Overview

Overview

While no longer the new truck on the block (that happens with the 2014 models), the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500, the more upscale version of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, boasts numerous bed lengths, body configurations, axles, cabs, interior upgrades and E85-compatible engines, not to mention the only full-size hybrids (along with the Chevy Silverado Hybrid) in the industry. In short, the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 offers something for just about every light-truck buyer - including a bit of luxury to go with all that capability.

What Experts Think

Long a favorite of contractors, farmers, construction workers, builders, and most anyone who needs to haul and/or tow loads, the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 has also found great acceptance among everyday drivers, those with families and without. The automotive press, while acknowledging that the GMC Sierra and its sibling the Chevy Silverado are a bit long in the tooth, say that the full-size trucks still offer a compelling choice for buyers.

"The Sierra is a terrific big fir for those who want something other than a Chevrolet, Ford, or Ram badge on the hood. It shines for overall refinement as well as a plethora of features that help the truck play as well as it works." (Consumer Guide)

Car and Driver touches on the aging design, but still has praise for the GMC Sierra. "GM's full-size pickup trucks...are aging in the face of newer trucks from Dodge and Ford. Despite this, the GM twins are still compelling because of their excellent engines, tasteful styling, and spacious interiors."

Why not buy a Chevy and save some cash? You get what you pay for and more with the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500, says Kelley Blue Book. The publication notes that the Sierra "displays a more professional appearance, with copious amounts of chrome in the grille and more stylish wheel options." But that's not all. The Denali trim "elevates the Sierra to near-Cadillac status."

Editors at Edmunds, meanwhile, note that the 2013 Sierra 1500 "is a worthy competitor among fresher rivals, bolstered by a wide range of body styles, capable performance and a comfortable ride."

Over at Autoweek, editors were mightily impressed with the 2013 GMC Sierra Denali, commenting that it's in the same league as the best luxury models from Range Rover, Infiniti, and so on, "with a handsome appearance, beautifully trimmed interior and a ride so smooth and steady that it seems to obliterate rough pavement." Autoweek also praises the true steering, sufficient brakes and good body control for "such a big, heavy, high-riding vehicle."

What Owners Say

Reviews by owners on sites such as MSN Autos, Kelley Blue Book, and Cars.com reveal the prevailing sentiment: most owners are very happy with their 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 full-size truck.

Pluses include smooth quiet ride (for a truck), handles well, 6.2-liter has plenty of power, well laid-out, comfortable, excellent combination of power and style, easy-to-reach controls,  Bose stereo, reliability, value, classic looks, low ownership cost and great towing capability.

Some owners didn't like the backseat legroom, low gas mileage in town (although expected), door handles mounted too low, some drivetrain/suspension noise, and several comments about price being too high for what it is.

Model/Trim Lineup

The 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickup is available with a standard cab, an extended cab, and a crew cab body style. A standard 6-foot 6-inch bed or 8-foot long bed is available in standard cabs and extended cabs. Only a short 5-foot 8-inch bed is available on crew cabs.

Buyers of regular cabs can choose a Work Truck or the mid-level SLE trim. There is also an SL trim between the Work and SLE that is offered in extended and crew cab, as is the more upscale SLT. The top-of-the-line Sierra Denali comes only in a crew cab body style.

As befits a no-nonsense truck, the Work trim includes the following as standard equipment: air conditioning (in extended cab and crew cab body styles), cruise control, OnStar, a tilt steering wheel, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, and CD/MP3 stereo with Satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.

In the SL trim, the additions include keyless entry, cruise control, Satellite radio, full power accessories, and driver's seat adjustable lumbar support.

The SLE version of the Sierra 1500 includes upgraded seat upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a lockable compartment with built-in power outlet in the center cushion of the split front seat.

In the SLT, considered a premium trim, boasts chrome-clad alloy wheels, a Bose audio system with iPod/USB input, leather seats, remote engine start, 12-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, rear audio controls, and a premium interior with full center console and upscale materials.

The top-tier Sierra Denali is luxury personified with 20-inch wheels, a unique powertrain, and exterior styling enhancements, a suspension tuned for ride comfort, a heated steering wheel, and OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation.

