2018 GMC Sierra 1500

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MSRP: $29,000 - 56,300

2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Review

The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 ranks well among full size pickup truck because it's comfortable and capable. That means that no matter what you need from your truck, the Sierra can handle the job.

8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.6
Safety: 9.2
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Good towing truck
  • High safety rating
  • Quiet, upscale cabin
  • Spacious front seats
  • Cumbersome handling
  • Difficult-to-use LATCH system
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating

Is the GMC Sierra a Good Truck?

Yes, the GMC Sierra is a good truck. Its many engines all make great choices for daily driving. Also, the V8 engines can handle heavy towing and hauling loads. This GMC has one of the nicest cabin in the class, and the seats are incredibly spacious. Looking for a lot of tech features? The Sierra has you covered there as well. The only notable drawbacks to the Sierra are that it's not as maneuverable or agile as some competitors, and it has a subpar predicted reliability rating.

Should I Buy the GMC Sierra?

The Sierra has a middle-of-the-pack price tag for the class. That means it's a pretty good value in addition to being a great truck. However, there are other good options in the class, including two of the mainstays from American truck culture: the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado. If you're shopping for a full size truck, it's basically a rule that you should give these two a look.

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

Should I Buy a New or Used GMC Sierra?

The current Sierra generation began with the 2014 model, and there have been minor changes over the years. For 2016, the Sierra added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and for 2017, Teen Driver became standard and the maximum towing capacity was increased by 500 pounds. The 2018 Sierra doesn't add new features, but the IntelliLink infotainment system and a rearview camera are now standard.

You can potentially save money by shopping for a used car instead of a new one, though be aware that older models may not have as many features. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 GMC Sierra and 2017 GMC Sierra. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Sierra »

We Did the Research for You: 34 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.

This overview uses applicable research and data from every year of the current generation, which spans the 2014 through 2018 model years.

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 Cost?

The Sierra 1500’s base price is $29,000. That’s about average for a full-size pickup truck. Higher trims can cost considerably more, and the top trim – the Sierra Denali – nearly doubles the price, starting at around $52,900. While that seems like a lot, some competitors’ top trims are more expensive. There are two other Sierra trims, the SLE and SLT, that start in the mid-$30,000s and low $40,000s.

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 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: GMC Sierra 1500 or Chevy Silverado 1500?

Like the Sierra, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is made by GM. It's basically the Sierra's twin. The two trucks have the same engines, the same towing and hauling capacities, and nearly identical features lists. The main things that separate these two are their predicted reliability ratings and interior quality. The Silverado has a near-perfect score for predicted reliability, while the Sierra has a below-average rating of 2.5 out of five. However, the Sierra feels a bit more upscale, both in terms of design and build quality. It also costs a bit more – but not enough to be a major deciding factor. If you like one of these trucks, you’ll like them both. The GMC is just a bit better.

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

The Ford F-150 is an annual contender for the top spot in our truck rankings, and it's a great value because it has one of the lowest starting prices in the class. The Sierra’s cabin is more upscale and stylish, but that's its only clear advantage over the F-150. The Ford is more capable, more maneuverable, and offers an off-road trim (the Raptor) that is unmatched in the Sierra lineup. These are both good choices, but the Ford is a little more capable, making it the better choice for most buyers.

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

Sierra Performance

Sierra Engine: The V8s Are Great

The Sierra has four engine options. The base 285-horsepower V6 engine has plenty of power for driving around, and it can handle some light towing duties. For heavy towing and hauling, you want one of the V8 engines. There’s a 355-horsepower V8 and a 420-horsepower V8. Both are great for towing and hauling, but the more powerful engine delivers noticeably better acceleration. There is also an eAssist mild hybrid option, which includes the smaller V8 and an electric motor. Power output is the same as the smaller V8, but fuel economy improves.

Sierra Gas Mileage: V6 Gets Best Mpg, but Not by Much

The Sierra’s best fuel economy ratings come with the V6 or mild hybrid engines – 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Those are good ratings for a full-size truck, and you’ll get ratings nearly as high with the smaller V8 engine: 16/23 mpg city/highway.

Sierra Ride and Handling: A Bit Ponderous

The Sierra generally rides smoothly, but other trucks have better handling. The Sierra isn’t exactly a chore to drive, but you'll need to slow down around corners and on winding roads. This GMC also lacks maneuverability in confined areas.

Sierra Towing Capacity

This GMC is a great truck for towing and hauling. It can tow up to 12,500 pounds and haul up to 2,250 pounds. The engine doesn’t feel strained when pulling a heavy trailer, even if you’re going uphill, and towing is easier thanks to features like the transmission’s tow/haul mode, which holds gears longer.

Read more about performance »

Sierra Interior

How Many People Does the Sierra Seat?

The Sierra seats up to six people, depending on which cab you choose and whether you want optional front bucket seats. Front-seat passengers have plenty of room in all models. The rear seats in the Crew Cab have plenty of space as well, though the Double Cab’s rear seats are a little cramped for adults.

Sierra and Car Seats

The Sierra has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in cabs that feature a rear seat. The system isn’t one of the easiest to use, however. You might have trouble identifying the tether anchors, and the lower anchors are set deep in the seat cushions, making it difficult to install car seats. The Extended Cab model’s LATCH system received a Marginal rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for ease of use. In comparison, the Crew Cab model’s LATCH system got a Poor rating.

