Long operating in the shadow of the very similar and popular Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC Sierra 1500 in recent years has adopted a more distinctive look, marked by clean and conservative styling cues inside and out. Shoppers have a choice of three cabin sizes, three truck beds, and multiple powertrain options.

Pricing and Equipment

Prices for the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 start at $28,205 for a regular cab, standard box, 4x2 model. However, most buyers prefer a double or crew cab and four-wheel drive, so we think a double cab 4x4 version in SLE trim costing $46,775 is a good place to start. You’ll find such features included as:

  • A 5.3-liter V8 engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Leather-trimmed and heated front seats
  • An eight-inch color display for the infotainment system
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • A 110-volt power outlet

The advanced driver alert package ($945) brings in lane keep assist, front and rear park assist, forward collision alert, low-speed forward automatic braking, a safety alert seats, and automatic high-beam headlights.

The GMC Sierra offers three engine choices:

  • A 4.3-liter, V6 is standard and makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, this is one of the most efficient gas engines found in a large truck, making 24 mpg.
  • GM’s stout 5.3-liter V8 engine offers the best combination of performance and fuel economy. This engine makes 355 horsepower while delivering 23 mpg. An eight-speed automatic is available.
  • For people desiring a true workhorse, the 6.2-liter V8 makes 420 horsepower and is the ideal choice for people who like to pull a boat or trailer. An eight-speed automatic is standard equipment.

Performance Pros

GMC Sierra 1500
  • The V6 provides enough off-the-line acceleration and passing power, but for high-altitude driving or heavy-duty towing, consider a V8.
  • We found that either V8 engine is ideal for towing, but unless you need the 12,500-pound towing capacity of the 6.2-liter engine, the 5.3-liter V8 with its 11,100-pound limit should be sufficient.
  • All transmissions come with tow/haul mode and tap-shift controls on the shift lever, giving drivers direct control while trailering and tackling steep grades.

Performance Cons

  • While we like having the choice of a V6 engine, optimum pulling power can only be acquired through one of the V8s.
  • Competing models from Ram and Ford (eventually) will offer a turbo diesel. You need one of the heavy-duty Sierras if you want diesel power.

Interior Pros

  • Even low-end versions of the GMC Sierra have an upscale feel with soft-touch materials used throughout the cabin.
  • The cabin is quiet for a pickup truck.

Interior Cons

  • Rear seat space in the GMC Sierra Double Cab is constrained. If you need maximum room for adults, only the Crew Cab will do.
  • Even with the extra space inside, the Sierra’s rear seats are more upright than what we’d prefer.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The rear bumper offers side integrated steps, providing ease of access to the truck bed. We like this arrangement better than the cumbersome deploying steps found in some competing models.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Sticker shock hits home as soon as you consider a crew cab model. The Chevrolet Silverado comes in slightly lower, but we think the Sierra has the more refined look.

The Bottom Line

The GMC Sierra 1500 hides in the shadow of the Chevrolet Silverado, but on its own merits, it shines. The available All Terrain X package ($3,405) adds sporty flare, including a sweet sounding cat-back performance exhaust system.