Like the mechanically identical Chevy Silverado, the GMC Sierra 1500 plays to a diverse crowd who all agree on one thing: there's no substitute for a full-size pickup truck. Within that group, buyers who want an extra measure of style or just something different have naturally gravitated toward the GMC.
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2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Overview
What's New for 2016
The Sierra 1500 gains a new front-end treatment featuring a resculpted hood, fresh grille, and updated lighting. An eight-speed automatic transmission makes its way into more models. The MyLink infotainment system gets full smartphone integration. Newly available features include lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and a remote locking tailgate.
Choosing Your GMC Sierra 1500
Like its Chevy twin, the Sierra is available with three cab styles: Regular, Double, and Crew. The Double Cab features a rear seat and narrow rear doors, while the Crew Cab is a bona fide four-door with adult-size legroom in back. Regular and Double Cabs come with a 6.5-foot bed; an 8-foot bed is optional on the Regular Cab only. As for the Crew Cab, the standard box is slightly shorter than the others at 5.75 feet, but the 6.5-foot bed is available as an upgrade.
|5.75-foot Bed||6.5-foot Bed||8-foot Bed|
The engine roster starts with a 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V6. Beyond that, there are two V8s: a 5.3-liter with 335 horsepower and a 6.2-liter that makes a stout 420 horsepower.
Towing capacity maxes out at 7,600 pounds with the V6, 11,500 with the 5.3-liter, and an even 12,000 pounds with the 6.2-liter.
A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard with the V6 and 5.3-liter engines. An eight-speed unit is optional for the 5.3-liter and standard with the 6.2-liter. Four-wheel drive is available across the board.
Like all full-size pickups, the 1500 covers an enormous swath of market territory across its five trim levels:
All SLE and above models are eligible for a Driver Alert package with front collision alert, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and a vibrating safety alert in the driver seat. The SLE and SLT can get the off-road Z71 package, which furnishes hill-descent control, skid plates, special shock absorbers, a heavy-duty air cleaner, recovery hooks, and various appearance elements.
The SLE is our pick for combined work and personal use. It can be skewed toward either end depending on your needs without threatening your budget.
2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Review
Just like its mechanically similar Chevrolet Silverado 1500 sibling, the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 has received subtle upgrades and changes outside and inside. Following an exterior tweak found in the grill and signature LED exterior lighting, including the headlights and taillights on the higher trim levels, the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 also adds a locking tailgate and tri-mode power side steps for the Denali models making access to the cabin or rear bed much easier. Despite the few changes for the 2016 model year, the GMC Sierra 1500 retains the rugged, powerful, and luxurious cabin we have appreciated since its full redesign as a 2014 model.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 comes in a variety of cab configurations with different bed sizes while there are four distinct trim levels. Base trim starts at $39,180 (Crew Cab), SLE at $43,305 (Crew Cab), SLT at $47,070 (Crew Cab), and the Denali at $54,340 (Crew Cab).
The Base and SLE offer the availability of a four-wheel drive system and a short, standard or long bed size. Buyers of the SLT and Denali only get the choice of a standard or short bed. Opting for our favorite trim and configuration, the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Crew Cab, you can expect to enjoy the following standard features:
- Eight-speed automatic transmission with a powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine
- Climate controlled front seats
- Perforated leather seating surfaces
- 8-inch infotainment touch screen with Bluetooth Smartphone integration and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- LED headlights, foglights and taillights
- 20-inch alloy wheels (optional 22-inch wheels on Denali)
- Heavy-duty locking rear differential
- Power-folding rearview mirros
- OnStar with 4G LTE WiFi Connectivity
- Trailering equipment enabling towing up to 12,000 pounds on 6.2-liter V8 SLT and Denali trims
Offering so many standard features and a plush interior with a few luxury appointments, the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 serves many transportation and hauling duties at the same time, and has no issues being the sole vehicle for a decent-sized family. The multi-purpose nature of the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 appeases most and some who look for exceptional styling with the availability of items like optional 22-inch wheels or the ability to tow up to 12,000 pounds.
The 2016 GMC Sierra 1500, amidst its robust powertrain offering in the 6.2-liter V8 engine found in the SLT and Denali trim levels, is a serious force in the area of quick acceleration, respectable efficiency, and remarkable towing and hauling capabilities.
The base 4.3-liter V8 engine with 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque in the Base and SLE provide decent on-road and light off-roading capabilities. The SLT adds the 5.3-liter V8 engine with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and ups the conventional towing capacity to 11,100 pounds. When properly configured with trailering equipment, the 6.2-liter V8 engine can tow up to 12,000 pounds. EPA fuel consumption figures for the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 6.2-liter V8 4WD come in at 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, and get marginally better with the smaller engine choices.
- Available 5.3-liter V8 engine with eight-speed automatic transmission
- Powerful 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
- Remarkable towing capabilities with up to 12,000 pounds.
- Quick acceleration for the 5.3-liter V8 (zero to 60 mpg in 6.9 seconds) and 6.2-liter V8 (zero to 60 in 5.9 seconds) engine choices.
- Smaller 4.3-liter V6 has a modest towing capacity.
- Unwanted vibrations and suspension jiggle on the 1500 equipped with large 22-inch wheels.
- Abundance of body roll and lean going into sharp turns at speed.
- Luxurious cabin with spacious and comfortable leather seating areas in the higher-level Sierra 1500 SLT and Denali trims.
- Quick-responding and user-friendly infotainment system fed through either a 7- or 8-inch touch screen.
- A plethora of high-demand amenities and luxury features made available on mid-level and upper trims.
- Bench seating configuration lacks lateral support, making them less comfortable on long hauls.
- Hot air can be felt by rear passengers through front seat backing vents when front seat ventilation/cooling is turned on.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Apart from the 2016 Sierra 1500’s unique styling to differentiate it from its neighboring Chevy Silverado 1500 counterpart, the GMC Sierra 1500 is the closest you will get to a luxury truck if there ever were such a thing. The plush interior of the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 in its higher Denali trim with the Ultimate option package is a delighted treat for such a capable truck that can tow up to 12,000 pounds and haul a payload of just over 2,000 pounds.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The handling attributes on road can be slightly unsettling at times. The excessive body roll, while somewhat expected, takes some getting used to as does the imminent interaction of stability and traction control safely stepping in to keep the Sierra 1500 from losing traction or control.
The Bottom Line
The multiple personalities and characters of the 2016 Sierra 1500 work overtime to appease the most discerning truck owner and its occupants no matter the rugged or transportation duties. With a variety of powertrains, bed sizes and cabin configurations, the Sierra 1500 is well worth its broad price range at each trim and equipment level.
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