The 2018 GMC Sierra is in the fifth year of its third generation. Redesigned for 2014, Sierra was restyled again in 2016, and hasn’t changed in the last two years. For 2018, the only upgrade is a standard rearview camera and two new colors.
An all-new Sierra is being introduced as a 2019 model.
The Sierra uses the same chassis and hardware as the Chevy Silverado, so they’re basically the same except looks. It’s a comfortable truck, smooth riding and easy to climb in and out of. It’s also user friendly; with intuitive controls on the instrument panel, and that’s saying a lot nowadays.
There is a wide range of body styles, trim levels, and powertrains, including four-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. The base 4.3-liter V6 is for light duty at sea level. The 5.3-liter V8 is rated to tow trailers weighing 11,000 pounds. The 6.2-liter delivers more torque and more towing power.
The V6 and smaller V8 come standard with a 6-speed automatic, while the bigger V8 uses an 8-speed. The fancy Sierra Denali comes with that bigger 6.2-liter V8, and a suspension with active damping.
2018 Sierra 1500 comes in Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab. 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. You can pay as little as $29,000 or as much as $56,300, plus delivery and options.
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 tailgate is damped, so it doesn’t slam down when opened, 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. LED lighting illuminates the bed.
The Sierra Denali Ultimate features running boards that swing to the rear for access to the bed, a handy feature.
The Sierra cabin feels upscale. It’s comfortable. The cloth seats offer good support and comfort and the fabric is stain-resistant. Heating and ventilation are available, though we didn’t think the ventilated seats offered as much support.
The standard Sierra instrument panel is more detailed than that of the Silverado. Sierra Denali models use a special 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 equipped with 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.
The Sierra is smooth and quiet. Under way, with windows closed, we could hear the seat cooling fan, which is not loud.
The engines can use Regular unleaded gas. Under light engine loads, only four of the cylinders are activated, the others coast, for improved fuel economy.
Sierra 1500 2WD with 4.3-liter V6 is 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. The 6.2-liter V8 matches it with 15/21 mpg.
The GMC Sierra 1500 is a great choice among full-size pickups, with its smooth ride, good looks and impressive capability. With an all-new Sierra coming out for 2019, look for deals on 2018 models.