Cars

GMC Sierra 1500 Buying Guide: Dealmakers & Dealbreakers

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The GMC Sierra 1500 has the gear for the work site, but has the luxury, style, and technology to make it one of the nicest trucks in the segment. (Source: GMC)

The 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 is a very close sibling to the Chevrolet Silverado. They are nearly identical mechanically, and differ mainly on price-point, and which features you can get at a particular price. Given how close these trucks are, we had to dig deep into each truck to find major differences, but for even more context, we interviewed an expert on both trucks– GM-Trucks.com Executive Editor Zane Merva. we’ll be occasionally turning to Merva’s take on the similarities and differences between each.

In a nutshell, Zane describes the major difference: “GMC takes the higher starting price and includes more stuff in the base.” But is it right for you? Read on to find out if GMC’s truck is the ultimate pickup for your needs.


2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Fast Facts

Pricing: $28,205-$55,000+
Seating: 3-passenger (Single Cab), 5-passenger (Double Cab, Crew Cab) 6-passenger (Double Cab)

Dealmakers

• Quiet/upscale interior
• Luxurious Denali model
• Easy-to-use tech features
• Strong V8 engine option
• Great towing capacity (even increased for 2017)
• Teen Driver System Standard Equipment
• Refined ride and handling
• Iconic styling
• Super-helpful bed corner steps
• Great safety tech

Dealbreakers

• Massive size impacts front overhang visibility
• Longer bed/cab configured models are difficult to maneuver
• No rear climate control vents
• Sub-par predicted reliability
• Marginal small frontal overlap crash results
• Expensive


Dealmakers: GMC Sierra’s Top Lifestyle Features

As one might expect, the lifestyle features that make the Sierra great are also what make the Silverado great. The blend of cabin comfort, useful utility features, and easy-to-use technology are all terrific selling points for the Sierra. On top of that, GMC’s pickup has one more truck up its sleeve in the form of the luxurious Denali trim.

Dealmaker: Quiet/Upscale Interior

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The cabin of the Sierra is as spacious as it is well-equipped. (Source: GMC)

The cabin of the Sierra feels more like a living room than a car interior. There is plenty of head and leg room for both front and rear seat passengers. The large center console makes for a great center armrest to lean on, and it opens up to a ton of storage space. Well-equipped models have the feel of a den or man-cave, with leather, chrome, and woodgrain accents. The quality of materials and fit and finish, combined with the reduction of NVH (noise-vibration-harshness), results in an experience closer to a luxury SUV than a work truck. And the most luxurious of them all is…

Dealmaker: The Denali Trim

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The GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate perfectly lives up to its name. (Source: GMC)

Almost every GMC vehicle is offered in a “Denali” trim. This is the highest trim for each respective model, and offers so much unique creature comforts and style, it is a major leap from the next trim up. The Sierra 1500 is no different as the Denali has come to define the luxury pickup. Starting at $52,155, this truck pours on the features, including massive chrome grille, unique 20-inch bright machined-aluminum wheels (22-inch wheels are available), unique LED headlight design, and body color bumpers. Out back, the Denali gets a spray-in bedliner, LED bed lights, and a power rear sliding window. The cabin of the Denali is bathed in leather, and features brushed aluminum interior accents, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, and an added seals and touches for an immensely quiet cabin.

The whole package rides on GM’s impressive Magnetic Ride Control. This is the same type of suspension component as found in the Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac Escalade, and others. According to GM, “Magnetic ride control’s sensors ‘read’ the road every millisecond, triggering damping changes in as little as five milliseconds in electronically controlled shock absorbers.”

Dealmaker: Easy-to-use Infotainment

The technological centerpiece of that interior is called IntelliLink. The base stereo is operated via a 4.2-inch touch screen, but you can move right up to the 7-inch IntelliLink touch screen which is optional on the base Sierra, and the 8-inch IntelliLink which is standard on SLE, SLT, and Denali models. The IntelliLink screen features an easy to use layout, with large, easy-to-read icons that are customizable–you simply drag the icon you want to the desired location. It also has gestures like swipe and pinch-to-zoom like on a tablet.

