2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Review
2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Powerful and fuel-efficient engines
- many available configurations
- well-built, comfortable interior
- quiet highway ride.
- Six-speed's transmission ratios too widely spaced for optimal towing performance
- touchscreen interface slow to respond at times.
For 2015, the GMC Sierra 1500 sees a number of changes. Newly available is the latest OnStar system (with 4G LTE WiFi capability) and new power-folding trailer-towing mirrors. The Denali trim level gets the magnetic ride control suspension as well as a spray-in bedliner. Later in the model year a new powertrain option, consisting of a 6.2-liter V8 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, debuts.
A wide range of body styles, a comfortable, quiet cabin and a lineup of powerful and fuel-efficient engines make the 2015 GMC Sierra a solid pick in the full-size pickup class.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 2dr Regular Cab SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A) 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
$188/mo for Sierra 1500 Base
Sierra 1500 Base
Avg. Large Truck
In addition to serving as the rugged workhorses of farmers, construction companies and small business owners, modern light-duty pickups are commonly seen handling daily driver and family vehicle duties. As such, manufacturers have made an effort to make them more comfortable as well as more fuel-efficient in recent years. That was certainly true with GMC's redesign of its Sierra 1500 pickup last year, which also included increases in overall cabin quality and the debut of new technology features. For this year, the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 (as well as its Chevy Silverado 1500 twin) stands as a strong entry in this very competitive segment.
As is typical for this class, the Sierra offers a wide range of power choices. The range starts off with a fuel-saving V6 engine sporting a respectable 285 horsepower and a maximum towing capacity of 7,200 pounds all the way up to a muscle-bound 6.2-liter V8 that should be more than enough to handle most folks' heavier towing and hauling requirements. The Sierra also packs the latest in safety and convenience technology. The former include available forward collision- and lane-departure warning systems, while the latter includes an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, smartphone integration, ventilated front seats and a rear-seat video entertainment system.
Naturally, we'd expect folks shopping this segment to consider the Sierra's long-time and similarly capable rivals. The redesigned 2015 Ford F-150 deserves your attention because of its new fuel economy and performance-enhancing design. We're also still very pleased with the 2015 Ram 1500, which offers the best ride of the segment and an available diesel engine. For the weekend dirt enthusiast, the 2015 Toyota Tundra can be equipped with an optional TRD Pro package, which makes it extremely adept at off-roading.
With such a strong group of well-rounded choices, your pick for a full-size pickup may come down to something as minor as the availability of a certain feature or even styling preference, but know that the GMC Sierra 1500 should be on your short list.
Performance & mpg
Standard on all but the SLT and Denali trims is a 4.3-liter V6 with 285 hp and 305 pound-feet of torque. As with all other Sierra 1500 engines, it comes matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Maximum towing capacity, when properly equipped, is fairly generous at 7,200 pounds. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) for rear-wheel drive. With 4WD, they drop to 19 mpg combined (17 city/22 highway).
The 5.3-liter V8, which is standard on the SLT and Denali and optional on other Sierras, makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Properly equipped, trucks with this engine can tow up to 11,200 pounds. With rear-wheel drive, Sierras with the 5.3-liter V8 rate 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway). Those with 4WD rate 18 mpg combined (16/22).
Optional later in the model year for the SLT and Denali is a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque matched to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Properly equipped, a Sierra with this engine can tow up to 12,000 pounds. Whether this engine is matched up to a 2WD or 4WD drivetrain, the EPA fuel economy numbers are 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway).
Standard safety features on the 2015 GMC Sierra include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control (with trailer sway control), front and rear seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes services such as automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen-vehicle assistance.
Options include a rearview camera, front and rear park assist and a suite of driver aids that includes a lane departure warning system and a forward collision alert system.
In government crash tests, the Sierra 1500 received a top five-star rating overall, with five stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side crash safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2015 Sierra 1500 its highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal offset crash test, the only test that agency has conducted thus far on this vehicle.
The 2015 GMC Sierra 1500's V6 provides respectable power and refinement. Unless you anticipate a lot of heavy towing and hauling, we suggest test-driving the V6 when you visit the dealer. As you would expect, the 5.3-liter V8 delivers solid thrust with good manners, though there's still a bit of vibration during hard acceleration. Unfortunately, the truck tends to feel sluggish regardless of mode due to a rather lackadaisical gas pedal response.
