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1997 GMC K3500

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1997 GMC K3500 Review

Perfect workhorse for the working man.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Based on the Chrysler C/K design, the GMC Sierra is designed as a workhorse pickup truck. The 1997 GMC K3500 serves as the most powerful model in the range, with a strong standard engine. In addition, more powerful engines remain available for the K3500 as options. Some drivers need the extra power for heavy loads, which justifies the higher base price and lower fuel economy of the Sierra K3500 compared to other Sierra lines. For other drivers, the extra power might be less worthwhile, especially when hauling no cargo or light loads.

The engine difference represents the most significant difference between the GMC Sierra lines. A few other considerations, such as optional equipment, do differ slightly, but not by much in most cases. Generally, prospective buyers can expect very similar amounts of features between the same model designs in each line of GMC Sierra vehicles. The K3500 excels with heavy load carrying, even compared to the already impressive capabilities of the K1500 and K2500.

The Range

Body Styles: pickup truck
Engines: 5.7-liter eight-cylinder, 6.5-liter eight-cylinder diesel, 7.4-liter eight-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: GMC Sierra K3500 SL, GMC Sierra K3500 SLE, GMC Sierra K3500 SLT

What's New

The 1997 GMC Sierra K3500 adds passenger airbags to every model that did not previously have them. The automatic transmission system has been refined. Speed-sensitive steering now comes as a standard feature. Three new colors join the lineup.


Every 1997 GMC Sierra K3500 model comes with a regular cab, crew cab, or extended cab. The crew cab and extended cab versions measure longer than the regular cab version. A bed liner, camper mirrors, a towing package, dual rear wheels, and a chrome step bumper can be selected as optional features.


An AM/FM audio system provides the only standard feature across all GMC Sierra K3500 models. Features such as air-conditioning, cruise control, a cassette player, and power locks remain available as options. The features and options for the 1997 GMC Sierra K3500 regular, crew, and extended cab models remain identical for each model. Cab choice only impacts the actual size of the cab, not available features. The interior of the K3500 looks almost identical to other GMC Sierra models.

Performance & Handling

The GMC Sierra K3500 contains the most powerful engines in the model range. The standard 5.7-liter, eight-cylinder engine produces an impressive 250 horsepower. The K3500 provides good acceleration due to the high power of the engines. A K2500 with an optional engine can perform on a similar level as the K3500 with the standard engine. Turning and maneuvering feels solid for a vehicle this size. Four-wheel drive gives the 1997 GMC K3500 excellent traction, even on slippery roadways.


As with the other GMC Sierra models, dual front airbags and four-wheel anti-lock brakes mark the only standard safety features on the 1997 GMC K3500.

EPA Fuel Economy

GMC Sierra K3500, 5.7-liter eight-cylinder: 13/17 mpg city/highway
GMC Sierra K3500, 6.5-liter eight-cylinder diesel: 13/17 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful eight-cylinder engine
  • Four-wheel drive
  • Rugged build
  • Most powerful GMC Sierra

You Won't Like

  • Low-quality interior materials
  • High price tag

Sum Up

Perfect workhorse for the working man.

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