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.
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.
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.