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2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab Review: Features, Price, Performance, MPG, Towing Capacity, And Rivals

Rishabh Mehra's image
Rishabh Mehra

Automotive Content Writer

September 16, 2020 at 09:46 AM

The big and voluptuous and chrome-laden and in-your-face truck gets four different gasoline engine options. The one we have here is powered by a 4.3L Ecotech3 V6 engine which puts out 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. It is one of the base engines but the performance is not that bad as it goes from 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds.

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Highlights:


The GMC Sierra 1500 is one of the most popular trucks among truck enthusiasts and thus GMC offers this truck in a wide variety of trims which makes it affordable for different types of customers. Mechanically, it is identical to the Silverado. It shares its platform, powertrain, and even the interiors. On the outside, the story tips towards GMCs favor as it shows off a better and more pleasing design. 


Read More on the GMC Sierra 1500:

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is based on GM's popular K2 Platform

The Sierra 1500 is based on GM's popular K2 Platform that underpins vehicles like the Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade, and of course the Chevy Silverado 1500. This platform has gained popularity because of its durability, reliability, and relatively affordable cost of maintenance which is achieved due to an intensive parts sharing program, and together all these factors make the Sierra 1500 a trustworthy American product.

What’s new in the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500?

GMC has added a comprehensive trailering package to its Sierra 1500 range which brings onboard features like:

  • Trailer Length Indicator
  • Jack-Knife Alert
  • Rear Trailer View now features guidelines and Trailer-Angle Indicator
  • Rear Side View enhancement
  • Cargo Bed View enhancement

Other additions to the new Sierra 1500 include the addition of the MultiPro Tailgate on SLE and Elevation trims, as well as a new selection of colors. New available features on the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 include 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires and an off-road high-clearance step.

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Trims and Features

The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 will be offered with a total of 5 different trim levels to choose from with additional packages on offer that allow further customization. Two additional models that will launch later on are Denali CarbonPro Edition and AT4 CarbonPro Edition. You also get an option of choosing between rear-wheel and all-wheel drive with every trim. There are also many customization options available at additional costs.

Trim

SLE/Elevation/SLT

AT4

Denali

MSRP

$29,600

$51,000

$54,700

Key Features

LED Headlamps

2-inch suspension lift

Damping Adaptive Ride Control

 

Six Function Multi-Pro Tailgate

15 camera view

Adaptive Cruise Control

 

Heated Seats

Darkened leather interior

Bose Premium Speakers

 

Trailering System

Chrome finish grille

10-way power-adjustable seats

 

3.0-liter Duramax Turbodiesel

Head-up display

Multicolor head-up display

In addition to the 3.0L Duramax diesel powerplant, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 gets the MultiPro Tailgate on SLE and Elevation trims which makes it more practical. The new GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 also gets 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires and an off-road high-clearance step for improved off-road capabilities.

What about the pricing of the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab?

The GMC Sierra 1500 is offered in only one trim but there are many different configurations and packages to choose from. The standard crew cab with a short bed is priced at $37,260 for the rear-wheel-drive version and an additional $3K will get you the 4WD version of the truck. This is the absolute base price for the crew cab configuration. 

2021 GMC Sierra 1500

Moving ahead, GMC offers an off-roading package which gets you proper off-road suspension, automatic locking rear differential, and whatnot. In total there are 8 packages which make it flexible to spec your own Sierra 1500.

Which trim should you buy?

The trim and package to go for is a personal decision but we will recommend going for the convenience package along with the driver alert package which includes a ton of safety features. For all-weather drivability and off-roading, 4WD is the one to go for but if hauling cargo is the main motive, the RWD version might sound more attractive as it has a higher towing capacity. 

What about the powertrain in the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab?

The GMC Sierra gets three engine options. The range starts from a 2.7L four-cylinder turbo engine. Next comes the 4.3L Ecotech3 V6 engine which we have here. This engine belts out 285 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This engine option limits the optional packages which can be specced for the Sierra.

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 offers a wide range of powertrain options

To extract the best out of the available packages, GMC recommends a step up to the 5.3L Ecotech3 V8. The 5.3-liter EcoTec V8 engine churns out 355 hp which is mated to an 8-speed transmission for the best possible balance of fuel economy and power.

Models

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Regularcab

2020 Ford-150 XL RegularCab

2020 Chevrolet Silverado-1500 LS

MSRP*

$35,795

$38,285

$37,295

Engine

4.3L 6cyl

3.3L 6cyl

4.3L 6cyl

Transmission

6-speed automatic

6-speed Automatic

6-speed Automatic

Drivetrain

RWD

RWD

RWD

Horsepower

285 hp@5300rpm

290 @ 6,500rpm

285 hp@5300rpm

Torque

305 lb-ft@3900rpm

265lb-ft @ 4,000rpm

305 lb-ft@3900rpm

*2020 data for reference

The V6 motor is paired with an old-school 6-speed torque convertor. Even the 4-cylinder engine gets a new 8-speed unit. With that said, the transmission feels up for the task and shifts smoothly for the most part. The engine has a good low-end punch which makes it great for hauling stuff around at the back. 

How fast is the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 from 0-60?

The GMC Sierra 1500 with its base V6 motor is capable of hitting the 60 mph mark from a standstill in 7.1 seconds and with the gas pedal pinned to the floor, it will cross the quarter-mile mark in 15.2 seconds which is quite commendable for a truck this size with a V6 engine. The time can be increased or decreased depending on the configuration of your truck. The top speed is limited to 135 miles per hour.

