Large pickup truck; Built in Mexico, Canada, USA
  • crew cab
  • ext. cab
  • ext. cab
  • ext. cab
  • reg. cab long bed
  • reg. cab short bed
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $8,200 – $40,000*


2008 GMC Sierra 1500


2008 GMC Sierra 1500


2008 GMC Sierra 1500


2008 GMC Sierra 1500


2008 GMC Sierra 1500


2008 GMC Sierra 1500


2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Front


2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Rear

Pros:
  • Transmission operation
  • Quietness (for a truck)
  • Seat comfort
  • Brake performance
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Steering/handling

GMC’s redesigned-for-2007 Sierra and the similar Chevrolet Silverado are among the best large pickup trucks for refinement and available features. Any truck buyer, new or used, would be well-advised to give these Recommended (2007-2012) picks a long, hard look.

Overview

Redesigned for 2007 like the similar Chevrolet Silverado, GMC’s Sierra full-size pickup truck got fresh styling, more power, and new features. Temporarily, at least, the new model sold alongside the Sierra Classic, which was a carryover of the previous (1999-2006) design. Chevrolet offered a similar Classic model in 2007.

Unchanged in wheelbase, the redesigned Sierras measured 3 inches longer overall and 1.5 inches wider. Regular, extended-cab, and crew cab body styles returned. Extended-cabs had rear-hinged back doors that do not open independently of the fronts, but they opened wider than before. Extended and crew cabs included a three-person rear bench seat, and were available with either front bucket seats or a bench.

Regular-cab models could be equipped with either a 6.5- or 8.1-foot cargo bed. Crew cabs had a 5.8-foot bed. Extended-cabs came in all three bed lengths. Two distinct interiors were offered, called “Pure Pickup” and “Luxury Inspired.”

Available engines, depending on cab and bed configurations, were a 195-hp V6, or V8s rated at 295, 315, and 367 hp. All V8s gained power for 2007. Some engines were capable of running on E85 (an ethanol/gasoline blend) and features GM’s Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard; manual shift no longer was offered. Rear-wheel drive was standard. Two four-wheel-drive systems were available: a basic setup that should not be left engaged on dry pavement, and GM’s Autotrac that could handle dry surfaces. Both 4WD systems included low-range gearing.

Sierras were offered in Work Truck, SLE, and SLT trim levels that corresponded to similar versions of Chevrolet’s Silverado. Unique to GMC was the top-line Sierra Denali crew cab, which came with rear-drive or all-wheel drive and a 403-hp V8, six-speed automatic transmission, distinct trim, and additional standard features.

Four suspensions were available: Z83 and Z85 for ride comfort, Z60 street-performance for maximum handling capabilities, and Z71 for off-roading. Standard on all models were ABS and, for 2007, GM’s OnStar assistance. Curtain side airbags, traction control, and an antiskid system with rollover sensors were newly available on selected models. Other new options included a power-sliding rear window, remote engine start, navigation system, power-adjustable pedals, rear-obstacle detection, and power rear-side windows for extended cabs. GMC competed against the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra as well as Chevrolet’s Silverado.

Yearly Updates

2008 Sierra 1500
A new off-road-oriented All Terrain model was added, and XM satellite radio was newly standard.
2009 Sierra 1500
The 2009 Sierra 1500 lineup gained a gas/electric hybrid model and newly available 6-speed automatic transmission and wireless cell-phone link.
2010 Sierra 1500
The 2010 GMC Sierra was slated to receive a new turbodiesel V8 engine, but its introduction was indefinitely delayed due to GM’s precarious financial position. The horsepower of the 4.8-liter V8 increased from 295 to 302. Otherwise, the 2010 GMC Sierra 1500 lineup saw few changes.
2011 Sierra 1500
The 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 was largely unchanged.
2012 Sierra 1500
There were no changes of note to the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500.
2013 Sierra 1500
Nothing of significance was new for 2013. The Sierra was redesigned for 2014.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Regular Sierras came with a choice of four engines, each driving a four-speed automatic transmission; starting in 2009, a six-speed was offered with some V8s. The 4.3-liter V6 made 195 horsepower, versus the V8s with 295-302 for the 4.8-liter, 315 for the 5.3-liter, and 367 for the 6.0-liter. Some versions of the 5.3-liter V8 were E85-capable. Rear-wheel drive was standard, but two 4WD systems were available. GMC’s Denali held a 6.2-liter V8 that produced 403 horsepower, working with a six-speed automatic. New for 2009 was a Hybrid with a 332-hp 6.0-liter V8 assisted by an electric motor.

