The GMC Sierra is the best-selling truck in the GMC family, and it's not hard to see why. Not only is it big and bold, it also holds bragging rights for the most powerful gasoline V8 in its class. Throw in a number of available options uncommon in its segment, including available lane-departure warning and auto high-beam dimming, and the GMC Sierra 1500 quickly proves that it has enough brains to go along with its brawn.
The GMC Sierra 1500 features a 5.3-liter V8 EcoTec3 engine that provides an incredible fuel economy for a full-size pickup. The 6.2-liter version packs 420 horsepower, (also outstanding for a light-duty pickup), while the 4.3-liter V6 produces 285 horsepower with 305 pound-feet of torque.
The standard transmission is a six-speed automatic, with an eight-speed available as an option. Depending on which powertrain options is chosen, owners can expect mileage in the 15-24 mpg range,1 which is normal for this class of truck, and they won't need to worry about rear wheel slippage when hauling; in fact, the Eaton Locker automatic locking system for the rear differential locks down the rear wheels when it senses any slippage—the result is better traction, safety, and control.
The standard engine will provide a lot of power for light towing and general tasks, while the V8 is powerful with a transmission that's light, smooth and silky.
Rear-wheel drive comes standard, with four-wheel drive available for drivers who want extra traction for heavy weather or off-road conditions. A feature available for the Denali line is Magnetic Ride Control, which monitors the conditions of the road and maintains a smooth ride by changing the suspension automatically.
Needless to say, the Sierra's ride is smooth and comfortable, with accurate steering and responsive handling—a good balance of feedback and weight.
Additional specs include a 12,500-pound towing capacity and a maximum payload of just under 2,200 pounds;2 this strength means towing and hauling is easy with the transmission's tow/haul selection that maintains gears longer. A rear-view camera makes it simple to hook up a trailer.
The GMC Sierra is available in four trim levels: base, SLE, SLT, and Denali. Models are available in various cab and bed configurations, with prices starting at $29,000.3
Base models are only available with a regular or a double cab. Depending on your need, Regular cabs can be equipped with a 6.5- or an 8-foot bed. Double cabs come only with a 6.5-foot bed while crew cabs are available with a 5.8- or a 6.5-foot bed. It's important to remember that not all trim levels are available with all configurations and Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group would be happy to provide a detailed walkthrough of all your options. All configurations, however, are available with four-wheel drive.
Because the Sierra 1500 is so versatile, and because its price can vary greatly, it's worth establishing what purpose your truck will serve. If you're looking for a fairly straightforward work truck, we recommend the base Sierra. It comes with the 4.3-liter V6, though the 5.3-liter V8 is also available.
For more regular use, we suggest the SLE trim. It adds a backup camera, an upgraded infotainment system, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Stepping up another level brings us to the SLT. It comes with the 5.3-liter V8, towing hardware, and a number of helpful features like power-folding/heated mirrors and heated leather seats. The 6.2-liter V8 is an option for drivers that need even more gusto from their engine. Parking alerts are also available and prove incredibly handy for a truck the size of the Sierra 1500.
Finally, sitting atop the range is the Denali. For drivers that want it all (and then some), the Denali features most of the previous trim's features as well as all of the range's available driver assistance features. It also benefits from Magnetic Ride Control dampers, 20-inch wheels, and unique interior appointments.
The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 has a well-equipped, quiet cabin, with comfortable seats and an easy-to-use entertainment system; the upper trim levels are elegant and luxurious. The voice-control system results in convenient and safe driving as well. The rear seats fold down for additional storage and convenience.
There is ample storage in the cabin, and the Denali line features lots of chrome trim for an extra luxurious look. GMC's Sierra cabin is quiet, keeping road noise out and providing a good environment for music or talking on a hands-free phone, and all buttons and knobs are prominent and large, making it easy to adjust each feature the correct amount.
As in the past, safety is a priority with the GMC Sierra 1500. Features include driver airbags; side head air bag; side airbag; passenger airbag; rear head air bag; daytime running lights; front tow hooks; 4-wheel ABS; traction control; turn signal mirrors; Electronic Stability Control; and 4-wheel disc brakes.
An Enhanced Driver Alert package is available on SLE and SLT models. It includes a Forward Collision Alert, Safety Alert Driver Seat, Intellibeam headlamps with automatic high-beam control, Lane Keep Assist, Front and Rear Park Assist, and Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking.
The 2018 GMC Sierra continues the tradition of rock-solid reliability, smooth ride, high performance, and comfortable surroundings. With a number of trim levels, from a well-equipped base model to the luxurious Denali line, there is a Sierra 1500 for every budget and taste.
For more information, or to schedule a test drive of the GMC Sierra 1500, be sure to contact or visit Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group at 1440 Murfreesboro Rd., Franklin, TN 37067.
1 The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment.
2 Sierra's 12,500-lb rating requires Sierra Double Cab or Crew Cab Short box 2WD with 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engine and NHT Max Trailering Package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.
3 EPA estimates. Your mileage and emissions will vary and depend on several factors, including your driving habits and vehicle condition. See www.fueleconomy.gov for details.
Image Credit: GMC