The IntelliLink screen allows you to operate the radio, Bluetooth hands-free calling, Pandora streaming radio, voice-activated phone and radio functions, navigation system and more. What’s more, many of these functions are operable via redundant tactile controls. So, if you don’t feel like futzing with the touch screen, you can fall back on the old-school buttons and knobs. IntelliLink also has a powerful voice-activation system that can comprehend complex commands.

IntelliLink also comes with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ensuring your seamless integration of your smartphone.

Dealmaker: Incredibly Helpful Tech Features

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The 2017 GMC Sierra also has Android Auto, allowing you to use your smartphone’s navigation app. (Source: GMC)

The Sierra is also available with 4G LTE hotspot capability and wireless charging for properly equipped phones. The charging pad is located right in the middle of the center console, and couldn’t be easier to use. If your smartphone doesn’t have wireless charging, there are power ports spread throughout the cabin, including a pair of USB ports and a 110-volt wall-style power outlet located right in the front of the center console. Whether you’re charging laptops, powering up power tools, or bringing light to the campsite, the number of conveniently placed power sources makes the Sierra the ultimate platform for work or play.

Dealmaker: Teen Driver System

Handing the keys of your brand new car is quite the dilemma. You’d like them to be driving the safest car in the household, and yet there are so many opportunities for things to go wrong. GM tries to instill a little peace of mind with the Teen Driver system (shown above on the Chevy Malibu). Teen Driver lets the parent set limits on things like vehicle speed, radio volume, an lets the parent see how much distance the teen driver has driven.

GM claims this is all to “coach” teen drivers, even providing “report cards” to the parents to see if they were driving dangerously or not. Let’s face it– Teen Driver is Big Brother at its best/worst. But if your teen really wants to take out a $50,000, brand new pickup truck, it’s the price they will have to pay.

Dealmaker: Super-helpful Bed Corner Steps

IMAGE

Trucks have grown larger than ever, which means climbing up into the bed it not as easy as it once was. For most, climbing into the bed is as simple as throwing one foot on top of the rear wheel and swinging your other leg over the bedwall. But that method is not always an option– like if there is too much mud, snow, or ice to get a good footing. In that case, GMC provides the CornerStep as standard equipment.

A step is cut into each corner, providing an indentation large enough to get the toe of a work boot in there. The genius of this feature is its simplicity. Rivals have offered a complicated step that telescope out from the tailgate once its opened, or, more commonly have power-extending steps that deploy from the sides. These are certainly helpful, but moving parts means those parts possibly breaking over time. Any time an automaker offers a simple, elegant solution where others have offered only complexity, it should be applauded.

Dealmaker: Safety Alert Seat


Automakers are ramping up in-car safety technology at a break-neck pace. Sometimes that can be overwhelming for a driver, as warnings come at you from multiple places. From steering wheels that vibrate to dashboards that light up like a Christmas Tree, it can be a little much. GM has come up with an incredibly intuitive method of warning you about hazards on the road…through your derriere(SP).

GMC’s available Safety Alert Seat does exactly what the name says- alert you through the seat. There are buzzers on all sides of the seat, and the seat vibrates on the side of the seat that the hazard is on. Be that a blind-spot warning on the right, a lane departure on the left, a forward collision warning up front, or tripping the backup sensor to the rear. It’s a bit of a strange sensation at first, but once you get used to it, the Safety Alert Seat is astoundingly intuitive.

Dealmaker: Head-Up Display


The Sierra is available with a head-up display, which provides crucial information like vehicle speed, turn-by-turn directions, and will even display the local posted speed limit. Combined with the Safety Alert Seat, these systems remove distractions, and bring you the most important information in the most efficient possible way.