Models

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Regularcab

2020 Ford-150 XL RegularCab

2020 Chevrolet Silverado-1500 LS

0-60 MPH

7.1

7.3

7.0

Quarter mile

15.2

N/A

15.2

Engine

4.3L V6

3.3L V6

4.3L V6

There is no denying that the Sierra is one heavy truck. So off-the-line performance is something not worth considering. With that said, the truck feels brisk and this behemoth accelerates linearly. 60 mph comes up on the dial in just 7.1 seconds


Also Read:


How much can the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab haul?

The GMC Sierra is a proper beast when it comes to towing. The base V6 engine sits at the bottom of the ladder and still is rated for 10000 pounds for the rear-wheel-drive version. Spec the 4WD version and this figure slides down to 9800 pounds. 

The Ford F-150 is the towing champ here. Its 3.5L V6 is rated at 12500 pounds which is by far the segment-best. Chevy Silverado 1500 is mechanically identical to the GMC and thus a similar performance. 

How many miles to the gallon does the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 return?

The V6 powered GMC Sierra 1500 can manage to return fairly impressive MPG figures of 23 and 30 in the city and on the highway with the rear wheel drivetrain whereas in the four-wheel drivetrain it can give 22 and 26 in the city and on the highway. It is not the best figure for a truck and can be improved in the upcoming models.

Models

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Regularcab

2020 Ford-150 XL RegularCab

2020 Chevrolet Silverado-1500 LS

 

MPG (City)

23

23

19

 

MPG (Highway)

30

33

25

 

MPG (Combined)

26

28

22

 

Fuel Tank Capacity (Gallons)

28.3

28.3

23.0

 

Range (City/Highway/Combined; Miles)

650/849/735

650/933/792

437/575/506

 

* indicates 2020 model year data used for reference purpose

The Chevy Silverado has the best fuel economy that provides you a combined range of 790 miles. The GMC comes second with the 735 combined miles per gallon range and at last, is the Ford with just 500 miles of the combined range.

Is the interior of the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 a nice place to be in?

Inside the GMC Sierra, it’s all about practicality. The dashboard is set high and is wrapped in faux leatherette material on the top. But the overall design looks super busy and outdated. It has a flat and high design, just like any other pickup truck out there but the materials and the quality of fit and finish are not up there with the best of the bunch. The panel gaps are not even anywhere and the screen in the middle of the dashboard feels puny. It’s just a 7-inch unit that is dwarfed out in front of the massive air-con vents and controls.

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 gets a well appointed cabin

As it is with the mechanicals, the dashboard is also shared with the Chevy Silverado. It is thoroughly accommodating in the front and at the back and can be used as a family vehicle thanks to the practical layout which offers plenty of knee and shoulder room for the front and back seat occupants and can even seat 3 passengers abreast in the back seat without a problem.

Model

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Regularcab

2020 Ford-150 XL RegularCab

2020 Chevrolet Silverado-1500 LS

Cargo Volume with rear seats up (ft.3)

89.1

77.4

89.1

Cargo Volume with rear seats down (ft.3)

N/A

N/A

N/A

Rear seats can be folded up revealing nice and usable cubby storage. Talking about the storage, the Sierra gets a massive cargo capacity of 89.1 cu.ft. which is way more than what the Ford F-150 has to offer. 


Also Read:


Are the looks good enough to attract buyers?

The GMC Sierra 1500 looks a tad bit more premium than the Silverado, on which it is heavily based. GMC designers tried to make the Sierra look distinguishable on the road with a massive chrome-laden grille in the front. It is flat and wide and looks imposing. The grille sits in the middle of LED headlights with C-shaped LED DRLs which add to the premium look. 

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 has tonnes of road presence

In 2019 the company has redesigned the Sierra 1500 and it has appeared admirable as a whole. The exterior of the truck represents the boldness and superiority over others. With its distinct lights and sharp lines and manages to distinguish itself from the Silverado 1500 which it's based on. The rear is simple and sleek and comes very handy in terms of loading things on the bed. 

Model

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Regularcab

2020 Ford-150 XL RegularCab

2020 Chevrolet Silverado-1500 LS

Curb weight 

4520 lbs 

4177 lbs

4520 lbs

Length

229.5”

227.9”

229.6”

Width

81.1”

79.9”

81.2”

Height

75.6”

75.1”

75.6”

Ground clearance 

8.2”

8.6”

8.1”

Wheelbase 

139.6”

141”

139.6”

The rest of the profile of the truck is somewhat similar to the Silverado. With that said, the rear end of the 2021 GMC Sierra gets a multi-stage tailgate that is electronically controlled and can be oped using the key fob as well. The floor bed is made out of carbon fiber which is exclusive to the GMC. 

How does the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 fare on the safety front?

The GMC Sierra 1500 scored an average score of 4 stars in the NHTSA crash tests. However, GMC offers a host of advanced active safety features that include:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Emergency brake assist
  • Lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

Is the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 any good?

The GMC Sierra 1500 is underpinned by a capable and well-awarded chassis. Mechanically it is right up there with the best and GMC adds on some of the luxury bits which make this truck even more desirable. It is practical, spacious, and safe for your family and friends and can haul tons of cargo without breaking a sweat. 

Also Read:

Check out our in-depth review of the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 

Is the carbon-fiber floor bed worth it?

GMC Sierra FAQs

Is a GMC Sierra a good truck?

The GMC Sierra is a supremely capable truck. It is highly practical, feels premium when compared with its competitors, and gets a wide variety of powerplants ranging from a humble 4-cylinder to a big and brawny V8.

Why is the GMC Sierra so expensive?

GMC is owned by General Motors and is projected as a premium alternative to Chevrolet trucks and SUVs. The Sierra is heavily based on the Silverado but it features some exclusive and more premium materials and features on the inside and out which drive the cost higher than a similarly specced Silverado.

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