2009 Sierra 1500 New Car Test Drive
The GMC Sierra was redesigned from the ground up in 2007 using proven powertrains. The 2009 model year brings minor refinements, a few additions, and new Hybrid and high-efficiency XFE models.
The Sierra is built on a stiff platform for a smooth ride and sharp handling. The GMC Sierra shares platforms with the Chevy Silverado but its exterior styling is quite different.
Sierra interiors offer a choice of two dashboard styles. The traditional layout, called pure pickup, has a driver-oriented dash layout with larger switchgear and door handles designed for work gloves. The pure pickup interior includes a 40/20/40 split front bench seat with the center section folding down to provide a large storage compartment and wide armrest. The other style in the luxurious Sierra SLT is similar to what's found in the latest luxury SUVs, with two front bucket seats separated by a fixed center console. This design places audio and ventilation system controls more easily within reach of the front-seat passenger, which may or may not be a spouse, and it offers a navigation system and storage compartments.
The new Sierra Hybrid uses GM's new Two-Mode Hybrid system first launched in the 2008 Yukon Hybrid. The Sierra Hybrid is a Crew Cab model with a specially tuned 332-hp 6.0-liter V8 working in conjunction with a battery pack and a four-speed automatic transmission that houses two electric motors. The Hybrid offers fuel economy ratings in the 20-22 mpg range, while compromising payload and tow capacity (maximum around 6000 pounds).
The 2009 GMC Sierra Denali makes for a comfortable, luxurious pickup with the emphasis on performance rather than payload and towing capacity. The Sierra Denali offers the same sort of high-line content as the upscale GMC Yukon Denali sport utility. Sierra Denali comes with all-wheel drive.
The 6.2-liter V8 used in the Denali is also available in regular trim Crew Cab pickups with four-wheel drive for more power and fuel consumption.
Sierra offers many permutations with a choice of cab styles and bed lengths, and nine engine choices (of five sizes). There are limitations however, such as the biggest engine is limited to Crew Cabs, the 6-liter does not go in regular cab or extended cab long bed trucks, and manual transmissions are not offered.
The 2009 GMC Sierra lineup offers a choice of three cab configurations. The standard cab is designed for fleet buyers and others who want a basic truck for work, budget play, or a clean slate for customization. It can be equipped with a standard bed (6-foot, 6-inch) or a long bed (8-foot), two bucket seats or a three-person bench seat, V6 or V8.
The extended cab has two rows of seats with rear-hinged rear access doors that open 170 degrees and have roll-down windows. The extended cab can be equipped with either a short bed (5-foot, 8-inch), standard or long bed. The extended cab can be equipped with seating for five or six.
The Crew Cab has two rows of seats and four front-hinged doors, like those on a Yukon. The Crew Cab can be equipped with seating for five or six and comes with the short bed.
Standard equipment on the basic WT 1SA work truck ($18,045) includes vinyl seating surfaces, air conditioning, AM/FM/XM radio, one-year of OnStar, daytime running lights, tire pressure monitoring system, Smooth Ride suspension, 17-inch wheels, automatic transmission and chrome bumpers.
SLE ($25,575-$33,375) adds cloth seats, CD player, cruise control, rear-window defogger, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and outside temperatures, leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lamps, handling/trailering suspension, carpeting and power door locks/windows/mirrors. Additions include premium cloth seats, dual-zone air conditioning, a floor console, six-way power driver and front passenger seats, audio controls on the steering wheel, and machined aluminum wheels.
SLT ($33,580-$40,575) adds leather seat trim, a unique instrument panel, six-disc CD changer with Bose sound system, heated windshield washers, front bucket seats with 12-way power adjustment and heat, and polished aluminum wheels; crew cab models also get a rear-seat audio system.
Denali ($42,740) includes a top-flight interior with leather, heated and powered front seats, unique woodgrain console, side curtain airbags, dual-zone climate control, park assist and so on. Denali options include a heated steering wheel, heated/cooled front seats, sunroof, and rear-seat entertainment. Denali comes only as a Crew Cab with a 403-hp 6.2-liter V8 engine, six-speed automatic transmission and rear or all-wheel drive.
All Terrain model features the Z71 off-road package, heavy-duty trailer package, 18-inch wheels, Rancho shocks, and myriad cosmetic enhancements. When ordered with SLT trim, exclusive two-tone leather is used. All Terrain is available as an extended cab standard box or crew cab, 2WD or 4WD with 5.3-liter or 6-liter engine.
Sierra Hybrid, Crew Cab only, uses a specially tuned 332-hp 6-liter in conjunction with a battery pack and four-speed automatic transmission that houses two electric motor units. With EPA ratings in the 20-22 mpg range its urban economy is the best of the Sierras, the compromises being price, payload (max mid-1400-pound-range) and maximum tow capacity around 6000 pounds.
Options include a locking rear differential, StabiliTrak, towing and trailering equipment, and a power sunroof.
Safety features include dual front airbags and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Optional head curtain airbags automatically inflate when sensors sense a severe impact to provide extra protection in the event of a rollover or secondary collision. Also available: driver and front-seat passenger side-impact air bags; anti-lock brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, Autotrac active transfer case, ultrasonic rear park assist, OnStar emergency notification.