The 2021 GMC Sierra1500 range of light-duty pickup trucks receives minor updates over the previous model. The Sierra 1500 with the long bed and a 285 hp V6 engine start at a base price of $31,695. New-for-2021, GMC Sierra gains advanced trailer-assist techs like jackknife alert and trailer-length indicator along with wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Other improvements include increased towing by 2,500 lbs with the Sierra's smallest engine - turbocharged 2.7-liter.
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Pricing And Features
Engine And Performance
Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide
"On paper, the Sierra doesn't have any real weaknesses. However, in the context of the full-size pickup truck class, it doesn't shine that brightly" - Cars.USNews.Com
Coming off a recent redesign, the 2021 GMC Sierra range of full-size pickup trucks are capable and attractive. Though the Sierra shares the underpinnings and powertrain options with the Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC truck has a more premium flair and design differences. This makes the GMC trucks more expensive as they target the luxury market. The 2021 Sierra 1500 became available in late 2020.
The 2021 Sierra has diverse engine choices that include a 285 hp 4.3L V6, a 5.3-liter V8, a big 6.2-liter V8, a turbocharged 4-cylinder, and a potent diesel. The Sierra is also available with a broad selection of cab configurations and bed lengths. Trim levels range from a basic work truck to popular Denali. For off-roading enthusiasts, Sierra AT4 models should suffice with a factory lift and standard 4WD.
The Sierra Regular Cab version with the standard V6 has a maximum tow rating of 7,900 pounds. The maximum tow rating of Sierra is rated at 12,100 pounds, which is less than the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500. Despite the stiff competition, GMC Sierra has a strong brand loyalty for truck buyers and that should please the buyers with improved safety and trailering technology, and innovative features like its MultiPro tailgate. This light-duty pickup also has exceptional J.D. Power reliability scores but the NHTSA rates it with four-star out of five for overall safety.
7.5/10 Pricing and Features
9.0/10 Engine and Performance
8.0/10 Fuel Economy
8.2/10 Final Verdict
2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Pricing and Features
Available in base, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali trims, three cab styles, and choices of three-bed sizes, it's a long list of configurations on the 2021 GMC Sierra.
Sierra offers as many as five engine options being mated to three different transmission setups. Buyers can also opt for rear-wheel or all-wheel drive types. With the optional 5.3L V8, the prices of Sierra 1500 begins at an MSRP of $33,090, while 4WD costs $4,600 extra. Also, Sierra is a pricier option than the Chevrolet Silverado, since the former is luxury-oriented while Chevrolet targets the mass market.
2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Regular Cab
MSRP (2WD- Long Box)
MSRP (4WD- Long Box)
7-inch GMC Touchscreen Infotainment System with 2-speaker audio system
17-inch steel black finish wheels with w/all-season tires
LED HeadLamps, LED Taillamps and LED DRLs
Cab-mounted cargo area lamps
3.5-inch Digital Driver Display with Outside temperature display
40/20/40 split front bench seat with covered armrest storage and 4-way manual adjustment
Tailgate and bed rail protection caps with CornerStep Rear Bumper
Rear Vision Camera
Standard tailgate with Locking
If you want to lease a new GMC Sierra 1500, the pickup truck can be had for $329 per month with $4,799 due at signing. For prices and more configurations, check out our Sierra Crew Cab and Double Cab review and ratings for another model.
The 2021 Sierra 1500 is a pretty basic work truck, hence we would recommend spending the extra $4,600 for the 4WD setup for hassle-free all-weather trailering and hauling. However, the best options are the SLE and SLT trims (check out Sierra Crew Cab Review). These two sit in the middle of the lineup and offer a wide array of features and technology.
The truck buyers can also have plenty of creature comforts, technology, driver-assistance features on the 2021 GMC Sierra by climbing trims or adding options. Buyers can also get the following add-ons with the Sierra:
"Off-road capability is average for a full-size truck. There's also a Traction Select system, which allows additional wheelspin and smoother initial throttle response in low-traction scenarios." - Edmunds
The 2021 Sierra is available with five engine choices ranging from turbo-four to V8s, three different transmissions, and a rear-or all-wheel-drive. The base setup is a 4.3L naturally aspirated V6 that delivers 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque via a six-speed automatic transmission. Unless the low cost is a priority, the 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at 310 hp and 348 lb-ft.
