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2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Review

The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 has a spacious, upscale interior and excellent towing and hauling capacities. It lands midpack in our full-size pickup truck rankings, however, partly because its handling is subpar for the class.

Pros & Cons

  • High towing capacity
  • Quiet, upscale cabin
  • Spacious front seats
  • Cumbersome handling
  • Difficult-to-use LATCH system




Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.2
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Overview

Is the 2018 GMC Sierra a Good Used Truck?

Yes, the 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 is a good used full-size pickup truck. It’s a capable workhorse with a refined interior.

The 2018 Sierra 1500 has several strengths:

  • One of the highest tow ratings in the class
  • Great hauling capability
  • Convenient cargo bed features
  • Lots of cabin storage
  • Comfortable, highly adjustable front seats
  • Roomy rear seats in Crew Cab models
  • Intuitive infotainment system with smartphone integration
  • Smooth ride
  • Good fuel economy estimates
  • Strong available V8 engines
  • Available mild-hybrid engine

It also has some weak points:

  • Hard-to-reach child car-seat connectors
  • Cramped rear seats in Double Cab models
  • Handling isn't as agile as classmates
  • More expensive than most rivals
Why You Can Trust Us

Our GMC Sierra 1500 review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 34 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 GMC Sierra?

Based on listings for the 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 on our site, the average price is $41,900, which is above average for the class. Prices range from $32,500 to $51,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 GMC Sierra Cost to Own?

The 2018 Sierra’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $28,700, or $5,740 per year. That’s about average for the class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sierra?

With a starting price of $37,800, the fully redesigned 2019 GMC Sierra has some features you won’t find in earlier models. This new generation includes two new engine options (a turbocharged four-cylinder and a turbodiesel), as well as two new trims (Elevation and AT4). New models also gain some available driver assistance features like a surround-view camera, pedestrian detection, and a head-up display.

Read about the new GMC Sierra »

The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 was the final model in a generation that began with the 2014 model year. If you don’t mind missing out on some available driver assistance features, the 2016 Sierra 1500 is a good value. The 2016 Sierra is the first model available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but if you choose the 2018 model you’ll get both features standard. The truck’s maximum towing capacity increased by 500 pounds for the 2017 model year, while a rearview camera and a 7-inch touch screen were made standard for 2018.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Sierra »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 GMC Sierra?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 GMC Sierra a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five, which is slightly below average for the class but slightly above average compared to the market as a whole.

Read more about Sierra 1500 reliability »

2018 GMC Sierra Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 GMC Sierra 1500.

See more information on GMC Sierra 1500 safety recalls »

Which Used GMC Sierra Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 comes in four trims: base, SLE, SLT, and Denali. Not every engine, cab, and bed combination is available in every trim.

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 bed. Crew Cab models come with the standard or short (5-foot-8-inch) bed.

The base V6 and 355-horsepower V8 are available with most configurations. The 420-horsepower V8 is available in all Double and Crew Cab models. You can get rear- or four-wheel drive in every configuration except for Crew Cabs with a standard bed. These models come standard with 4WD.

The base Sierra trim comes well-equipped and features useful infotainment tech. The SLE trim gets a larger touch screen, and its EZ-Lift and Lower feature lets you easily operate the tailgate with one hand. If you want one of the V8 engines, you’ll have to start with the SLT trim, which also adds seating and climate upgrades. The top-of-the-line Denali trim has a luxury interior filled with tons of features.

  • GMC Sierra: The base GMC Sierra is powered by a 285-horsepower V6 engine. Standard features include a rearview camera, the Teen Driver monitoring system, and the IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.  
  • GMC Sierra SLE: The GMC Sierra SLE adds 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.
  • GMC Sierra SLT: The GMC Sierra SLT features a 355-horsepower V8 engine, and it’s the lowest trim available with the 420-horsepower V8. Standard features in the SLT include leather upholstery, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Sierra SLT isn’t available with the Regular Cab or the 8-foot bed.
  • GMC Sierra Denali: The GMC Sierra 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. This trim is also available with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

See 2018 GMC Sierra 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.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Sierra?

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing, the 2018 Sierra 1500 earned five out of five stars for overall safety, as well as five stars in frontal and side crash tests. It earned four stars in the rollover evaluation.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Sierra 1500 the highest rating of Good in four out of five crash tests. The truck received the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver-side small overlap front test. Its headlights received Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor ratings, depending on trim level and options.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • Teen Driver (allows you to do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • forward collision alert
  • forward automatic braking
  • lane keep assist
  • safety alert seat (alerts the driver via seat vibrations to potential traffic dangers)
  • front and rear parking sensors

See Sierra safety scores »

2018 GMC Sierra Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 or 2018 Ford F-150?

The 2018 Ford F-150 consistently holds its position near the top of our pickup truck rankings. Both the Ford and GMC are great trucks with straightforward infotainment systems, good fuel economy estimates, and strong V8 engines. However, the Ford is a bit better. It has a lower average list price, a higher maximum tow rating, and better maneuverability. Additionally, its available Raptor model is a more capable off-roader than any Sierra trim. That said, the GMC's upscale interior makes it a better choice for those who want a pickup that’s as classy and comfortable as it is capable.

