Buying Guide

2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Buying Guide | What you need to know about this pickup truck

Autoblog answers all your questions about the 2018 GMC Sierra 1500.

The GMC Sierra is a work-capable truck that can be optioned like a luxury car. Variety and choice are the keywords for the Sierra, not to mention close rivals like the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, and Chevrolet's own Silverado 1500. A Sierra buyer has a seemingly infinite list of choices when it comes to specifying exactly what they need in their pickup.

In terms of cab length alone, there are three choices – Regular, Double, and Crew – to go along with your pick of Short, Standard, or Long cargo bed. Engines range from a 4.3-liter V6, upward to a range-topping 6.2-liter V8 available in top trim levels like the SLT and Denali. The Sierra can be ordered with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive, and transmissions include both a 6- and 8-speed automatic, depending on your choice of powertrain and trim.

Changes for the 2018 model year include the standard fitment of a rearview camera, along with a Tire Fill Alert system that lets the driver know when the correct pressure has been reached. A 7.0-inch touch-screen stereo system is also now standard equipment on base Sierras.

Is the 2018 GMC Sierra Safe?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 an overall crash-test rating of five stars. In front and side impact tests, the latest Sierra 1500 scored a five-star safety rating. A four-star rating was recorded in the Rollover resistance test – this rating applies to Sierra trucks fitted with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Because the Sierra is such a popular vehicle, it's worth noting that the NHTSA conducted crash tests on models fitted with both these drivetrains, and in two cab lengths.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which provides ratings for new vehicles based on its own comprehensive crash tests, also tested two versions of the Sierra 1500. The extended cab model registered "good" ratings in all but one of the IIHS' crash tests. Driver side protection in the small overlap test was deemed "acceptable" – front passenger-side results were not rated. Headlight effectiveness was given an "acceptable" rating, dependent on trim level selected. Meanwhile, the ease of use of the Child Seat Anchors (LATCH) was deemed "acceptable" in the extended cab Sierra.

Ratings dip slightly for the Sierra 1500 in standard cab format. Driver-side protection in the front small overlap test drops to "marginal," while the available LATCH system scored a "poor" for its ease of use. Ratings may differ for Sierra trucks from other model years, so be sure to visit the NHTSA and IIHS websites to review ratings on the specific vehicle you're researching.

At the time of this writing, the 2018 Sierra is not listed as being part of any ongoing recalls.

2018 GMC Sierra

Is the Sierra reliable?

J.D. Power most recently reviewed initial quality in the 2016 Sierra 1500 — no ratings are available for the 2017 or 2018 model year. At the time, it gave the Sierra four out of five possible stars — a rating referred to as "better than most" — for overall quality, overall performance, and predicted reliability.

A note about J.D. Power's methodology: we have some rather serious issues with the way it weights serious and less serious reliability issues. Read more about that here.

How much interior and cargo room does the Sierra have?

The 2018 Sierra 1500 Crew Cab seats from five to six people, with 45.3 inches of front leg room and 40.9 inches in the backseat. Cargo volume ranges from 53.4 to 61.0 cubic feet, based on whether the short or standard box is chosen. Depending on the engine and drivetrain, the maximum available payload is 2,170 pounds.

The Sierra Double Cab has space for five or six people. It offers the same 45.3 inches of front leg room as the Crew Cab, but has slightly less space in the back, with 34.6 inches of backseat leg room. Available only with the standard box, total cargo volume is 61.0 cubic feet. Maximum available payload is 2,250 lbs.
The Sierra Regular Cab has seating for three and offers 45.3 inches of front leg room. Available with the standard or long box, cargo volume ranges from 61 to 73.3 cubic feet. Maximum available payload is 1,980 lbs.

Find 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 pricing, information, and even ones on sale near you.

What are the Sierra engines and specs?

The GMC Sierra comes in four main trim levels. The entry-level standard model is followed by the SLE, SLT, and the range-topping Denali. Engines include a 4.3-liter V6 that delivers 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm. Next up is a 5.3-liter V8, which delivers a total of 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm. Lastly, and available only in the SLT and Denali trim level, is a 6.2-liter V8 that offers 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm. A diesel engine only becomes available on the heavy-duty Sierra HD, which is not covered in this buying guide.

A six-speed automatic transmission is fitted to the V6 and comes standard on lower trim levels equipped with the 5.3-liter V8. An 8-speed automatic becomes available on 5.3-liter V8s at the SLT and Denali trim level. Meanwhile, the 8-speed auto is standard with the 6.2-liter V8.

2018 GMC Sierra

What fuel economy does the Sierra get?

Mileage varies from model to model, depending on which size cabin and bed length is chosen, along with the choice of engine and powertrain configuration. The EPA rates the standard 4.3-liter V6 (fitted with a 6-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive) at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway. A mid-range 5.3-liter V8 fitted with all-wheel drive gets 16 mpg. city/22 highway. The 6.2-liter V8 with all-wheel drive is the thirstiest of all, with a rating of 15 mpg city/20 highway.

Is there a hybrid Sierra?

GMC offers a "mild hybrid" known as the eAssist Package. This electric powertrain is not strong enough to motive the truck on its own, however. Coupled to the 5.3-liter V8 and 8-speed automatic, and with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive, eAssist improves overall fuel economy to about the same level as the standard 4.3-liter V6.

Does the Sierra have four-wheel drive?

The Sierra 1500 has four-wheel drive available on all trim levels.

What is the MSRP of the Sierra?

The 2018 Sierra 1500 with a regular cab, standard cargo box, and rear-wheel drive has a starting MSRP of $30,395 (including destination charge). A Sierra fitted with a double cab and standard cargo box, along with the 5.3-liter V8 and optional AWD, starts around $38,840. A Sierra in the Denali trim, fitted with the 6.2-liter V8 and AWD, rings in at $57,695.

Use Autoblog's Smart Car Buying program powered by TrueCar to search out competitive local pricing and savings on the 2018 GMC Sierra 1500.

2018 GMC Sierra

Can I read the latest review of the Sierra?

Autoblog has praised the GMC Sierra for having "handsome looks, a comfortable cab with a smooth ride, and all the capability of the Chevy Silverado." Some truck buyers might be tempted to cross-shop the slightly cheaper Chevy pickup, since the two are so similar.

Since this generation of Sierra went on sale back in 2014, key competitors like the Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram 1500 have received extensive makeovers. Even the Silverado has received a recent freshening to keep pace with the competition. If you're sensing some impending news, consider yourself absolutely correct.
The 2019 GMC Sierra offers a revised exterior, updated cabin, and new features like a 10-speed automatic fitted to the optional 6.2-liter V8. The new MultiPro Tailgate is basically a Swiss army knife when it comes to loading your truck's cargo bed, or while working on the move. The 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 goes on-sale in Fall 2018 – which means there could be plenty of deals for outgoing 2018 models.

To get a sense of how the Sierra's closest competitors stack up, use our Compare Cars tool.

GMC Sierra 1500 Information

GMC Sierra 1500

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