The GMC Sierra 1500 is a truck for those drivers looking for more than just a workhorse.

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT

This Sierra is seriously professional grade

By: Wade Thiel

Web2Carz Senior Staff Writer

Published: April 18th, 2016

While the Chevrolet Silverado dukes it out with the Ford F-150, the GMC Sierra tries to present itself as a more upscale, high-end truck that sits just above the fray of the two well-known American workhorses. We're not sure it totally escapes to a higher echelon of pickup because the top trim levels of both the Silverado and the F-150 rival or match the GMC's comfort, features and performance, but we applaud its efforts nonetheless.

The GMC Sierra arrived at our doorstep for a week-long visit and we put it through the wringer, taking it through the downtown streets of Chicago all the way to the currently empty cornfields of Indiana. The GMC was an oddity in one environment and a common sight in the other. Still, wherever we went, we heard the same thing from people, "Nice truck."

  • Driving Impressions

    The GMC Sierra 1500 sits up high and has a demanding presence on the road. You can drive this truck with the confidence of knowing that you're going to be able to see any issues down the road and what you can't see that's coming up (construction or accidents), the GPS Navigation will alert you of. It is at home in more rural environments but is nimble and decked out with enough driver assist tech (backup camera, lane keep assist, forward collision alert and safety alert seat) to make city driving not only possible but pretty easy.

    As far as power goes, the GMC is never lacking. Ours had the 5.3-liter V8 EcoTec and it felt plenty powerful enough, but there's always the option to upgrade to the 6.2-liter V8. That would turn this truck into an absolute monster.

    • Ride Quality: Overall, the ride of the Sierra is exceptionally smooth. It definitely feels like a truck, though, and you can get jostled around a bit if you're going over some really rough patches of the street or driving down an unkempt dirt road.
    • Steering: The electric power steering is light and easy and provides decent feedback from the road. It is also well calibrated for highway driving and never feels too light.
    • Acceleration: The Sierra is surprisingly quick off the line and passing people on the highway is a cinch. When you step on the gas you also get a good sound from the V8.
    • Braking: Very stiff. As you press on the pedal the brakes go from hardly slowing the truck down at all to really grabbing hard. While we were able to get used to the pedal feel over time, it was still mildly annoying.
    • Handling: The truck handled well in most situations, but it's certainly smart to take things a little on the slower side around the curves as it's relatively easy to lose the back end around curves, especially when roads are slick. Otherwise for a truck so large it is actually quite nimble.

  • Technology & Safety

    The GMC Sierra we tested was decked out with heated seats and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, a large touchscreen display, wireless phone charging in the center console, satellite radio, driver assist technology, Navigation, Apple CarPlay Capability, a rearview camera several USB outlets, power outlets and more. All of these features were well placed and easy to use although some of the cheap plastic coverings on the outlets and connections would surely be broken over time.

    • Infotainment Screen Size/Quality: The 8-inch touchscreen display provided very crisp images and graphics and functioned flawlessly.
    • Bluetooth Phone Pairing: Pairing a phone was simple and reconnecting automatic.
    • Voice/Sound Quality: We experienced no call issues and the calls were clear and easy to hear. The audio system in the Sierra is of high quality with a wide range of bass and treble easily heard.
    • Controls: There is a nice mix of buttons and touchscreen controls in the Sierra. The climate controls and driving controls were all buttons while most of the infotainment system controls were operated through the touchscreen - an effective system.
    • Safety: Stability control with trailer sway control, front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, rearview camera.

  • Exterior Design and Styling

    The Sierra features bold exterior styling and is one of the best-looking trucks on the road in our opinion. It doesn't use too much chrome, but still has enough to look a little bit flashier than your average pickup, is well proportioned and comes in attractive, yet somewhat muted colors. The crimson red our Sierra came in was attractive, masculine and eye-catching.

    • Front: A large chrome grille spans all the way across to touch the large LED headlights for a domineering and respect demanding look. Beneath that the chrome bumper adds another level of chrome without adding too much.
    • Rear: Compared to the boisterous front of the Sierra, the rear of the truck is much more subdued. It prominently features GMC's logo and the Sierra name but other than the rectangular taillights, the only eye-catching feature is the chrome bumper with corner steps.
    • Profile: A boxy, truck profile with fender bulges and small chrome accents on the side mirrors and door handles help distinguish the Sierra from its competition. There's no mistaking this truck for one of the competition.

  • Driver and Passenger Comfort

    The first thing you notice when climbing up into the Sierra is the spacious interior. There is a lot of room in this truck. Our passengers remarked on the amount of leg room both up front and in the rear of the truck. This is a feature common among all crew cab pickups, but the amount of space paired with the upscale materials on the inside of the Sierra help give a luxurious feel to the cabin.

    The only gripe we had was the little bit of metal trim on the inside of the steering wheel. It gets darn cold overnight and doesn't heat up with the rest of the steering wheel. This isn't a problem if you only grab the top of your steering wheel, but grip at 3 and 9 positions on the wheel and you'll get the shock of cold metal in the morning.

    • Front Seats: An adequate amount of both cushioning and bolstering, plenty of seat adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. The heated seat buttons are located to either side of the center stack.
    • Rear Seats: A large, spacious bench seat almost as comfortable as the front seats with plenty of legroom and a charging station in the rear.
    • Visibility: Front side and rear visibility are excellent with no issues or pillars that are too thick.

