A multiple award-winner since its major redesign for 2007, the Sierra is a full-size truck with a long-standing reputation for durability. Since 2007, the Sierra and its heavy-duty siblings, the 2500HD and 3500HD, have received a series of technology and minor cosmetic upgrades to remain competitive in a fiercely competitive market.
A key to the Sierra's success is the wide array of options it presents to buyers. There are four engine options for the 1500, with the long-serving 4.3 liter V6 at the bottom of the pile. It makes 195 horsepower at 4,600 rpm and 260 lb-ft at 2,800 rpm, and returns 15 city and 20 highway miles per gallon in rear-wheel-drive form with the help of a four-speed automatic transmission (four-wheel-drive models are rated at 14/18 mpg).
Next up is a 4.8-liter V8 with 302 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 305 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm. This engine also pairs with a four-speed auto and is rated at 14 city and up to 19 highway mpg in RWD form (4WD models drop one highway mpg). A 5.3-liter V8 with Active Fuel Management is rated at 315 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 335 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm. Sending power to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine is good for 14/20 mpg, while 4WD trucks earn 14/18 mpg.
An E85 version of the 5.3-liter engine is available only on 2WD Extended Cab models. Both the 4.8 and 5.3 engines now come with Variable Valve Timing (VVT).
There is also a larger 6.2-liter V8 with Active Fuel Management. It is solely available on the Extended Cab model with short and standard box lengths. It flexes to the tune of 403 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 417 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm. Working with a six-speed automatic, the engine returns 13/18 and 12/18 mpg in RWD and AWD form, respectively.
Then there are the cab / box combinations. There are six permutations in all. The Regular cab is available with both the short and long boxes, the Extended cab adds a short box option, and the conventionally-hinged four-door Crew cab can only be had with a short box.
A tire-pressure monitoring system for the 17-inch wheels is standard across the board, as is an anti-lock braking system and an MP3-capable CD player in the AM/FM stereo.
The options and packages are too numerous to get into here. Suffice it to say, there are five separate trims of the Sierra 1500, but some are restricted to a specific body-style.
Inside the Sierra there are several upgrades and changes to interior materials and layout. GMC also added a USB connectivity center console for music storage and device charging functions. GMC also saw sit to add an optional rearview camera on even more models than before.
Maximum payload of all Sierra 1500s is achieved by the 2WD model with Regular Cab / Standard box at 1,947 lbs, while the Regular Cab 4WD model with the 5.3-liter V8 manages to tow 8,900 lbs when also equipped with a 4.10:1 axle.
Standard safety features include dual front, front side and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Aside from its mechanical twin, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, the Sierra 1500's main competitors are the best-selling Ford F-150, the Toyota Tundra and the Ram 1500.