GMC Sierra 1500 ›› 2015 ›› 2015 GMC Sierra 1500
Overview (Final Score: A)
The 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 is a solid seller in the full-sized truck segment and with good reason. Trim levels, comfort, and value-oriented pricing are key to the truck's success and few will be disappointed by the goods offered for the price paid here. The mid- and upper-trims for the Sierra are especially compelling in this regard.
In everyday use, there are a lot of high points for the 2015 Sierra. Towing is smart and well-managed, especially with the new V8 engine option and its eight-speed automatic transmission. The extra gearing and powerful engine output combine well when pulling a load. Fuel efficiency is also better than expected despite the large displacement of that engine.
Whether your needs involve toting along the family to a destination near or far, carrying a load to the jobsite, or towing a trailer for the football team on the weekends, you will find the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 capable of getting the job done. With configurations to match most of your likely needs, it's a strong contender in the often unrealistic world of today's full-sized pickup trucks.
What We Loved About the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500
What We Didn't Love About the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500
Exterior View (10/10 relative to market)
In the full-sized pickup truck market, looks are everything when it comes to branding. The specifications for half-ton pickups are so similar between makes that, quite often, the look of the truck is what sets its apart, not it's capability. Without question, GMC trucks are immediately recognizable as a brand. No matter the color or model.
The 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 has a wide front grille flanked by square headlight bezels that themselves are split between daytime running lamps, headlamps, and turn signals. The square-on-square look of the front fascia sets the theme throughout the truck's design. Squared wheel wells are accented by squared fender bulges above and the squared-off cab design is accented by square window openings.
A flat hood, flat box design, and flat rooftop all add to this overall theme, as do the tow pin bezels, rear bumper, and foglamp cutouts on the GMC Sierra. Individually, these elements seem a bit blocky, but taken all together, they make for a strong, powerful-looking design that befits much of the premium-level themes used throughout the GMC and Cadillac marques. Again, there is no mistaking a 2015 GMC Sierra for what it is and that bold look is on point with the muscular power that truck makers have to convey in today's market.
Compared to its twins over under the Chevrolet roof, the GMC still holds distinctive looks. Its headlights are more refined, its grille is not as dominating, etc. Both trucks have their place, but the GMCs, in keeping with their premium aim, are just a bit more distinctive and upscale.
Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)
With the new upgrades that GMC gave the Sierra for the 2015 model year, we were pleasantly surprised at the excellence offered in the interior. The 2015 Sierra's models all have much more ergonomic and useful interiors than they've had in the past, especially when it comes to technology and comfort.
Most will likely buy the Sierra with a set of front buckets rather than a bench, which means there are no fewer than five USB ports for plugging devices into the 2015 Sierra. The front bench reduces this by two with the removal of the deep center armrest storage.
The base level 2015 GMC Sierra, even with the regular cab option, contains very comfortable seating made with quality materials. The dash, center console, and gauge cluster are all well done. The more common double and crew cabs add even more driver and front passenger comfort with bucket seating (the bench remains an option in most trim levels) that makes the Sierra a comfortable ride for distances both short and long. In our experience driving pickup trucks at mid-level and top tier trim points, we can say that none match the Denali trim level's sedan-like seating comfort.
In crew cab models, the rear seating is also spacious and comfortable. Although not as adjustable as the front, the rear seats have plenty of hip, shoulder, and headroom available. Getting in and out may be best-in-class with this truck, thanks to the wide-opening rear doors the crew cab offers. We also liked the thoughtful 12V and USB plugs added to the crew cab's rear, giving passengers back there somewhere to plug in their phones and gadgets. Some packages add a 120V outlet as well, another nice touch.
Technology in the 2015 GMC Sierra ranges from "OK" to "Superb," depending on options. As would be expected, in the lower-end trim levels, dashboard tech and infotainment is nearly nonexistent. In all trims, though, plug-ins for your devices are well-placed and relatively plentiful with five USB ports and almost as many 12v plugs being offered in the uppermost Denali trim.
