September 19, 2021

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2021 GMC Sierra 1500

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What kind of vehicle is the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500? What does it compare to?

The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is a full-size truck that shares its underpinnings with the Chevy Silverado. It squares off against the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan. 

Is the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 a good truck?

Review continues below

In terms of capability, performance, and getting it any way you want it, yes. But its TCC Rating of 5.2 out of 10 trails the 2021 Ford F-150 and 2021 Ram 1500 by a full point due to its inefficient powertrains, lack of standard safety features, and its costly climb up the feature ladder. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500?

The Sierra’s smallest engines—a 2.7-liter turbo-4 and 3.0-liter turbodiesel-6—get boosts in towing capacity thanks to better-than-expected test results. Improvements to the advanced trailering technology make hauling the heavy load easier, when properly equipped, and a six-way power tailgate comes standard on all but the base model. 

Offered in base, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali trims with five engine sizes, three cab sizes, and three bed sizes, it would take an algorithm to figure out all the configurations on the 2021 GMC Sierra.   

From the square wheel arches to the clamp-shaped head- and fog lights, the Sierra wears its conservative square cuts with pride, as if in a military graduation parade. But inside, the smaller touchscreen can get lost in the large truck proportions.

The base V-6 is forgettable, and the four V-8 powertrains drive most of the sales. Between them is a 2.7-liter turbo-4 with as much towing capacity as a 3.0-liter turbodiesel that gets up to 30 mpg on the highway and can tow up to 9,300 pounds, though not at the same time. A 6.2-liter V-8 maximizes towing capacity at 11,800 pounds with standard four-wheel drive. It comes with a silky smooth 10-speed automatic transmission used on a 5.3-liter V-8 and the turbodiesel. The V-8s with the 10-speed, as well as one with an 8-speed, also feature fuel management that shuts down half of the cylinders to conserve gas, though with a peak of 21 mpg highway, or 23 mpg with rear-wheel drive, it is neither the most efficient V-8 on the market nor the most efficient Sierra. Leaf springs on the rear can cause the big truck to bounce around when unladen, but the size cushions most road warts; the adaptive dampers standard on Denali trims make it ride like a luxury SUV. 

GMC equips the Sierra with roomy regular, extended, and crew cabs, with the latter being the most popular. It fits five passengers in comfort, and the ample storage spaces could handle double duty as a mobile office or family mud room. The longest and deepest beds in the class also have some of the easiest access points and storage solutions, just make sure you measure the garage before buying. The rich Denali trim swaddles the cabin in luxurious leather with wood and aluminum trim accents. 

The 2021 GMC Sierra falters due to its below average crash test ratings on the passenger side. GM insists on making life-saving safety features a costly option even on Denali trims when other trucks equip it as standard. The standard in-car tech, such as a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, is easy to use but the small screen gets lost in the massive dash. 

How much does the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 cost?

The 2021 GMC Sierra ranges from about $32,000 in base Sierra models to more than $64,000 in top Denali trims. Bed and cab sizes, engine and drivetrain choices, all affect the price and decision-making, but if a Denali is too rich, we’d recommend the Elevation trim with a crew cab for less than $50,000. 

Where is the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 made?

In Indiana, Michigan, and Mexico.

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