ohv V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 195
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

15/20

ohv V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.8/293
Engine HP 295-302
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 305
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

14/19

ohv V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.3/325
Engine HP 315
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 338
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
6-speed automatic
15/20
15/21
ohv V8/electric
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.0/364
Engine HP 332
Engine Torque (lb-ft) NA
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

21/22

20.1

ohv V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.0/364
Engine HP 367
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 375
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
6-speed automatic
13/18
14/19
ohv V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.2/376
Engine HP 403
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 415
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

12/19

15.1

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models with 2WD. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Acceleration is more than adequate at all speeds with the 5.3 V8, and robust with the Denali’s 6.2-liter V8. The smooth-shifting transmission kicks down quickly for more passing power. Tow/Haul mode adjusts shift points for best performance with heavy loads. Denali’s manual-shift control, mounted on the shifter stalk, works with an easy flick of the thumb. The Hybrid accelerates about on par with the 5.3-liter V8.

Test 4WD Sierras have averaged 14.1 mpg. Denalis averaged 14.6 to 15.9 mpg. A Hybrid averaged an impressive 20.1 mpg. GMC recommends regular-grade fuel for all engines except the Denali’s 403-hp V8, which should use premium. Some 5.3-liter engines can run on E85 (an ethanol/gasoline blend).

GMC’s standard Z85 suspension provides a comfortable, compliant ride, with less reverberation over bumps than in most pickups. The stiffer Z60 suspension makes the ride more jittery over smaller bumps, partly due to its 20-inch tires (versus standard 17s). The available Z71 suspension is suited for off-road duty. That one exhibits some choppiness over pavement cracks and washboard surfaces, though it’s not overly harsh in everyday driving. A Denali with 20-inch tires is sufficiently composed, though standard 18-inch rubber is likely to offer more stability.

Steering is nicely weighted, if a bit numb. Expect noticeable body lean in fast turns and quick changes of direction with the Z85 suspension, but handling is on par with most other full-size pickups. The Z60 and Z71 suspensions improve handling only slightly. Responsive brakes have fine pedal feel.

Road and engine sounds are lower than in most pickups. In fact, the 5.3-liter V8 is a model of refinement. Wind noise intrudes only above 60 mph.

Gauges are easy to see and read, but the rotary wiper switch is inconveniently mounted on the turn-signal stalk. GMC’s “Pure Pickup” interior places radio and climate controls high on the dashboard, just out of easy reach. Materials are better than expected of a work-oriented truck. The available Luxury interior mimics what’s in the big Yukon SUVs, with controls mounted lower but within easy reach, plus materials that are a cut above the pickup norm-even though most surfaces are hard plastic. GMC’s optional navigation system absorbs some audio controls, but does not complicate their use. Denalis expand on the Luxury interior, with upgraded trim and an overall upscale feel.

Front-seat space is ample for adults. Bucket and bench seats lack side support in fast turns, but are firm and comfortable. Visibility is generally good, though the extended cab’s thick rear pillars hinder views to back corners. Short drivers may appreciate optional power-adjustable pedals, if installed.

Rear-seat occupants can experience generous headroom. Legroom is ample in crew cabs. Extended-cab seatbacks are set at a comfortable angle, but legroom can get tight with front seats moved far back. With front bucket seats, the center console restricts foot space for the center rear-seat passenger. Extended-cab rear doors have been available with power windows, which are a welcome convenience. They open wider than before-nearly flush with the cargo bed, for easier entry and exit. But if fully open, a seated passenger cannot close the door.

On both extended and crew cabs, the rear seat cushion flips back against the seatback, leaving a large cargo area with a nearly flat floor. The Pure Pickup interior features upper and lower gloveboxes; the Luxury interior has only a lower one. Front bucket seats came with a roomy console bin, while the bench seat has been available with a flip-down center armrest that doubles as a large storage bin. Otherwise, few interior storage cubbies are provided.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Sierra 1500 4WD crew-cab w/5.3 V8, Z85 susp.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 9
90%
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
80%
Cargo Room - 6
60%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 61

Specifications

crew cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
143.5 230.2 80.0 73.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
2039 26.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.2 40.5 41.3 38.7
ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
133.9 220.6 79.9 73.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1829 26.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.2 39.2 41.3 34.3
ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
143.5 230.2 79.9 73.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
2160 26.0 41.2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 41.3 34.3 34.3
ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
157.5 249.2 79.9 73.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1687 34.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.2 39.2 41.3 34.3
reg. cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
133.0 224.6 79.9 73.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1812 34.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.4 NA 41.3 NA
reg. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
119.0 205.7 79.9 73.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1952 26.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.4 NA 41.3 NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 reg. cab short bed

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The A/C may not work or the modes won’t change on the manual temperature controls of extended cab and crew cab vehicles due to a wiring problem. (2007-08)
Oil leak
Description: An oil leak at the oil pressure sensor may cause the low oil light to come on and oil level to become low. (2006-07)
Audio system
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2007-08)
Rear axle noise
Description: Possible pinion bearing failure in the rear axle. (2011)
Steering noise
Description: A clunk in the steering column that is both felt and heard on rough roads or off-road can be eliminated with an improved upper-intermediate shaft. (1999-07)
Steering problems
Description: During extremely low temperatures, the power steering could leak fluid or make noises. (2013)
Steering problems
Description: Power steering fluid leaking from the gear/rack assembly. (2007-11)
Windows
Description: Power windows may be misaligned and move slowly or not at all. (2007-13)
Battery
Description: The battery may go dead while the car is parked due to the fuel pump running with the key off due to a faulty relay. (2007)
Cupholders
Description: The console cup holders allow drinks to fall out when cornering unless the original mats were replaced with liners having ears that retain the drink. (2007)
Electrical problem
Description: Numerous electrical problems (door locks, power windows, speakers, courtesy lights etc.) may quit working because a wiring harness gets damaged by the seat belt on crew cab model. (2007)
Electrical problem
Description: Optional engine-block heater could short circuit and start a fire. (2007-13)
None
Description: The DVD monitors in the front seat headrests may quit working because the video feed cable comes loose requiring installation of cable clamps. (2003-08)
Transmission problems
Description: Transfer case may not shift. (2007-11)
Fueling problems
Description: The fuel line may rub against the floor pan causing a buzzing or rattling sound. (2008-10)

Recall History

2007 Sierra 1500
Description: On certain Federal-Mogul replacement wheel hub assemblies, inboard retention nut could loosen, resulting in ABS indication, noise, and/or wheel separation.
2007-09 Sierra equipped with a heated wiper washer fluid system
Description: A short circuit on the printed circuit board for the washer fluid heater may overheat the control-circuit ground wire. This may cause other electrical features to malfunction, create an odor, or cause smoke, increasing the risk of a fire. Dealers will install a wire harness with an in-line fuse free of charge.
2011 Sierra LD
Description: The rear axle cross pins were not properly heat treated and could fracture and become displaced within the rear axle. Should the pin shift out of position, it could create an interference condition and cause the rear axle to lock. The driver may not be able to maintain directional control of the vehicle and a crash could occur without warning. Dealers will install a new rear axle cross pin free of charge.
2011 Sierra LD
Description: The intermediate steering shaft attaching bolts may not have been tightened to the proper specification. This could allow the joints to separate, and the driver could experience loss of steering increasing the risk of a crash. GM dealers will inspect and ensure that the intermediate steering shaft bolts are tightened to the proper specification. The safety recall is expected to begin on or about July 13, 2011.
2011-12 Sierra
Description: Ignition switch may stick in Start position or may suddenly snap back to Accessory position possibly causing a loss of engine, steering, and brake power.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.