When the newest GMC Sierra 1500 launched in 2019, it already felt a little behind the times. The redesigned Ram 1500 — which also bowed that year — set a new standard for the class, and the Sierra didn't even feel as refined as the aging Ford F-150. A new F-150 in 2021 further cemented the Sierra's also-ran status among full-size pickups. Not content with a distant third place, the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 will debut with a number of upgrades to separate it from the heavy hitters in the class. The biggest addition is GM's Super Cruise, marking the 2022 Sierra 1500 as the first truck with an advanced level of semi-automated driving tech.
GM's Super Cruise is a seriously impressive suite of driving aids that allows for hands-off driving in certain circumstances. The newest version, which appears on the 2022 Sierra 1500, also includes an automated lane-change system that activates when it senses a slowing vehicle ahead of you and executes a pass when it's safe. Note that automatic lane changes are not available while towing, but other Super Cruise functions are. When using navigation, Super Cruise-enabled routes will be highlighted on the map, so you'll know exactly where the system can be engaged.
We were given the opportunity to test the Sierra 1500's Super Cruise system both with a trailer and without, and can report that the truck accelerates and brakes completely naturally with the system engaged. However, the limited traffic on our drive route meant that we couldn't test how the automatic lane change function works in real-life driving scenarios. For instance, what happens if the person ahead of you is chugging along under your desired speed, but there's stopped traffic up ahead in the next lane over? Will the system attempt to overtake the car in front by moving into the lane with slowing traffic, or can the system see that far ahead and prevent such a risky maneuver? We'll have to thoroughly test a Sierra 1500 with Super Cruise to find out.
Also on deck for the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 is a new trim level that will slot above the currently top-tier Denali. Look for an announcement later in the calendar year.