The GMC Sierra 1500 took on an all-new look in 2019 thanks to a complete redesign that included a bold grille, new headlights, smoother sheet metal down the sides, and a revamped backside all atop a new chassis. While there are rumblings of an early-life refresh coming for the 2021 Sierra 1500, we expect it to be a carryover.
As a carryover model, we expect the 2021 GMC Sierra to hit showrooms with the same bold nose the automaker introduced in 2019. This includes a large grille that’s distinct at each trim level, C-shape LED headlights, and more. If there is a refresh, we expect the body to remain mostly the same, as GMC will turn most of its focus on dressing up the cabin.
Inside, the new-generation Sierra 1500 boasts a more angular dash with a striking center stack that features almost an “X” shape. This dash also includes dual glove compartments, angular air vents, chunky HVAC knobs, and a bold steering wheel. We expect this to carry on unchanged in the 2021 Sierra.
Under its hood, the current Sierra 1500 has a wide range of powertrain options, starting with a 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V6 engine. Next up is a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder unit with 310 hp on tap. Entering V8 territory starts with two 5.3-liter units that deliver 355 ponies each or a 6.2-liter with 420 hp. Capping off the lineup is a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-six engine with 277 hp and a barn-razing 460 pound-feet of torque. We expect these powertrain options to remain the same in the 2021 Sierra 1500.
Like many trucks, safety is not the Sierra 1500’s specialty. It struggled with a “Marginal” rating in the IIHS’ passenger-side small-overlap crash and a “Poor” rating in the headlight test. Those subpar results knocked it way out of Top Safety Pick contention. Its automatic emergency braking did, however, score a “Superior” rating, but it’s only available as an option on the SLT, AT4, and Denali trims. On the bright side, GMC plans to make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all its vehicles starting in the 2021 model year, and there’s a chance the Sierra 1500 will be included in that group.