In addition to serving as the rugged workhorses of farmers, construction companies and small business owners, modern light-duty pickups are commonly seen handling daily driver and family vehicle duties. As such, manufacturers have made an effort to make them more comfortable as well as more fuel-efficient in recent years. That was certainly true with GMC's redesign of its Sierra 1500 pickup last year, which also included increases in overall cabin quality and the debut of new technology features. For this year, the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 stands as a strong entry in this very competitive segment.
Optional on the SLE is the Carbon-22 Edition, which features unique 22-inch alloy wheels, a rear locking differential (2WD models only), fog lamps, a black grille surround, tubular side steps, a trailering package, a 10-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, remote vehicle start, remote garage opener, a rear-window defogger and a 110-volt AC power outlet.
Stepping up to the SLT includes the SLE features and adds chrome trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, remote starting, power folding mirrors, a trailer towing package, universal garage opener, an anti-theft system, a rear window defroster, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 110-volt power outlet, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated eight-way power driver and passenger front seats and driver-seat memory settings.
The 5.3-liter V8, which is standard on the SLT and Denali and optional on other Sierras, makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Properly equipped, trucks with this engine can tow up to 11,200 pounds. With rear-wheel drive, Sierras with the 5.3-liter V8 rate 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway). Those with 4WD rate 18 mpg combined (16/22).
Standard safety features on the 2015 GMC Sierra include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control (with trailer sway control), front and rear seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes services such as automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen-vehicle assistance.
Options include a rearview camera, front and rear park assist and a suite of driver aids that includes a lane departure warning system and a forward collision alert system.
In government crash tests, the Sierra 1500 received a top five-star rating overall, with five stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side crash safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2015 Sierra 1500 its highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal offset crash test, the only test that agency has conducted thus far on this vehicle.
The 2015 GMC Sierra 1500's V6 provides respectable power and refinement. Unless you anticipate a lot of heavy towing and hauling, we suggest test-driving the V6 when you visit the dealer. As you would expect, the 5.3-liter V8 delivers solid thrust with good manners, though there's still a bit of vibration during hard acceleration. Unfortunately, the truck tends to feel sluggish regardless of mode due to a rather lackadaisical gas pedal response.
The six-speed automatic provides smooth and timely gearchanges in normal driving. But despite the pull of the Sierra's husky engines, we've noticed that there's still too big a gap between the transmission's gear ratios when towing. That said, we've towed a trailer with an 8,600-pound load behind a Sierra equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 and the Max Trailering package, and there was plenty of reserve grunt. With even more torque as well as two more gears to work with, we'd expect the 6.2-liter V8 with the eight-speed automatic to be even more effective when put to hard work.
Overall ride and handling dynamics are commendable, making this truck a fine choice if daily driving is a must. The 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 feels robust structurally, yet most versions are compliant and comfortable over broken pavement, though the stiffer ride on trucks with the Max Trailering package can grow tiresome. The Sierra is also very quiet, with road noise snuffed out and only a whisper of wind noise at freeway speeds. The GMC is steady around turns, and its steering is well weighted. Off road, the Sierra exhibits confidence-inspiring composure while negotiating rutted trails and challenging grades.
Anyone familiar with older GMC pickups who hops inside this latest version can't help but notice the much improved materials and build quality, especially on the lower trims. There's an abundance of bins and cubbies, and the center console on five-passenger Sierras boasts plenty of USB ports to keep your devices charged.
The IntelliLink system deserves special mention for its 8-inch touchscreen that features clear, intuitive controls; redundant knobs and buttons; and a very effective voice command interface. You'll use this interface to take care of most navigation, audio and phone functions in the GMC Sierra. Good as it is, however, it can sometimes be slow to respond to commands.
With a choice of a bench seat or buckets (depending on trim level) up front, as well as available heating, ventilation and adjustable lumbar support, the Sierra's thickly padded seats promise plenty of long-trip comfort. Drivers will appreciate the available telescoping steering wheel, as it provides driving position adjustability few other trucks can match. Getting in and out of the backseat on crew cabs is fairly easy thanks to generous door openings, while clambering into the bed is also eased via clever steps and handholds built into each rear corner.
If you'd like to take it for a spin, give us a call now at 720.204.2542
Exterior: The exterior of this unit is in excellent shape with no major flaws.
Interior: The interior is in excellent condition.
Mechanical: This vehicle is "Insight Certified" with no known mechanical defects after completing a 144 point mechanical inspection with required maintenance performed.