Dealmaker: EZ Lift & Lower Tailgate


If you ever see an old truck without a tailgate driving down the highway, it likely got that way from slamming the tailgate repeatedly for years, until it breaks. General Motors may have come up with the solution, in the form of the EZ tailgate. A rotary damper is used in the tailgate which slows the dropping motion for a nice soft landing when opening the tailgate. This should preserve the tailgate for much longer than ever before.


Dealbreakers: GMC Sierra’s Worst Lifestyle Features

But it’s not all rosy for the Sierra, as its iconic styling has some downsides in the form of visibility and maneuverability. It also lacks some items that we’d expect to be basic equipment. But is that enough to sour you on the Sierra? Read on to find out.

Dealbreaker: Massive size impacts front overhang visibility

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The Sierra features massive styling, which can impact front overhang visibility. (Source: GMC)

People love the styling of the Sierra, but if there’s one critique of its exterior design is an almost gratuitously squared-off shape. With the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 softening edges, the Sierra remains defiantly cubed. And the downside of this standout styling is these angles kill visibility. You can’t see much over the top of the front of the Sierra. If you’re trying to park the Sierra in the city, or anywhere that there’s a tight fit, it is made into a nail-biting experience because of the limits on the visibility.

The Sierra offers parking sensors and a backup camera, but the camera is an option on the Base and SLE models– standard on the SLT and Denali. As for the sensors–they are not even available as options on the Base or SLE trims. The Front and Rear Park Assist, as it is called, is optional on the SLT and standard on the Denali.

Dealbreaker: Longer bed/cab configured models are difficult to maneuver

These same parking sensors and cameras are a must if you opt for one of the larger bed/cab configurations–like the crew cab standard bed or even the crew cab short bed. These configurations have massive wheelbases (143.5 in). With such a long wheelbase, even the best steering setups have their limits. If you need to make a three-point turn in a tight spot, it could easily turn into a 7-or-9-point turn. If you live in congested area or even plan on commuting to a dense area, something as simple as parking can easily become a chore after a few days.

Dealbreaker: No rear climate control vents

VIDEO (Cabin space)
Doesn’t matter if you get the regular cab, double cab, or crew cab, there are no vents to bring warm or cold air to the rear seats. Those seats offer a lot of capacity and cargo (as displayed by the video above), but those vents are an commission. That means that when you jump into the back seat in the middle of winter, it will take you longer to warm up. There are no optional climate systems offered that include rear vents, so if you plan on using the Sierra as a family vehicle, just know those rear seat passengers might often be less comfortable than front seat passengers.


Dealmaker/breaker: Bountiful with Content

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The Sierra is available with all manner of side steps, unique wheel designs, and more.(Source: GMC)

As stated before, just about anything you can get on a Silverado, you can get on a Sierra. If GMC comes out with a model, package, trim, or feature,” Explains Merva, “There is definitely a Chevy version of that within a year. And vice versa.” Dealers hate to say “No” when asked if you can get a specific truck with a specific feature. In the interest of keeping you at the dealer, it is much better for them to offer everything and give you, the consumer, the power of choice.

They are really the same truck,” continues Merva, “But what they do is package the options and names differently to appeal to different segment buyers.” The rub is that you can get either truck with almost all the same options– it just might cost a bit more in the Sierra.

Cab/Bed Configurations Offered

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The Crew Cab, Short Bed combination is common for those using the truck for commuting. (Source: GMC)

Among the Sierra lineup there are five cab/bed configurations, including Regular Cab/Standard Box, Regular Cab/Long Box, Double Cab/Standard Box, Crew Cab/Short Box, and Crew Cab/Standard Box. These combinations offer buyers a range of options, from the minimally sized cabin and ultimate bed size, to the passenger-focused crew cab with a smaller, but still sizable bed.

Regular Cab, Standard Box: (MSRP: $29,400)

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The Standard Cab, Short Bed in base trim. (Source: GMC)

This is your standard “single cab/short box” truck- though it’s not technically the shortest box. In the past, these have been turned into “sport trucks,” and are sometimes known as the “foreman trucks.” While they don’t have the same space as any of the other trucks on this list, inside or out, they are great if you have a small farm and only need to make short runs to the home improvement store.

