The GMC Sierra’s combination of workhorse ability and handsome design has always made it something of a gentleman’s choice for a pickup truck, and it’s no different this year. There are no major mechanical or styling changes for 2012, but the Sierra is still a solid competitor in the full-size pickup segment. The Sierra’s base powerplant is a 4.3-liter V-6, but it is also available with a selection of V-8 engines, all of which can run on E85 fuel (except for the Hybrid). Those looking for better fuel economy can try the XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy) model, which gets 22 mpg on the highway thanks to a variety of minor tweaks, or they can opt for the Hybrid model, which uses GM’s two-mode hybrid system to get 20/23 mpg city/highway. The Sierra can seat anywhere from two to six passengers and offer up to 75 cubic feet of bed space, depending on cab-size and bed-length specifications. With the enhanced trailering package, the Sierra can tow just under 11,000 pounds. If you like to be coddled while you work, go for the top-level Sierra Denali, which has heated and cooled seats, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, a rearview camera system, and numerous interior and exterior upgrades that turn this truck from a workhorse to a show horse.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: Work Truck, SL, SLE, SLT, XFE, Denali, Hybrid
Body style: Pickup, 2- to 6-passenger
Engines: 4.3L V-6, 195 hp, 260 lb-ft
4.8L V-8, 302 hp, 305 lb-ft (E85 capable)
5.3L V-8, 315/326 hp, 335/348 lb-ft (E85 capable)
6.0L V-8/electric hybrid, 332 hp, 367 lb-ft
6.2L V-8, 403 hp, 417 lb-ft (E85 capable)
Transmissions: 4- or 6-speed automatic, continuously variable
Capacities: Towing 6900-10,700 lb; payload 1512-1980 lb
The Sierra 1500’s standard StabiliTrak system now includes electronic trailer-sway control and hill-start assist. Power door locks are standard across all models. The Z85 handling and trailering suspension is now standard on SL crew cab models and on Work Truck models with the tow package. Denali and SLT models now have an available AM/FM/XM/CD/DVD radio featuring a USB port and a navigation system.
StabiliTrak traction and stability control, which also features hill-start assist, rollover mitigation, and trailer-sway control, is standard. Front, side, and side-curtain air bags are standard, as is ABS.
All: 12-20 mpg city/18-23 mpg highway
- Versatile bed/cab choices
- Available Hybrid model
- Denali package is handsome
- Six years since last redesign
- Not as modern as F-150 or Ram 1500
Part working man, part gentleman, all truck.
- Ford F-150
- Nissan Titan
- Ram 1500
- Toyota Tundra