GMC Sierra 1500 Review & Features

GMC Sierra 1500 Review

The pickup truck has long been a mainstay of American byways and highways, and GMC has been there from day one. Originally used and respected by farmers, construction workers and small-business owners, GMC's hauler was a basic workhorse known for its reliability and longevity. More recent times have seen GMC's full-size truck adopt the name Sierra. And thanks to a variety of body styles, powertrains and trim levels, the Sierra is as adept at serving as the weekday family car as it is at transporting home-improvement supplies or towing a boat on the weekends.

Older versions of the GMC Sierra 1500 pickup have been praised for their strong work ethic, but soundly criticized for their bland, cheap cabins. With the newer generations, however, fit and finish is notably better. Of course, there are other choices in the full-size pickup truck market, but the Sierra 1500 remains a solid pick no matter what the intended use.

Current GMC Sierra 1500
Redesigned for 2014, the latest GMC Sierra 1500 is both trimmer and stronger than before. The V6-powered regular cab truck, for example, is about 250 pounds lighter this year while the engine lineup, particularly the V6, benefits from higher output and efficiency. Other changes for the new Sierra 1500 include revised suspension tuning for a smoother ride, forward-hinged rear doors on extended cab models and newly available safety features.

This full-size pickup is offered in regular cab, extended (double) cab and crew cab body styles with various bed lengths. Trim levels consist of base, well-equipped SLE, luxurious SLT and off-road-oriented Z71, and there is a choice of either two- or four-wheel drive.

All but the SLT come standard with a 4.3-liter V6 that makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque, enough muscle to tow up to 7,200 pounds. The 5.3-liter V8 (standard on the SLT and optional on other Sierras) makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The new V6 is vastly superior to the old V6, not only in terms of power and performance but also refinement. Of course, the 5.3-liter V8 delivers strong acceleration as long as you're not shy about laying onto the gas pedal when needed -- it has a rather lazy response otherwise. The six-speed automatic provides smooth and timely shifts and the Sierra 1500's towing performance is commendable.

Overall ride and handling dynamics are solid, as the GMC Sierra 1500 feels robust structurally, yet compliant and comfortable over broken pavement. Models fitted with the Max Trailering package, however, have a noticeably stiffer ride that can grow tiresome. The newest Sierra is also very quiet, even at higher freeway speeds. On serpentine roads, the GMC goes around turns in a confident manner and its steering is well-weighted. Off road, the Sierra similarly feels composed.

Used GMC Sierra 1500 Models
The previous-generation GMC Sierra 1500 was produced from 2007 through 2013. There were three body styles (regular, extended and crew cabs), and trim levels ranged from no-frills "Work Truck" to ultra-plush Denali.

Powertrain choices through these years encompassed everything from an anemic 4.3-liter 195-hp V6 to a muscular 6.2-liter V8 with 403 hp. Most Sierras, however, were fitted with either a 295-hp 4.8-liter V8 or a 315-hp 5.3-liter V8. A four-speed automatic was initially standard across the board except on the Denali's 6.2-liter V8, which came with a six-speed unit. Eventually, the six-speed was fitted to the 5.3-liter V8 as well. Either rear- or four-wheel drive could be specified.

Calling cards of this GMC Sierra 1500 include strong performance, a refined and quiet ride (even with the heavy-duty towing package) and a comfortable, sensible cabin. The Denali was certainly plush, though it still didn't have the same space or high-end ambience of its Ford and Ram top-of-the-line rivals. Other potential downsides included minor ergonomic missteps and the hesitant downshifts of the four-speed automatic transmission. We had no such gripe with the excellent six-speed automatic, however, thanks to its smooth and on-point performance.

Potential buyers should be aware of the significant changes made throughout the years. For 2009, the Denali's 6.2-liter, 403-hp V8 with its excellent six-speed automatic became optional on select other trims. That year also saw the debut of Bluetooth, a back-up camera option that didn't require the optional navigation system, and the "XFE" (extra fuel economy) package for the crew cab. The following year, 2010, saw the 5.3-liter V8 get the six-speed transmission and variable valve timing, which both improved fuel economy slightly. The 6.0-liter V8 (367 hp and 375 lb-ft) that had been offered since 2007 was dropped that year while side curtain airbags, front seat side airbags and stability control all became standard across the board. Lastly, USB connectivity (standard on Denali) became optional on the SLE and SLT. For 2012, the navigation system was updated (now hard-drive-based) and trailer sway control joined the safety features list.