Regular Cab, Long Box: (MSRP: $29,790)

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The Regular Cab, Long Box in base trim. (Source: GMC)

If you don’t need much cabin space, but need the most available bed space, this configuration is the ultimate bed-heavy tool in the lineup. It keeps the same modest single cab, but stretches the bed out to 8 feet. This provides 76.3 cubic feet up to the bedwall. This is the classic “farm” truck configuration and will be a stout platform for any worksite.

Double Cab, Standard Box: (MSRP: $33,425)

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The Double Cab, Standard Box in base trim. (Source: GMC)

Above the single cabin, there are the double cab and crew cab options. In the past, the size in between the single and crew cabs was the extended cab, which didn’t have doors at first (like climbing into the back of a coupe), or clamshell doors, that require the front door to be open in order to open the rear ones. The double cab design allows the rear seat passenger to enter and exit freely. This size is not as large as the full crew cab, and offers less legroom, but it offers the option of two rows that the single cab does not. If you have young children or do not have back seat passengers that much, the double cab is a great option.

Crew Cab, Short Box: (MSRP: $37,915)

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The Crew Cab, Short Box in base trim. (Source: GMC)

The Crew Cab is the full four-door model. It has two rows with a full size rear bench, offering the most in front and rear legroom. The seats fold, providing plenty of cargo room if you need to keep items or gear out of the elements and can’t put it in the bed. This combination is with the short box, thus putting the emphasis on passengers in the cabin rather than the bed itself. It allows you to have seating for up to five and a bed, but at a bit shorter than the largest configuration, for slightly better maneuverability.

Crew Cab, Standard Box: (MSRP: $42,600)

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The Crew Cab, Short Box in base trim. (Source: GMC)

This combines the interior space of the crew cab with a bed larger than the short box. If you need space both inside the cabin in the bed of the Sierra, this is a great option, but it will be the hardest to maneuver. There will be many folks who need the versatility and space of this configuration, but it should be noted that driving this in cities or even suburbs will be a chore. This is definitely a great option for the open spaces of the countryside.


Trims Offered

Sierra: (MSRP: $29,400)
• Rear bumper CornerSteps
• Lockable tailgate
• Chrome bumpers (not found on base WT Silverado)
• 4.2-inch color screen audio system
• USB and auxiliary audio ports
SLE: (MSRP $36,150, includes everything from Base Sierra, plus)
• 17-inch aluminum/bright machined wheels
• Remote Locking Tailgate
• EZ Lift & Lower Tailgate
• LED cargo bed lighting
• Automatic locking rear differential
• 8-inch IntelliLink touch screen infotainment system
• Backup camera
SLT: (MSRP $43,275, includes everything from SLE, plus)
• 18-inch polished aluminum wheels
• LED taillights
• Power-heated side mirrors
• Trailering Package
• Dual-zone automatic climate control
• Power-adjustable pedals
• Wall-style in-cabin power outlet
Denali: (MSRP $53,350, includes everything from SLT, plus)
• 20-inch aluminum wheels
• Heated steering wheel
• Bose premium audio system
• Automatic high beams
• Hill descent control
• Forward collision alert
• Front and rear park assist
• Lane keeping assist
• Safety Alert Seat
• Magnetic ride control

Packages and Special Editions

In addition to these trims there’s also the popular Z71 package. This off-road package includes off-road suspension, underside transfer case skid plate, hill descent control, heavy-duty automatic locking rear differential, heavy duty air cleaner, and all-terrain tires.

All-Terrain: (MSRP $2,670 to price of SLT)

While the Denali piles on the chrome, the All Terrain has a more rugged, utilitarian look. It features body colored bumpers, darker 20-inch wheels, and a unique grille look with black chrome accents. It backs that up with the Z71 off-road package, Hill Descent Control, and Rancho off-road shocks.