Numerous options and option packages are available, depending on trim levels and body styles. There is the Z71 Off-Road package (with skid plates and off-road suspension), the All-Terrain package (like the Z71 but including special enhancements inside and out), several towing packages, and the XFE (short for extra fuel economy) trim available for the rear-wheel drive 5.3-liter V8 crew cab. The XFE features a lowered suspension and drivetrain adjustments specifically to improve fuel economy.

Among the popular options are 20- and 22-inch wheels, a navigation system with real-time traffic, Bluetooth, upgraded audio systems, a rearview camera, a rear-seat entertainment system, heated power-folding outside mirrors, sunroof, power-sliding rear window, rear parking sensors, and ventilated front seats.

Also available as an option is an EZ-Lift tailgate that opens and closes with minimal effort compared to the standard Sierra tailgate.

Performance

Most of the auto critics pay homage to the strong powertrain choices available in the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500. Like the Chevy Silverado, the choices are the same: five big and very capable engines. Trucks are available in two-wheel drive (2WD), four-wheel drive (4WD), and all-wheel drive (AWD, Denali only).

The base engine in the Work Truck model is the 195-horsepower 4.3-liter V6 that produces 260 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway (2WD) and 14/18 mpg (4WD).

The 4.8-liter Flex-Fuel V8 provides 302 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. Here, the EPA city/highway fuel economy estimates are 14/19 mpg (2WD), 10/14 mpg (2WD, E85), 13/18 mpg (4WD), 10/13 mpg (4WD, E85).

In the 5.3-liter Flex-Fuel V8, horsepower is 315 @ 5,200 rpm and 325 horsepower @ 5,300 (E85). Torque is 335 pound-feet of torque @ 4,400 rpm, (348 pound-feet with E85). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15/21 mpg (gasoline), 11/16 mpg (2WD, E85), 15/22 mpg (XFE), 11/16 mpg (XFE, E85), 15/21 mpg (4WD), 11/16 mpg (4WD, E85).

Moving up the powertrain ladder-- next is the 403-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 417 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy here is 13/18 mpg (2WD), 9/13 mpg (2WD, E85), 12/18 mpg (4WD), 9/13 mpg (4WD, E85). Nearly every auto critic considers this engine - which is only available on the Denali trim -- the best in its class, with significantly more power and torque and very little fuel economy penalty, thus making it the engine of choice for those who want more power and/or towing capacity.

The final powertrain choice is the 332-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 in the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid. This engine produces 367 pound-feet of torque and is paired with an electric motor/generator that is built into the transmission. The two-mode system uses two 60-kilowat electric motors that can power the Sierra on electric power alone at low speeds or assist the gasoline engine at higher speeds. Only the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado offer hybrids and the fuel economy estimates are impressive: 20/23 mpg.

The smaller engines in the GMC Sierra are paired with an outdated four-speed automatic, but the two V8s come with a standard six-speed automatic transmission that features a well-calibrate tow-haul mode and cruise-grade braking.

Trailer sway control is standard and an integrated trailer brake controller is available on most models. Maximum towing capacity is 10,700 pounds.

Interior

Reviewers are mostly impressed with the overall fit and finish, quality of materials and available features in the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500. Some, however, comment that the Sierra tends to look a bit dull compared to rivals. All that is expected to change for the better once the completely redesigned 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 (and 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500) bow.

Auto critics are also quick to note that the GMC Sierra doesn't need over-the-top styling tricks to convey what are its core attributes: durability, dependability and toughness. In the work truck and lower trim versions, controls and door handles are larger, while Sierra models in higher trims are outfitted in a cabin that feels and looks a lot like the full-size GM SUVs (Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon). Top-of-the-line SLT and Denali trim levels are much more contented and are priced and billed as luxury trucks.

Upholstery is vinyl on the base model, with cloth available on the base and standard on SL. The SLE, meanwhile, is fitted with higher-quality cloth seats, and both SLT and Denali trims have leather. A front 40/20/40 split bench seat is standard on all except the SLT and Denali, both of which have front bucket seats with a center console standard. In the top trims, also, is heating and cooling for front seats.

Most testers seem to like the Sierra's seats, commenting that they offer good support and space as well as comfort. The power-adjustable pedals, which are optional, are deemed more or less make up for the lack of a telescoping steering wheel in helping the driver find a comfortable position to motor down the road.

