2017 GMC Sierra 1500

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Review

The 2017 GMC Sierra offers utility and comfort in a compelling, versatile package.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Jason Kavanagh
Edmunds Editor

A jack-of-all-trades and quite good at all of them, the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 has comfort, capability and versatility in equal measure. It's refined and delivers an appealing balance between performance and fuel efficiency. It's a smart choice that will serve you well.

For 2017 the GMC Sierra glides along nearly unchanged. It brings a few minor upgrades such as active grille shutters that reduce aerodynamic drag, a capless fuel-filler neck and some enhancements to the infotainment system. Otherwise, this remains the same trusty and widely competent pickup that it has been for the past few years.



what's new

For 2017, the GMC Sierra 1500 receives only minor updates such as a capless fuel-filler neck, active grille shutters for improved aerodynamics, low-speed automatic braking and a driver monitor system.

we recommend

If you need a regular cab, go with the SLE trim level for its added convenience items. We recommend ticking the box for the 5.3-liter V8 over the V6 because it provides a big boost in capability with minimal impact on fuel economy. For those needing a double cab or crew cab, the SLT hits the spot, with more standard equipment and an available eight-speed automatic instead of the standard six-speed. SLT trim also allows access to useful option packages. Avoid the larger optional wheels; they do little other than degrade the ride quality.

trim levels & features

The 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 is available in four trim levels: base, SLE, SLT and Denali. They are available in various cab and bed configurations.

The base is available only with a regular or a double cab and is sparsely equipped, though options are available. We recommend buyers look to the SLE trim level at a minimum because it has features beyond just what you'd find in a work-only truck. The version that strikes the best balance between amenities and functionality is the SLT trim level, while the range-topping Denali's luxury will appeal to buyers who want it all.

Configurations are as follows: Regular cabs are offered with a 6.5- or an 8-foot bed, double cabs come only with a 6.5-foot bed, and crew cabs are available with a 5.8- or a 6.5-foot bed. Be aware that not all trim levels are available with all configurations. All cab configurations are available with four-wheel drive.

Base Sierras are fairly bare-bones, which is fine if you're looking for a work truck. It comes with a 4.3-liter V6 (285 horsepower, 305 pound-feet of torque), though a 5.3-liter V8 (355 hp, 383 lb-ft of torque) is optional. For any kind of regular use, you'll want more creature comforts than the base Sierra delivers as standard.

The SLE trim level adds a backup camera, an upgraded infotainment unit, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with an optional telescoping column.

Stepping up to the SLT, our trim level of choice, nets you the 5.3-liter V8 engine, towing hardware, power-folding and heated mirrors, and heated leather seats. The SLT's standard V8 engine paired with the available eight-speed automatic forms our preferred Sierra powertrain. A 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp, 460 lb-ft of torque) becomes an option at the SLT level. Parking alerts become available, too, and they're terrifically handy in a full-size pickup.

At the top of the range is the Denali, which comes with most of the features available on lower trim levels and has all of the available driver assistance features. It adds exclusive Magnetic Ride Control dampers, 20-inch wheels and unique interior appointments.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.5 / 5.0

Acceleration4.5 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling2.5 / 5.0
Drivability4.5 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.0 / 5.0
Climate control2.0 / 5.0

Interior

2.0 / 5.0

Ease of use4.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out2.5 / 5.0
Driving position3.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.5 / 5.0
Quality2.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.5 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The powertrain in the Sierra Denali is nothing short of impressive. With 420 horsepower, 460 lb-ft of torque and an eight-speed transmission, the truck is never short on grunt. But the brakes and the steering show considerably less advancement. The 22-inch wheels do it no help either.

acceleration

edmunds rating
There's stout performance from this 6.2-liter V8, so much so that the eight-speed automatic might seem a little much, but together they make for arguably the best powertrain in the class. Power is plentiful at any engine speed, even though peak torque of 460 lb-ft is achieved at 4,100 rpm.

braking

edmunds rating
Around town, the Sierra's brakes are friendly and capable. Panic-braking tests revealed a confident and stable truck with little dive, impressive for its size though braking distances were a little on the long side at 141 feet. GMC offers a brake upgrade, which is a curious option we've never tested.