The mid-level and upper-trim option for IntelliLink infotainment is one of the better we've seen in this segment. It has a very useful voice command interface, keeps the physical knobs and buttons from the standard stereo systems for redundancy, and it generally responds well and offers plenty of usefulness. Navigation is easy to operate and connecting a phone via Bluetooth is a simple affair. We really liked the way it works and the bright, easy-to-read 8-inch touchscreen it comes with.
Fuel Economy (7/10)
Fuel efficiency ratings for the Sierra range from 20 mpg combined to 17 mpg combined, depending on the drivetrain. The most fuel-efficient configuration is, of course, the V6 model with an automatic transmission in rear-wheel drive. The EPA rates this at 20 mpg combined (18 in the city, 24 on the highway) and in 4WD at 19 mpg combined (17/22). Compared to other V6 models on the market, however, this is below par with both the Ram and Ford options offering better MPGs for their entry-level engines.
In the mid-range choice with its smaller V8, things improve with a 19 mpg and 18 mpg combined rating for RWD and 4WD respectively (16/23 and 16/22). This is more on par with the segment's choices, ahead of the Nissan and Toyota models and about the same as the Ram and Ford models.
The workhorse engine option, the 6.2L V8, in the 2015 Sierra is less efficient, but not by as much as might be expected. The EPA rates this big motor at 17 mpg combined in both RWD and 4WD, with 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. That is good for the segment and better than most. A week with the truck in a Denali trim with the 6.2L bore out those EPA numbers with an average of 16 mpg, despite our time having included towing and offroad testing with the truck.
Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)
There have been four recalls associated with the GMC Sierra, including one for the power train and one for steering (both safety issues). This lowers our expectations from the truck, though not significantly, and the high ranking from J.D. Power and Associates in their Vehicle Dependability Study (giving it a rank of "Better Than Most") boosts our predicted reliability rating here.
The 2015 GMC Sierra has good safety results with a few blank spots in its testing record. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates the Sierra at a top 5-Star rating for crash testing in both frontal and side crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as of this writing, has not thoroughly tested the GMC Sierra in this model year.
Results from the IIHS include a top score of "Good" for moderate-overlap frontal offset, but that is the only test they've done so far with published results. We note that they score the 2015 Sierra on par with most of the other full-sized pickups in the segment in total frontal prevention and difficulty for installing child safety seats.
The 2015 Sierra has three powertrain options, starting with a 4.3-liter V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. This runs to a six-speed automatic transmission in rear-wheel or optional four-wheel drive. This setup is rated for a maximum towing capacity of 7,200 pounds. This base level engine is capable, but the entry-level V8 offering has similar fuel economy ratings.
The 2015 GMC Sierra has a 5.3-liter V8 as its most popular engine. This outputs 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission. The 5.3L is standard on the SLT and Denali trims and optional on all others and is available in RWD or 4WD. Towing is rated at up to 11,200 pounds.
The SLT and Denali trims have an option for a 6.2-liter V8 that outputs 420 horses and 460 lb-ft of torque with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. This can tow up to 12,000 pounds, with proper equipment, and can be had in rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Out on the road, unloaded, the 2015 GMC Sierra is not the most comfortable ride in the segment, but it certainly isn't the worst. Things improve greatly when the Denali package has its adaptive dampers installed, which greatly reduce the slight bounciness most empty-bed pickup trucks have on the highway. Outside of that, though, the GMC Sierra is one of the quietest trucks on the road, with interior noise levels being very low even in the lower trims.
Handling and driving dynamics are good in the 2015 Sierra. The truck feels sure-footed and gives an impression of confidence and comfort. As a daily driver, the Sierra is a great truck with an easy nature on the road and good visibility around town.
Towing with the 2015 Sierra is a mixed bag, depending on configuration. The V6 does a respectable job under moderate loads, but the mid-level V8 can sometimes struggle due to the limitations of the six-speed transmission. By comparison, the bigger 6.2L with its eight-speed tows very well and with confidence. Using this engine in a Denali trim, we towed two different trailers with weights ranging from 3,800 to 4,300 pounds and the Sierra seemed to barely notice them. Sway control and power delivery were very good in various driving situations with those trailers.
Under load, the 2015 Sierra generally does well in any configuration. It's on par or better in this regard when compared to others in the class.