Crew cat seating is best for Sierra drivers who often need to carry a number of passengers. Back seating is just okay for passengers in the extended cab, in that there isn't a log of legroom and the angle of the bottom seat cushion is too steep and therefore uncomfortable.

Visibility in the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 is generally considered good, but thick rear pillars in the extended cab make back corner visibility more of a concern.

Interior storage is merely adequate, note most reviewers, who also observe that the cupholders are small and the center console has a somewhat haphazard organization.

Safety & Reliability

Buyers of full-size pickup trucks may need them for versatility, cargo-carrying and towing, but they still want them to be safe. The motoring press takes notice of safety advancements in pickup trucks and touts them extensively. After all, pickup trucks are big sellers in the U.S.

Standard safety equipment in the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 includes antilock brakes (front disc and rear drum), traction control, electronic stability control, front, and side and side-curtain airbags, and OnStar. Buyers opting for the Max Trailering package get four-wheel disc brakes included.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 an overall four star rating (out of five). The Sierra earned four stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for overall side crash protection. Testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) resulted in the 2013 GMC Sierra being awarded the top score of "Good" for frontal-offset crash protection, but a second-best score of "Acceptable" in side-impact tests.

In terms of reliability, the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500, like its sibling Chevy Silverado 1500, shines with Better than Most ratings. This is a four Power Circle rating from the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability.

 

 

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Crew Cab - 4WD
Work Truck Crew Cab Short Box 4-Wheel Drive Work Truck 8 Cylinder 4WD 34890
SL Crew Cab Short Box 4-Wheel Drive SL 8 Cylinder 4WD 37270
SLE Crew Cab Short Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder 4WD 38325
SLT Crew Cab Short Box 4-Wheel Drive SLT 8 Cylinder 4WD 44035
Crew Cab - AWD
Denali Crew Cab Short Box All-Wheel Drive Denali 8 Cylinder AWD 49580
Crew Cab - RWD
Work Truck Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive Work Truck 8 Cylinder RWD 31740
SL Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive SL 8 Cylinder RWD 33795
SLE Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder RWD 34685
Xtra Fuel Economy Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive XFE 8 Cylinder RWD 36440
SLT Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive SLT 8 Cylinder RWD 40860
Denali Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive Denali 8 Cylinder RWD 46430
Extended Cab - 4WD
Work Truck Extended Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive Work Truck 8 Cylinder 4WD 31595
SL Extended Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SL 8 Cylinder 4WD 35370
SLE Extended Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder 4WD 35730
SLT Extended Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SLT 8 Cylinder 4WD 40575
Work Truck Extended Cab Long Box 4-Wheel Drive Work Truck 8 Cylinder 4WD 32705
SLE Extended Cab Long Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder 4WD 36840
SLT Extended Cab Long Box 4-Wheel Drive SLT 8 Cylinder 4WD 40875
Extended Cab - RWD
Work Truck Extended Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive Work Truck V6 RWD 27615
SL Extended Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SL 8 Cylinder RWD 32020
SLE Extended Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder RWD 32320
SLT Extended Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SLT 8 Cylinder RWD 37325
Work Truck Extended Cab Long Box 2-Wheel Drive Work Truck 8 Cylinder RWD 29655
SLE Extended Cab Long Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder RWD 33370
SLT Extended Cab Long Box 2-Wheel Drive SLT 8 Cylinder RWD 37625
Regular Cab - 4WD
Work Truck Regular Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive Work Truck V6 4WD 27530
SLE Regular Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder 4WD 33115
Work Truck Regular Cab Long Box 4-Wheel Drive Work Truck V6 4WD 27830
SLE Regular Cab Long Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder 4WD 33415
Regular Cab - RWD
Work Truck Regular Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive Work Truck V6 RWD 23590
SLE Regular Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder RWD 29610
Work Truck Regular Cab Long Box 2-Wheel Drive Work Truck V6 RWD 23980
SLE Regular Cab Long Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE 8 Cylinder RWD 29730

Comparison of 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 with Similar Cars

2013 GMC Sierra 1500 MSRP Invoice
2013 GMC Sierra 1500 $23,590 $22,646
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2013 Ford F-150 $24,070 $22,325 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 VS 2013 Ford F-150
2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 $23,590 $22,646 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 VS 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
2013 Toyota Tundra $25,455 $23,673 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 VS 2013 Toyota Tundra
2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500hd $29,550 $27,777 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 VS 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500hd

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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