Before this was the popular 1999-2006 generation of the Sierra. Underneath the conservatively handsome styling, a family of new V8s debuted, ranging in size from 4.8 to 6.0 liters. They offered output ranging from 255 hp with the smallest 4.8-liter, to 345 hp from the high-output 6.0-liter V8 in the Sierra Denali. A base V6 was also available, but as expected, most Sierras came fitted with one of the V8s. A unique four-wheel-steering option (called QuadraSteer), debuted about midway through this generation and cut the truck's turning circle down significantly to 37.4 feet -- around 10 feet less than a typical full-size pickup ? making U-turns and maneuvering in tight spots much easier . Unfortunately, QuadraSteer was discontinued for 2006 due to a low take rate, as buyers were put off by the high cost of this option.

Consumers more interested in function than flash should be happy with a half-ton Sierra from this era. The truck offered plenty of performance and work capacity, but was hampered by a dated cabin design fraught with cheap materials and below-average fit and finish.

The previous generation of GMC Sierra 1500 pickups ran from 1988-'98. Standard cab and extended cab body styles were offered, as was a crew cab, though the latter was actually from the previous 1981-'87 generation. Although six-cylinder and diesel V8s were offered, chances are strong that most GMC trucks from these years will have either a 5.0- or 5.7-liter V8 mated to a four-speed automatic. In keeping with tradition, one could choose either rear-wheel drive (indicated by a "C", e.g. "C1500") or four-wheel drive (indicated by a "K"). Trim levels for these C/K1500 trucks include the bare-bones Special, base SL, midlevel SLE and top-line SLT. Strengths of these trucks include powerful, durable powertrains, while weaknesses center on sketchy build quality and subpar materials within the cabin.

For more information on older GMC pickups, go to our GMC Sierra 1500 history page.

GMC Sierra 1500 Cars for Sale

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
MSRP$66,465
Special Offer See special offer Country Buick GMC(7mi)(0)
Dealer Notes

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali GRAND OPENING! For the all N Country Buick-GMC Come check out our Huge Inventory and Super Savings.

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
MSRP$63,505
Special Offer See special offer Koons GM Corner(16mi)(1)
Dealer Notes

Price includes: $500 - General Motors Consumer Cash Program. Exp. 10/02/2017

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Base
NEW 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Base
MSRP$33,895
Special Offer See special offer King Buick GMC(18mi)(1)
2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
MSRP$63,795
Special Offer See special offer Ideal Buick GMC(25mi)(0)
2017 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT
MSRP$66,380
Special Offer See special offer Lindsay Buick GMC(28mi)(7)
Dealer Notes

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD SLT EcoTec3 5.3L V8 6-Speed Automatic, 4WD, Cocoa/Dune Leather, 20 x 9 Polished Aluminum Wheels, 3.42 Rear Axle Ratio, 6 Rectangular Chromed Tubular Assist Steps, 6-Speaker Audio System, ALC CONVERSION 6 Lift 35 Tires!, HD Radio, Hill Descent Control, Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Navigation System, Off-Road Suspension Package, Radio: AM/FM Stereo w/8 Diagonal Color Touch Nav., SiriusXM Satellite Radio, SLT Premium Package. Please contact the dealer for additional manufacturer rebates that may be available and could further reduce your Lindsay Love It price! Additional discounts such as recent College Graduates, Educators, Military, owners of competitive makes, loyalty rebates etc, may be available. We make every effort to provide accurate information, but please verify options and price before purchasing. All vehicles are subject to prior sale. All prices are special internet prices only. All financing is subject to approved credit. To review freight fees go to (http://www.lindsaybuickgmc.com/Freight-Charges). Tax, tags, Freight and processing fee of $579 additional. $3,000 - Sierra 1500 Crew w/PCQ (SLT eAssist Pkg) Bonus Cash. Exp. 10/02/2017