Sierra Interior Quality

This GMC has a real claim to the nicest cabin of any full-size truck. Its interior is quiet and stylish. Materials quality is high throughout the cabin, and the upper trims are particularly impressive.

Sierra Cargo Space

The Sierra is available with three bed lengths: 5-foot-8-inch, 6-foot-6-inch, and 8-foot. Note that not all beds are offered with each cab. The cabin has lots of storage space, and the rear seats fold up to provide extra room. The bed also has useful features: An integrated bumper step comes standard, and an EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate – which you can easily operate with one hand – is available.

Sierra Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Sierra include a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, and the IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Available features include a sunroof, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system, wireless device charging, and an upgraded IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and navigation. OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot is also available.

The Sierra has a lot of useful technology, though the user-friendly infotainment system grabs most of the attention. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are terrific smartphone connectivity features, and an available Wi-Fi hot spot lets you stay online while on the go. The Sierra also offers wireless device charging, which is an uncommon feature in nonluxury vehicles.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Sierra Reliability

Is the GMC Sierra Reliable?

The 2018 Sierra 1500’s predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five is on the low side for the class.

GMC Sierra Warranty

The GMC Sierra 1500 comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Other full-size pickup trucks have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

Sierra Safety

Sierra Crash Test Results

The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab earns a perfect five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also receives five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover evaluation. The Sierra 1500 Extended Cab earns top ratings in four Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluations, and the second-best rating in the small overlap front crash test. Crew Cab models get the same ratings, with the exception of a Marginal rating in the small overlap front test.

Sierra Safety Features

The Sierra comes standard with a rearview camera and GMC's Teen Driver system, which lets you set speed and audio volume limits for other people driving your truck. Available driver assistance features include forward collision alert, forward automatic braking, lane keep assist, a safety alert seat, and front and rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which GMC Sierra Model Is Right for Me?

There are four Sierra trims to choose from: base, SLE, SLT, and Denali. However, with trucks, you have to make a couple other choices before picking a trim because not every engine, cab, and bed combination is available in all trims. So before we recommend a trim or two, let’s go over the cab/bed/engine combos you can buy.

Regular Cab models come with either the standard (6-foot-6-inch) or long (8-foot) bed. Double Cab models only come with the standard (6-foot-6-inch) bed. Crew Cab models come with the standard or short (5-foot-8-inch) bed.

The base engine – the V6 – is offered with any body style except the Crew Cab with a standard bed. The 355-horsepower V8 is available with any body style. The 420-horsepower V8 is available in all Double and Crew Cab models.

It’s also worth noting that rear- and four-wheel drive are available with any cab/bed/engine combo except the Crew Cab with a standard bed, which is only offered with four-wheel drive.

Still with us? Good.

Once you’ve gone through the options above, it’s time to pick a trim. The SLT is a great choice for people who want a lot of driver assistance tech on top of some nice infotainment features. If you can do without the active safety features, then the SLE trim is a solid choice.

GMC Sierra

The base trim in this GMC truck is known simply as the Sierra, and it has a starting price of $29,000. Standard features include a rearview camera, Teen Driver, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, and the IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Optional features include satellite radio and OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.

GMC Sierra SLE

The Sierra SLE starts at $35,700. In addition to the base trim’s features, the SLE comes with the EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate, satellite radio, HD Radio, OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, and an upgraded IntelliLink system with an 8-inch touch screen.

Available features include a locking rear differential, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, heated front seats, wireless phone charging, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, navigation, and more.

GMC Sierra SLT

The Sierra SLT has a starting price of $42,800. The SLT comes standard with the 355-horsepower V8 engine and isn’t available with the Regular Cab or the longest bed length. Standard features in the SLT include leather upholstery, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Available features include a locking rear differential, a Bose audio system, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, a safety alert seat, forward automatic braking, navigation, wireless device charging, and more. The SLT is also the lowest trim to offer the 420-horsepower V8 engine. Two-wheel-drive Crew Cab models can also be equipped with the eAssist powertrain.

GMC Sierra Denali

The Sierra Denali is the highest trim, and it starts at $52,900. The Denali only comes in Crew Cab models, and it isn’t offered with the 8-foot bed. Standard features in the Denali include an eight-speed automatic transmission, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, wireless device charging, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision alert, forward automatic braking, lane keep assist, and a safety alert seat.

There aren’t many optional features in the Denali because almost every feature you can get in a Sierra comes standard in this trim. But you can add a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

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 2018 GMC Sierra specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 isn’t our highest-rated full-size truck, but it’s close. This truck is one of the most capable in the class, and it has an upscale interior that’s loaded with features. This GMC isn’t perfect, but it shines in many areas that will appeal to full-size-truck buyers. The Sierra deserves consideration from everyone looking for a new truck.

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

  • "GMC's Sierra 1500 pickup for 2018 is really two trucks in one. At first glance, the Sierra is a tough, hard-working full-size pickup posting all the right numbers in the areas of payload, towing and horsepower. But, dig deeper and you'll find a rather passenger-car-like interior with upper trims bordering on Cadillac-levels of comfort and amenities." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Still, both are uniformly accomplished, and if the GMC Sierra's looks appeal to you more than do the Silverado's, well, that's fine by us. The choice ultimately comes down to a matter of taste. … Otherwise, this remains the same trusty and widely competent pickup that it has been for the past few years." -- Edmunds (2017)
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