2012 GMC Sierra 1500

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$13,043–$30,735 Inventory Prices
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Key Specs
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Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Overall range of power, looks, utility and comfort
  • Excellent towing manners, plenty of pulling power
  • Standard side curtain, side-impact airbags
  • Available 6.2-liter V-8

The Bad

  • 6.2-liter V-8 fuel economy

Notable Features of the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500

  • Luxurious Denali trim level
  • New hard-drive-based navigation radio available
  • Standard trailer-sway control and hill start assist
  • Available in hybrid form

2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview

The GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado share the same 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. Versions of the Sierra seat up to six people. Competitors include the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.

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 five trim levels: Work Truck, SL, SLE, SLT and Denali.

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.

The heavy-duty versions of the Sierra give buyers significantly more towing capacity — up to 23,000 pounds — when properly equipped. They also offer an optional 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine.

The Sierra Hybrid is a half-ton pickup that achieves better overall fuel economy than a gas-powered Silverado, but it can still pull a 6,100-pound trailer. Available exclusively in the crew-cab body style, the Sierra Hybrid is expected to use one-quarter less gas than a regular Sierra. The Sierra Hybrid is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.


(Skip to details on the: Sierra 2500HD and 35...

Vehicle Overview

The GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado share the same 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. Versions of the Sierra seat up to six people. Competitors include the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.

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 five trim levels: Work Truck, SL, SLE, SLT and Denali.

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.

The heavy-duty versions of the Sierra give buyers significantly more towing capacity — up to 23,000 pounds — when properly equipped. They also offer an optional 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine.

The Sierra Hybrid is a half-ton pickup that achieves better overall fuel economy than a gas-powered Silverado, but it can still pull a 6,100-pound trailer. Available exclusively in the crew-cab body style, the Sierra Hybrid is expected to use one-quarter less gas than a regular Sierra. The Sierra Hybrid is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.


(Skip to details on the: Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD)

New for 2012
There are a few minor changes for 2012, including a new three-bar chrome grille on SLE and SLT models. A hard-drive-based navigation radio is now available for Denali and SLT models, and the SLT can also have heated and cooled seats. The stability system adds electronic trailer-sway control and hill start assist. Plus, the high-end Sierra Denali gains heated and cooled front seats, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel and a backup camera.

Exterior
While GM is trying to differentiate the Silverado and Sierra, the common silhouette is hard to overcome, even with unique front fenders, grille, bumpers, headlamps, cargo box and taillamps. The upscale Denali trim features a unique chrome grille and wheels. Exterior features include:

  • Very wide rear-door openings on extended cab models to load passengers, cargo
  • Range of 17-, 18- and 20-inch wheels
  • Available EZ Lift tailgate
  • Available power moonroof

Interior
The Sierra showcases two different interior designs. Lower-end trucks are more utility-minded, with large 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. Leather seating is available on the SLE and standard on the SLT. The SLT also gets a Bose stereo and a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat. The Denali trim is the most luxurious of any GM pickup truck with upgraded trim and materials. Interior features include:

  • Stadium-style rear seating
  • Cruise control   
  • Available power-sliding rear window
  • Available navigation system   
  • Available rear-seat entertainment system
  • Available integrated trailer-brake control
  • Available leather-wrapped heated steering wheel
  • Available backup camera

Under the Hood
The Sierra offers five available suspensions, including an off-road-oriented Z71 package and the NHT enhanced trailering package. The 5.3-liter V-8 features fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology. Mechanical features include:

  • 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
  • 302-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 (gas) or 326-hp (E85), 5.3-liter V-8 with iron block and aluminum cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 335 pounds-feet of torque (gas) or 348pounds-feet of torque (E85).
  • Flex-fuel 315-hp (gas) or 326-hp (E85), 5.3-liter V-8 with aluminum block and cylinder heads, cam-in-block, two valves per cylinder and 335 pounds-feet of torque (gas) or 348 pounds-feet of torque (E85)
  • Flex-fuel 403-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 with aluminum block and cylinder heads, cam-in-block and two valves per cylinder that makes 417 pounds-feet of torque
  • Four-speed or six-speed automatic transmission

Safety
The Sierra's standard electronic stability system includes rollover mitigation technology.  GM says its seat belt pretensioners activate during rear-end impacts. Safety features include:

  • Four-wheel antilock brakes
  • Traction control
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Front-seat side-impact airbags
  • Available OnStar alerts authorities after a crash
  • Available rear parking sensors
  • Available backup camera

Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD
The heavy-duty Sierra is the towing and hauling workhorse, with the ability to tow up to 23,000 pounds with a fifth-wheel hitch. Maximum payload capacity is 7,215 pounds. The heavy-duty Sierra's suspension and structure have been strengthened for 2012, enabling the stout capacities. With a conventional trailer hitch, towing capacity is 18,000 pounds.

The Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD are available with a 6.0-liter gas V-8 or a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V-8 engine. A 36-gallon fuel tank is standard and gives trucks with the diesel engine a driving range of up to 680 miles, according to Chevrolet. An available smart exhaust brake provides greater control on downward grades and reduced brake-pad wear. 

New features for the 2012 heavy-duty Sierra Denali include heated and cooled front seats, a backup camera and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. A hard-drive-based navigation system with satellite radio and a USB port is available. Additional features include:

  • Regular, extended or crew-cab body styles
  • Standard or long bed
  • Rear- or four-wheel drive
  • Fully boxed high-strength-steel frame
  • New chrome grille on SLE and SLT
  • Available dealer-installed Wi-Fi system for mobile internet access
  • Available high-idle switch
  • Trailer-sway control and hill start assist

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Latest 2012 Sierra 1500 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(4.1)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(4.1)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

GMC Sierra

by medwards29 from Westfield, IN on July 26, 2018

interior was very clean and had many features including the Huskey-liner floor mats. Oversized BFG T/A tires and the 6.6L Duramax engine made the decision to buy and easy one. With only 78,000 miles ... Read full review

(4.0)

Love the power

by Aaron Parfit from Springfield MO on July 12, 2018

Glad to own it. Don't drive a lot so MPG not so important. Drivability is more important than MPG. Shifts very smooth. Ride is amazing for a truck Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Work Truck

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
acceptable
Overall Rear
acceptable
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
acceptable
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
marginal

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
acceptable
Overall Side
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
marginal
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by GMC

Program Benefits

Two Factory-Backed Warranties, CPO Scheduled Maintenance Program, Vehicle Inspection & Reconditioning, 3-Day/150-Mile Vehicle Exchange Program, 24/7 Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation, OnStar & SiriusXM Satellite Radio Trial Offers, and a Carfax Vehicle History Report

  • Limited Warranty

    Two Factory-Backed Warranties

    6-Year/100,000-Mile, Powertrain Limited Warranty and a 12- Month/12,000-Miles, Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, both with $0 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Sierra 1500 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker