- Steering and handling
- Strong yet fuel-efficient engine lineup
- Comfortable, well-appointed interior
- Sheer number of possible features and options
- No factory bedliner
- Lack of spaces for small items
With such a wide range of models, the 2009 GMC Sierra covers all the bases; it’s also arguably better-looking than its Chevy Silverado counterpart.
The 2009 model year brings only minor changes to GMC's full-size Sierra 1500 pickup. The vehicle was fully redesigned in 2007, but still shares a lot of genes with the Chevrolet Silverado.
Three cab styles are offered—regular, extended, and crew cab—and three bed lengths (up to eight feet) are available. The 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 is available in base Work Truck (WT), SL, SLE1, and SLE2 models, and SLT trim, with either rear- or four-wheel drive. A Z71 off-road package is offered as well. Altogether, shoppers will find that a model and cab/bed configuration for nearly every use.
The standard engine in the 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 is a 4.3-liter V-6 rated at 195 horsepower. A 295-hp, 4.8-liter and 315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 are the base engines in the rest of the lineup—both have quite impressive performance—while a 367-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 and a 400-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 are optional. The 6.2-liter V-8 is standard in top-of-the-line Denali models and unique to the GMC truck (not offered in its Chevy cousin). For 2009, GMC is phasing in a six-speed automatic transmission; it’s now standard with all V-8s except the 4.8-liter.
Overall, the 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 is one of the nimblest and most energetic full-sized pickups to drive, with good, communicative steering and very refined V-8 engines. TheCarConnection.com’s editors have been happy with either automatic transmission, though the six-speed’s additional two gears helps with passing. The 5.3- and 6.0-liter models are more efficient than competing engines of the same size, thanks to Active Fuel Management, which helps improve fuel efficiency by cutting fuel use while coasting or cruising. With the 5.3-liter and rear-wheel drive, the Sierra 1500 is rated at 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, which is identical to the base V-6.
Inside, some models have a simple, upright design with larger controls and door handles—better suited for work duty. The upgraded instrument panel in the top 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 models has a smoother, lower design, as well as surfaces and materials that come together nicely. The Sierra's interior is extremely well isolated from road and wind noise.
Entry to the rear seat/storage area of extended-cab models is eased with new rear access doors that open 170 degrees. Either section of the split seat can also be stowed independently, allowing room for both cargo and a rear-seat passenger. Another nifty feature on the 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 is the available stadium-style rear seat with a 60/40-split design. It can be easily folded up to provide an uninterrupted load floor.
The 2009 GMC Sierra Denali ranks at the top of the lineup and has exclusive additional equipment not available in the otherwise similar Chevrolet Silverado. Key features of the Denali trim for 2009 include heated and cooled perforated leather seats. The Sierra All Terrain model caters to the off-road crowd with a more refined package that builds on the existing Z71 Off Road bundle, including Rancho Tenneco shocks, a heavy-duty trailer package, a special grille and trim, and two-tone leather seats.
For those who don’t mind paying extra, these trucks can be outfitted with the same features as luxury SUVs. The long options list on the 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 includes a power-sliding rear window, cargo management system, navigation system, DVD entertainment system, and XM Satellite Radio; new options include a power seat on regular cab trucks, 22-inch bright aluminum wheels, and an integrated trailer brake controller. For 2009, Bluetooth and XM NavTraffic are newly available as well.
The Sierra 1500 has achieved top ratings from the federal government, with five-star results in frontal and side-impact tests and a "good" rating from the IIHS in its frontal offset test. Stability and traction control are standard across the line, along with anti-lock brakes; head/curtain airbags are available on Sierra SLE and SLT models.