steering

edmunds rating
Pinpoint accuracy and feedback are not its strong suits. Like the brakes, the steering is easy and gives you enough confidence to pilot this truck around town. Though it's accurate enough, the weighting never changes, leaving the driver feeling wholly disconnected from the front wheels.

handling

edmunds rating
The 22-inch wheel and tire package doesn't help the Sierra's cause. The tires' low-rolling resistance and all-terrain construction leave the Sierra with a lack of grip. The truck feels stable, but the tires howl in protest if asked to turn. The ESC is conservatively tuned if not a bit clumsy.

drivability

edmunds rating
The Sierra makes having this much capability and power easy to handle. Key among the highlights is the transparent powertrain calibration. You rarely find yourself without enough power, and the system is quick to respond if you need more. Guiding this truck through most environments is a breeze.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Sierra has the basics down with decent ride control, comfortable seats, and low road and wind noise. But the optional 22-inch wheel and tire package does its best to erase most of those gains. The climate control system also failed to keep the cabin cool during a stint in extreme heat.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
While they are wide and accommodating, there's nothing particularly special about the seats in the Sierra Denali. There's little support offered for anything other than highway cruising. The seats do benefit from being both heated and cooled.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
With its Magnetic Ride Control, the Sierra Denali does a fairly impressive job of delivering above-average ride quality on smooth roads. Over rougher pavement the 22-inch wheels simply become too much to handle. The ride degrades noticeably, and the steering column shimmies and shakes constantly.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
The cabin is generally well isolated from tire and wind noise, even over rough roads. The exhaust noise is a subdued burble, and wind noise is minimal considering the shape and size of the truck. Vibrations could only be felt through the steering wheel on rougher roads.

climate control

edmunds rating
The functionality of the controls is hard to fault, but we found the airflow and performance in hot weather to be subpar. The driver's air vent placement is poor, delivering most of the air to your hands. During one stint in 95-plus degree heat, the Sierra was unable to cool the cabin adequately.

interior

edmunds rating
Most of the interior is a study on how to do a truck interior correctly. Switches are big and easy to use, access is good, and there's plenty of space. Some options proved to be more annoying than helpful, and the inexplicable misalignment of the center of the steering wheel is a nagging annoyance.

ease of use

edmunds rating
There are no real ergonomic gaffes in the Sierra Denali. Most controls fall readily to hand with the exceptions being the unusually small power rear window and sunroof rocker switches located on the headliner mounted console. Screens and menus are clear and easy to navigate.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The usually easy entry to a Sierra is upset by the optional power step rails. The truck isn't high enough to make them of any use to passengers over 5-foot-5, and their auto deployment caught out many a taller driver. Curiously, a driver's front roof pillar grab handle is optional at this price.

driving position

edmunds rating
Twelve-way power seats, adjustable pedals and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel make it easy to get situated, but the off-center steering column spoils the driving position. You either lean against the door to center the wheel in your chest or accept the mildly infuriating misalignment.

roominess

edmunds rating
As with any full-size crew-cab truck, there's ample room for both front and rear passengers. Up front, hip and shoulder room are generous, and rear seat passengers will find no room to complain about space.

visibility

edmunds rating
All in all the Sierra has good visibility. Even with the big square hood, the only sightline restrictions come from the large base of the front roof pillars and the much too small outside rearview mirrors. The backup camera is clear and has a good field of vision.

quality

edmunds rating
At first glance the build quality is up to par with that of other luxury trucks in the segment. But upon closer inspection, the notion of anything being very luxurious disappears. Many interior plastics feel similar to those on the back of a television, and the fake wood trim is a poor choice.

utility

edmunds rating
If you can't haul a lot or store a lot, you're not doing the full-size truck game right. The Sierra Denali excels at both and proves useful on a personal as well as a professional level.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Like any good full-size truck, there's a ton of space inside the Sierra. The center console has room for cans, oversized drink bottles, multiple phones and a laptop. There's plentiful door pocket storage as well, but door pockets are all the rear passengers will get.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The 5-foot-8 bed came lined and proved easy to access. Intrusions from wheelwells are minimal, and the bed height isn't as high as that of some other trucks in this class. Rear bumper steps are a help as are the power side steps, which can be adjusted to assist in front of the bed access.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
The LATCH anchors are easy to get to, and with the power side steps deployed, reaching in to hook up a car seat is much easier on your back.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.