2006 GMC Sierra 1500 Review
2006 GMC Sierra 1500 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Roomy extended and crew cab models, variety of V8 engine options, innovative features, slick hybrid-electric option.
- Lags behind the competition in refinement, spotty fit and finish, low-grade interior materials.
For 2006, there's a new "VortecMAX" performance group that includes a 345-hp 6.0-liter V8, a heavy-duty tow package and a stronger rear axle; thusly equipped, the half-ton Sierra is on more equal footing with Nissan's Titan and the Hemi-equipped Dodge Ram. The Quadrasteer four-wheel steering option has been dropped, and the optional camper-style mirrors have been replaced by a folding and extending design with a built-in convex spotter glass. Other changes on the GMC truck include slightly updated front-end styling and minor adjustments to trim levels and body configurations.
The 2006 GMC Sierra 1500 is a solid truck in terms of its drivetrain, roomy interior and unique features, but the competitors have it beat when it comes to interior design and overall refinement.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2006 GMC Sierra 1500 Work Truck 2dr Regular Cab 6.5 ft. SB (4.3L 6cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$234/mo for Sierra 1500 Work Truck
Sierra 1500 Work Truck
Avg. Large Truck
GMC's full-size pickup has been around in one form or another since the early '60s. Currently in its sixth generation, the GMC Sierra, as it's now called, boasts classic styling and a wide variety of body styles and drivetrain configurations. A perennial competitor to the full-size offerings from Ford and Dodge, GMC now positions itself as the professional-grade truck in GM's lineup. Although its sales numbers are far below those of its competitors, when combined with its sister vehicle, the Silverado, sales of the two trucks outdo the F-Series.
Often first to market with unique innovations, the 2006 GMC Sierra 1500 continues that tradition with nationwide availability of the hybrid-electric model. GMC trucks also offer the OnStar communications system that provides the convenience of 24-hour on-call assistance for everything from tow truck requests to dinner reservations. Combine this with modern styling on the outside and a host of features on the inside, and the half-ton Sierra presents a compelling package for anyone in the market for a well-rounded full-size pickup. The Sierra 1500 is really starting to show its age, however, compared to the newer full-size offerings from Dodge, Ford and Nissan. And all three trucks have the GMC Sierra beaten when it comes to interior design and materials, and overall refinement. We strongly encourage you to try out the competition before you buy.
Performance & mpg
Several engine choices are available for the 2006 GMC Sierra, ranging from a 195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6 to a 345-hp, 6.0-liter V8 in the Denali and VortecMAX package. In between, you'll find a 285-hp, 4.8-liter V8; a 295-hp, 5.3-liter V8; and a 310-hp, 5.3-liter V8. All Sierra trucks come standard with a four-speed automatic, except V6-equipped regular cabs, which come with a five-speed manual. The maximum towing capacity with the 5.3-liter is 8,300 pounds, while the Denali is rated at 8,100 pounds. On SLT extended cabs and crew cabs with the 6.0-liter V8, the max rating is 10,000 pounds. Either two- or four-wheel drive is available on all models; the Denali comes with all-wheel drive. A hybrid powertrain option is available on SLE extended cabs with the 5.3-liter, but the system does not provide any power boost. Its main function is to conserve fuel via automatic engine shutdown and startup at stops, as well as provide on-the-job power through four 120-volt AC outlets.
Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard. In government crash tests, the Sierra 1500 earned four stars (out of five) for driver protection in frontal impacts and three stars for the front passenger. In IIHS frontal offset crash testing, the Sierra was given an overall rating of "Marginal" -- the second lowest of four.
The GMC Sierra 1500 is comfortable enough to be a daily driver, yet it's still powerful enough to use as a dedicated work truck. Acceleration ranges from adequate to vigorous, depending on which V8 you select, and the automatic transmission shifts with authority. The steering feels vague on center, but it's light and precise enough for easy maneuvering. The automatic engine shutdown and startup feature works seamlessly in the hybrid truck.
