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2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Review

The 2016 GMC Sierra offers precise steering, spacious seating, and a quality interior with intuitive technology features. However, its rearview camera has a grainy resolution, and its voice control system can be frustrating to use.

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Expansive seats
  • Precise steering
  • Low-resolution rearview camera

New for 2016

  • Eight-speed automatic transmission available with 5.3-liter V8 engine
  • Enhanced infotainment system with Apple CarPlay




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.3
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Overview

Is the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 a Good Used SUV?

The GMC Sierra 1500 is a versatile full-size pickup truck. Depending on the engine and cab configuration, it can serve as a work truck, a family vehicle, or a daily driver. The Sierra also features an upscale interior. It’s not perfect, though. The rearview camera has a grainy resolution, and its voice control system can be frustrating. Some rivals owe their higher ranking to a better reliability rating, an area where the Sierra comes in merely average.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 24 professional evaluations for this 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500?

Based on almost 2,100 listings on our site for the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500, prices range from $20,000 up to $45,000. The average list price is $36,500. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's model, condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Cost to Own?

The cost of owning a vehicle doesn’t end when you drive off the lot. Estimated five-year expenses for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Sierra 1500 are $26,945. For comparison, five-year costs for the 2016 Ford F-150 are about $25,200, while the 2016 Ram 1500 will cost you about $27,300.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sierra 1500?

The 2018 Sierra 1500 starts at $29,000 and can reach $56,300 in price. Comparing base models, a used 2016 Sierra will save you around $9,000 compared to the new model. With higher trims, the price gap between a new and used Sierra remains about the same. While the 2018 model offers a few advantages – like a higher towing capacity and a standard rearview camera – the 2016 is the better, more economical choice for most people.

Read about the new GMC Sierra 1500 »

If you want a new truck but your budget is more in line with the 2016 GMC Sierra, you don’t have a lot of options. The lowest starting price for any new full-size pickup is $27,705 (2018 Ford F-150).

You may want to consider a compact pickup truck. Both the 2018 Chevy Colorado and the 2018 GMC Canyon are excellent choices that can save you money, but neither can match the Sierra’s towing capacity or hauling limit.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500?

The 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 has a reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. That's considered average for the industry, but it's unimpressive in this class.

Read more about Sierra 1500 reliability »

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 has five recalls. Before the recalls, the steering could be compromised by improper welds, air bags may not deploy, an audio warning system may fail at times, and an air bag computer housing might fracture. You can avoid these problems by making sure these recalls have been addressed before you buy.

See more information on GMC Sierra 1500 safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the GMC Sierra 1500 Is Best?

The 2016 Sierra 1500 is part of a generation that began in 2014. The truck has seen only minor changes over the years, so you may want to consider buying an older Sierra 1500 to save money. The 2015 Sierra 1500 is an appealing option because it was the first to feature a Wi-Fi hot spot, an adaptive suspension with the Denali trim, and a 420-horsepower V8. If you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in your Sierra 1500, you'll have to purchase the 2016 or 2017 model. The 2017 Sierra 1500 has a higher maximum towing capacity, which may also be important to you.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Sierra 1500 »

Which Used GMC Sierra 1500 Model Is Right for Me?

The base Sierra 1500 is pretty sparse when it comes to features. Unless you're planning to use it as a work vehicle, you'll want to move up to one of the three higher trims: SLE, SLT, or Denali.

The SLE trim adds a rearview camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry, satellite radio, and HD Radio. The SLT trim gives you a 355-horsepower V8, remote start, dual-zone climate control, and leather seats. The top-of-the-line Denali trim adds front and rear parking sensors and Magnetic Ride Control, but you can find these features in some lower-trim models. Your best bet is an SLT model with the features, drivetrain, cab size, and bed size you need.

See 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 trims and specs »

What Does GMC's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

GMC offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned models, GMC extends its original new-car limited powertrain warranty to six years or 100,000 miles from the original sale date. CPO models also get a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty after the three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Qualifying vehicles also get free maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles. GMC CPO vehicles must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read GMC’s warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, GMC has a decent CPO program compared with other affordable car manufacturers.

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How Safe Is the Sierra 1500?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Sierra 1500 five out of five stars for the frontal and side crash tests, and four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Sierra its highest rating of Good in four out of five categories. The Sierra received a Marginal rating (next to lowest) in the small overlap front crash test, which simulates the front corner of the vehicle striking an object like a tree or a telephone pole. The Crew Cab model earned an Acceptable rating in the same test.

The Sierra 1500 lacks standard driver assistance features. However, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, a safety alert seat, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors are available. The rearview camera has grainy resolution, which can make things difficult to see when backing up to a trailer.

