General Motors’ Canadian bestseller receives a substantial update for model year 2016. The GMC Sierra features a new look, structural enhancements, powertrain updates, and several new trim levels to help broaden its appeal for half-ton truck customers.
Freshened styling sees projector beam headlights with LED accents fitted to all trim levels, with LED fog lights and LED tail lights standard on the SLT, All Terrain and Denali trims. New full-LED headlamps also join the features list, which come standard on the Denali and SLT. Brand new grilles, wheel designs, a remote-locking tailgate, and a new hood complete the look. The interior has also been updated, but changes focus primarily on technology. A new larger 7.0-inch touchscreen display with GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system is standard on all models other than the base; premium trims receive an 8.0-inch version of the setup. IntelliLink features system upgrades for improved response, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Another added bonus: Wireless device charging is now standard on models with bucket seats. New colours include Crimson Red, Cardinal Red, Mahogany, and White Frost.
Other than the availability of GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission on select trims with the 5.3-litre V8, the big news for 2016 in terms of powertrains is the return of the eAssist mild hybrid setup to the Sierra range. Available exclusively on SLT Crew Cab trims with 4WD, it pairs a 0.45-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 15-kW electric motor to provide 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of power. While the system cannot power the Sierra exclusively on electricity, it reduces fuel consumption by nine per cent in the city without compromising on towing abilities (4,263 kg or 9,400 lbs).
Otherwise, the Sierra continues to offer a range of engines featuring cylinder deactivation and direct fuel injection in 4.3-litre V6 (285 hp, 305 lb-ft), 5.3-litre V8 (355 hp, 383 lb-ft), and 6.2-litre V8 (420 hp, 460 lb-ft) forms. The 4.3 and 5.3 come standard with a six-speed automatic (an eight-speed is optional on the SLT and Denali); the 6.2 gets the eight-speed as standard.
The Sierra is available in Regular, Double Cab, and Crew Cab configurations. Regular Cabs can be had with a 6’6” box, or an 8’ box. Double Cabs are available exclusively with the 6’6” box. The Crew Cab can be had with a 5’8” box or a 6’6” box. Payload capacity is rated up to 1,025 kg (2260 lbs), while towing is rated up to 5,443 kg (12,000 lbs).
Three other additional trims have joined the Sierra family for 2016. The Elevation trim is one rung up from the base trim level. Available exclusively in Double Cab form, it offers black-painted 20-inch wheels and trim, plus HID headlamps, keyless entry, remote locking tailgate, heated mirrors, 110-volt power outlet, and other amenities. The All Terrain X builds on the rough ‘n tumble All Terrain package with a performance exhaust system, sport bar with overhead LED lights, additional black trim including black-painted wheels, an inclinometer, and an Eaton locking rear differential. Lastly, a new Denali Ultimate trim features additional luxury and convenience amenities otherwise optional on the standard Denali, including a standard sunroof, 22-inch chrome wheels, tri-mode power side steps, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, active noise cancellation, plus class-exclusive magnetic dampers.
The 2016 Sierra 1500 is prices from $29,940 for the base trim with standard box and 2WD. The Denali Ultimate 1500 Crew Cab 4WD sells for $70,610.