General Motors has improved the Sierra 1500, with increased payload and towing capacities, plus a deeper bed versus the previous model. But the redesign doesn’t match the fancy cabin or comfortable ride of some competitors.
The biggest change is in the powertrain. Its 5.3-liter V8 engine can now be paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and the combination provides better throttle response and quicker acceleration, answering one of our chief criticisms of the dull, flat-footed previous generation. The new eight-speed automatic transmission and the loss of about 300 pounds help the Sierra (and the Chevrolet Silverado, which we tested) achieve 17 mpg overall, a 1-mpg gain over the previous truck.
Drivers can’t escape the truck’s huge size when taking corners, but for a full-sized pickup truck it has responsive steering and little body lean. But the Sierra’s ride is stiff, choppy, and uncomfortable, even by pickup-truck standards, and especially so when the bed is empty. Road and engine noise are impressively muted, though.