All-Terrain X: (MSRP $3,405-4,115 to price of SLT)

The All-Terrain X takes the ruggedness of the All Terrain a step further. As shown in the video above (that sounds like it is ready to fight a Transformer), the All-Terrain X is meant to get dirty and put down performance on and off the road. In addition to a new stainless steel exhaust setup, it gets added skid plates, black painted 18-inch wheels, Goodyear Duratrac Mud-Terrain tires, and an Eaton automatic locking differential. The whole package is set off with a sport bar built into the bed, topped with LED lights.


Dealmaker: Power and Grace, On and Off the Road

The base engine lacks the grunt of the rest of the engine lineup, but that’s something you can expect from any truck’s base V6. Move up to either of the V8 engines and you’ve got plenty of power. And as well as they can pull, the Sierra is a smooth operator on the road. It as a surprisingly refined ride for a truck, but is more than capable on the trail as well.

Handling: A Smooth Operator


When the Sierra was last redesigned, GM took great pains to improve the ride and handling– and it paid off. Electric power steering and four-wheel disc brakes are standard across the lineup, front springs are now stiffer, and the redesign also added twin-tube valving for the shocks. Match that with two-stage leaf-springs, and you have a package that can handle bumps and dips in the road without being two soft. “In general,” explains The Car Connection, “This is one of the most pleasant riding, easy-handling trucks in its class, and the additional underfloor noise insulation these trucks received with their last redesign greatly contribute to that impression.”

Drivetrain: Power As An Option


Three engines are available on the Sierra 1500; a 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8, and 6.2-liter V8. As you might expect, the V6 is a little underwhelming, and might only be a viable option in the single cab/short bed, where you’re pulling the least amount of sheet metal. The 5.3 offers a good blend of performance and efficiency, and the range-topping 6.2 is a sturdy stump-puller of and engine that offers 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.

Performance Specs

• Engine #1: 4.3L V6
• Output: 285 horsepower / 305 lb.-ft. of torque
• Transmission: 6-speed automatic
• Drivetrain: RWD/4WD
• Towing: 7,600 lbs.
• Fuel economy: RWD 18/24/20 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy: 4WD 17/22/19 (city/highway/combined)

• Engine #2: 5.3L V8
• Output: 355 horsepower / 383 lb.-ft. of torque
• Transmission: 6-speed automatic
• Drivetrain: RWD/4WD
• Towing: 9,800-11,100 lbs.
• Fuel economy: RWD 16/23/19 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy: 4WD 16/22/18 (city/highway/combined)

• Engine #3: 6.2L V8
• Output: 420 horsepower / 460 lb.-ft. of torque
• Transmission: 6-speed automatic (Denali: 8-speed automatic)
• Drivetrain: RWD/4WD
• 0-60 MPH: 5.8 sec (Denali 4WD)
• Towing: 9,400-12,500 lbs.
• Fuel economy: RWD 15/21/17 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy: 4WD 15/20/17 (city/highway/combined)

Towing/Hauling: Best-in-Class

For the 2017 model year, the largest change centers on towing, which was increased to 12,500 pounds (when properly equipped). Those are best-in-class numbers for the 1500-level class of trucks. The payload for a properly equipped Sierra 1500 is 2,250 pounds in the bed. U.S. News & World Report says of the towing capabilities: “Critics say the tow/haul mode greatly eases the task of towing, and they add that the Sierra easily pulled a 5,000-pound trailer up steep hills.” But they also pointed out, “Some complain that the rearview camera’s resolution is too low to be of much use when hooking up a trailer..”

Off-Road Performance:

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The GMC Sierra 1500 is available as the All Terrain X, delivering a bold, brawny appearance, backed up by off-road gear. (Source: GMC)

While the Sierra 1500 has available four-wheel drive, strong engines, and the available Z71 off-road package, the sheer size of the Sierra will impact its off-road abilities. Driving off the road into a muddy field, or dirt lot will be fine, and you can bet it will power its way up rocky mountain roads, but some trails will be too narrow for the beamy 1500. Additionally, the low front bumper that helps aerodynamics will get in the way of approach angles, which is what you need to take on the truly rough stuff.

