- Efficient, powerful engines
- Quieter interior
- Cargo-bed innovations
- IntelliLnk infotainment
- Beefy look
- Maneuverability (long-bed Crew Cab models)
- Beefy look
- Crew Cab rear-seat comfort
The 2015 GMC Sierra is a great pickup that offers simple and powerful engines, easy-to-use infotainment, and inoffensive styling inside and out.
The recently overhauled 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 delivers some of the best hauling and towing numbers of any light-duty full-size truck while returning better fuel economy and performance. And it boasts enough ports and connections to turn almost any Sierra into a mobile workplace.
For 2014, both the Sierra and its sibling Chevy Silverado received new powertrains, nicer cabins, weightier styling, and a raft of new infotainment and safety features. As a result, they land much closer in our overall ratings to those current benchmarks from Ram and Ford.
The latest Sierra's look is muscular and refined, without straying too much from previous GMC truck design. The 1500 takes cues from the heavy-duty model, including a hood that sits just as high, and a blunt front end with plenty of chrome. The interior features a well laid-out upright dashboard, with easy-to-use controls that can be manipulated even by a gloved hand. Materials are as nice as any in the truck market, with soft-touch plastics used at almost all touchpoints. GMC's signature red lighting is used on the clear gauges as well as for ambient lighting on models so equipped.
Power comes from GM's latest menu of improved truck engines. All employ cylinder deactivation, direct fuel injection, and continuously variable valve timing. The base 4.3-liter V-6 is worth a look for all but serious and frequent haulers. The step up is a 5.3-liter V-8 making 355 horsepower, which can handle almost any towing task up to 11,000 pounds. A 6.2-liter V-8 producing 420 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque is also available, sacrificing a little bit of fuel economy for all-out towing and hauling capability.
All three engines can be teamed with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and a six-speed automatic transmission (with a ‘cruise grade braking’ feature to reduce brake wear) is offered with the 4.3-liter V-6 and 5.3-liter V-8. New for 2015, GMC is adding an eight-speed automatic, paired exclusively with the 6.2-liter V-8. It improves fuel economy slightly while also making it easier to tow and haul large loads, making the powertrain more flexible.
All models get electric power steering, and four-wheel disc brakes with special long-life brake rotors are standard across the model line. The Sierra's ride quality is a bit better than before; it's the steering that gets our attention, though, with its quick reflexes and just-right weight.
Sierra Crew Cab models are offered with two different bed lengths—5’8” or 6’6”—while regular-cab models are offered in 6’6” or 8’ lengths and the Double Cab extended-cab versions all include the middle size. Crew Cab models get longer doors as well, with the B-pillars moved forward, resulting in easier entry and exit, and extended-cab versions get front-hinged rear doors—nearly rivaling the outgoing Crew Cab models in convenience. We prefer the Sierra's cloth seats to the leather ones with ventilated, for better comfort, but we know we're running against the luxury grain there. In the bed, the Sierra steps up with an integrated bumper step, LED bed lighting, and a damped tailgate that lowers as smoothly as the glovebox on a Lexus LS.
Safety features were also upgraded for 2014, with a suite of new optional active-safety aids. Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning—both camera-based—can help you stay aware of hazards, and the optional Driver Alert Seat can vibrate with pulses on either side to alert the driver quickly to issues. Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist are included as part of the standard StabiliTrak stability control system.
All Sierras get air conditioning, keyless entry, and an AM/FM radio with a 4.2-inch color display. GMC’s IntelliLink connectivity system is optional on the Sierra; it combines full voice-command Bluetooth connectivity with Bluetooth audio streaming, a Pandora app, and available navigation, with an eight-inch reconfigurable touch screen. A 110-volt AC outlet is also on offer, and some models include up to four 12-volt outlets and five USB ports, as well as an SD card slot. Blu-Ray DVD players and different seating configurations are available.
The latest Sierra also offers some high-content top models for those looking for a truck packed with options and style. Sierra All-Terrain gets the optional Z71 off-road suspension, monotube Rancho shocks, recovery hooks, a transfer-case shield, hill descent control, an auto-locking rear differential, and special wheels and tires. The Sierra Denali adds its own styling details and plush features like Bose audio and ventilated front seats, plus a standard V-8 engine. It also gets Magnetic Ride Control suspension for this year.