The six-speed automatic provides smooth and timely gearchanges in normal driving. But despite the pull of the Sierra's husky engines, we've noticed that there's still too big a gap between the transmission's gear ratios when towing. That said, we've towed a trailer with an 8,600-pound load behind a Sierra equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 and the Max Trailering package, and there was plenty of reserve grunt. With even more torque as well as two more gears to work with, we'd expect the 6.2-liter V8 with the eight-speed automatic to be even more effective when put to hard work.
Overall ride and handling dynamics are commendable, making this truck a fine choice if daily driving is a must. The 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 feels robust structurally, yet most versions are compliant and comfortable over broken pavement, though the stiffer ride on trucks with the Max Trailering package can grow tiresome. The Sierra is also very quiet, with road noise snuffed out and only a whisper of wind noise at freeway speeds. The GMC is steady around turns, and its steering is well weighted. Off road, the Sierra exhibits confidence-inspiring composure while negotiating rutted trails and challenging grades.
Anyone familiar with older GMC pickups who hops inside this latest version can't help but notice the much improved materials and build quality, especially on the lower trims. There's an abundance of bins and cubbies, and the center console on five-passenger Sierras boasts plenty of USB ports to keep your devices charged.
The IntelliLink system deserves special mention for its 8-inch touchscreen that features clear, intuitive controls; redundant knobs and buttons; and a very effective voice command interface. You'll use this interface to take care of most navigation, audio and phone functions in the GMC Sierra. Good as it is, however, it can sometimes be slow to respond to commands.
With a choice of a bench seat or buckets (depending on trim level) up front, as well as available heating, ventilation and adjustable lumbar support, the Sierra's thickly padded seats promise plenty of long-trip comfort. Drivers will appreciate the available telescoping steering wheel, as it provides driving position adjustability few other trucks can match. Getting in and out of the backseat on crew cabs is fairly easy thanks to generous door openings, while clambering into the bed is also eased via clever steps and handholds built into each rear corner.
2015 GMC Sierra 1500 models
The 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 is a full-size pickup offered in a variety of cab/cargo-bed configurations in both two- and four-wheel drive. Body styles include regular cab, extended (double) cab and crew cab. Regular cabs can be had with either a 6.5-foot standard bed or an 8-foot bed. Extended cabs come with the 6.5-foot standard bed, while crew cabs can be had with either a 5.75-foot short bed or the 6.5-foot standard bed.
Regular cabs can be had in base or midlevel SLE trims. Double cabs and crew cabs are available in base, SLE and well-appointed SLT trims. The plush Denali is only available in the crew cab body style.
The base Sierra comes with 17-inch steel wheels, chrome bumpers and grille, air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows and door locks, a tilt steering wheel, cloth upholstery, rubber floor covering, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat and a four-speaker AM/FM sound system with a 4-inch color display and USB and auxiliary inputs.
The SLE adds stainless steel finish wheels, deep-tint glass, an "E-Z" lift/lower tailgate, LED cargo box lighting, power/heated mirrors, keyless entry, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, adjustable driver lumbar support, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, OnStar telematics with 4G LTE WiFi capability, a color driver information display and an upgraded IntelliLink audio system (with an 8-inch color display, satellite radio, Pandora radio, a CD player and voice control functionality).
Optional on the SLE is the Carbon-22 Edition, which features unique 22-inch alloy wheels, a rear locking differential (2WD models only), foglamps, a black grille surround, tubular side steps, a trailering package, a 10-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, remote vehicle start, remote garage opener, a rear-window defogger and a 110-volt AC power outlet.
Stepping up to the SLT includes the SLE features and adds chrome trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, remote starting, power folding mirrors, a trailer towing package, universal garage opener, an anti-theft system, a rear window defroster, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 110-volt power outlet, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated eight-way power driver and passenger front seats and driver-seat memory settings.
The top-of-the-line Denali features a unique grille, added chrome exterior trim, assist steps, 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, a locking rear differential, front and rear park assist, a customizable information display, a navigation system, a Bose audio system, perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, power lumbar support (driver seat) and a heated steering wheel.
The Z71 package, which is available on the SLE or SLT, features off-road-oriented hardware such as special shock absorbers, a heavy-duty air cleaner, hill-descent control, underbody shields, recovery hooks and a few unique exterior and interior styling tweaks.