As stated before, the All-Terrain enhances the experience with the Z71 off-road package as part of it, Hill Descent Control, and Rancho off-road shocks. The All-Terrain X goes even farther, with the aforementioned equipment, plus added skid plates, black painted 18-inch wheels, Goodyear Duratrac Mud-Terrain tires, Eaton automatic locking differential, and a sport bar with LED lights.


Dealmaker: Five Star Crash Test Score

There are two major safety organizations that test road cars and publish scores. They are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). NHTSA scores vehicles out of five stars, while the IIHS scores on a scale of Poor, Marginal, Acceptable, and Good. Additionally, the IIHS offers “Top Safety Pick” recommendations, as well as “Top Safety Pick +” for vehicles with advanced crash avoidance and mitigation features.

NHTSA Crash Test Data

Truck NHTSA Overall Crash Results
 Chevrolet Silverado 1500  5/5
 GMC Sierra 1500  5/5
 Ford F-150  5/5
 Ram 1500  4/5
 Toyota Tundra  4/5
 Nissan Titan  N/A

Both General Motors products and the Ford F-150 earn five stars in NHTSA crash testing. Both the Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra earn four of five stars, while the Titan has no available score. Nissan’s full-size pickup was just redesigned and is so new that it has not yet been fully tested by NHTSA. When it is finished testing and there are results to report, we’ll add them to our safety charts.

IIHS Testing Results

The Sierra comes standard with dual-stage front and side impact airbags, head curtain and seat mounted side impact airbags, daytime runnings lights, StabiliTrak stability control, the Teen Driver system, and tire pressure monitoring system. For the backup camera, you’ll have to move up from the LT trim.The Sierra earns a Marginal score for IIHS front overlap crash testing and a Poor for headlight testing but earns the best score of Good for moderate overlap front, side, roof-strength, and head restraints testing. The marginal and poor scores prevent it from earning an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Safety Tech: A High Tech Pickup

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nWP8nqVf18 (FIND NEW VIDEO?)
The Sierra gets many of the latest high-tech safety features typically found on passenger cars. This includes forward collision alert, low-speed automatic forward breaking, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, front and rear park assist and backup camera.

Reliability: Solid Performance

The Sierra earns four starts for overall quality from J.D. Power. It also earns four stars for overall performance and design, as well as four stars for predicted reliability. GMC instills some peace of mind with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.


Tiebreakers: Comparing the Sierra 1500 to the Competition

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The F-150 is one of the most popular consumer pickup trucks on the road. (Source: Ford)

The truck market is one of the most hotly contested markets in the automotive work. The one-upsmanship that goes on is seldom found anywhere else in the industry, with automakers routinely updating pickups for marginal power and towing gains so they can claim “Best-in-class,” even for a year. No matter which truck you select, it will be large, spacious, and supremely capable. What sets them apart are the styling, packaging and features unique to each entry in the market.

Chevrolet Silverado (MSRP $27,585-$54,925)

The Silverado is the Chevy equivalent of the Sierra. They are built on the same platform, offer much of the same mechanicals, and even have similar styling. You’d think it would be simply a matter of choice, but despite the Sierra being positioned as the luxury truck option, pricing is relatively the same.

Sierra vs Silverado:
• Same engines, options and tech features
• Bolder styling (but still a matter of opinion)
• Can get almost everything on the Denali on the Silverado (but on the Denali it’s standard)

Learn more about the Silverado here.

Ford F-150 (MSRP $26,540-$63,025)

Aluminum. This is what separates the F-150 from the rest. It’s extensive use of military grade aluminum keeps weight down, which allows it to use turbocharged V6s to much of the work previously demanded of a V8. Other automakers have criticized this choice, claiming it will dent more easily and repairs will be expensive. There have been mixed reviews of the SYNC 3 infotainment system.

Sierra vs F-150:
• Aluminum keeps weight down, but body repair bills could run up
• More pedestrian cabin than Sierra (esp. Denali)
• Sync 3 improvement over previous Ford infotainment, but not as good as Chevy MyLink

Learn more about the Ford F-150 here.

