2019 GMC Sierra 1500: A Tough, Capable Pickup

It’s not easy carving a niche out in the full-size, light-duty pickup truck market. And GMC, a well-known name, appears to be making some big changes to its trucks. The 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 is a new approach to light-duty pickups.

What GMC appears to have done with the latest iteration of the Sierra 1500 is pursue a focus on clever, user-friendly technology, which could be a smart move to woo buyers.

Styling

While Chevy went more radical with the restyling of its related 2019 Silverado, GMC is sticking with a more conservative, traditional look for the Sierra 1500. Higher trim levels do adopt a healthy dose of chrome trim and the Sierra can look quite opulent, inside and out.

Nothing is outlandish or untoward with the Sierra’s exterior, but it does have a marginally more upscale feel than many of its rivals. This is a handsome, imposing full-size truck with tons of presence, and it’s easy to see why buyers are now choosing vehicles like this over family sedans and SUVs.

Specifications

There are five different trim levels in the 2019 GMC Sierra lineup, but that’s only the start. The trims begin with the base Sierra, and then we have the SLE, SLT, AT4 and the Denali. However, there’s also a model called the Elevation, which is basically an SLE with a monochromatic styling package.

Buyers also have to choose between regular cabs, double cabs and crew cabs, three different bed lengths, two and four-wheel drive, and a plethora of engines. No matter what you want from your next truck, it’s got to be in there somewhere.

Engines

The standard powerplant is a 4.3-liter V-6 that develops a capable 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque. If you’re buying a Sierra as a family or lifestyle vehicles, this engine will do you just fine. If you’re intent on doing some serious towing or hauling though, you’ll probably want something beefier. And even if you’re not, you could well be tempted by the excellent new 2.7-liter four-cylinder and its 310 hp and 248 lb.-ft. of torque.

There are still two V-8 options, which are a 5.3-liter and a 6.2-liter. The smaller of the pair puts out 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, while the 6.2-liter unit boasts 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. The 5.3-liter engine can be mated with a six or an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the 6.2-liter engine comes exclusively mated to a 10-speed auto.  

Capability

How capable is the 2019 GMC Sierra? The answer is very capable, even if it isn’t number one.

The maximum payload rating is a very healthy 2,240 pounds, and when properly specified, the 2019 Sierra 1500 can tow up to 12,200 pounds. That tow rating is 300 pounds lower than last year’s model, and it’s a thousand pounds less than the Ford F-150. However, it’s considerably more than something like the Nissan Titan that can’t quite manage 10,000 pounds.

New Six-Way Split Tailgate

Today, innovations are more than welcome, especially those that aid utility. The GMC has certainly delivered one this year, with an answer to the integrated tailgate step Ford introduced back in 2008 that’s way more advanced.

The Sierra’s six-way split tailgate is made up of three main components: the primary tailgate, an inner tailgate, and a load stop. The system is operated using two small rubber buttons located just above the enormous GMC badge. There are four electric latches, with two on either side between the inner tailgate and outside edge of the main tailgate.

This impressive new tailgate system has a number of advantages. It offers enhanced second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, can be used as a standing workstation, gives easier access to items in the truck bed, and has a step entry and an egress mode which offers both step and seated functionality. The system is GMC exclusive and an industry first, and it’s part of standard equipment with the SLT, AT4 and Denali variants of the all-new 2019 GMC Sierra 1500.

Headline Features

Just about any feature you’d find in a sedan or SUV is available somewhere in the Sierra 1500 lineup, and that’s on top of additional features you won’t find anywhere other than in a truck. There’s really no such thing as a basic Sierra 1500; even the base model comes standard with power locks, air conditioning, an audio system with Bluetooth streaming, a USB port, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The best value model could be the SLT, which gets you automatic climate control, a high-def rearview camera, satellite radio, a ten-way power driver seat, leather upholstery, LED headlights, and that sensational six-way tailgate.

AT4 is the trim to choose if serious off-roading is on the menu. It comes with a two-inch suspension lift, two-speed transfer case, skid plates, a locking rear diff, Rancho shock absorbers, and 18-inch wheels fitted with all-terrain tires.

The Last Word

It’s not easy to choose the right full-size, light-duty pickup truck these days. There are many great models available, which complicates the choice. But if a tough, attractive, capable truck with all the latest features is what you’re looking for, the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 is a major contender. And if you’re looking for a pickup truck as a family or lifestyle vehicle, the perfect model for you is ready and waiting for you right here.

Darren Brode / Shutterstock

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