Review: 2016 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 might not get the same press as its Chevrolet Silverado sibling - for all intents its mechanical twin - but this full-size pickup has actually managed to outsell its Bowtie-wearing brother over the course of the last five years in Canada. Although still in third place behind rivals like the Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150, the Sierra is definitely a strong choice for anyone who needs a versatile pickup that can step in as a daily driver. With several bed lengths, three different cab styles (including a pair of 4-door models), and a long list of trim levels that range from bare-bones to near-decadent, the 2016 GMC Sierra is well worth a test drive for anyone in the market for a modern truck.

Pros

  • It's hard to say why the GMC Sierra has resonated more strongly with Canadian buyers than its Chevrolet Silverado equivalent, but the presence of the Denali luxury model certainly doesn't hurt. With no real peer in Silverado country, the Sierra Denali dresses up the inside and outside of the pickup, adds a number of creature comforts, and comes with a magnetically-adaptive suspension system.
  • There are three solid engine choices available with the GMC Sierra: a 285 horsepower, 4.3-litre V6, a 355 hp, 5.3-litre V8, and a 6.2-litre V8 that's good for 420 hp and 460 pound-feet of torque. No turbos or diesels here: these direct-injected motors represent the most 'traditional' offerings available in a full-size truck.
  • Of course, 'traditional' deserves an asterisk, as each of these engines features a cylinder-deactivation system that allows them to run on half their allotted displacement in a bid to improve fuel economy. As a result, the V6 and base V8 models run quite close in highway consumption (10.0 L/100 km vs. 10.4 L/100 km).
  • Technology is king when it comes to the Sierra's features list, with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi Internet connection standard with the truck. A considerable amount of active safety equipment is also available, including a lane departure warning system, a forward collision warning system, and the Safety Alert Seat system that vibrates to warn you of the location of a potential threat.

Cons:

  • A 6-speed automatic is still the gearbox of choice for V6 and low-trim 5.3-litre versions of the GMC Sierra's drivetrains. It's not the smoothest set of cogs, with occasional clunking indicating GMC should democratize the more advanced 8-speed option that comes with the 6.2-litre and certain 5.3-litre models as quickly as possible.
  • The Sierra Denali is comfortable and posh, but whereas once it stood on its own, it's now merely one of several similarly well-appointed pickup option. Ford's F-150 Platinum and the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited are in even more over-the-top when it comes to interior amenities.
  • You'll pay a premium for the GMC Sierra 1500, although it's not clear why. Those seeking a simple, task-focused pickup need to pony up $30,140 for the entry-level regular cab model, which is $500 more than a comparably-equipped Silverado and a full $5,000 more than a stripped-down Ford F-150. Things even out somewhere in the middle tiers of the Sierra's pricing structure, but it's a bit of a sticker shock for first-time buyers.

2016 GMC Sierra 1500

 

ENGINE

4.3-litre V6 / 5.3-litre V8 / 6.2-litre V8

OUTPUT

285 hp / 305 lb-ft & 355 hp / 383 lb-ft & 420 hp / 460 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION

6-speed automatic & 8-speed automatic

0-100 KMH

5.4 Seconds (6.2-liter model)

TOP SPEED

176 km/h

FUEL ECONOMY

13.5 L/100 km City / 10.0 L/100 km Highway &

14.6 L/100 km City / 10.4 L/100 km Highway &

16.1 L/100 km City / 11.4 L/100 km Highway

WEIGHT

2,053 kilograms (4,517 lbs)

SEATING CAPACITY

6

CARGO VOLUME

N/A

BASE PRICE

$30,140

AS-TESTED PRICE

$56,400

 

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