Nissan Titan (MSRP $36,290-$61,960)

Up until last year, the Nissan Titan had become long in the tooth, and mostly and afterthought in the truck market, but Nissan reinvented its full-size pickup, positioning it as something between a 1500 level and 2500/3500-level vehicle. It’s starting out in upper level trims, and upper level engines, thus keeping the price high until lower-level trims are offered.

Sierra vs Titan:
• Only truck to offer a diesel V8
• More expensive than other trucks (Denali gets up there too)
• Tons of cool, useful features for truck bed

Learn more about the Titan here.

Ram 1500 (MSRP $26,395-$53,375)

The Ram 1500 is one of the first trucks a few years ago that sort of gave up on trying to win the work truck battle, and instead made its 1500-level truck a supremely capable vehicle for families and commuters. Its multi-link rear suspension makes it one of the smoothes trucks to drive, and its cabin is upscale and loaded with clever features.

Sierra vs Ram:
• Best infotainment in the class (IntelliLink not too far behind)
• Smoothest ride in the class (Magnetic Ride Control a close second)
• Only truck to offer a diesel V6

Learn more about the Ram 1500 here.

Toyota Tundra (MSRP $29,140-$49,580)

The Tundra features big, bold styling and really spacious seats on the Double Cab and CrewMaX models, and it even has a solid infotainment system. But the Tundra is held back by poor fuel economy, a rough ride, and styling that not everyone has fallen in love with.

Sierra vs Tundra:
• Good infotainment system, but lacks Apple CarPlay support (IntelliLink has CarPlay)
• Extremely roomy CrewMax model
• Poor fuel economy

Learn more about the Tundra here.


Should I Buy a GMC Sierra 1500?

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Is the big, brawny styling of the GMC Sierra 1500 enough to convince you? (Source: GMC)

Every truck offers power and capability, but the Sierra goes a step forward, with a welcoming, upscale cabin that uses great materials. Of all the trucks we’ve tested, the Sierra (And GMC Silverado) cabin actually feels familiar when we get back in it. Buttons and controls are everywhere we expect them to be, and the cubbies and cup holders are incredibly spacious.

So Which to Buy?

• If you love comfortable interiors: Sierra/Silverado, Ram, Titan

• If you require a truck with good fuel economy: Ford F-150, Ram (EcoDiesel)

• If you want the latest safety and infotainment tech: Sierra/Silverado

• If you must have the most towing capacity: Sierra/Silverado

• If you’re on a tight budget: F-150

Dealmakers vs. Dealbreakers Final Tally

Dealmaker: Quiet/Upscale
Dealmaker: Great infotainment
Dealmaker: Luxurious Denali Trim
Dealmaker: Strong V8 engine options
Dealmaker: Best-in-class towing
Dealmaker: Refined ride and handling
Dealmaker: Helpful rear CornerStep
Dealmaker: Latest safety tech
Dealmaker: Helpful EZ-lift tailgate
Dealmaker: Head-up display and SafetyAlert seat reduce distractions

Dealbreaker: Longer bed/cab configurations hard to maneuver
Dealbreaker: Big front end results in tough overhang visibility
Dealbreaker: No rear climate control vents
Dealbreaker: Expensive
Dealbreaker: Marginal front overlap crash results

Final Tally: +5
Market Average: +4.6

The Silverado and Sierra are so alike in so many ways, you might think it impossible for the two trucks not to field the same score. You can get everything from the Sierra (including the Magnetic Ride Control) in the Silverado. But opting for those features means getting the top trim Silverado and optioning that up from there. The Denali comes with all the content standard. That alone will not tip the scales for one truck or the other, but if you’re in the market for the upscale trucks, the Denali will be an easier purchase process.

With both trucks nearly identical, what pushes the Sierra over the top is the stronger reliability scores. All things being equal, that is the one edge the Sierra has. And when it comes to trucks, there might be no greater metric than reliability.

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