1997 GMC Sierra 3500 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engine choices, classic styling
  • Aging design, busy interior styling, uncomfortable driver's seat
List Price Estimate
$857 - $1,805

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

GM has figured out a way to steal some thunder from the Dodge Ram and the new Ford F-Series. Their entire line of truck engines was refined last year, infused with notable horsepower and torque increases. For good measure, engineers made the rear portion of the extended cab model more accessible via a trick panel that opens wide from the passenger's side to make loading cargo or people much easier.

Every Sierra gasoline engine, from the base V-6 to the king-of-the-hill V-8, benefit from Vortec technology which provide healthy power and torque ratings. For example, the standard 4300 V-6 makes an ample 200 horsepower, and the optional 5700 V-8 is a much more satisfying powerplant than Ford's new overhead cam designs. Also available are regular- and heavy-duty turbodiesels sporting 6.5 liters of displacement. All Sierras have four-wheel anti-lock braking.

The side access panel makes the extended cab model a true family vehicle. Loading cargo into the rear of the cab is much easier too. To qualify for the side access panel, you must order a 1500 extended cab shortbed equipped with SLE or SLT trim and a Vortec 5000 or Vortec 5700 engine mated to an automatic transmission. In contrast, Ford provides a third door standard on all extended cab models, making life much easier.

Other comforts aren't forgotten, either. Automakers are constantly trying to make their trucks more car-like, so GM has made rear seat heating ducts standard on the Sierra. Shoulder belts are height adjustable to fit a variety of physiques, and upholstery choices include leather. Heck, you'd hardly know this was a truck, especially with the passenger car tires that give some versions of the Sierra a nicer ride and quieter interior.

Improvements for 1997 include a new passenger airbag on models under 8,600 lbs. GVWR, and the airbag can be deactivated for those times when a rear-facing child safety seat is installed. Speed-sensitive steering that boosts power assist at low speeds to make parking easier has been added. On the open road, this system firms up the steering for improved road feel. All K1500 Sierras get a tighter turning radius this year for better maneuverability, and the automatic transmission shifts more smoothly this year thanks to revised hardware.

Although Chevrolet's own C/K Series garners the greatest amount of publicity, GMC's equivalents are pretty strong sellers themselves, approaching 190,000 units each year. Sierras, in fact, account for close to half of GMC output. Americans continue to clamor for burly pickups, whether for their macho image or for real work. Whether you choose a light-duty two-wheel-drive (C1500) or the massive four-wheel-drive K3500 Club Coupe, on a 155.5-inch wheelbase, GMC gives both Chevrolet and its Ford/Dodge rivals a run for their money.

1997 Highlights

A passenger airbag is added to models with a GVWR under 8,600 pounds, and all models get speed-sensitive steering that reduces low-speed effort. Automatic transmissions are refined to provide smoother shifts and improved efficiency. Three new paint colors debut.

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the Used 1997 GMC Sierra 3500.


Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
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
    0

More about the 1997 GMC Sierra 3500

Used 1997 GMC Sierra 3500 Overview

The Used 1997 GMC Sierra 3500 is offered in the following submodels: Sierra 3500 Crew Cab, Sierra 3500 Regular Cab, Sierra 3500 Extended Cab. Available styles include SL 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 4dr Crew Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Extended Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 4dr Crew Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Extended Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Extended Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Regular Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Regular Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Extended Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Regular Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 4dr Crew Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Extended Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Extended Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M), and SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (5.7L 8cyl naturally aspired 5M). Pre-owned GMC Sierra 3500 models are available with a 5.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 250 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1997 GMC Sierra 3500 comes with four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 GMC Sierra 3500?

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Which used 1997 GMC Sierra 3500s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 GMC Sierra 3500s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Sierra 3500 for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $7,943.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 GMC Sierra 3500?

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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