2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful and efficient engines
  • improved tech interfaces for 2016
  • versatile and comfortable interior
  • superior ride quality on Denali trim.
  • Six-speed transmission ratios too widely spaced for optimum towing performance
  • less crew-cab space than some competitors.
List Price Range
$28,000 - $49,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A wide range of body styles, a comfortable and quiet cabin, and a lineup of powerful, fuel-efficient engines make the 2015 GMC Sierra a solid pick in the full-size pickup class.

Vehicle overview

Here are some reasons why you might want to choose a 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 over its Chevy Silverado fraternal twin. Perhaps you find its styling more dignified, in which case this year's addition of LED lighting and unique grilles for every trim level is bound to please. Perhaps you live closer to the local GMC-Buick dealership. Perhaps you like the high-luxe style of the Sierra Denali as opposed to the high-lux style of the Silverado High Country. Perhaps your father-in-law owns a Silverado and you'll be damned if you own the same truck as that crusty old coot.

Whatever your reasons may be, the 2016 Sierra 1500's noteworthy changes will likely make your heart grow fonder. Besides the abovementioned styling updates, the eight-speed automatic transmission can now be paired with the 5.3-liter V8 (though only on the SLT and Denali), and the addition of lane keeping assist to the options list should help prevent inadvertent crushings of subcompact hatchbacks on tight rural roads. The IntelliLink touchscreen electronics interface also receives faster responses and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Any way you shake it, there's nothing but good news here for Sierra loyalists and undecided shoppers alike.

In total, the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 is an even more well-rounded truck than last year, and it definitely merits a spot on your short list. Still, we also recommend checking out its key competitors. The Ford F-150 boasts impressive powertrains, driving manners and overall design, while the Ram 1500 offers the segment's best ride and the unique availability of an efficient and capable diesel engine. For the weekend dirt enthusiast, the Toyota Tundra can be equipped with an optional TRD Pro package, which makes it extremely adept at off-roading. Of course, there's also the me-too Chevrolet Silverado, but then, you know, the father-in-law. Or whatever.

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 models

The 2016 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 5.8-foot short bed or the 6.5-foot standard bed.

There are four trims. The base and SLE Sierra are available in all body styles, while the SLT is offered as a double cab or crew cab, and the Denali is crew cab only.

The base Sierra comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic xenon headlamps, power locks, a locking tailgate, power windows (double and crew cabs), air-conditioning, cruise control, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a folding rear seat (full-width double cab, 60/40-split crew cab), a tilt-only steering wheel and a sound system (four-speaker for regular cab; six-speaker otherwise) that includes a 4.2-inch color display, USB connectivity and an auxiliary audio jack. With four-wheel drive, the base Sierra features a floor-mounted transfer case.

The Sierra Convenience package adds remote keyless entry, a remote-locking tailgate, heated power mirrors (with an integrated driver-side blind-spot mirror), a rearview camera, a 110-volt AC outlet, LED cargo box lighting and, on the regular cab, power windows. The Elevation Edition includes those items plus special 20-inch black alloy wheels, LED foglights, tinted windows, body-color exterior trim, carpeted floors (versus vinyl), a 7-inch IntelliLink touchscreen interface, OnStar communications, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Pandora internet radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Apart from the Elevation Edition's special wheels and styling elements, the Sierra SLE includes all of the above plus 17-inch alloy wheels, an electronically controlled transfer case (4WD), a damped tailgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-inch IntelliLink touchscreen, HD and satellite radio and a CD player. The SLE Convenience package adds rear parking sensors, a rear window defogger, a sliding rear window and power-adjustable pedals. The SLE Preferred package adds a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel (V8 only), an eight-way power driver seat and dual-zone automatic climate control. The SLE Value package adds the same items but further adds trailering equipment and a rear locking differential with two-wheel drive. Those living in the Lone Star state get a special Texas emblem added to their Sierra when the SLE Value package is ordered. Other SLE options include leather upholstery and a heated front bench seat, or cloth-upholstered front bucket seats that include power lumbar adjustment, a six-way power passenger seat, a full center console and wireless smartphone charging.

