertical daytime lights. But, no.

Instead, they’re what look like ducts located down below the daytime lights. So the 2024 GMC Sierra EV daytime lights look like headlights and the lower ducts are the headlights. Why? And are the headlights located that low even legal?

Why are the GMC Sierra EV headlights located so low?

2024 GMC
2024 GMC Sierra EV | GM

“It tends to be a better spot where it’s not glaring in other people’s eyes, right, the lower you get,” GMC design manager Phil Kucera told Autoblog. “Typically, the lower the better, because that’s where they’re going to be on the road. So there’s less to reflect off of in fog or rain. If you get them up at a certain height, they’re going to be reflecting certain things like snow, rain, or things like that, in your eyes.” 

So it’s twofold. As a courtesy to other drivers as well as for performance. Now, the running lights are as much for design purposes as for, well, as for running lights. If you think you might have seen this design sleigh-of-hand before, you have.

Didn’t Jeep have a similar feature?

2014 Cherokee
2014 Jeep Cherokee | Stellantis

Back in 2014, it was Jeep design that thought it was a good idea to do the same thing with the new Cherokee. Though not integrated with other elements of the fascia like the grille, they also looked like ducts of some sort. And there were what looked like headlight slivers tied into the upper corners of the front fenders. 

They were positioned so far up and back that in plan view, they were almost above the wheel openings. And similar to the 2024 Sierra EV, the running lights were much more prominent than the headlights. “It worked with the design,” says Kucera. 

But we expect that “worked with the design” means designers intended the running lights to be headlights. And what became the headlights being ducts. Then, once GMC designers threw it over the wall for engineering to figure out how to make the GMC EV, it chose to swap them around for the reasons above. 

Does the GMC EV look distinct from the Silverado EV?

2024 GMC
2024 GMC Sierra EV | GM

Does it matter? No, but it is a curious way to design and engineer a truck in 2022. Regardless, we do like the front end. We find the overall design different enough from the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado truck, which shares much of its exterior and all of its internal components. 

And the Silverado EVs fascia does the same switcheroo as GMC’s, except it doesn’t position the headlights quite so low.


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