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1997 GMC K1500

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1997 GMC K1500 Review

Reliable and solid pickup truck, suited for either work or play.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 1997 GMC K1500 serves as a four-wheel-drive pickup designed to be used as either a work truck or for personal uses, such as running errands or simply driving for fun. GMC offers a model for every taste, depending on how much power, space, and luxury the customer desires.

Drivers get the satisfaction of smooth and powerful acceleration, accompanied by superb handling. A solid set of convenience, comfort, and safety features adds to the appeal of the K1500, giving it a competitive edge against the Dodge Ram and Ford F-Series trucks.

The Range

Body Styles: pickup
Engines: 4.3-liter six-cylinder, 5.0-liter V-8, 5.7-liter V-8, 6.5-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: GMC K1500 Special Regular Cab, GMC K1500 SL Regular Cab, GMC K1500 SLE Regular Cab, GMC K1500 GT Regular Cab, GMC K1500 SLT Regular Cab, GMC K1500 SL Extended Cab, GMC K1500 SLE Extended Cab, GMC K1500 SLT Extended Cab

What's New

The 1997 GMC K1500 gets speed-sensitive steering, which provides a reduction in low-speed steering effort. Also, maneuvering gets easier, thanks to a tighter turning radius. Automatic transmissions improve to supply smoother shifts. Models with a gross weight less than 8600 pounds get a passenger airbag.

Exterior

The K1500 features chrome front and rear bumpers, externally adjustable folding black door mirrors, daytime running lights, conventional lens halogen headlights, a straight side pickup bed, a removable tailgate, a fixed rear window, and solar-ray tinted glass. A bed liner, a rear step bumper, and a camper/towing package remain optional. Extended cabs add a nifty third door. All models have a gross weight between 6100 and 6200 pounds and sit on 16-inch steel, alloy, or chrome wheels.

Interior

The interior of the GMC K1500 regular cab fits two or three passengers, while the extended cab accommodates up to six passengers. In the front, a cloth bench seat that fits three people comes standard. Two cloth bucket seats with head restraints, divided by a console, remain optional. Both options make room for a storage box and cup holders. Bins in the doors and pockets on the seats make for easy storage. The dash contains logically arranged gauges for clear readability and easy use. Extended cabs have a cloth bench seat in the rear that fits three people. The 1997 GMC K1500 features front reading lights, molded plastic door trim panels with dual padded armrests, a passenger assist handle, two coat hooks, and an AM/FM stereo. Some models come with two dash-mounted power outlets. A cassette or CD player, power door locks, a power driver’s seat, and air-conditioning provide options.

Performance & Handling

Four engines show up in the 1997 GMC K1500. Thanks to Vortec technology, all of them have high power and torque ratings. The smallest, a 4.3-liter six-cylinder, produces 200 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The lineup continues with a five-liter V-8 that spits out 230 horsepower and 285 lb-ft of torque, a 5.7-liter V-8 that pumps out 255 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque, and finally a 6.5-liter V-8 that cranks out 180 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. These engines mate with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. This results in smooth and strong acceleration, along with quiet operation. Maximum towing capacity totals 6500 pounds.

The K1500 uses an independent torsion beam front suspension with a stabilizer bar and torsion springs teamed with a rigid beam rear suspension with leaf springs. This setup provides a relatively smooth and stable ride. Handling feels excellent, assisted by speed-sensitive steering, which provides ample control at all speeds.

Safety

The 1997 GMC K1500 comes equipped with anti-lock brakes on all four wheels and side-impact protection. Driver and front-passenger front-impact airbags come standard.

EPA Fuel Economy

GMC K1500, six-cylinder: 15/18 mpg city/highway
GMC K1500, 5.0-liter V-8: 15/18 mpg city/highway
GMC K1500, 5.7-liter V-8: 15/18 mpg city/highway
GMC K1500, 6.5-liter V-8: 15/18 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Strong performance
  • Optional third door
  • Good visibility

You Won't Like

  • Interior styling
  • Uncomfortable seats
  • Below average fuel economy

Sum Up

Reliable and solid pickup truck, suited for either work or play.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota T100
  • Dodge Ram 1500
  • Chevrolet C/K 1500
  • Ford F-150
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