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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Five stars overall, Crew Cabs; four stars, other body styles
Good," front impacts; "acceptable," side impacts
visibility is generally good
Safety ratings are in limbo for the new model year, but the 2011 GMC Sierra still scores well with both of the big crash-test agencies.
Unlike some other vehicles, the Sierra hasn't been caught by the changeover in rating systems, but its star ratings as judged by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been shaved a bit. The NHTSA now gives the Sierra a mix of five- and four-star ratings, split between body styles. The Crew Cab versions are the top-rated models, with five stars overall, while the Regular and Extended Cab models get four stars overall. All versions earn the Feds' top score for side-impact safety.
Over at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2011 Sierra spans the ratings. For frontal impacts, the Sierra is rated "Good." Side-impact protection gets an "Acceptable" rating, while roof-crush strength hasn't been measured.
The Sierra's standard safety equipment ensures these scores translate into real-world safety. Each model gets dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; tire pressure monitors; and daytime running lights. OnStar hardware with emergency notification service is also included.
On the options list are recommended features like parking sensors and a rearview camera, which can help drivers who can't see much to the Sierra's rear quarters. Power-adjustable pedals can be a boon for shorter drivers, but be warned: they strip most brake pedals of their accurate feel.
The 2011 GMC Sierra earns good crash-test scores, and comes with competitive safety equipment.