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE
MSRP$50,150
Special Offer See special offer Route 1 Buick GMC(30mi)(1)
Dealer Notes

TRAILERING EQUIPMENT, WHEELS, 20 X 9 (50.8 CM X 22.9 CM) BRIGHT MACHINED ALUMINUM, SUSPENSION PACKAGE, OFF-ROAD, UNIVERSAL HOME REMOTE, LPO, ASSIST STEPS, CHROMED TUBULAR, 6... SUMMIT WHITE exterior and JET BLACK interior, SLE trim KEY FEATURES INCLUDE: 4x4, Back-Up Camera, CD Player, Onboard Communications System. Keyless Entry, Privacy Glass, Steering Wheel Controls, Heated Mirrors, Electronic Stability Control. OPTION PACKAGES: SLE VALUE PACKAGE includes (AG1) driver 10-way power seat adjuster when ordered with (AZ3) seats only, (N37) manual tilt and telescopic steering column, (BTV) Remote vehicle starter system, (T3U) LED front fog lamps, (UG1) Universal Home Remote, (C49) rear-window defogger, (KI4) 110-volt AC power outlet, (CJ2) dual-zone climate control, (Z82) trailering equipment, and (G80) rear locking differential for 2WD models only, ELEVATION EDITION includes (NZQ) 20 x 9 Black-painted aluminum wheels, (QT0) P275/55R20 all-season, blackwall tires, (TRB) body color accented grille surround, (VB5) front body-color bumper, (VT5) rear body-color bumper with corner steps and (V76) Black recovery hooks on 2WD model. ENGINE, 5.3L ECOTEC3 V8, WITH ACTIVE FUEL MANAGEMENT, DIRECT INJECTION and Variable Valve Timing, includes aluminum block construction (355 hp [265 kW] @ 5600 rpm, 383 lb-ft of torque [518 Nm] @ 4100 rpm; more than 300 lb-ft of torque from 2000 to 5600 rpm), WHEELS, 20 X 9 (50.8 CM X 22.9 CM) BRIGHT MACHINED ALUMINUM, LPO, ASSIST STEPS, CHROMED TUBULAR, 6 RECTANGULAR, SUSPENSION PACKAGE ***Prices include ALL available incentives, exclude taxes, tags, freight, processing fee, finance charges, emissions testing fees. All prices and availability are subject to change without notice. Not all consumers qualify for all incentives. Horsepower calculations based on trim engine configuration. Fuel economy calculations based on original manufacturer data for trim engine configuration. Please confirm the accuracy of the included equipment by calling us prior to purchase.

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
MSRP$63,935
Special Offer See special offer Win Kelly Chevrolet Buick GMC(32mi)(4)
2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
MSRP$59,315
Special Offer See special offer Capitol Buick GMC(32mi)(0)
2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
MSRP$64,185
Special Offer See special offer AutoNation Buick GMC Laurel(35mi)(2)
Dealer Notes

DENALI ULTIMATE PACKAGE,ENGINE; 6.2L ECOTEC3 V8 WITH ACTIVE FUEL MANAGEMENT; DIRECT INJECTION,Leather Seats,Navigation System,MINERAL METALLIC,LPO; REAR UNDERSEAT STORAGE; COMPOSITE STORAGE BIN,TIRES; P285/45R22 SL 110H ALL-TERRAIN; BLACKWALL,LPO; ALL-WEATHER FLOOR MATS; FRONT AND REAR ON CREW CAB AND DOUBLE CAB; FRONT ONLY ON REGULAR CAB,Cooled Front Seat(s),Four Wheel Drive,CUSTOMER DIALOGUE NETWORK,EMISSIONS; CONNECTICUT; DELAWARE; MAINE; MARYLAND; MASSACHUSETTS; NEW JERSEY; NEW YORK; OREGON; PENNSYLVANIA; RHODE ISLAND; VERMONT AND WASHINGTON STATE REQUIREMENTS,JET BLACK; PERFORATED LEATHER-APPOINTED FRONT SEAT TRIM,TRANSMISSION; 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC; ELECTRONICALLY CONTROLLED

