The GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado share the same GMT900 platform, but the GMC product is often positioned as a more upscale offering. Mechanically, the trucks are the same. There might be slight differences in curb weight and payload, but they share the same powertrain and chassis components. There are eight engines and five suspensions in the lineup.
The Sierra comes in regular, extended and crew cab forms. Standard (6-foot, 6-inch) and long (8-foot) cargo beds are available on regular and extended cabs, while the crew cab gets a short (5-foot, 9-inch) bed. All configurations are available in two- or four-wheel drive. The Sierra comes in four trim levels: Work Truck, SL (crew cab only), SLE and SLT. Most V-8 models are rated to tow around 9,000 pounds, but some models get more than 10,000 pounds with an enhanced trailering package.
Returning for 2009 is the Sierra All-Terrain offroad package, which includes Rancho monotube shock absorbers, skid plates, a leather interior, 18-inch chrome wheels, brushed aluminum accents for the instrument panel, and unique exterior trim.
New for 2009
Like the Silverado, the Sierra gets an XFE model intended to get better fuel economy. The XFE has aerodynamic enhancements, an aluminum-block 5.3-liter V-8, a six-speed automatic transmission and a 3.08:1 rear axle ratio. Available with two-wheel drive, XFE models boast an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 15/21 mpg city/highway. That's 1 mpg better than non-XFE models. The Sierra also offers more power in the 6.2-liter V-8 that's now available in crew cab trucks. The 6.2-liter, which can run on E85, was introduced in the Sierra Denali, a luxury model in the 1500 lineup. GMC also upped safety offerings on the Sierra by making an electronic stability system standard on V-8 models.
Hands-free Bluetooth is now available with OnStar, and vehicles with XM Satellite Radio get NavTraffic. There are also three new exterior colors.
GM is trying to differentiate the related GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado by giving each unique front fenders, bumpers, hood, grille and cargo-box styling. The two trucks' overall silhouettes, however, are quite similar. The Sierra carries over its industrial-grade DNA, but with fewer sharp edges and a little more warmth. The truck's stance remains aggressively athletic, but it's easy to personalize without diminishing its character.
- All-Terrain model has four-bar grille
- Work Truck gets black grille, other models get chrome
- EZ Lift fold-down tailgate available on SLT
- Nice variety of wheel styles available
- GMC designers emphasize "center-focused" hood
GMC also showcases two different interior designs. Work Truck and SLE models are more utility-minded, with large controls and door handles that can be operated while wearing gloves. The SLT offers upgraded materials and a different dash design. The Sierra's cab is inviting, spacious and well-organized. The SLT crew cab is big enough that captain's chairs could fit in the second row, but they aren't available. Storage options aren't as high-priority as they are in other trucks, but the interior looks cleaner. Leather seating is available on the SLE and standard on the SLT. The SLT also gets a Bose stereo, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat and a heated windshield-washer system.
- Stadium-style rear seating
- Available power-sliding rear window
- Available moonroof
- Available navigation system on SLE and SLT
- Available rear-seat entertainment system
- Integrated trailer-brake control
Under the Hood
- 195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6 with iron block and cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 260 pounds-feet of torque
- 295-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 with iron block and aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 305 pounds-feet of torque
- Flex-fuel 315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with iron block and aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 338 pounds-feet of torque
- 315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with iron block and aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 338 pounds-feet of torque
- Flex-fuel 315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with aluminum block/cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 338 pounds-feet of torque
- 315-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with aluminum block/cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 338 pounds-feet of torque
- 367-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 with iron block and aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 375 pounds-feet of torque
- Flex-fuel 403-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 with aluminum block and cylinder heads, cam-in-block and two valves per cylinder
- Four-speed automatic
- Six-speed automatic
While the GM pickups earned a five-star frontal crash-test rating, the automaker is also very aggressive in promoting the benefits of OnStar 8.0. New-truck buyers get a one-year subscription to the Safe and Sound Plan, after which owners can subscribe annually. If an airbag deploys, OnStar contacts an adviser and can report crash data to emergency services. The Sierra offers roof-mounted side curtain airbags as on option on the SLE and SLT. Seat-mounted side airbags are not available. GM has made electronic stability control standard on V-8 models.
- Available ultrasonic rear parking assist
- Traction control
- Four-wheel antilock brakes
- Latch child-seat anchors
- Seat belt pretensioners activate in rear-end impacts
Of Interest to Truck Owners
- Maximum gross vehicle weight rating: 7,000 pounds (4x4 crew cab)
- Maximum payload capacity: 1,909 pounds (4x2 crew cab)
- Maximum towing capacity:10,700 pounds (4x2 extended cab w/enhanced trailer package)
- Fuel tank capacity: 26 gallons (SWB), 34 gallons (LWB)
- Axle ratio: 3.23:1, 3.42:1, 3.73:1, 4.10:1
- Minimum ground clearance: 7.7 inches (regular cab 4x2 SWB), 9.1 inches (regular cab 4x4 SWB), 8.2 inches (regular cab 4x2 LWB), 9.5 inches (regular cab 4x4 LWB), 8.9 inches (extended cab 4x2 SWB), 9 inches (extended cab 4x4 SWB, extended cab 4x2 LWB, crew cab), 9.3 inches (extended cab 4x4 LWB)
- Approach angle: 16.2 degrees (regular cab 4x4 SWB), 16.0 degrees (extended cab 4x4 SWB), 15.3 degrees (4x4 crew cab)
- Departure angle: 24.2 degrees (regular cab 4x4 SWB), 23.3 degrees (extended cab 4x4 SWB), 22.4 degrees (4x4 crew cab)
- Ramp breakover: 24.4 degrees (regular cab 4x4 SWB), 19.3 degrees (extended cab 4x4 SWB, 4x4 crew cab)
- Cargo-bed load height: 34.7 inches (regular cab 4x2 SWB), 33.9 inches (regular cab 4x4 LWB), 33.8 inches (extended cab 4x2 SWB), 33.4 inches (extended cab 4x4 LWB), 32.9 inches (4x2 crew cab), 32.7 inches (4x4 crew cab)
- Cargo floor length: 69.3 inches (short bed), 78.8 inches (standard bed), 97.7 inches (long bed)
- Cargo floor width: 62.4 inches
- Cargo floor width at wheel well: 50.6 inches
- Cargo bed depth: 21 inches
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