A good full-size pickup is hard to find. Finding the right balance between work capability and styling is a tough cookie to crumble, but GMC has it right with its Sierra. Available in multiple variations, the Sierra is a versatile pickup that will satisfy most drivers.
The GMC Sierra is available in a half-ton and one-ton variety in three different body syles: the standard cab, extended cab, and crew cab. The standard cab has either a standard bed measuring six-foot, six-inch bed, or a long bed measuring eight-foot bed. The extended cab can have a short bed measuring five-foot, eight-inch bed or the standard or long bed. Crew cabs are only available with the short bed.
The regular cab versions are available in the Work or SLE trim lines. The extended cab versions also have an SLT line. An SL and Denali trim are available on the crew cab only.
There are several packages available for the Sierra. The Z71 Off Road package includes skid plates, off-road suspension, and a locking rear differential. The All-Terrain package includes the Z71 features but adds interior and exterior styling. The XFE model has better fuel economy due to a more aerodynamic design, six-speed transmission, and lightweight aluminum components.
Body Styles: standard cab, extended cab, and crew cab
Engines: 4.3-liter V-6, 4.8-liter V-8, 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8, 6.2-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed automatic transmission
Models: regular cab Work, regular cab SLE, extended cab SLT, crew cab SL, crew cab Denali
The Denali receives several new options for the 2009 model year:
- New V-8 engine option
- Six-speed automatic transmission
- New options such as a backup camera, Bluetooth, and XM traffic reporting.
Exterior styling differs greatly between different models. The Sierra offers a great amount of flexibility depending on your needs with the extensive cab size selection and trim models.
The interior of the Sierra is very attractive. The dash design provides an easy instrument layout. The front seats are very comfortable. Sound muffling ergonomics makes the cabin very quiet. The extra Bose speakers make the Sierra practically home-like. Unlike a lot of other extended cab models, the back seats in the Sierra are comfortable and easy to access.
The Work trim is the base model and comes with air conditioning, trip computer, OnStar, vinyl seating, 40/20/40 split front bench seat, a CD player with an audio jack for portable devices, satellite radio, and a tilt steering wheel.
The SL adds a few extras to the mix including full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control and adjustable supports for the driver’s back.
The SLE adds a few premium features. Cloth is upgraded on the seats to a higher quality; a lockable center compartment and power outlet is built into the front seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and leather steering wheel.
The SLT is super plush adding rain-sensing wipers, heated washing fluid to control ice, an upgraded audio system with Bose speakers and a six-cd changer, leather seats, remote engine start, wood and metallic accents on the exclusive dash, and 12-way heated power front seats.
The Denali is the top-of-the-line model in the Sierra series. A special engine, special suspension, different wheels, different exterior styling, heated steering wheel, and OnStar Navigation are standard.
Performance & Handling
The Sierra offers five different engine types. The Work trucks offer a 4.3-liter V-6 engine that produces 195 horsepower with 260 pound-feet of torque as standard. A 4.8-liter V-8 that produces 295 horsepower with 305 pound-feet of torque or a 5.3-liter V-8 that produces 315 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque are also available for the Work model. The SLE has the 4.8 or 5.3 as standard while the SLT has the 5.3-liter as standard.
Certain models have a 6.0-liter V-8 engine that produces 367 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. A 6.2-liter V-8 that produced 403 horsepower with 417 pound-feet of torque is standard on the Denali.
The Sierra handles itself quite well on the road, even with the wide turning radius and somewhat inferior steering quality in comparison to other trucks on the market. The big engines make for easy acceleration. The suspension is comfortable on long trips.
Anti-lock front disc, rear drum brakes are standard on most models, while the Denali gets all-disc. Stability control and roll mitigation technology come standard on all V-8 models. The Sierra received top marks for all occupants.
EPA Fuel Economy
Standard Sierra models: 14/19 mpg city/highway
XFE: 15/21 mpg city/highway
- The interior is well designed and provides a quiet, comfortable ride even on the longest of trips.
- The Sierra is designed with safety in mind as well.
- The big, powerful engines ensure you get the best acceleration and towing capacity possible.
You Won't Like
- The steering is a bit mushy
- The turning radius is larger than the competitors
- The interior storage is a bit small.
The Sierra is a powerful vehicle with a lot of different options. There aren’t many full-size pickups on the market that perform better than the Sierra.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Toyota Tundra
- Dodge Ram
- Chevy Silverado