See Sierra 1500 safety scores »

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 or 2016 Ford F-150?

The 2016 Ford F-150 has numerous trim, engine, cab, and bed configurations that make it easy to find a model to fit your needs. Like the Sierra Denali model, the F-150 King Ranch and Limited trims up the luxury factor. The Ford’s powertrains may not match the GMC's horsepower, but the F-150 has best-in-class towing and hauling capacities. Better safety and reliability scores give the edge to the F-150 in our rankings.

Which Is Better: 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 or 2016 Ram 1500?

The 2016 Ram 1500 delivers better performance than the Sierra 1500. It boasts a smooth ride, good handling, and excellent fuel economy with its diesel engine. The Ram also has an above-average reliability rating. On the other hand, the GMC offers better safety scores and a higher towing capacity. Still, you're probably better off with the Ram than the Sierra. 

Compare the Sierra 1500, F-150, and Ram 1500 »

2016 Sierra 1500 Performance

How Does the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Drive?

The Sierra 1500 provides a pleasant, controlled ride. Its handling is also responsive, and its steering is precise. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the Sierra, and four-wheel drive is available. The Sierra’s adaptive suspension (Magnetic Ride Control), which monitors road conditions to deliver a smoother ride, is available on the Denali trim.

The 2016 Sierra 1500 comes standard with a 285-horsepower V6 engine. A 355-horsepower V8 is available, as well as is a 420-horsepower V8. The base engine offers ample power for most tasks, including light towing. The 355-horsepower V8 has a commanding feel, and the six-speed automatic transmission delivers silky shifts. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and an eight-speed automatic is available.

Does the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Get Good Gas Mileage?

EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2016 Sierra 1500 are good for the class. On the low end, expect 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway for the 420-horsepower V8 engine. With the V6 and rear-wheel drive, you’ll get 18/23 mpg city/highway.

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the 2016 Sierra 1500 has a maximum payload of 2,260 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 12,000 pounds. The transmission features a tow/haul mode that holds gears longer and eases the task of towing.

Despite its towing prowess, the Sierra 1500’s rearview camera’s resolution is too low, which can be an issue when hooking up a trailer.

Read more about Sierra 1500 performance »

2016 Sierra 1500 Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Sierra 1500 Seat?

Regular Cab Sierra models seat three people (two if the available bucket seats are selected). Double and Crew Cab models seat six (five with the available front bucket seats). Cloth or vinyl upholstery is standard. Leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and power-adjustable front seats are available. The front seats are large and comfortable, and finding a comfortable driving position is easy. The rear seats also offer enough room for passengers to stretch out.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500?

The 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab has a complete set of LATCH connectors in each of the outward rear seats along with a tether anchor for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the LATCH equipment the lowest rating of Poor. The lower anchors are too deep in the seats, the tether anchors are in hard-to-find locations, and the tether anchors can be confused for other hardware.

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Features

Standard features include two USB ports and a four-speaker audio system with a 4.2-inch display screen. Available features include dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system, wireless phone charging, and the voice-activated IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation. OnStar with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fit hot spot are also available.

The IntelliLink infotainment system is user-friendly. However, some might find the voice-control system hard to use. The multiple USB ports and other inputs make it easy for drivers and passengers to connect and charge their devices.

See 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 specs »

Read more about Sierra 1500 interior »

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Dimensions

GMC Sierra 1500 Cargo Space

A 6-foot-6-inch bed is standard for Regular and Double Cab Sierra models, and a 5-foot-8-inch bed is standard for Crew Cab models. Regular Cab models are available with an 8-foot bed, and Crew Cab models are available with a 6-foot-6-inch bed. The rear bumper’s built-in step makes climbing in and out of the truck bed easy. The cab's cargo space can be configured in multiple ways thanks to rear seats that fold down.

2016 Sierra 1500 Length and Weight

The Sierra 1500 with a Regular cab and 6-foot-6-inch bed measures almost 17.1 feet long. The Regular Cab with the 8-foot bed is 18.6 feet long. The Double cab with the 6-foot-6-inch bed is almost 19.1 feet long, as is the Crew Cab with a 6-foot-6-inch bed. The Crew Cab with the 8-foot bed is 19.9 feet long.

Regular Cab models have curb weights ranging from 4,517 to 5,085 pounds. This model’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ranges from 6,500 pounds up to 7,000 pounds. Double Cab models have curb weights ranging from 5,010 to 5,490 pounds. This model’s GVWR varies from 6,900 pounds up to 7,600 pounds. Crew Cab models have curb weights ranging from 5,037 to 5,602 pounds. This model’s GVWR ranges from 6,900 pounds up to 7,600 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Built?

Two-door versions of the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 were built in Michigan, while four-door models were made in Mexico.

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