The SLT comes standard with the 5.3-liter V8 engine, includes all of the above equipment (the bench seat remains standard) and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, LED taillights, power-folding mirrors with driver auto-dimming and puddle lamps and driver-seat memory settings. Leather-upholstered front bucket seats are optional. The SLT Preferred package adds front and rear parking sensors, a power-sliding rear window and a heated steering wheel. The SLT Crew Cab Premium Plus package adds those items plus 20-inch wheels, full LED headlamps, tubular side steps (available separately), heated and ventilated front bucket seats, a spray-on bedliner, a navigation system (available separately on the SLE), a Bose audio system and the Enhanced Driver Alert package (see Safety section). The crew cab can be equipped with a sunroof and an Entertainment package that includes a single 9.2-inch display and a DVD/Blu-ray player.

Available on the SLE and SLT crew and double cabs is the All-Terrain package, which adds 18-inch wheels, an off-road suspension featuring Rancho shocks, an underbody shield, a unique grille, rear parking sensors, a spray-on bedliner and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The All-Terrain SLT Premium package adds 20-inch wheels, front parking sensors, a heated steering wheel and a power-sliding rear window to those features.

The GMC Sierra 1500 Denali includes special exterior styling elements, 20-inch wheels and adaptive magnetorheological suspension dampers (GM's Magnetic Ride Control) along with most of the above equipment (the sunroof and Enhanced Driver Alert and Entertainment packages are optional, and the All-Terrain package is not available). The front bucket seats are standard. The optional Tri-Mode Power Steps package includes a rearward articulating power-deploying step for bed access and foot-activated, power-deploying side running boards.

2016 Highlights

It's all about lighting for the 2016 GMC Sierra. Xenon headlamps and LED running lights are now standard, while LED taillights are available on the SLE trim and above. LED foglights are at least optional on all trims, while LED headlights are available on all but the base Sierra. Each trim level also gets its own variation of the GMC grille. Functionally, the eight-speed automatic transmission is now available with the 5.3-liter V8 on SLT and Denali trim levels, while the IntelliLink touchscreens have been updated for faster performance (including a new midlevel 7-inch screen) and gained Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Remote tailgate locking and wireless phone charging have also been added to the available features list.

Performance & mpg

Standard on all but the SLT and Denali trims is a 4.3-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. It comes matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and, as with every Sierra 1500, either rear- or four-wheel drive. Maximum towing capacity, when properly equipped, is fairly generous at 7,600 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. With this engine, the base and SLE include a six-speed automatic; the SLT and Denali have an eight-speed automatic. Properly equipped, trucks with this engine can tow up to 11,100 pounds. EPA fuel economy estimates are 19 mpg (16 city/23 highway) with the six-speed and curiously worse with the eight-speed at 18 (16 city/22 highway). Opting for four-wheel drive lowers these estimates by 1 mpg combined.

Optional on the SLT and Denali is a 6.2-liter V8 good for 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The eight-speed automatic is standard. Properly equipped, this engine can tow up to 12,000 pounds. Regardless of drivetrain, the EPA estimates it will return 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway).


Standard safety features on the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, trailer sway control, front and rear side airbags, and side curtain airbags. Standard on all but the base Sierra is a rearview camera, a driver blind-spot mirror and OnStar, which includes services such as automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance. The optional Enhanced Driver Alert package includes front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning system, lane departure prevention and a safety alert seat that buzzes the driver's bottom to warn them as needed.

The Sierra 1500 received a top five-star crash rating from the government for overall, front and side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Sierra 1500 its highest possible rating of Good in its moderate-overlap front-impact crash test, the only test that agency has conducted thus far on this vehicle.


The 2016 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, and it also gets surprisingly good fuel economy. There's still a bit of vibration during hard acceleration, however, and the throttle can seem rather sluggish and unresponsive — no doubt for the sake of saving fuel.

