Used 2002 GMC Sierra 1500HD Review

Edmunds expert review

A heavy-duty family/tow vehicle, without the tow-truck ride.

What's new for 2002

Debuting late last year as an all-new 2001 model, the 1500HD Crew Cab gets few changes for the 2002 model year. Deep-tinted glass is now standard, and a Cold Weather option package with heated exterior mirrors and a rear window defogger have been added.

Vehicle overview

In the world of full-size pickup trucks, versatility is king. If you don't offer consumers every conceivable body style/drivetrain/suspension configuration imaginable, they will immediately gravitate toward the manufacturer who does. In this fine tradition of consumer gratification, GMC recently broadened its lineup of Sierra trucks with the introduction of the Sierra 1500HD.

Unlike most Sierra trucks, the 1500HD comes in only one body style -- a crew cab, short box -- giving GMC a half-ton truck with four fullsize doors and true six-passenger seating capacity with which it can compete against Dodge's new Ram Quad Cab and Ford's F-150 SuperCrew. Intended as a truck for recreational use rather than hard-core work duty, the crew cab configuration provides a spacious passenger cabin without the harsh ride typical of most workhorse crew cabs.

In addition to its unique body style, the 1500HD also gets drivetrain components previously unavailable in a Sierra half-ton. Under the hood rests a 6.0-liter Vortec V8 rated at 300 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. Handling all that power is one of GM's sturdiest light-truck automatic transmissions, the 4L80E. With overdrive and a tow/haul mode that adjusts shift points for better performance under load, this transmission/engine combo allows the 1500HD to tow up to 10,300 pounds. Larger four-wheel disc brakes borrowed from the three-quarter-ton lineup assure that you'll be able to haul the load down to speed as quickly as the burly Vortec engine gets it going.

There are only two trim levels available: SLE and SLT. Well-equipped SLE models include cruise control, keyless entry, an AM/FM/CD stereo, air conditioning and a driver message center that monitors 18 different vehicle systems. SLT models add leather seating surfaces, power-adjustable driver and passenger seats and the OnStar communications system. Optional items include electronic climate control, heated captain's chairs and a heavy-duty towing package that includes an oil cooler, platform hitch and all the wiring necessary for a brake controller and center-mounted brake light.

With its stout drivetrain, spacious interior and numerous standard features, the Sierra 1500HD would make a great tow vehicle for those who pull a good-sized boat or horse trailer on a regular basis, but don't want the harsh-riding suspension of most heavy-duty pickups. Its four full-sized doors allow it to serve as a great family vehicle, as well, making the Sierra 1500HD one of the most versatile and capable models in the Sierra lineup.

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.