Tried-and-tested 5.3L V8 makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque and is offered with either 6-speed, 8-speed, or 10-speed automatic. This setup takes the starting price to $33,090. The 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 and diesel six-cylinder option (torque-rich - 460 lb-ft) are standard with a 10-speed automatic. You can pick up the 4WD Sierra 1500 by paying $4,600 extra.
How is the 2021 GMC Sierra Ride and Handling?
The Sierra work truck offers decent ride quality and has poised handling. Though the massive size of the pickup limits the nimble handling. The 5.3-liter with the 10-speed in SLT, AT4, and Denali models has plenty of power and handles all the tasks. The 2021 Silverado 1500 handles better dues to more responsive steering and contained body roll. The AT4 is the best off-road variant which features hill descent control, skid plates, a suspension optimized for off-roading, and a two-speed transfer case. In comparison, the Ford F-150 with its 290 hp motor offers more horsepower than the competitors in a full-size pickup segment.
The 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 makes only 277 hp but offers great highway efficiency and towing up to 9,300 pounds with rear-wheel drive. Moreover, the Sierra diesel sees a price reduction of $1,500, making it only $995 more than the 5.3-liter V8 with 8-speed.
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 gets 16 MPG in the city, 21 MPG on the highway, and 17 MPG overall with the base V6. The V8-powered models return a gas mileage of 15/21 mpg city/highway while the turbocharged four-cylinder improves the ratings to 20/23 mpg city/highway. Add the factor of a 28-gallon fuel tank to the mix and the Sierra work truck offers an overall range of about 476 miles. Opt for the diesel, and Sierras get 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
Several bed features are available with Sierra, including an in-bed 120-volt household-style power outlet, an audio system integrated into the tailgate, integrated LED lights, and a multifunction tailgate (GMC calls it MultiPro). The steering wheel is just plain polyurethane exposed material with multifunction buttons on it. For interior storage options, a center seat can double back as an armrest as well when you are traveling alone. There are also two cup holders housed within it that come in handy.
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is available with three cab options and three different length beds.
Two- or three-seat Regular cab is exclusively paired with the longest available eight-foot bed.
Double and Crew cab models seat five or six, but the crew cab offers more rear-seat legroom.
Double cab is only offered with the 6-foot, 6-inch standard bed,
Crew cab models can be ordered with the standard bed or a short 5-foot, 8-inch option.
What about the 2021 GMC Sierra Infotainment and Technology Features?
The Sierra 1500 has a standard 7-inch touch screen touchscreen infotainment system, flanked by two A/C vents on the dashboard. Two speakers in Regular Cab models come with Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility.
However, for the GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab or Double Cab, there is a bigger touchscreen, and even a Bose Premium Surround System available. Unfortunately, if you want to get an upgrade, you will need to head over to the after-market accessories.
"GMC introduced the current Sierra 1500 for the 2019 model, aiming-as it has for previous-gen trucks-to differentiate its truck from the Chevrolet Silverado with which it shares a platform." - MotorTrend
Is the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 a good-looking truck?
The 2021 Sierra model looks similar to the outgoing model which received a generational change in 2019. The headlamps are a definite head turner and the chrome grille and bumpers complement high riding 17-inch tires. The Chevrolet Silverado has similar mechanicals and features but has a different exterior styling. For Sierra's rugged look, Denali has a carbon-fiber bed, while the AT4 has a 2-inch factory lift, dark exterior accents, beefy all-terrain tires, and a pair of red tow hooks in the front.
Move from the front to the side, and you will see the steel wheels with all-terrain tires in full glory. The door handles and the side mirrors are black which can stick out sometimes. Move to the rear end, and you get a manual locking capable standard tailgate. The other cabs get the EZ-lift tailgate as standard, but you can add that during customization.
2021 GMC Sierra 1500
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck
2021 Ford F-150 XL
Standard features aside, there are also a plethora of features that can be picked up during customization of the Sierra. There are 54 accessories for the bed alone, and about 22 for the exteriors that range from aesthetics to feature additions.
"Plenty of creature comforts, technology, and driver-assistance and safety aids can be had on the 2021 GMC Sierra by climbing trims or adding options" - Kbb.com
How safe is the GMC Sierra 1500?
The 2021 Sierra 1500 earns a four-star crash-test rating from NHTSA and is available with upgraded safety technology and features. The IIHS gives the 2021 Sierra Crew cab an overall “Good” safety rating in five out of six crash-tests. The work truck misses out on the Top Safety Pick for the 2021 model year.
2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Active Safety and Driver-assist options:
Available Safety Confidence Package: Now optional on base models, the package includes forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking.
Available Driver Alert Package I: Optional starting on SLE and standard on the Denali, features include parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring.
Available Driver Alert Package II: Available on SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali trim, you get a forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and more.
The Ford F-150 is one of the most loved trucks out there and is part of the most-sold trucks in the country along with its other F-series siblings. With its powerful and feature-rich approach, there is certainly an F-150 out there for everybody.
When compared to the Sierra 1500, the F-150 offers more hauling capacity but a bit slower performance overall. But all that is overlooked when you look at its less expensive price tag, better MPG figures, and all-new design which is extremely modern.
2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Vs 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the corporate cousin of the 2021 Sierra 1500. Based on the same platform, and essentially the same truck in Chevy branding, the Silverado 1500 is a much more practical option as it is cheaper. Being a Chevy, the add-on options are rather easy to buy and afford.
You will be much more likely to build a personalized statement than just a customized truck with this one. But all of that comes at the expense of slightly scaled-down and mellow interiors that are not as luxurious as the Sierra 1500. Hence boiling it down to personal brand preference here.
2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Final Verdict
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 certainly offers a value for money proposition in its build. However, the looming risk of impending recalls might deter a lot of buyers. But if you overlook that, the slightly cushy and very comfortable interiors with rather feature-packed and customizable options, make the Sierra is a great buy overall.
I feel cheated I choose the 4.3L and I must tell you not a wise decision. At that time it made a lot of sense, the bigger engine, more torque, better performance, and whatnot. But now that I have driven it for some time, everything that I thought turned out to be a mere assumption and not reality. It is a pure disappointment. Someone will tell that if you want a more powerful engine fuel economy is a trade-off that you have to live with, yes I agree but where is the power I ask you. There is no power. The acceleration is sluggish and the only good part of the entire powertrain is the transmission. It is quick and The fuel economy is another horrifying aspect of the Sierra that no one is talking about, where Ford and RAM have been making trucks more economical and pocket-friendly but GMC ignores all this. precise and that is all.
An amazing truck through and through. Handling is great especially for a truck, has good mpg numbers, and most important of all it is very comfortable and smooth to drive. Sierra has a good infotainment system. I like it very much. Sierra has amazing seats for a truck. Infotainment is not amazing though. It is confusing and is not very usable. Looks aggressive and stylish at the same time. Sierra is a truck you can take to the parties(or mountains if you want to). Headlights are dim which makes night driving difficult and a little unsafe. Transmission is not good and could have been way better. I hope GMC does a good job in the next model. Got an amazing deal. I had high hopes and it didn’t met even half of those expectations
Cons - Customer support, mpg compared to previous models
Drives just like a truck, and gas mileage is worse than a truck. So, yes, not a good truck when it comes to the driving experience. A comfortable interior is the best part of having a Sierra 1500. I knew it was going to be spacious(It’s a truck), what I did not know was that it is going to be comfortable. That surprised me. Well, it is a good interior is all I can say at the end. Love the Sierra’s design. It is the best looking truck without any doubt. The backup camera is a life saver for me. I always mess up the reversing in tight parking spaces and it has been a huge help. The quality is pretty good too. GMC customer support is the worst! And mpg is even worse than that. It is worth the money as it has Almost everything one wants in a truck or at least what I want in a truck. It works and that’s all I can say. Got nothing good to say.
Drives just like a truck, and gas mileage is worse than a truck.
by Chris A. Murphy
User Overall Rating
No attention to detail
The pricing of Sierra is quite competitive and judging with respect to the price, it's the best truck to have in the garage.
by Chester Y. Hein
User Overall Rating
So many convenience features to make daily driving easy. A good amount of practicality depicts right from the design and the way it drives i.e, smooth. I can’t feel the difference between my Sonic and Sierra 1500 in terms of driving dynamics.