The six-speed automatic provides smooth and timely gear changes in normal driving, but there's too big a gap between the transmission's gear ratios when towing. The addition of the eight-speed automatic on the SLT and Denali trims is therefore welcome, though the Ram 1500 comes standard with an eight-speed in every trim. The 6.2-liter V8 is a different story, as it comes standard with the eight-speed and provides that welcome bit of extra grunt to tackle almost any job (and serve up eye-popping acceleration when unladen).

Overall ride and handling dynamics are commendable, making this truck a fine choice for daily driving. The Sierra 1500 feels robust structurally, and although the Ram 1500 delivers a more refined ride, most Sierra versions are compliant and comfortable over broken pavement. (The stiffer ride on trucks with trailering package can get tiresome.) The Sierra is also very quiet, with road noise snuffed out and only a whisper of wind noise at freeway speeds. Off-road, the Sierra All-Terrain exhibits confidence-inspiring composure while negotiating rutted trails and challenging grades.


Frankly, the GMC Sierra's cabin isn't quite as special to behold as those of the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150. Higher trim levels can certainly be deemed luxurious, but on the whole, this GMC is more function than form. At the same time, anyone familiar with older GMC pickups who climbs inside this latest version will immediately notice the much improved materials and build quality, especially on the lower trims. There's also an abundance of bins and cubbies, and the center console on five-passenger Sierras boasts plenty of USB ports to keep your devices charged and connected. As if that isn't enough, there's now wireless charging for 2016.

The IntelliLink infotainment interface takes care of most navigation, audio and phone functions, and deserves special mention for its clear, intuitive controls. Plus, it gets even better for 2016 as its processing speed has thankfully been sped up and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make calling up playlists, podcasts, contacts and certain apps much easier.

Space and comfort are competitive in the Sierra's three cabs. We also appreciate the front-hinged rear doors on the double cab as opposed to the rear-hinged clamshell doors on the F-150. Rear-seat space in the crew cab isn't quite as sprawl-friendly as that offered by Ford or Ram (let alone the Toyota Tundra's limolike CrewMax cab), but families will still find plenty of space back there. Flipping up the rear bench reveals a flat load floor.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2016 Sierra SLT 4WD
Russ Vaughn,05/13/2016
SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
I loved this truck ...I say loved because I no longer have it. 2000 miles into ownership I had my first wreck of nearly 40 years of driving. My beautiful truck got T boned by a guy doing about 65 mph. My truck flipped with me in it and all the curtain airbags deployed along with OnStar immediately asking if I was ok. The other driver was taken to the hospital with injury's (He's doing good now) but I climbed out of the truck without a scratch. I hope that I never need the safety features on the GMC again but I can't say enough about them. btw I am on my way to buy my next GMC now.
Terrific vehicle!
Dan Basney,07/30/2016
SLT 4dr Crew Cab 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
I have owned 46 vehicles in my life- this is my favorite. Comfortable seats, great visibility, very ergonometrically designed. Open road mileage is incredible for a truck this size. I have the 4 wheel drive crew cab SLT version. On a recent 2900 trip to Colorado the truck averaged 20.5 miles per gallon. The miles were mostly freeway but included driving in Denver traffic, traversing 11,500 foot passes, 116 degree heat in the Arizona desert and dirt roads on a ranch. I have the apple infotainment radio and navigation system in the truck, which I would highly recommend - it's the best radio and nav system I have ever seen. A bit bulky to drive around in downtown parking garages, but no better vehicle for a long road trip. I have had this vehicle now for about 9 months and couldn't be happier with it.
Denali crew cab 5.3l 4x4
Denali 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 8A)
I have had the truck for a month, I am up near 2000 miles. I live in North NJ and appreciate the ride of the truck with the garbage roads we have. Up in North Jersey, the terrain is all hills, almost nothing flat. In local driving, I have been averaging about 17 mpg, not bad considering the terrain and the size of the vehicle. We took the truck to the outer banks for a week, 520 miles each way, on this trip I averaged 22 mpg, fully loaded, 2 adults, 2 kids, a dog, and truck bed full of beach gear, clothes, food, grill supplies, etc, etc. this trip brought the lifetime fuel economy for the truck up to 20mpg. pretty impressive. I will admit, I monitor my driving and kept it in v4 mode as much as possible, it worked. I am impressed. While in the outer banks I saw one period of driving, the first 100 miles leaving for the way home where I averaged 25.7 mpg, slow steady state, traffic free flat land, 55mph cruising. Amazing. The trip was 11 hours each way, factoring in stops for bathroom and food. Not a single complaint, everyone was comfortable beyond compare. The connectivity was loved by the kids, as was the ability to have all the electronics charged. While the dog would have preferred a yard, even he had room to move and get comfortable. Moving up from a Subaru Legacy, this was an obvious upgrade, what is surprising is that a vehicle this size is actually more efficient than a car that weighed 2000lbs less, and had a 2.5 liter 4cyl turbo engine. Finally, the GMC dealer experience has gone upscale and every dealing I had with them, beginning to end, has been easy. No quality based issues with the truck yet, and hopefully none on the horizon. There is a steep learning curve with the technology of the truck and the personalization available, but a good long trip like that helps to sort it all out and learn what the options are.
So far, so good (mostly)
Jesse Whittley,12/28/2016
SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
I've owned my sierra for roughly 8 months now and am very happy with the truck overall. Classy interior, quiet and comfortable ride, strong acceleration and great mpg's (for a truck). One complaint that I do have is with the transmission. From time to time, the tranny will seemingly slip. Other times, shifting is very rough. These issues aren't consistent, but when they do occur, they seem to occur when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. These issues seem to be common and I've read that they are less about the transmission itself and more about the programming that determines shift points and other transmission related operations. Apparently these things have been programmed for max gas mileage and the result is less than desirable shifting. This is a tough pill to swallow considering I paid 50,000+ for the truck. I'd gladly give up 1mpg for a transmission that doesn't act like its about to fall out of the truck.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover17.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500

Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Overview

The Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 is offered in the following submodels: Sierra 1500 Crew Cab, Sierra 1500 Regular Cab, Sierra 1500 Double Cab. Available styles include SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), Denali 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 8A), SLE 4dr Double Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), SLE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Double Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Double Cab 4WD SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), 4dr Double Cab SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), SLE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), SLE 4dr Double Cab SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), SLE 4dr Crew Cab 5.8 ft. SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), Denali 4dr Crew Cab 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 8A), Denali 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 8A), 4dr Crew Cab 5.8 ft. SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Crew Cab 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), SLE 4dr Crew Cab 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), SLE 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), SLE 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), SLT 4dr Double Cab SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A), SLE 2dr Regular Cab LB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), SLE 2dr Regular Cab SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), 2dr Regular Cab LB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), 2dr Regular Cab SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A), Denali 4dr Crew Cab 6.5 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 8A), and 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (4.3L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned GMC Sierra 1500 models are available with a 5.3 L-liter gas engine or a 4.3 L-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine, with output up to 355 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 comes with four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 8-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT is priced between $26,997 and$49,995 with odometer readings between 12687 and151363 miles.
  • The Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE is priced between $25,000 and$43,995 with odometer readings between 32959 and155234 miles.
  • The Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Base is priced between $23,597 and$33,999 with odometer readings between 53856 and102047 miles.
  • The Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is priced between $39,995 and$43,991 with odometer readings between 55150 and95457 miles.

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Which used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 for sale near. There are currently 40 used and CPO 2016 Sierra 1500s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $23,597 and mileage as low as 12687 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500.

Can't find a used 2016 GMC Sierra 1500s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Sierra 1500 for sale - 1 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $10,300.

Find a used GMC for sale - 5 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $9,712.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Sierra 1500 for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $10,717.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 3 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $19,045.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 GMC Sierra 1500?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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