2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Expert Review

4.0 Overall Score
Performance 4.0Comfort 4.0Styling 4.2Value 3.9

Editor's Overview

The 2018 GMC Sierra half-ton pickup’s rugged abilities are never in doubt. What may surprise some people, however, is just how versatile this big pickup can be. With trims ranging from basic work truck to the luxurious Denali, the 2018 Sierra half-ton pickup satisfies a broad spectrum of needs. Its best-in-class 12,500-pound max towing doesn’t hurt, either.

You'll Like The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 If...

Opt for the big 6.2-liter V8 and the right configuration and you’ll get a class-leading 12,500-pound tow rating. The Toyota Tundra can’t match the Sierra’s horsepower and doesn’t offer upscale features like ventilated front seats or adaptive suspension.

You May Not Like The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 If...

If you’re seeking a diesel or turbocharged engine in your next half-ton pickup, the 2018 GMC Sierra is off the list. You can get a diesel in the smaller GMC Canyon, a less expensive option that nearly matches some of the Sierra’s bed and payload figures.

What's New

For 2018, the GMC Sierra 1500 pickup gains a 7-inch touch-screen audio system with six speakers as standard equipment. A rearview camera is also made standard, while the TPM system now includes Tire Fill Alert to warn when you’ve reached the proper tire pressure.

Interior Features

With big buttons and knobs coated in rubber for easy grip even when wearing gloves, GMC’s 2018 Sierra's roomy interior is built with work in mind. Yet it also can be luxurious, with features such as ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and communication ports that will outnumber most drivers' devices. Cab configurations include regular with a 3-passenger bench, double cab with seating for five or six, and crew cab with the most room for five or six. As should be expected in a big truck, the front seats are massive. Flip-up rear seats offer more cargo versatility.

Exterior Features

We dub GMC’s latest styling experiment "contemporary macho." Like previous GMC trucks, this full-size pickup features blocky styling highlighted by swollen fender flares and a grille that would do a semi-truck proud. With the bold styling come practical innovations like corner steps built into the rear bumper. These provide a foothold for bed access, and by design are covered to mitigate slipping in wet environments. Handgrips and available bed-mounted LED lights are other features we like. Bed lengths range from 5-feet-8 inches to eight feet. Double-cab models have standard front-hinged rear doors for easier access.

Driving Impressions

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. The Sierra’s available 5.3-liter V8 fits this truck like a glove, offering excellent power and decent fuel economy. Those who need more can step up to the 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, but they’ll pay a price both at the dealership and the pump. On the open road the Sierra’s cabin filters out most noise and vibration, and when fitted with the Magnetic Ride Control suspension, GMC’s 2018 Sierra rides and handles like no other truck on the road.

Pricing Notes

With the Sierra's wide range of configurations comes a wide range of prices. A base, regular-cab 2018 GMC Sierra has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just north of $31,000. Double-cab models start closer to $36,000 while Crew Cab models start right around $39,000. Start climbing trim levels and adding options, and prices can climb by tens of thousands of dollars. A fully equipped Sierra Denali can easily break the $70,000 mark. The Sierra's starting price is slightly higher than the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra, while the Nissan Titan Crew Cab starts around $36,500. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Sierra's resale value is projected to be in line with that of its domestic rivals and the Nissan Titan, but behind that of the segment-leading Toyota Tundra.

Notable Equipment

Even the most basic 2018 GMC Sierra includes features like air conditioning, cruise control, cloth seats and a 6-speaker, 7-inch touch screen with AM/FM radio with USB/SD inputs, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a rearview camera but no CD player. Step up to an SLE trim and you'll get an 8-inch touch screen, cruise control, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and more features. SLT trims bring features like the 5.3-liter V8 engine, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals and leather-appointed seats. Foremen will appreciate the Sierra Denali's 20-inch chrome wheels, navigation system, Bose audio and leather-clad front bucket seats.

Notable Options

Add-ons are available across the 2018 Sierra pickup line. All Sierras can be ordered as 2-wheel drive (2WD) or 4-wheel (4WD), while those seeking the most power and towing capability should look to the 6.2-liter V8 available on Sierra SLT and Denali models. Options include the Driver Alert Package with low-speed automatic braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, IntelliBeam headlights and forward-collision alert, plus front and rear park-assist. The All-Terrain Package features off-road suspension with Rancho shocks, an underbody shield and 18-inch wheels. Interior comforts include heated and cooled front seats, navigation, a power sunroof and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Favorite Features

GMC’s 2018 Sierra pickup comes standard with a 7-inch audio screen and optional 8-inch version, both equipped with IntelliLink. With up to five USB ports, available 4G LTE Wi-Fi and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, everything stored in your smartphone can now be part of your truck’s infotainment system.

Part of the Sierra’s optional lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, the Driver-Alert Seat sends a slight vibration through either the left- or right-side driver’s seat cushion to warn when the truck is drifting from its intended lane.

Under the Hood

Three engine choices are available for the 2018 GMC Sierra: a 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8 and the top-dog 6.2-liter V8 available for SLT and Denali models. The V6 is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter employ an 8-speed automatic, but only when ordered with the SLE and Denali trim. All three engines have laudable towing capacity, including the V6's max of 7,600 pounds. The 6.2-liter V8 can pull up to 12,500 pounds. With the ability to tow 11,100 pounds and a highway rating of 23 mpg, the 5.3-liter V8 is the middle child in GMC's engine lineup. All engines use direct injection and Active Fuel Management, which allows them to run on fewer cylinders and thus use less fuel.

4.3-liter V6
285 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
305 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (2WD), 17/22 mpg (4WD)

5.3-liter V8
355 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg (2WD), 16/22 mpg (4WD)

6.2-liter V8
420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
460 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (2WD), 15/20 mpg (4WD)

Editors' Notes

The 2018 GMC Sierra half-ton pickup’s rugged abilities are never in doubt. What may surprise some, however, is just how versatile this big pickup can be. With trims ranging from from basic work truck to the luxurious Denali, the 2018 Sierra 1500 pickup satisfies a broad spectrum of needs and price points. The Sierra does share its platform with the Chevy Silverado, but we think there’s enough visual distinction to justify the two platforms. However, models without the big 6.2-liter V8 lag behind the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 in the areas of conventional towing and payload. On the flip side, GMC’s 2018 Sierra will likely hold its value better than the Ram, and it performs better in IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) crash tests.

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