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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
a gutsy performer that doesn't feel taxed
Smooth-shifting transmission kicks down quickly
Acceleration is certainly acceptable with either the 4.8- or 5.3-liter V8
If the 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 looks like the automotive equivalent of a "big strong man," it is certainly one under the hood as well.
TheCarConnection.com notes that this GMC 2008 model has brute strength to spare with its "range of V-8 engines and one V-6 that can have anywhere from 195 to 403 horsepower" as reported by Cars.com. Car and Driver highlights "towing capacities range from a modest 4300 pounds for the basic V-6 work truck (WT) to 13,000 pounds for the 3500HD with a Duramax turbo-diesel." Most will opt for the all-aluminum 5.3-liter V-8 rated at 315 hp and 338 pound-feet of torque, some versions of which "can run on E85 ethanol fuel," according to ConsumerGuide. Cars.com reports that "the 5.3-liter V-8 is also a gutsy performer that doesn't feel taxed in the least moving the 5,326-pound Sierra crew cab...[and] also emits a pleasing V-8 rumble." Edmunds reports that 2008 GMC Sierra 1500's "acceleration is certainly acceptable with either the 4.8- or 5.3-liter V8," while the "optional 6.0-liter V8 can get the truck to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds."
This GMC 2008 model's V-8 engine is mated to a four-speed automatic. Cars.com says, "don't scoff at the transmission's low gear count; it's well-matched to the V-8, and its unobtrusive shifts are a welcome quality and contribute to the truck's overall sense of refinement," adding that the transmission "will also kick down quickly if you need to pass." ConsumerGuide confirms this report: "[the] smooth-shifting transmission kicks down quickly for more passing power."
Edmunds reports that the "four-speed automatic transmission with a tow/haul mode is standard on all Sierra pickups with the exception of the Denali, which has a six-speed automatic." Four-wheel drive is available; Autotrac, available on 4WD Work and LS trims, "features an automatic setting that shifts into 4WD when wheel slippage is detected."
Cars.com reports "EPA ratings run from 12 to 15 mpg city and 17 to 20 mpg highway for 1500-series trucks." Edmunds says that while these figures are "hardly impressive," the 5.3-liter engine is "the most efficient V8 available in a mainstream full-size truck"--due in part to its Active Fuel Management feature, which shuts down half of the cylinders at highway cruising speed.
"With an unladen cargo bed the Sierra's ride quality is fairly stiff, but the suspension does a good job soaking up large imperfections in the road," reports Cars.com, adding that "reasonably precise steering response gives the driver much appreciated confidence when driving at highway speeds." However, this source warns that the 2008 GMC Sierra 1500's "brakes are less praiseworthy." While "they don't have any trouble stopping this rig...the pedal itself doesn't offer much sensation."
Edmunds considers this GMC 2008 model "a very comfortable and easy truck to drive," despite the fact that it is "hampered by a slightly larger turning circle than most other trucks." ConsumerGuide observes "noticeable body lean in fast turns and quick changes of direction" but acknowledges "the steering is nicely weighted, if a bit numb." Kelley Blue Book finds it "surprisingly nimble and easy to maneuver."
The 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 meets most towing and hauling needs, with a bit of wind at its back thanks to ample V-8 power.