Don’t be fooled by the the half-ton Sierra’s gussied-up image—it’ll upend stumps and tow several tons with ease. Like its General Motors sibling (the Chevrolet Silverado 1500), the Sierra is highly capable and endlessly configurable with a host of potent powertrain pairings. The crown jewel is an optional 6.2-liter V-8 making a class-leading 420 horsepower and towing up to 12,500 pounds when properly equipped; an eight-speed automatic transmission is also available. Every Sierra boasts an excellent infotainment system, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The handsome GMC might not be as advanced as the Ford F-150, but it covers the bases in every situation and matches the outstanding Silverado pound for pound.
Tough eight-speed automatic, handsome looks, mighty towing and payload ratings.
Off-center driving position, rough ride over uneven pavement, garage-hogging dimensions.
Whether you’re at a work site, tackling an off-road trail, or pulling up to the valet, there’s a Sierra for every situation.
The Sierra receives the smallest of changes for 2018. The eAssist package is now available nationwide after being sold exclusively in California since 2016. This system, which GM calls “mild hybrid,” uses a single electric motor and doesn’t operate as a typical hybrid, meaning it doesn’t power the truck on its own. The lineup adds two new exterior colors—Deep Mahogany Metallic and Red Quartz Tintcoat. Every model now has a backup camera—per a government mandate—and the tire-pressure-monitoring system now has an audible alert when you’re adding air, to indicate when the tire is inflated to the recommended level. The base 1SA trim scraps the outdated 4.2-inch non-touchscreen display for a standard 7.0-inch IntelliLink touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Sierra received extensive cosmetic updates in 2016, so there were only minor changes in 2017. General Motors’ Teen Driver system became standard across the range, allowing parents to monitor the speed and location of the truck, as well as muting the radio until all occupants are buckled up. Also standard across the Sierra lineup were a capless fuel filler and new automatic shutters behind the grille, which automatically close to smooth airflow over the front end of the truck and improve fuel economy on the highway. Clever running boards were added to the list of available accessories; they power out for easy entry into the cabin and can motor rearward for quick access to the bed. Lastly, two new colors were added to the Sierra palette: Pepperdust and the magnificent Dark Slate.
Those interested in a “professional-grade pickup” will have plenty to pick from with the GMC Sierra 1500. We’d take the SLE crew cab with the short box, as it provides the best all-around value. Its spacious interior, usable cargo configurations, and excellent equipment pair best with the SLE Value package. For $1300, it includes:
• 10-way-adjustable power driver’s seat
• Trailer hitch with wiring harness
• Integrated garage-door opener
• Remote vehicle starter
• LED fog lamps
Fit it with the 5.3-liter V-8 and all-wheel drive and it costs a class-competitive $48,235. That’s more than a 2018 Toyota Tundra we outfitted for $44,825, but less than a 2018 Ram 1500 ($49,345). We think the highly capable and fully usable half-ton Sierra is better than both.