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT
NEW 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT
MSRP$54,275
Special Offer See special offer Wilkins Automotive(48mi)(2)
Dealer Notes

Not all customers may qualify for all rebates. Price includes: $1,000 - National Buick and GMC Bonus Cash. Exp. 10/02/2017, $500 - General Motors Consumer Cash Program. Exp. 10/02/2017 8-Speed Automatic with Overdrive, 4WD, and Leather. Extended Cab! Long Bed! Never before has a family-friendly hauler been so well dressed. It is nicely equipped with features such as Trailering Equipment, 4WD, 8-Speed Automatic with Overdrive, Leather, 10-Way Power Driver's Seat Adjuster, 110-Volt AC Power Outlet, 150 Amp Alternator, 1st & 2nd Row Color-Keyed Carpeted Floor Mats, 2-Speed Active Electronic AutoTrac Transfer Case, 3.08 Rear Axle Ratio, 4.2 Diagonal Color Display Driver Info Center, 40/20/40 Front Split Bench Seat, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, 6 Speakers, 6-Speaker Audio System, ABS brakes, Adjustable pedals, Air Conditioning, Alloy wheels, AM/FM radio, Auto-dimming door mirrors, Auto-Dimming Inside Rear-View Mirror, Auto-dimming Rear-View mirror, Automatic temperature control, Auxiliary External Transmission Oil Cooler, Bodyside moldings, Brake assist, Bumpers: chrome, CD player, Chrome Bodyside Moldings, Chrome Door Handles, Chrome Mirror Caps, Color-Keyed Carpeting, Compass, Deep-Tinted Glass, Delay-off headlights, Driver & Front Passenger Illuminated Vanity Mirrors, Driver door bin, Driver vanity mirror, Dual front impact airbags, Dual front side impact airbags, Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control, Electric Rear-Window Defogger, Electronic Stability Control, Emergency communication system, Exterior Parking Camera Rear, EZ Lift & Lower Tailgate, Front anti-roll bar, Front Center Armrest w/Storage, Front dual zone A/C, Front fog lights, Front Frame-Mounted Black Recovery Hooks, Front reading lights, Front wheel independent suspension, Fully automatic headlights, Garage door transmitter: HomeLink, HD Radio, Heated door mirrors, Heated Driver & Front Passenger Seats, Heated front seats, Heavy Duty Suspension, Heavy-Duty Rear Locking Differential, High-Intensity Discharge Headlights, Illuminated entry, Leather Appointed Seat Trim, Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel w/Cruise Controls, LED Cargo Box Lighting, LED Tailamps w/Signature, Low tire pressure warning, Manual Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column, Memory seat, MP3 decoder, Occupant sensing airbag, OnStar 3 Month Guidance Plan, OnStar w/4G LTE, Outside temperature display, Overhead airbag, Overhead console, Panic alarm, Passenger door bin, Passenger vanity mirror, Power Adjustable Pedals, Power door mirrors, Power driver seat, Power Folding & Adjustable Heated Outside Mirrors, Power passenger seat, Power steering, Power windows, Power Windows w/Driver Express Up & Down, Radio data system, Radio: AM/FM Stereo w/8 Diagonal Color Touch Screen, Rear 60/40 Folding Bench Seat (Folds Up), Rear reading lights, Rear seat center armrest, Rear step bumper, Rear Vision Camera, Rear Wheelhouse Liners, Rear window defroster, Remote Keyless Entry, Remote keyless entry, Remote Vehicle Starter System, Security system, Single Slot CD/MP3 Player, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Speed control, Speed-sensing steering, Split folding rear seat, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Steering wheel mounted audio controls, Tachometer, Telescoping steering wheel, Theft Deterrent System (Unauthorized Entry), Thin Profile LED Fog Lamps, Tilt steering wheel, Traction control, Trip computer, Turn signal indicator mirrors, Universal Home Remote, Variably intermittent wipers, and Voltmeter. Load this truck down with passengers, cargo, whatever! This Sierra 1500's cavernous space will haul around everything you need.