Which Is Better: 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 or 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500?

GM also makes the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and it's very similar to the Sierra. Both trucks have the same engine options, matching towing and hauling capacities, and nearly identical features lists. They also have the same projected reliability ratings. What separates these corporate relatives is their cabins. The Sierra looks and feels more high-end, and that’s reflected in its price. The Silverado, on the other hand, isn't as appealing inside, but it will likely cost you several thousand dollars less.

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

2018 Sierra Performance

How Does the 2018 GMC Sierra Drive?

The Sierra 1500's base V6 engine provides good acceleration for typical driving situations and light towing. For heavier towing and hauling, you'll need one of the two available V8s. The 5.3-liter V8 offers faster acceleration and better towing and hauling capabilities than the base engine. The 6.2-liter engine has one of the highest tow ratings in the class. All three engines can switch to a four-cylinder mode to conserve fuel. The standard six-speed automatic transmission works well, but the available eight-speed can be slow to change gears.

The Sierra has an uncommon powertrain option among trucks: a mild-hybrid powertrain that improves fuel economy. The Sierra eAssist mild-hybrid features the smaller V8 engine mated to an electric motor and the eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Sierra provides a smooth ride overall, but some rivals are easier to maneuver around corners and on winding roads.

  • Base engine: 4.3-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engines:
    • 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque
    • 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available four-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed automatic; available eight-speed automatic
Does the 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Get Good Gas Mileage?

With the base V6 and mild-hybrid engines, the GMC Sierra 1500 gets above-average gas mileage for the class. Fuel economy estimates are nearly as good with the smaller V8 engine.

  • V6, RWD: 18/24 mpg city/highway
  • 5.3-liter V8 (mild-hybrid), RWD: 18/24 mpg
  • 5.3-liter V8, RWD: 16/23 mpg
  • 6.2-liter V8, RWD: 15/21 mpg
2018 GMC Sierra Towing Capacity

The GMC Sierra can tow up to 12,500 pounds and haul up to 2,250 pounds when properly equipped. The larger engines don't feel strained when pulling a heavy trailer, even if you're going uphill, and towing is easier thanks to things like the transmission's tow/haul mode, which holds gears longer.

Read more about Sierra performance »

2018 Sierra Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Sierra Seat?

The 2018 Sierra is available with three cab styles. Regular Cab models seat three, and Double and Crew Cab models seat five or six, depending on whether you choose the standard 40/20/40-split front bench seat or the available front bucket seats.

The front seats are very adjustable and provide plenty of room for passengers of any size. The rear seats in the Double Cab are fine for kids, but adults will prefer the Crew Cab’s larger rear seats.

The Sierra’s cabin is one of the nicest in the class. It’s well isolated from outside noise and features attractive styling and high-end materials throughout. The Denali trim is particularly upscale.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth or vinyl upholstery

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • power-adjustable front seats
  • heated and ventilated front seats
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 GMC Sierra?

The 2018 Sierra 1500 has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in cabs with rear seats. It can be difficult to attach car seats because the tether anchors are buried deep in the seat cushions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Double Cab model’s LATCH system a Marginal rating, the second lowest, for ease of use. The Crew Cab model’s LATCH system got the lowest rating of Poor.

2018 GMC Sierra Features

GM’s IntelliLink infotainment system controls most of the Sierra’s audio and climate functions. The system has a straightforward interface, and standard smartphone integration systems make it easy to pair your favorite device.

  • Standard infotainment features: the IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Available infotainment features: a seven-speaker Bose audio system, wireless device charging, an upgraded IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, navigation, and OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a sunroof

See 2018 GMC Sierra specs »

Read more about Sierra interior »

2018 GMC Sierra Dimensions

GMC Sierra Cargo Space

The Sierra is available with three bed lengths, but not every cab is offered with every bed. Regular and Double Cab Sierra models come standard with a 6-foot-6-inch bed, while Crew Cab models come standard with a 5-foot-8-inch bed. Regular Cab models are available with an 8-foot bed, and Crew Cab models are available with the 6-foot-6-inch bed.

The Sierra comes with a step built into the corner of the rear bumper, making it easy to climb into the bed. An EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate is available, allowing you to operate the tailgate with one hand. There’s plenty of small-item storage throughout the cabin, and the fold-up rear seats lend versatility to models with back seats.

2018 GMC Sierra Length and Weight
  • Length: 17 feet, 2 inches to 18 feet, 7 inches (regular cab); 19 feet, 1 inch (Double Cab); 19 feet, 1 inch to 20 feet (Crew Cab)
  • Curb weight: 4,696 to 5,300 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 6,800 to 7,600 pounds

Where Was the 2018 GMC Sierra Built?

GMC built the 2018 Sierra in Michigan and Mexico.


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