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2010 GMC Sierra 1500 ReviewThe Good
The 2010 GMC Sierra 1500 delivers a smooth ride, a comfortable cabin, and upscale options without forgetting to be powerful and rugged.The Bad
The 2010 Sierra 1500's turning radius can be tiresome, its base interior is dangerously close to dull, and it offers only adequate storage in the cabin.
The CarGurus View
If you need a burly, utilitarian truck, you can’t go wrong with the 2010 GMC Sierra 1500. The Sierra 1500 continues to be a potent, versatile, well-equipped, and handsome full-size truck with an excellent array of trim variations.
At a Glance
Whether you need a truck to lug work gear, haul your boat, cart a family, or navigate off-road, the 2010 GMC Sierra 1500 has the right trim for you. Available with seven engines, five suspensions, three cabs, three cargo beds, two four-wheel-drive systems, a host of interior combinations and packages, and a grand total of 34 different trims, the brawny Sierra 1500 can be molded to fit your needs.
Last redesigned in 2007, the Sierra 1500 sees only a few changes for 2010. Its 5.3-liter V8 engine has been modified to get slightly better gas mileage and is now available with a six-speed automatic transmission. A 6.2-liter V8 is also available with the six-speed, another change. Two of the Sierra 1500 engines (one of the 5.3-liter V8 choices and the 6.2-liter V8) are now flex fuel capable, meaning they can run on gasoline or E85 ethanol. StabiliTrak is now standard on all models, as are side curtain airbags and seat-mounted airbags, as GMC has made the Sierra 1500 a safer truck. And the audio system has been updated with a USB port.
The Work Truck trim level is available with all three cab options (Regular, Extended and Crew) and a standard or long bed (78.7 or 97.6 inches in length), and comes standard with a 4.3-liter V6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission. A 4.8-liter V8 and either of the 5.3-liter V8s (with or without FlexFuel capabilities) and the six-speed automatic transmission are available upgrades. The SL trim level is available with either the Extended or Crew cab and comes standard with a regular bed and the 4.8-liter V8 with the four-speed automatic transmission. The SL has options for either of the 5.3-liter V8s or the 6.0-liter V8.
The SLE trim level is available with all three cab choices and comes standard with the 69.3-inch short bed. Regular-cab SLE models come with the 4.8-liter V8 with an option for the non-FlexFuel 5.3-liter V8; SLE Extended Cab models come standard with the non-FlexFuel 5.3-liter V8 with options for the FlexFuel version and the 6.0-liter V8; SLE Crew Cab models add an option for the 6.2-liter V8. All SLE trims get upgraded to the six-speed automatic transmission with an option for the four-speed automatic.
The SLT trim level is available with either the Extended or Crew cab and comes standard with the regular bed, with a 97.8-inch long-bed option for Extended cabs. SLT Extended Cab models come standard with the non-FlexFuel 5.3-liter V8, with options for the FlexFuel version and the 6.0-liter V8. The SLT Crew Cab trims add an option for the 6.2-liter V8. The SLT comes only with the six-speed automatic transmission.
The Denali trim is available only with the Crew cab and short bed, and comes standard with the 6.2-liter V8 and a heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and tow/haul modes. The Sierra 1500 Hybrid is also available only with the Crew cab and short bed. It comes with a 6.0-liter V8 with a two-mode hybrid electric propulsion system and a hybrid-specific automatic electronic transmission.
Critics and consumers both like the quality and variety of engines available in the Sierra 1500. The base engine is a 4.3-liter Vortec V6 that produces 195 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It gets 15 city/20 highway mpg with rear-wheel drive and 14/18 with 4WD. One step up is the 4.8-liter Vortec V8, which generates 295 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque and gets 14/19 mpg with RWD and 14/18 mpg with 4WD.
After that, there are three 5.3-liter V8 options. They all produce 315 horsepower and 338 lb-ft of torque, and they all get 14/20 mpg with RWD and 14/19 mpg with 4WD, but one has an iron block (available in two-wheel-drive trims and best for extreme use), one an aluminum block (available in four-wheel-drive trims), and one is FlexFuel capable (with an iron block for RWD trims).
There are two beefier V8 options – a 6.0-liter Vortec (367 horsepower, 375 lb-ft of torque, 14/19 mpg with RWD and 13/18 with 4WD) and a FlexFuel 6.2-liter Vortec (403 horsepower, 417 lb-ft of torque, 12/19 mpg with 4WD, the only option). Finally there is the hybrid engine, a 6.0-liter Vortec V8 (332 horsepower, 367 lb-ft of torque) with a two-mode hybrid electric propulsion system that gets 21 city/22 highway mpg with either RWD or 4WD. Towing capacities range from 10,500 pounds with some 6.0 and 6.2-liter engines and cab/bed/drive configurations to 4,300 pounds with some V6 arrangements.