  • Storage and Cargo Room

    Trucks are some of the most versatile vehicles on the road and crew cab pickups are the most practical of all. The spacious back seat works well for anything you don't want to throw in the truck bed (as long as you don't have passengers) and the bed is spacious and features hooks making it easy to tie down items to keep them from moving around.

    • Storage: Several compartments and storage areas, from the large center console, that's big enough for laptops, folders and other items to the large recess in front of the infotainment screen. There are also thin pockets to either side of the center console as well as large door pockets and cup holders and a two-level glovebox.
    • Trunk/Cargo Room: The 5-foot, 8-inch bed of the Sierra 1500 provides plenty of room for anything you'd need to do, from hauling furniture to moving a load of gravel.

  • Final Impressions

    While we thoroughly enjoyed the GMC Sierra, we would have to steer urbanites away from it for one reason - it's too big. We were able to squeeze the truck into street spaces, but it isn't easy. Go with a midsized truck if you desperately feel you need a truck and live in the city. For anyone else, the Sierra is great. It's perfect for anyone who needs the utility of a pickup and an upscale and spacious interior.

    Something to keep in mind is that the price tag of the Sierra isn't exactly low. While it is similar to other trucks in its segment, it is a few thousand higher. If the upscale interior is really important to you, go for the Sierra. However, if not, you may want to consider an F-150, Silverado or RAM 1500.

  • Specifications & Price:

    Engine: 5.3-liter V8 EcoTec3

    Transmission: 8-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, 4WD

    Power Output: 355 hp / 383 lb-ft of torque

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 15 mpg city / 21 mpg highway

    Base Price: $46,970

    As Tested: $55,050 (incl. $1,195 destination charge)

    Standard Features: Electric Power Steering; Transfer Case, 2 Spd AutoTrac; Auto Locking RR Differential; Rear Axle 3.42 Ratio; Airbags: Driver & Rt. Front Pass - Front/Side-impact, Outboard FRT & Rear Seat-side Head Curtain; Airbag Sensing System, Passenger; StabiliTrak-Stability Control w/ Trailer Sway Control & Hill Start Assist; Antilock Brakes, 4-wheel Disc with Duralife Rotors; Tire Pressure Monitor System(Excl Spare Tire); Onstar Includes 5 YR Basic Plan Plus 6 Mth Sercice w/ Automatic Crash Response, Navigation and More. Incl: 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot w/ Limited Data Trial and More; EZ Lift and Lower Tailgate; Remote Locking Tailgate; Glass, Deep-Tinted; Wheelhouse Liners, Rear; Body Side Molding, Chrome; Power Heated Outside Mirrir, Adjustable w/ Turn Signal; Headlamps, HID Projector w/LED; Taillamps, LED w/ Signature; Wheel Arch Moldings; Wheels, 18" Polished Aluminum;Tires, All Terrain; LED Front Fog Lamps; Recovery Hooks, Front; Bumpers, FT & RR, Chrome; Cornerstep, Rear Bumper; Bed Rail Protectors; Moveable Upper Tie Downs (4); LED Lighting, Cargo Box; Seats, Front 40/20/40 Leather-Appointed Split Bench; Driver Seat, Memory Adjust; Driver & Front Passenger Heated Seats; Seat 60/40 Rear Folding Bench; Remote Vehicle Start; Theft Deterrent System; Power Windows, Driver's Express; Power Door Locks; rear Window Defroster; Air Conditioning , Dual Zone Climate Control; Inside Rearview Mirror, Auto Dimming; Visors, Driver and Front Passenger, Lighted; IP Top Pad, Soft; Power Adjustable Pedals; Power Outlet, 110-Volt AC; Driver Info - Color Display; Universal Home Remote; Steering Wheel Audio Controls; Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel; Steering Column, Tilt & Telescoping; Rear Vision Camera; GMC Intellilink Audio System w/ 8" Diagonal Color Touch, Apple CarPlay Capability Provided by Apple. Avaliable with compatible smartphones; HD Radio: SiriusXM + Service, Subscription Sold Separately by SiriusXM After 3 Months; Single-Slot CD/MP3 Player; USB Ports; Bluetooth For Phone

    Options on our test vehicle: SLT Preferred Package: Heated Steering Wheel, Power Sliding Rear Window; SLT Crew Cab Premium Package: 6" Chrome Assist Steps, Bose Audio System, wheels, 20" Polished Aluminum (Replaces STd./Opt Wheels); Power Sunroof; Enhanced Driver Alert Package: Front and Rear Park Assist, Active Safety Lane Keep Assist, Intellibeam Headlamps, Forward Collision Alert, Safety Alert Seat; Heated & Vented Seats Driver & Front Passenger Seats; Front Full Feature Leather Appointed Buckets Center Console, Floor w/ USB Ports and Wireless Charging; High Performance LED Headlamps (Replaces Std. Headlamps); Crimson Red Tintcoat; GMC Intellilink Audio System w/ 8 Diagonal Color Touch & Navigation; Spray-on Bed Liner; Trailer Brake Controller; Tires, All Season

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