2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Reviews and Ratings

Crew Cab SLT 4WD

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2016 GMC Sierra 1500
Mitch McCullough


The GMC Sierra 1500 line of full-size pickups has been updated for 2016 with the latest technology and revised styling. Distinctive grilles and other visual cues better distinguish the 2016 Sierra models and trim levels from one another.

The GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado share chassis and most mechanicals, and much of what can be said about Sierra can be said of Silverado.

Ruggedly handsome, like a cowboy dressed for the big city, the GMC Sierra looks more conservative and slightly more upscale than does the Chevy Silverado. Sierra Denali models offer real-time damping, a 6.2-liter V6, and an 8-speed automatic.

Among the changes for 2016: revised styling in front, new grille designs, new headlights, LED foglights, new wheel designs. GM’s 8-speed automatic is available with the 5.3-liter V8. GMC IntelliLink has been updated with new screens, faster processors, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Wireless phone charging is available. A remote locking tailgate is available, as are power-articulating assist steps.

This third-generation Sierra was introduced as a 2014 model.

Getting in and out of a Sierra (or Silverado) somehow seems easier than with some of the other pickups, and loading equipment or sacks of feed in back seems to require a little less heave-ho. The Sierra rides easier and feels more carlike than do most of the others, though Ram rides very well, also.

The GMC Sierra is a comfortable truck. The dash is upright and formal, trimmed with soft-touch material and fitted with buttons and knobs that are easy to operate.

While other manufacturers downsized engines and used turbochargers and lightweight aluminum construction to gain fuel efficiency, GM stuck with larger displacement engines that use direct injection, continuously variable valves, and cylinder deactivation to achieve those goals. A choice of engines is available.

The 4.3-liter V6 is suitable for trucks mostly used for hauling and light towing. The 5.3-liter V8 is rated to tow trailers weighing 11,000 pounds. The 6.2-liter offers more torque and more towing power. Owners who regularly tow trailers weighing more than 10,000 pounds might want to consider a Sierra HD model, however, because stability and braking performance rather than power is often the limiting factor.

The V6 and 5.3-liter V8 come standard with a 6-speed automatic. An 8-speed automatic comes with Sierra Denali, Sierra SLT, and any with the 6.2-liter engine. Four-wheel drive is available.

Model Lineup

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 models come in Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab versions. Crew Cabs are available with 5-foot, 8-inch or 6-foot, 6-inch beds. Double Cabs have the 6-foot, 6-inch bed. Regular Cabs offer 6-foot, 6-inch or 8-foot beds.

Three engines are available: 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8, and 6.2-liter V8. Four-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive are offered.

Sierra comes standard with vinyl upholstery, Sierra SLE upgrades to cloth. Sierra SLT is fitted with leather upholstery, Sierra Denali gets upgraded leather.


The Sierra styling is bold, squared off with muscular fender flares and hood bulges. The new grilles look better on some trim levels than others, some verge on garish, looking like a cheese grater. New LEDs surround the headlights for a signature look at night.

The tailgate is damped, so it doesn’t slam down when opened, a great feature, and a locking tailgate is available. A small step in the rear bumper makes it easy to look in the bed or pluck something out, a feature that came from the original Avalanche. LED lighting illuminates the bed.

The Sierra Denali Ultimate has running boards that pivot rearward for access to the bed, a useful feature.


The Sierra cabin is comfortable, whether equipped with front buckets or the bench, and there is a sense of quality. The cloth seats offer good support and comfort and the fabric is stain-resistant. Heating and ventilation are available, though ventilated seats don’t seem to offer as much support.

The steering wheel tilts and telescopes, manually on lower models, electrically on upper lines. Power-adjustable pedals are available. Dual gloveboxes are provided.

The upright dash is bold yet elegant in design with door sills that are relatively low. The instrument panel on lower-level models is more detailed than that of the Silverado, and the Denali gets a unique display. Controls and displays are illuminated in blue with red backlighting that goes nicely with red pointers. The touchscreens work easily, and the Sierra is available with all the latest technology, including 4G LTE for a powerful Wi-Fi hotspot.

Crew Cabs offer almost as much room in the rear seats as in the front, though headrests are best suited for smaller people. Most rear seats fold up for cargo or dogs. Double Cab rear seats are best for children.

Driving Impressions

These trucks are quiet underway, when the windows are up, quiet enough to hear the seat cooling fan, which is not loud.

The engines can use Regular unleaded gas. When only light throttle is needed while cruising, four of the eight cylinders, or two of the six, deactivate for improved fuel economy.

Sierra two-wheel-drive trucks with the 4.3-liter V6 are EPA-rated at 18/24 mpg City/Highway, or 20 mpg Combined. Ram with V6 is comparable.

The 5.3-liter V8 is rated 15/21 mpg with 8-speed automatic and four-wheel drive, matching the 6.2-liter V8’s 15/21 mpg.


A GMC Sierra 1500 makes for an excellent pickup, as do a Ram 1500 or Ford F-150. All of them seem to be ahead of Toyota and Nissan. Choosing among them is as much about personal preferences, loyalty and styling, as anything else. Examine all carefully or just go with your favorite, you can’t go wrong.




J.D. Power Rating
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Overall Dependability Not Available
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J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

* The J.D. Power Ratings are calculated based on the range between the car manufacturer or car model with the highest score and the car manufacturer or car model with the lowest score. J.D. Power generates a rating of a five, four, three, or two. If there is insufficient data to calculate a rating, “Not Available” is used in its place.

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