A four-speed automatic, electronically controlled transmission with overdrive and tow/haul mode comes standard in the Work Truck, SL, and SLE trims. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for the SLT and available for the SLE. The Hybrid comes with a variable two-mode strong hybrid, automatic electronic transmission.
Ride & Handling
Considering its substantial turning radius and weight, the Sierra 1500 doesn’t truly drive like a sedan, but it does deliver a smooth and pleasing ride with its fully boxed frame and coil-over-shock front suspension. There are also suspension packages for any need – the hauling Z85 and NHT, the off-roading Z71, the plush Z83, and the performance Z60.
The Sierra's rack-and-pinion steering has been recently modified, and critics unanimously applaud the results. Acceleration with the V6 engine is average, but a jump up to any of the V8s produces noticeable power (the 6.2-liter is a monster). Testers much prefer the six-speed transmission over the older four-speed. The brakes are reliable even with a fully loaded bed.
The bottom line is the Sierra 1500’s power, solid yet smooth ride, and variety of suspension packages deliver classic truck brawn with modern polish.
Cabin & Comfort
Whether you choose the Pure Pickup interior base of the Work Truck, SL, or SLE trims or the Luxury-Inspired interior foundation of the SLT or Denali, regardless of cab type, the Sierra 1500 offers a spacious, comfortable, and smartly designed cabin.
The Pure Pickup interior features larger buttons, controls, and door handles and hardier materials. The Luxury-Inspired interior has the feel of an upscale SUV (it is based on the GMC Yukon's interior) and features chrome details, wood-grain trim, and real leather.
The front bench seat is 40/20/40-split, with the middle 20 folding down into an armrest with two cupholders and a storage department. Front bucket seats are also available. Both seating options are roomy and comfortable.
The Work Truck trim level features include air conditioning, four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with XM radio, OnStar, driver information center, chrome bumpers, rubberized-vinyl floor covering, vinyl seat trim, and light-tinted windows. The SL trim builds off the Work Truck trim's features with upgrades: cruise control, power accessories (including heated power mirrors), remote entry, cloth carpeting and seat trim, body-side moldings, and deep-tinted glass.
The SLE trim builds off the SL trim with upgrades for the suspension and trailering packages, an electronic Autotrac transfer case for the four-wheel-drive editions, tow hooks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with theft-deterrent locking feature, premium cloth seat trim, spare-tire lock, lockable storage compartment in front seat cushion, and a remote start prep package.
The SLT trim level advances the SLE's features with dual-zone automatic air conditioning, Bluetooth, a Bose premium speaker system, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, rear audio system controls, front bucket seats with 10-way power adjustments, leather seat trim, electric rear-window defogger, foglamps, heavy-duty locking rear differential, and remote start.
Denalis upgrade from the SLT with an in-dash 6-CD changer, Bose premium sound system with subwoofer, cruise control, outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and driver’s side auto-dimming, OnStar upgrade to Directions & Connections plan, and 12-way power-adjustable front bucket seats. The Hybrid trim has a mix of features, including a hybrid-specific two-mode electrically variable transmission, driver information with hybrid system status, hybrid-specific dual-zone air conditioning, Bluetooth, 18-inch chrome wheels, heavy-duty suspension and trailering packages, OnStar Safe & Sound, and two 12-volt power outlets.
The Sierra 1500 scores high in government crash tests, earning a five-star safety rating for frontal collisions. Both the RWD and 4WD models earned four-star rollover ratings.
All Sierra 1500 models come standard with GM’s StabiliTrak, which automatically diagnoses steering and brake input and speed to enhance driver control in difficult conditions. Dual-stage driver airbags, front passenger airbags, antilock brakes, and daytime running lights are also standard on all models.
What Owners Think
Not surprisingly, owners love their Sierras. There is no shortage of praise for the power and usefulness of the drivetrain and the sturdy construction and materials. Owners also like the multiple suspension choices and four-wheel-drive options.
Many Sierra drivers also really appreciate the extremely pleasant ride this truck delivers, whether on open highway, suburban streets, or dirt roads. This easy ride plus great sightlines and the truck’s girth leave owners feeling very secure in their Sierras.
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