The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 aims to stand out in the highly competitive field of full-size pickup trucks, but the results are a mixed bag. Along with being undeniably handsome, the GMC can be equipped with a carbon-fiber cargo bed and a multi-function tailgate.

It also offers a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8, which is the largest among half-ton trucks not called the Chevy Silverado 1500, and among the myriad engine options on the roster. The lineup is headlined by the popular Denali model and an off-road-oriented AT4 trim.

While they look great in the valet lane or out on the trail, the Denali’s interior doesn’t live up to its luxury billing, and the AT4 can’t compare to the Ford F-150 Raptor or the Ram 1500 TRX. Instead, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is a stylish and capable option that lacks the refinement and excitement of some full-size rivals.

ENGINE AND IMPLEMENTATION

The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is available with five different engines, three different transmissions, and rear- or all-wheel drive. The base setup is a 285-hp V-6 paired with a six-speed automatic. The available 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8 pairs with a six- or eight-speed automatic.

The 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 and torque-rich diesel six-cylinder (making 460 lb-ft) solely operate through a 10-speed automatic. The Sierra 1500 also can be had with adaptive dampers and other content that separate this truck from its Chevy sibling. Both GM pickup trucks lack the extreme off-road abilities of the high-flying Ford F-150 Raptor, but they do offer a dedicated off-road variant.

In the Sierra’s corner is the rugged AT4 model, which boasts a 2.0-inch suspension lift and other legitimate equipment. The Sierra has a rougher ride than the 10Best-winning Ram 1500, but it and the Silverado handle better thanks to responsive steering and restrained body roll.

ENERGY AND REAL-WORLD MPG

The 2021 Sierra 1500 has several different powertrain combinations, which means its fuel-economy ratings will vary. Those most concerned with fuel efficiency should entertain the optional diesel engine, which is rated up to 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, according to the EPA.

However, most 2021 GMC Sierra 1500s will be packing the 6.2-liter V-8 that comes with every Denali model. The EPA estimates this engine will earn 16 mpg city and 20 mpg highway when paired with all-wheel drive. The Sierra 1500 Denali we tested achieved 18 mpg in our real-world highway test.

INTERIOR, CONVENIENCE, AND BOOTH

The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 cabin prioritizes functionality, practicality, and spaciousness. Although the latter is most obvious on models equipped with the crew cab, every version has an upright center stack with logical buttons and user-friendly controls.

The top-of-the-line Denali model costs the most and sells the most, but its interior materials don’t meet expectations compared with luxurious rivals. Desirable content includes an available head-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, and more.

Interior cubby storage is more than adequate for storing all manner of small items and stuff. While GMC doesn’t offer any particularly innovative storage features, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 can be had with a trick tailgate that has multiple configurations. There’s also a class-exclusive carbon-fiber-reinforced cargo bed that is lighter and supposedly stronger than steel.

PHOTOS

2021 GMC Sierra 1500

2021 GMC Sierra 1500

2021 GMC Sierra 1500

2021 GMC Sierra 1500

2021 GMC Sierra 1500

FULL SPECIFICATIONS

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali 6.2L Crew Cab 4WD

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear/all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup

PRICE AS TESTED
$67,735 (base price: $62,090)

ENGINE TYPE
pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement
376 cu in, 6162 cc
Power
420 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque
460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm

TRANSMISSION
10-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

CHASSIS
Suspension (F/R): control arms/live axle
Brakes (F/R): 13.5-in vented disc/14.1-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02, 275/50R-22 111T M+S TPC Spec 3112MS

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 147.4 in
Length: 231.7 in
Width: 81.2 in
Height: 75.5 in
Passenger volume: 139 cu ft
Curb weight: 5602 lb

C/D
TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 5.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 14.0 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.1 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.0 @ 100 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 108 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 183 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.78 g

C/D
FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 14 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 18 mpg
Highway range: 430 miles

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 17/15/20 mpg

Previous article2022 Ram 1500
Next article2021 Ram Dakota

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here