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2003 GMC Sierra

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2003 GMC Sierra Review

The 2003 GMC Sierra has a lot of features worth looking over, but the Ford F-150 is a superior vehicle.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 GMC Sierra is a completely redesigned model. This is in line with the redesign across the board of all GMC vehicles. A new advanced electrical system has allowed GMC engineers to add a lot of new driver information features, integrated turn signals, and other top of the line gadgets. Late in the model year the Sierra even receives Bose speakers.

The redesign hasn’t merely changed the look of the vehicle; the power has increased as well. New V-8 engines give the Sierra more power than ever before.

With all the improvements, the GMC Sierra is one of the best trucks on the market. A few nagging problems–such as cheap interior pieces, and some unfinished components, leave the Sierra lagging behind the Ford F-150.

The Range

Body Styles: pickup truck
Engines: 4.3-liter V-6, 4.8-liter V-8, 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: GMC Sierra Work Truck, GMC Sierra, GMC Sierra SLE, GMC Sierra SLT

What's New

The 2003 GMC Sierra receives a lot of new features. The front and rear fascia has received a redesign, as well as the side molding and the wheels. The top of the line trim models receives power-folding mirrors and puddle lamps. The mirrors also have integrated turn signals. The interior has also received new styling, with the instruments and center console receiving a makeover. The GMC Sierra also receives dual-stage airbags and a passenger sensor for airbag control. There are also new V-8 engines available.


The GMC Sierra is available is a regular cab, and extended cab model. The extended cab models have four doors with rear-hinges. A crew cab model with front hinges–allowing you to open the rear doors without opening the front–is only available on the GMC Sierra 1500HD series.

The regular and extended cab models come with either a six or eight-foot cargo bed. A heavier 2500 series GMC Sierra is also available.


The interior of the 2003 GMC Sierra is redesigned. The regular cab models have room for either two or three passengers, depending on whether a bench seat or twin bucket seats are installed. The bucket seat models receive a center console where items can be stored between the two seats.

The instrument panel and center console is completely redesigned. The most striking instrument panel design is on the Denali, which boasts smooth instruments with blue backlighting and white pointers.

The redesign, unfortunately, also comes with its cons. Although the new design is striking in many ways, there are a lot of cheap-looking plastic pieces, as well as seams that seem unfinished. This is a feature that lags behind the Ford F-150, the GMC Sierra’s main competition.

Standard features on the GMC Sierra include Radio Data Capability, GM’s OnStar Communication, and other luxury items.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 GMC Sierra comes equipped with several different engine choices. The standard engine is a 4.3-liter V-6 engine that produces 200 horsepower. Two optional V-8 engines are available: a 4.8-liter that produces 275 horsepower, and a 5.3-liter that produces 285 horsepower. The Denali model comes with its own special engine, a 6.0-liter V-8 engine that produces 325 horsepower. All engines come with a standard five-speed manual transmission, with an available four-speed automatic as an option.

All GMC Sierra 1500HD models use the 6.0-liter V-8, but unlike the Denali, the engine only produces 300 horsepower. The 1500 models have a cargo capacity of 3,094 pounds and a towing capacity of 10,200. The 2500, 2500 HD, and the 3500 models have a 6.0-liter engine that produces greater torque.

Driving the vehicle, you’ll be surprised to find that the truck is a lot quieter than you’d imagine, especially with such large V-8 engines. The ride isn’t cushiony by any means, but it is smooth enough on the highway.


The GMC Sierra comes equipped with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, child seat anchors, front and rear ventilated brakes, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer, and dual-stage airbags. The NHTSA has not tested the GMC Sierra. The IIHS gave the Sierra a score of Marginal, its second worst, for frontal offset crash tests. The IIHS also gave the Sierra a rating of Poor, its worst, for rear crash protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

2003 GMC Sierra Work Truck Regular Cab: 14/19 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sierra Base Regular Cab: 14/18 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sierra SLE Regular Cab: 14/18 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sierra Work Truck Extended Cab: 14/19 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sierra Base Extended Cab: 14/18 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sierra SLE Extended Cab: 14/18 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sierra Denali Extended Cab: 11/15 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Big extended cab models
  • V8 engines available
  • Great features

You Won't Like

  • Sporty finish
  • Cheap interior materials

Sum Up

The 2003 GMC Sierra has a lot of features worth looking over, but the Ford F-150 is a superior vehicle.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford F-150
  • Chevrolet Silverado 2500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

See the New 2013 Sierra.


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