Inside, Sierra 1500 buyers will find a logically laid-out interior, with clear, uncluttered gauges. Materials quality is unimpressive, and build quality, though improved over the last few years, is still below that of the competition. The cabin is roomy, particularly on crew cab models.
2006 GMC Sierra 1500 models
The GMC Sierra 1500 offers three cab styles are available in four different trim levels and two bed lengths. Regular cabs can be outfitted with Work Truck, Base or SLE1 trim, while extended cabs come in Work Truck, SL, SLE1, SLE2 or SLT trim. The light-duty crew cab models are available in either SL, SLE1, SLE2, SLT or Denali trim. True to their name, Work Trucks offer only the basics, but you still get manual dual-zone air conditioning and ABS. SL Sierras include a few more amenities like cruise control and a CD player. The SLE1 trim adds upgrades like power windows and locks, remote keyless entry and foglamps. The SLE2 adds automatic climate control, Bose audio and a power driver seat. SLT trucks add aluminum wheels and leather upholstery. Top-level Denali models include nearly every available option as standard, as well as unique trim and a 345-hp V8 engine.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.75 out of 5 stars
Confused by others
2006 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE2 4dr Extended Cab 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 4A)
I have owned toyota's and nissan's and never get the mpg they or the reviews say. 2 to 3 miles less. With GM's I have seemed to get 3 to 5 miles better than reviews. That's why I say confused by others. Just got 22.6 combination downtown Nashville, TN interstate,country roads. Just bought this truck and probably will keep it for a long time. Guess my driving habits suit GM products … better. This truck has 5.3, 323 gears,2wd, locking rearend and HD towing.Confort scored 8 cause stiff HD suspension (I guess). Build quality an 8 cause of interior parts a little weak. Reliability was 9 mainly cause of my past history with GM's. Haven't owned this one long enough to tell. That's my 2 cents worth.
3 out of 5 stars
Sorry to say my last GM product
2006 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE1 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 4A)
Like others my truck ran flawless for the first 15,000 or so and then the problems began. The rear drum brakes started to squeal every time you applied them, dash rattle, headliner rattle(dealer attempted to fix-rattle is back). Approximately 20k turning the steering wheel produced a weird noise(dealer tried to repair-it's back) 26k new front rotors and pads(my other vehicle has 71k … with original pads if your wondering about my driving). 37k new belt tensioner and belts(squealing noise) 39k main engine seal leak(luckily repaired by GM) 41k steering link rattle(replaced link) and now "service brake system" message displayed. Thank you for stealing my $34,000 GM
4.13 out of 5 stars
2006 GMC 1500 4X4 SLE Z71
David Russell, 09/28/2006
2006 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE1 4dr Extended Cab 6.5 ft. SB (4.8L 8cyl 4A)
Very Handsome truck. Price was very reasonable ($6,000 less than comparable Titan)Combination of performance and fuel economy very good for 4X4 large truck category (17 mpg avg.). Only two complaints too tall gearing 3.42 gears in all 4X4 trucks I looked at;thus towing is kinda difficult. Truck feels like it is in second gear when starting off. Corrected that problem with 4.10 gears. Now … truck pulls hard and feels more powerful than the titan I drove, and also my dad's hemi ram. I also have a programmer intake and exhaust. The truck with 8" lift and bigger tires still runs around 7.2 seconds to sixty. Stock it could muster only 8.8 seconds to sixty. other problem no grab handle for driver.
4.38 out of 5 stars
After 70,000 have only had one problem
2006 GMC Sierra 1500 Work Truck 2dr Regular Cab 4WD 8 ft. LB (4.8L 8cyl 4A)
I love my truck, its mainly a work truck but I put more miles on it than any of the other trucks. Yeah after about 15,000 miles dash started rattling but till after 70,000 miles it's been loyal and I beat the hell out of this truck i.e. racing, fish tailing around corners, bad terrain. And so far the tranny dumped out on acceleration at 50 mph. Rebuild was 850. So no bad review here.
2006 Sierra 1500 Highlights
|Combined MPG||17 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$226/month|
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||7,900 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger3 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalMarginal
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintPoor