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MSRP: $33,500 - 58,300

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Review

The redesigned 2019 GMC Sierra has an upscale interior and provides ample towing and hauling capability, but it finishes in the middle of our full-size pickup truck rankings because it doesn't do enough to separate itself from the rest of the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth ride
  • Spacious seats
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Some rivals are more upscale inside

Is the GMC Sierra 1500 a Good Truck?

Despite its ranking, the GMC Sierra is a good truck. It is a capable towing vehicle that offers several powerful engine options and a smooth ride. Inside, this GMC is quiet and spacious. It offers a lot of driver assistance features and comes with a user-friendly infotainment system. Like all trucks, the Sierra's size means it won’t be fit in to everyone’s life, so you'll want to consider the dimensions before buying.

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Dimensions

  • Length: 17 feet, 6.8 inches to 20 feet, 1.3 inches
  • Height: 6 feet, 3.4 inches to 6 feet, 6.5 inches
  • Curb weight: 4,531 to 5,516 pounds

Should I Buy the GMC Sierra 1500?

The Sierra is a fine choice in this class, but it's not the only truck worth considering. A few class rivals offer the same kind of performance and interior quality as the Sierra but for a lower price. If you're shopping for a new truck, check out the Chevrolet Silverado, which is more or less the Sierra's twin, and the Ford F-150.

Compare the Sierra, Silverado, and F-150 »

Should I Buy a New or Used GMC Sierra 1500?

GMC completely redesigned the Sierra for 2019, meaning it’s the first model year of this truck's new generation. It sees some notable changes. Two new trims (Elevation and AT4) join the lineup, as do two new engine options – a turbocharged four-cylinder and a turbodiesel. The 2019 model also gets some new available driver assistance features, including a surround-view camera, pedestrian detection, and a head-up display.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used Sierra, but you'll miss out on the benefits of the redesign. If you are interested in a used model, check out our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 GMC Sierra. You should also browse our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on a used vehicle.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Sierra »

We Did the Research for You: 22 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the GMC Sierra 1500 Cost?

The Sierra's starting price sits at $29,600, which is about midrange for a full-size pickup truck. There are multiple cab, engine, and bed configurations that can raise the price tag, as well as several higher trim levels. The range-topping Denali trim starts at $54,700.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local GMC dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our GMC deals page.

GMC Sierra 1500 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: GMC Sierra 1500 or Chevrolet Silverado?

There's not a lot to separate the Sierra from its GM sibling the Chevrolet Silverado, which is also redesigned for 2019. These trucks have the same powertrains, towing and hauling capacities, and features lists. They're also similar in terms of passenger space. The Sierra is a bit more upscale inside, while the Silverado handles a bit better and has a slightly higher predicted reliability rating. The better choice between these two trucks comes down to personal preference.

Which Is Better: GMC Sierra 1500 or Ford F-150?

The Ford F-150 finishes near the top of our truck rankings almost every year. It can tow and haul more than the Sierra, and it's more maneuverable. Both trucks ride smoothly and offer plenty of passenger space, but the Sierra is more upscale inside. Overall, the F-150 is probably a slightly better truck, but these are both fine choices.

Compare the Sierra, Silverado, and F-150 »

Sierra Performance

Sierra Engine: 5 Choices, So Pick Your Favorite

The Sierra gives you five engine choices: a 285-horserpower V6, a 310-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, 355- and 420-horsepower V8s, and a turbodiesel that will debut later in the model year. The V8s are the strongest, but the V6 and turbo-four both make great options for day-to-day driving.

Sierra Gas Mileage: The Early Returns Seem OK

The smaller V8 engine gets 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Those are comparable to the ratings of other V8-powered trucks like the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500. The V6 engine actually earns lower estimates of 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. The 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine has the best ratings of the bunch, with an EPA-estimated 20/23 mpg. 

Sierra Ride and Handling: Smooth like Johnny Walker

On the pavement, the Sierra handles shockingly well considering its size. It also rides comfortably and soaks up bumps in the road with ease. When the pavement ends, the Sierra can still hold its own, particularly the AT4 trim, which is something of an off-road specialist.

Sierra Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Sierra can tow more than 12,000 pounds and haul more than 2,000 pounds. That's enough to comfortably tow even a large boat or a moving trailer.

Read more about performance »

Sierra Interior

How Many People Does the Sierra Seat?

Regular Cab Sierra models seat three, and Double and Crew Cab models seat five or six, depending on whether you get front bucket seats. Both rows of seats are comfortable, and the rear seats offer plenty of room for adult passengers.

Sierra and Child Car Seats

Sierra models with a rear seat have two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the outboard seats, as well as an upper tether for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. The tether anchors are difficult to locate and can be mistaken for other hardware, and the lower anchors are too deep in the seat. 

Sierra Interior Quality

Though this GMC has always made its bones by being arguably the most upscale truck out there, the redesigned Sierra may not be able to make that claim. It still looks good and uses premium materials, but it doesn't feel as upscale as some rivals, particularly the redesigned Ram 1500.

Sierra Cargo Space

The Sierra comes with three available bed lengths: 8-foot, 6-foot-6-inch, and 5-foot-8-inch. Not every bed length is available with every cab. The bed is wide and deep, and there are plenty of helpful features like in-bed lighting and a tailgate that opens in several configurations.

Sierra Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Sierra features an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Available features include a sunroof, wireless device charging, an 8-inch touch screen, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, three additional USB ports, and navigation.

The infotainment system ranks among the best in the class. The touch screen responds quickly to inputs, and the on-screen menus are easy to navigate. The system is also intuitive, so it doesn't have much of a learning curve.

Read more about interior »

Sierra Reliability

Is the GMC Sierra Reliable?

The 2019 Sierra has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power. 

GMC Sierra Warranty

GMC backs the Sierra with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Sierra Safety

Sierra Crash Test Results

The 2019 Sierra Extended Cab earned five stars in side crash tests and four stars in rollover crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Sierra the highest Rating of good in five crash tests. It earned the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the passenger-side small overlap front crash test. IIHS gave it the lowest rating of Poor for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead and highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention technology. 

Sierra Safety Features

The Sierra comes standard with Teen Driver (which lets you set speed and audio limits for secondary drivers) and a rearview camera. Available driver assistance features include automatic high beams, a safety alert seat (which vibrates to alert you of hazards in conjunction with the other active safety features), lane keep assist, lane departure warning, lane change alert, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, low-speed forward automatic braking, pedestrian detection, a surround-view camera, a Rear Camera Mirror, and a head-up display.

Read more about safety »

Which GMC Sierra 1500 Model Is Right for Me?

The first step to picking out a GMC Sierra 1500 is deciding which cab and box style you want, along with the powertrain. There are six trims, five engines, three cab styles, three bed lengths, and a variety of appearance packages. Bed length availability depends on the cab style you choose.

The best options for most buyers are the SLE and SLT trims. These two sit in the middle of the lineup, but both offer a nice array of technology. The SLT comes with a few more infotainment and comfort features, but it also carries a higher price tag than the SLE, so you'll have to judge for yourself whether the added features justify the additional cost.

GMC Sierra 1500 Powertrain Options:

  • Base engine: 4.3-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque; starts at $29,600 (available in Sierra)
  • Available engines:
    • 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque; starts at $37,800 (available in SLE, Elevation)
    • 3.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder with 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque; starts at $44,285 (available in SLE, Elevation, SLT, Denali)
    • 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque; starts at $30,995 (available in Sierra, SLE, SLT, and Denali)
    • 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque; starts at $50,095 (available in SLT, AT4, Denali)
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available four-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed automatic; available eight-speed and 10-speed automatic

GMC Sierra 1500 Appearance Packages:

  • Chrome Exterior Appearance package (prices start at $550): 17-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels and trim-exclusive body accents

GMC Sierra 1500 Work Packages/Options:

  • Enhanced Capability package (prices start at $175; available in Sierra): adds heavy-duty air filter and skid plates
  • Snow Plow Prep package (prices start at $400; available in Sierra with 5.3-liter V8 and 4WD): adds a 220-amp alternator, a high-capacity air filter and auxiliary transmission oil cooler, heavy-duty front springs, and transfer case skid plates
  • Performance Upgrade package (prices start at $1,850; available in SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, Denali): adds performance air intake and cat-back performance exhaust
  • Assist Step and Tonneau package (prices start at $1,295; available in SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4): adds tri-fold soft tonneau cover and bed assist steps
  • Max Trailering package (prices start at $850; available in SLE, Elevation, SLT): adds automatic locking rear differential, enhanced cooling radiator, revised shock tuning, heavier duty rear springs, a 9.76-inch rear axle, a 3.42 axle ratio, and integrated trailer brake controller
  • Prograde Trailering System (prices start at $240; available in SLE, Elevation): adds a trailer tire pressure and temperature monitoring system, hitch guidance with hitch view, and an in-vehicle trailering app
GMC Sierra

The Sierra carries a base price of $29,600 and comes with a 285-horsepower V6 engine and an automatic transmission. Standard features include Teen Driver, a rearview camera, and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

GMC Sierra SLE

The Sierra SLE starts at $37,800 and comes with the new-for-2019 turbo-four engine, which puts out 310 horsepower and pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the base trim's features, the SLE comes with keyless entry and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, an additional USB port, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

GMC Sierra Elevation

The Sierra Elevation, which starts at $40,300, is a new trim for 2019, and it's offered exclusively in Double Cab configuration. Like the SLE, it features the turbo-four engine. Other standard features include in-bed LED lighting, remote start, and two additional USB ports.

GMC Sierra SLT

The Sierra SLT sports a starting price of $44,300 and comes standard with a 355-horsepower V8. It also comes with a locking rear differential, a trailer brake controller, GMC's MultiPro tailgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, two 120-volt power outlets (one in the cab and one in the bed), leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, and voice recognition.

GMC Sierra AT4

The Sierra AT4 is another new trim for 2019. It starts at $50,800, and it's the best in the lineup for off-road adventuring. Standard features include hill descent control, skid plates, an off-road suspension, a two-speed transfer case, front bucket seats, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.

GMC Sierra Denali

The top-of-the-line Sierra Denali starts at $58,000 and comes standard with wireless device charging, a safety alert seat, front and rear parking sensors, lane change alert, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, and navigation.

Which Sierra Cab Style Is Right for Me?

The 2019 GMC Sierra is available in three cab styles: Regular Cab, Double Cab (small back seat), and Crew Cab (full-size back seat).

Regular Cab models have a three-person bench seat with 40/20/40 split-folding capability. If you usually drive alone or with only one other person, you can probably get away with this cab. However, the middle seat is pretty tight, and there's no option for separate front bucket seats.

The Double Cab is a decent pick if you occasionally carry back-seat passengers. Unlike other full-size pickups, the Sierra has traditional front-hinged rear doors that you can open and close without using the front doors. Double Cab models seat up to six and have about 35 inches of rear-seat legroom. That's less space than you would get in the GMC Yukon large SUV, which serves up about 39 inches of legroom.

The Sierra Crew Cab has an expansive back seat that can hold even tall adults in comfort. There's about 43.5 inches of second-row legroom, an increase of about 8 inches over the Double Cab model.  

Which Sierra Bed Length Is Right for Me?

Once you decide on a cab style, you can pick your bed length. The GMC Sierra has three bed lengths available, but not every box can be matched with every cab. The shortest bed is 5 feet, 8 inches, and it's only available with Crew Cab models. The 6-foot-6-inch bed is available with Double and Crew Cab models. The longest bed is 8 feet long and available with just the Regular Cab.

The best combination of passenger and cargo space is a Sierra Crew Cab with the midrange bed. However, that stretches the truck's total length to over 20 feet. If you don't need all that cargo space, consider going with the smallest bed, which also makes the truck about 10 inches shorter overall. If you're buying the Sierra for a work truck, you'll want one of the two longer beds.

Which Sierra Model Is Best for Towing and Hauling?

To get the Sierra's maximum towing capacity of 12,200 pounds, you'll need a model with the available 6.2-liter V8, four-wheel drive, and the Max Trailering package. That configuration fits with the Double Cab, which only comes with the 6-foot-6-inch bed, and prices start at around $51,000.

The Sierra also has a maximum payload capacity of 2,240 pounds, which you get with the Regular Cab model. That cab also only comes with the long 8-foot box, making this combination attractive for those who want a work truck and usually keep most of their stuff in the bed instead of on or in a trailer.

Which Sierra Model Is Best for Off-Roading?

New for 2019, GMC finally catches up with class rivals that offer specialized off-road trims. The Sierra AT4 (MSRP: $50,800) comes standard with four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential, front and rear skid plates, hill descent control, and a traction select system. Other goodies include a 2-inch suspension lift, Rancho performance off-road shocks, red tow hooks, and trim-specific interior and exterior appearance pieces. You can choose between standard 18-inch wheels with all-terrain or mud-terrain rated tires or 20-inch wheels with all-terrain rubber. The AT4 is available with the 5.3-liter V8, the 6.2-liter V8, or the turbodiesel.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local GMC dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our GMC deals page.

See 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 GMC Sierra is a capable, comfortable full-size pickup truck. Still, it falls short of the standards set by some rivals, which is why it finishes in the bottom half of our class rankings. The Sierra deserves a look when you're shopping for your next truck, but there are others – like the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 – that you may like better.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2019 Sierra has been redesigned from the ground up, is larger in almost every dimension, and improves on nearly every aspect of the outgoing pickup. While Sierra's bowtie-clad sibling stole much of the spotlight, this is the truck we were eager to test. Thankfully, our patience paid off and we were treated of a wonderful first drive experience with the Sierra 1500 Denali and AT4." -- Truck Trend
  • While the new Sierra is an improvement on the outgoing model in nearly every way, it still suffers the same problem as before: it's not nearly different enough than the Silverado considering the several thousand-dollar price gap and behind the competition in terms of refinement. The powertrain and technology are the Sierra's biggest pros, though you can say the same of the Silverado. The MultiPro tailgate and CarbonPro bed are the only unique features, but for many people they're going to be parlor tricks to show to friends. We have no doubt loyal GMC owners, both north and south of the border, will love the new Sierra. But the real differentiator between it and the Silverado is the styling, not the tailgate or carbon-fiber bed. The top-trim Denali sacrifices comfort for looks, and still falls short of top-grade trims on the Ram 1500 and F-150. … The Sierra's a fine truck, but it still just feels like a well-dressed Chevy." -- Autoblog
  • "While we look forward to driving additional Sierra variants and its two later-arriving powertrains, it's clear from even our initial experience that GMC has built a full-size pickup with enough personality and functionality to distinguish itself from its Chevrolet sibling. This is no longer just a pricier Silverado." -- Car and Driver

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: June 27, 2019

Strong Demand: Sierra sales have remained consistent in 2019 relative to demand from the same span last year. The class sales leading Ford F-150 is currently outselling the Sierra by a ratio of over 4 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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