Many upper trims' features are offered on the lower ones as options, while other available features (depending on trim level and configuration) include various axle ratios, a power sliding rear window, a power sunroof, side steps, parking sensors, ventilated front seats, a Bose audio system, a navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-Ray-capable DVD player. Notably, the Max Trailering package features power-folding mirrors with memory preset, an integrated trailer brake controller, heavier-duty suspension calibrations and a higher-capacity radiator.
Another key option group is the Driver Alert package, which features a lane-departure warning system, a forward collision-alert system, a safety alert seat, and front and rear parking sensors. There are a few other packages available as well -- highlights include 20-inch wheels, side steps, front and rear parking sensors and a power sliding rear window.
2024 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
See All Trims
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees, and optional equipment. Dealer sets final price. Click here to see all GMC vehicles’ destination freight charges.
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab SLT
2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4dr Crew Cab 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
Purchased a 2015 Sierra 1500 SLT (crew cab) and traded in my 2014 Sierra 1500 SLE (double cab). I usually keep a vehicle for 10 years or more however, the only reason I traded was because of the very good incentive on the 2015 and the excellent deal I had gotten on the 2014 and the reasonable trade in price on the 2014. I now have 13,000 miles on the 2015 and feel that it is also an … excellent truck with many more amenities. The safety features to include back-up camera, parking warning, lane changing, navigation and hands free make for a very safe truck. I have not been able to attain quite the mileage I got on my 2014 even though I have a tonneau cover and drive the truck in a similar manner. The best I have been able to attain is 21.6 on a long trip. The advantage of a large vehicle with plenty of interior comfort, good mileage numbers, tons of room for luggage and smooth ride made this vehicle my vehicle of choice over a sedan or suv. I will add on to the information above which has not changed. I took a long trip to Michigan and pretty much backed up what I ha determined in the first review that I sent to you. I did attain 22mpg on one leg of the trip and 21.5 on the second leg of the trip. Truck still very comfortable, spacious and has given me absolutely no problems. I have had the oil, filter and tires rotated on schedule and had one recall corrected on the airbag system. I have owned the truck now for 25 months and still feel that it is a nice looking well made vehicle. I took a recent trip and was able to get 23.0 mpg which is slightly higher than advertised. The sweet spot is right about 70mph when the 5.3L engine is in 4v and on flat terrain. In that configuration it gets excellent mileage. The other sweet spot is driving a steady 55mph when the truck is in 4v. Presently I have 22,500 miles on the odometer and I am very satisfied with the vehicle. This is my third review after owning the truck for two and a half years. I have over 27,000 miles on the truck so far with no problems. I did notice that my transmission temp was running much hotter than the allison transmission that I have in my diesel but in looking into it further I found that 190 degrees is not an unusual temperature for this engine and transmission combination. This is my fourth review of my Sierra 1500 Crew Cab with just over 37,000 miles. So far so good, the truck continues to run very well with no complaints.. I changed the oil and filter myself and was surprised to see that the 5.3 liter engine takes 8.5 quarts of 0w-20 oil. In looking at the new GMC Sierra's as well as Ford and Ram 1500 series trucks I am amazed at how many gadgets they have placed in these vehicles with a corresponding price increase. Almost all of these vehicles are now priced in the mid 60 thousand dollar price range and the manufacturers are offering 10 year financing. Unbelievable!!! I recently replaced all four tires at 46,000 miles. They were original equipment and wore well. They were Goodyear Wrangler 275/55R20's. There was still probably 10.000 miles of wear left but I am not sure they would have been good for winter 9 months from now. My first check engine light came on indicating an evaporations leak code po455. I replaced the gas cap which of course did not fix it so I will find out what the problem is when I get the truck inspected this month. The evap system leak was found and determined to be a crack in a hose that was replaced and check engine light disappeared. I have taken trips using the range plug in unit that keeps my engine running on 8 cylinders all the time and I still was getting 21.5 mpg. Still no problems to speak of and still a handsome truck. At 51,000 miles I had all the fluids changed to include transmission, coolant, differential and transaxles. I now have 63,000 on the truck. I did have to replace the battery about 6 months ago but other than that absolutely no problems.
