Personally, I feel kind of bad about the GMC Sierra full-size pickup.
No, not because it's a bad truck. Quite the contrary.
What bothers me is that its close cousin, the Chevrolet Silverado, seems to get the lion's share of attention. Is it just my imagination, or do most of the TV commercials, roadway billboards and auto magazine ads laud the Silverado?
In contrast, the GMC Sierra pickup seems to get the leftovers.
That's a shame because my week spent in the 2007 Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4WD SLE1 Standard Box (say that three times fast) felt more like the main course.
Perhaps most significant, the tested Sierra shaped up as a worthy competitor with the all-new 2007 Toyota Tundra, which also has benefitted from a monster multimedia publicity campaign.
I tested the Sierra the same week as the '07 Toyota Tundra 4X2 SR5 Double Cab, and the GMC product compared favorably with the Japanese automaker's pickup in virtually every way.
For example, the Sierra's ride was remarkably smooth for a vehicle topping 5,000 pounds. Acceleration from the tester's 5.3-liter, 295-horsepower V-8 was decidedly robust, and the power curve held up well even on steep inclines.
Only the nastiest road bumps made their presence felt in the Sierra cabin. Wind and road noise also had a tough time getting inside.
When the big truck was in cruise control on a stretch of flatland interstate, it had all the road manners of a Cadillac CTS sedan. Kudos to GM's ride engineers on all counts.
Fuel economy on the tester, however, was an absolutely forgettable 16 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the open road. The tester was a flex-fuel truck -- meaning it could be filled with the E85 gasoline-ethanol blend -- but even that doesn't do a lot for mileage.
Parking the Sierra next to the Tundra brought another surprise. While there was a difference in pickup configurations, I expected the Tundra to dwarf the Sierra. Not so.
In truth, the two trucks were nearly mirror images. A check of the respective specification sheets showed the Tundra's length at 228.7 inches, a mere 1.3 inches longer than the Sierra. The Tundra's wheelbase was 145.7 inches; the Sierra's just a nose behind at 143.5 inches.
These extra-large measurements are good news for Sierra extended cab buyers who envision plentiful hauling in the truck's ample cargo bed. As for towing, the tester could hitch up to 8,700 pounds. Move up to GM's 6-liter V-8 engine, and the same truck with two-wheel drive can pull nearly 10,500 pounds.
Largeness can have its drawbacks, however.
The Sierra was an absolute bear to park in tight lots. If you're heading to the local retail strip, it's probably a good idea to find an isolated parking spot and walk those few extra yards to the front door.
Stepping up into the cab of the tested Sierra made me feel small, something I'm not accustomed to as a six-footer. (Six stout adults would be most comfortable in this GMC.)
Likewise, the big buttons on the truck's dash and center stack of controls reminded me of when I was 6 years old, when every button and dial in a car seemed oversized.
Another plus: The Sierra had styling cues that made it stand out as a GMC product, including giant-size "GMC" lettering on the front grille. Take that, Silverado.
If you can't find what you want on a GMC Sierra pickup, better give up. The Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4WD version comes in 12 trim levels.
As for options, the tester offered a blizzard of choices, including such goodies as an off-road/skid-plate package, adjustable pedals, park-assist, remote start-up system and a transmission-cooling system.
Just be careful when you're pondering those add-ons. The extras and a $900 destination charge on the tester boosted the truck's bottom-line sticker price more than $6,000 above the manufacturer's suggested retail of $29,600.
Overall, the GMC Sierra is a big, beefy player in a segment that respects those qualities. It's more geared to rural/ranch environments, but it could do duty as a corporate cowboy's transporter.
Just be sure to give it plenty of room when parking.
And, hey GM, how about getting some more attention for this satisfying Sierra?
2007 GMC Sierra at a glance
Make/model: 2007 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4WD SLE1 Standard Box Vehicle type: Six-passenger, four-door, four-wheel-drive, full-size pickup truck Base price: $29,600 (as tested, $35,635) Engine: 5.3-liter flexible-fuel V-8 with 295 horsepower at 5,200 revolutions per minute and 335 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm EPA fuel economy: 16 miles per gallon city; 20 mpg highway (regular unleaded; also takes E85 gas-ethanol blend) Transmission: Four-speed automatic with overdrive Steering: Power-assisted recirculating-ball type Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with anti-lock and other braking-enhancement feature Suspension: Independent, coil-over-shock type on front; live, multi-leaf on rear Fuel tank: 26 gallons Passenger volume: 122 cubic feet (estimated) Maximum cargo volume: 56.9 cubic feet Curb weight: 5,200 pounds (estimated) Height: 73.9 inche Length: 227.4 inches
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||August 9, 2006|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||June 10, 2007|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||May 27, 2007|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||May 24, 2007|
|Mark Glover||The Sacramento Bee||April 20, 2007|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||February 25, 2007|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||February 4, 2007|
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