Pricing and Value (9/10)
The GMC Sierra is a premium-level truck, even at its base point. Pricing starts around $27,000 and ranges up to $55,000 or so for the higher end Denali trims. Although the GMC line has a reputation for premium appeal, these prices are in line with today's standard pickup truck offerings from the competition. That in itself is a nice value point given the excellent interiors the GMC Sierra lineup offers.
Resale values on these pickups is about average for the segment, with some configurations such as a V8-powered Crew Cab having more value retention than do single cab V6 options. Lower than average fuel economy in some models detracts from our score, but on the whole, the 2015 Sierra 1500 is a good choice in terms of value versus dollars spent.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (69/80, 86%)
Scoring at 86 percent, the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 receives a solid "A" rating from us. Competition in the full-sized truck segment is as fierce as ever, though. The new 2015 Ford F-150 does very well as a competitor and the multiple drivetrain options from Ram Trucks with their 1500 put it solidly in contention as well. Choice for the buyer among them will largely come down to brand loyalties and what the truck is needed for. Few can compare to the towing and fuel efficiency offered by the Ram EcoDiesel, for example, if that's the goal. In offroad, the various options such as the Ford Raptor and Tundra TRD Pro are difficult to match. For daily workhorse duties, though, the GMC Sierra offers an excellent mixture of comfort and capability for the price.
In the mid- and upper-level trims, the GMC truck line sells remarkably well compared to others in the segment. This should be no surprise when we consider the comfort and capability it offers at a price point that is often lower than the others. Our top-level Denali, for example, was lower priced than an equivalent King Ranch edition from Ford, but had similar accoutrement and comfort.
For those looking at a work-capable, daily-driving pickup truck, the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 is a solid choice with a lot to offer, including high value.
|Crew Cab - 4WD|
|Crew Cab Short Box 4-Wheel Drive||V6||4WD||38890|
|SLE||Crew Cab Short Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||4WD||42985|
|SLT||Crew Cab Short Box 4-Wheel Drive SLT||8 Cylinder||4WD||46860|
|Denali||Crew Cab Short Box 4-Wheel Drive Denali||8 Cylinder||4WD||53165|
|Crew Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive||V6||4WD||39190|
|SLE||Crew Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||4WD||43285|
|SLT||Crew Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SLT||8 Cylinder||4WD||47160|
|Denali||Crew Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive Denali||8 Cylinder||4WD||53465|
|Crew Cab - RWD|
|Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive||V6||RWD||35740|
|SLE||Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||RWD||39015|
|SLT||Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive SLT||8 Cylinder||RWD||43710|
|Denali||Crew Cab Short Box 2-Wheel Drive Denali||8 Cylinder||RWD||50015|
|Crew Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive||V6||RWD||36040|
|SLE||Crew Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||RWD||39315|
|SLT||Crew Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SLT||8 Cylinder||RWD||44010|
|Denali||Crew Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive Denali||8 Cylinder||RWD||50315|
|Extended Cab - 4WD|
|Double Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive||V6||4WD||34675|
|SLE||Double Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||4WD||40395|
|SLT||Double Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SLT||8 Cylinder||4WD||44500|
|Extended Cab - RWD|
|Double Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive||V6||RWD||30695|
|SLE||Double Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||RWD||36550|
|SLT||Double Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SLT||8 Cylinder||RWD||41250|
|Regular Cab - 4WD|
|Regular Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive||V6||4WD||30960|
|SLE||Regular Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||4WD||37850|
|Regular Cab Long Box 4-Wheel Drive||V6||4WD||31260|
|SLE||Regular Cab Long Box 4-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||4WD||38150|
|Regular Cab - RWD|
|Regular Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive||V6||RWD||27020|
|SLE||Regular Cab Standard Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||RWD||33945|
|Regular Cab Long Box 2-Wheel Drive||V6||RWD||27410|
|SLE||Regular Cab Long Box 2-Wheel Drive SLE||V6||RWD||34070|
|2015 GMC Sierra 1500|
|2015 GMC Sierra 1500|
|GMC Sierra 1500 vs. Chevrolet Silverado 1500|