5 out of 5 stars
Very Nice Truck
2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4dr Crew Cab 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
My '15 GMC SLT Z71 4X4 drives and rides very good. Power is pretty good, and gas mileage is better than average for a full sized half ton truck. The high hood limits close up visibility for parking. The most important thing is....my wife likes it (if Mama's happy, everybody's happy). My only complaints are...1) - the shifting of the transmission is a little mushy, and 2) - the … high beams are not bright enough.
4 out of 5 stars
My 1st 4k miles
2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
This is my third Denali pick up. Huge buyers remorse buying black but that's my fault. It does look amazing few hrs after its washed. Was really wanting the 6.0 and eight speed tranny but they're so hard to come by I had to settle for the 5.3 and the six speed. My 07 had alot more power it seems. Plus it was all wheel drive. But I am getting around 16 miles per gallon instead of 13.5 … with my old Denali. Still working through the countless menus on the electronics. I'm over my trial for the Wi-Fi and was not impressed.The drivetrain has a vibration at around 41 miles an hour that I need to take back to the dealer and have checked out. It was an insane amount of money but I'm not unhappy.
5 out of 5 stars
Great Riding Truck for the Money
Jersey Traveler, 03/22/2018
2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
"To be honest my Tacoma was a great truck with no issues, and while I miss it, I do not regret my decision. I retired and bought a travel trailer that needed a truck that could pull it without grunting uphill. The Sierra doesn't even know it is towing it, it came with the trailer package, built in brake controller, and the Z71 package. Without the trailer the best mileage I have gotten … is almost 22.4 mpg, I never got over 18 with the Tacoma. The IntelliLink system is terrific. I have upgraded the headlight bulbs to LED, making a huge improvement over the stock bulbs. At a cost of about $400, I installed the Roadmaster Active suspension kit, (about 20 minutes per side) which makes a big difference in handling, especially with the towing. I eliminated the OnStar and changed over to a factory Navigation System. No need to pay $40 a month for directions, which I don't need everyday. I also purchased a rear under seat storage box. GMC should have it as a standard item. The 5.3L engine has a light ticking sound, but I understand that is characteristic to all of them and may have something to do with the cylinder deactivation, and it doesn't bother me. The Sierra is comfortable, quiet and so to date has been dependable. I recently added an additional leaf spring through a local spring shop. The handling is much better, it didn't contribute to much harshness at all and actually made for a smoother, less bouncier and more enjoyable ride. It added more stabilization going into corners and curves, and better towing results. Mechanically this truck has been a gem and a pleasure to drive. Towing our camper, it is a beast It handles the trailer very well. At my age I don't see any more new vehicles in my future, I intend to keep this truck until I cant drive any longer. I may just put in another engine if it comes to that. I cant say anything bad about it. Hopefully it will continue to perform well for a long time to come. I have changed the trans fluid, antifreeze, hydraulics . . . fluid changes are crucial to the longevity of any vehicle and for what prices are these days for new trucks, my used Sierra is worth every cent to keep it road worthy. Compared to a Chevy Silverado I once owned, the GMC Sierra is like changing from a suit into a tuxedo. After the last big snowstorm the 4x4 traction is unbelievable. It is a keeper for sure. Lots of comments on the looks, smooth ride and fun to drive. Here it is soon to be 2020 and still rides like new! As an update it is now October of 2020, the truck has 98,000 trouble free miles, it has been a very dependable vehicle. Just had a recent oil change, no complaints with reliability. 4/13/21 Update: Right after my last update, the check engine light came on, and the engine was missing at idle. I drove immediately to my trusted mechanic where i was informed valve #7 collapsed and the cam was also damaged. I had several options and went with an engine replacement that had 45,000 miles out of a 2016, with a three year waranty for parts and labor. Once home after the replacement, I installed an AFM Disabler along with an Oil Catch Can. As much as I love the truck, doing much research I am not a fan of DI engines, and may at some point look into a Toyota Tundra. Where I do not have to worry about the topside of the intake valves not being cleaned. One engine replacement is enough. Recently the engine would bog and surge, hard downshifts. Brought it to my local shop, they found the copper wire harness connections had turned green, with intermittent loss of signals. They cleaned, sealed, reconnected all the harness connections, The truck runs like a dream. best it has been since I owned it!
2015 Sierra 1500 Highlights
|Engine Type||Flex-fuel (ffv)|
|Combined MPG||20 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$188/month|
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||9,400 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5PassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover17.9%
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 – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested