2015 GMC SIERRA DENALI 1500 QUICK TAKES
TestDriveNow.com QUICK TAKES: 2015 GMC SIERRA DENALI 1500 4WD CREW CAB OVERVIEW
After a complete redesign in 2014 that helped it earn a Consumers Guide® Automotive Best Buy award and Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own award, the Sierra 1500 adds an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission to its powertrain roster, enhancing efficiency and refinement while maintaining capability. It’s included on models equipped with the EcoTec3 6.2L V-8 engine
Sierra’s new eight-speed automatic helps the pickup retain its 12,000-pound maximum trailering rating under newly adapted SAE J2807 Recommended Practices. Additionally, the entire lineup is available with a number of features engineered for serious towing, including the available NHT max trailering package, which features a 9.76-inch rear axle, heavy-duty rear springs, revised shock tuning, enhanced cooling and an integrated trailer brake controller to optimize capability and comfort when trailering.
The Sierra also enters 2015 with technologies that enhance connectivity, including Text Messaging Alerts, Siri Eyes Free and new, available OnStar with 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot (standard on SLE, SLT and Denali). It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
Magnetic ride control is a new, exclusive standard feature for the distinctive Sierra Denali. Based on the real-time damping system that’s standard on the all-new, 2015 GMC Yukon Denali, it delivers more precise body motion control by “reading” the road every millisecond and changing damping in just five milliseconds.
Sierra Denali is the only full-size truck to offer magnetic ride control; and along with the available 6.2L V-8 and new eight-speed automatic transmission, solidifies its position as the most refined, technically advanced truck on the market.
The 2015 Sierra 1500 range includes regular cab and two four-door cabs – the double cab and crew cab – body styles, all offered with 4WD. Models and trim levels the standard model, SLE, SLT and Denali (regular cab offered only in standard and SLE trims). The off-road-inspired All Terrain package is offered on double cab and crew cab models with SLE or SLT trim and includes the Z71 Off Road suspension.
Regular cab models are available with a 6’6” box or an 8’ box. Double cab models are offered exclusively with the 6’6” box, while crew cabs are available with a 5’8” box or the 6’6” box.
Along with configurations to suit just about every need, Sierra’s range of technologies is tailored to the way customers use full-size pickups, providing the power, efficiency, refinement and dependability they expect.
The available 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8 is the most powerful engine offered in any light-duty pickup, with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. It is matched with the all-new Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission that supports Sierra’s capability with greater efficiency and refinement
High-strength steel that makes the frames and cabs stronger and lighter, yet can take the pounding of towing, hauling and off-road operation, year after year – and helps Sierra deliver a 5-Star rating in the newest government crash test
Strategic use of aluminum alloys to reduce the weight of engines, front suspension components, hoods and other parts
Driver-focused interiors featuring ample storage, multiple power and USB connections
Standard tie-down system in the rear
The segment’s only standard projector-beam headlamps.
Additional new and enhanced features for 2015 include the available spray-on bedliner now offered on all models (standard on Denali); and a USB port is added to the upper glove box on SLE models equipped with the 40/20/40 front bench seat.
GMC backs Sierra customers with the ProGrade protection program. It includes two years/24,000 miles (whichever comes first) of scheduled maintenance, covering four services of an oil change, tire rotation and 27-point inspection. It complements the three-year/36,000-mile (whichever comes first) bumper-to-bumper limited vehicle warranty and five-year/100,000-mile (whichever comes first) powertrain limited warranty for peace of mind.
Sierra Denali details
The distinctive Sierra Denali delivers GMC capability with unique design cues and exclusive features. On the exterior it wears a signature Denali chrome grille, unique 20-inch wheels, unique interior decorative trim, a polished stainless steel exhaust outlet and body-color front and rear bumpers. Denali-specific interior details include script on the bright door sills and embossed into the front seats and real aluminum trim.
Sierra Denali’s high-tech interior also features an exclusive eight-inch-diagonal Customizable Driver Display – with unique Denali-themed screen graphics at start-up – that can show relevant settings, audio and navigation information in the instrument panel. Sierra Denali’s standard eight-inch Color Touch navigation radio with Intellilink, located above the center console, serves as the main hub for Bluetooth-connected phones and portable devices connected through five standard USB ports.
Other features standard on Sierra Denali include projector-style headlamps with LED signature daytime running lights, a factory-installed spray-on bed liner with a three-dimensional Denali log, a Bose audio system, heated and cooled leather front bucket seats, a heated steering wheel, front and rear park assist and a power sliding rear window with defogger.
And new for 2015 is third-generation magnetic ride control, which delivers more precise body motion control. Its sensors “read” the road every millisecond, triggering damping changes in as little as five milliseconds in electronically controlled shock absorbers that replace conventional mechanical-valve shocks. They’re filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles and under the presence of a magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance. Changes in the magnetic charge alter the damping rate of the shocks, with changes occurring almost instantly.
Off road-inspired All-Terrain
Sierra All-Terrain blends capability with unique style, including a painted grille and less chrome than other Sierra models. It is available on double cab and crew cab models with SLE or SLT trim.
The All-Terrain also includes the Z71 Off Road suspension, with Rancho monotube shocks, hill descent control, front recovery hooks, a transfer case shield and unique wheels and tires, along with an automatic locking rear differential that reacts in milliseconds in low-traction situations to improve safety and confidence on wet, snowy or muddy surfaces.
Sierra All Terrain is available exclusively with an ebony interior and with front bucket seats on SLE models. A carbon fiber-look seat accent is standard on SLT models.
Sierra design and exterior features
Sierra’s exterior design is refined and aerodynamic, helping reduce wind noise in the cabin and enhancing efficiency on the highway. Inlaid doors fit into body sides rather than wrapping over the roof and combine with triple door seals to reduce wind noise and turbulence, helping quiet the cab. Also, the front of the truck is carefully sealed to provide efficient cooling with minimal aerodynamic drag. An aluminum hood with twin power domes also enhances efficiency with lower weight than a steel hood.
The Sierra’s signature bold appearance is distinguished with the segment’s only standard projector-beam headlamps – and available LED signature accent lighting. All models have chrome grille surrounds and premium black wheel arch moldings. Different trim levels feature chrome belt moldings, mirror caps and door handles, as well as unique wheel designs and grille details. Chrome bumpers are included on standard, SLE and SLT trims, and body-color bumpers are included on All Terrain and Sierra Denali.
New, heated, power-adjustable trailering mirrors are offered on SLE and SLT – including All Terrain – and Denali, featuring segment-first LED rear guidance lamps. The large mirrors feature 51 square inches of flat mirror surface positioned over a 24.5-square-inch convex mirror surface (convex area not heated or power-adjustable). The new LED rear guidance lamps are integrated in each mirror to enhance trailer visibility when backing up, as well as an amber auxiliary clearance lamp.
When it comes to ergonomics, Sierra’s wide rear crew cab doors make it easier to get in and out of the truck, while the pickup box’s two-tier loading design, CornerStep rear bumper and ergonomically shaped handholds built into new box rail protectors make it easier to load and retrieve items.
Sierra’s design also includes a smart pickup box that’s strong and durable – and offers greater cargo flexibility. It features a two-tier loading design that allows customers to insert a platform to separate items during hauling or conceal valuables below, such as power tools.
The EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate makes it easier to access the box. An internal torsion bar reduces the effort to raise and lower it, while a rotary damper allows for a controlled and more gradual lowering motion when opening it. The tailgate is also easily removable without tools. It is standard on regular cab SLE models, double cab and crew cab models with SLE or SLT trim, and Sierra Denali.
To ensure loaded items remain in place while the vehicle is in motion, four integrated cargo tie-down provisions are built into the lower corners of the Sierra’s pickup box and adjustable upper tie-down hooks are available. The patented upper hooks – each rated at 250 pounds – can be placed in several locations around the upper bed rails, providing flexibility for securing loads of all shapes and sizes. Moving them is fast, easy and requires only a simple hand tool. Four of the hooks are included with the optional package, with additional hooks available as accessories from GMC dealers.
A box light is standard and mounted above the rear window, while available under-rail LED lights enhance illumination and turn on with the standard overhead box lamp. They are standard on SLE and SLT.
Sierra interior details
The Sierra’s interior is roomy, quiet and functional, with a strong cab structure the foundation for its refinement. Nearly two-thirds of the cab is made of high-strength steel, while shear-style body mounts are used to tune out both up-and-down and side-to-side movement for a quiet, comfortable ride. Double and crew cab models have a set of hydraulic body mounts to further isolate the cabs.
All models feature an upright instrument panel with a six-gauge instrument cluster and multiple storage options tailored to the needs of customers who rely on their truck for more than simply hauling cargo. The controls are logically placed and easy to operate with work gloves on.
The instrument panel has a simple, intuitive six-gauge cluster. Standard models include a 3.5-inch driver information center display in the middle of the instrument cluster, with a 4.2-inch color driver information center display, for vehicle and infotainment data, standard on SLE, SLT and Sierra Denali. Ambient lighting highlights all functional areas, such as the “4×4” and headlamp switches, as well as the radio, for easier viewing at night.
All models have extensive interior storage, tailored to the way customers use their trucks. The center console – available on vehicles with front bucket seats – offers nearly 1 cubic foot (24.5 liters) of combined storage space, with the depth and width to conceal a laptop computer. Additionally, the locking console accommodates hanging files for owners who use their truck as a rolling office, as well as controls for overhead ambient lighting, map pockets along the side, movable cup holders and reconfigurable compartments. It also includes five USB ports, two 12-volt power points, a new 110-volt outlet and a cord management system, allowing owners to leave their phone charger plugged in for quicker access when it’s needed, but remains concealed and without a dangling cord when it’s not. Plus, there’s a location on the console designed specifically for cell phone storage.
The fold-down center armrest on standard models and other models equipped with the 40/20/40-split bench seat offers covered storage and connectivity, with two USB ports and two 12-volt power points.
Front seating configurations include:
Sierra – Standard 40/20/40-split vinyl bench seat with fold-down armrest that includes covered storage and three integrated cup holders. Cloth seating is available
SLE – Standard 40/20/40-split cloth bench seat with fold-down armrest that includes covered storage and three integrated cup holders. Heated, leather-trimmed bench seat available and heated, cloth front bucket seats included with All Terrain
SLT – Standard leather-trimmed 40/20/40-split bench seat with fold-down armrest that includes covered storage and three integrated cup holders, lockable under-seat storage compartment. Heated and cooled perforated leather front bucket seats available; heated, cloth bucket seats included with All Terrain
Denali – Full-feature leather-appointed bucket seats with 12-way driver and passenger power adjustments, including four-way power lumbar control and two-position driver memory.
Three interior trim colors are offered: Jet Black, Jet Black with Dark Ash accents and Cocoa with Dune accents. Sierra Denali is offered in Jet Black or Cocoa/Dune.
IntelliLink and OnStar 4G LTE
The 2015 GMC Sierra’s next-generation IntelliLink infotainment system is better connected and offers passengers more choices for their increasingly plugged-in lifestyles. It provides easy, intuitive operation of basic functions, yet it is also highly customizable and capable of linking up to 10 devices such as smartphones, SD cards and MP3 players, giving customers more ways of staying connected.
Enhanced connectivity and convenience includes a new Text Messaging Alerts feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile (M.A.P.), which reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users to enhance connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity, to help keep phones safely stowed and hands on the wheel.
Additional standard and available features include:
Eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen and multiple USB ports
Available OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot
IntelliLink enhancements with gesture recognition and natural language voice recognition
New OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected, making the Sierra a mobile, connected office on the go. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
4G LTE is the most current and fastest mobile data network – 10 times faster than 3G and 100 times faster than the previous generation of OnStar hardware. And with OnStar, it also offers stronger, broader coverage than smartphones on the same network and it’s easy to use: If the vehicle is on, the connection is on.
At the time of purchase, six months OnStar Directions and Connections includes all of OnStar’s advisor-based safety and security features, including Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance, as well as turn-by-turn navigation.
Five years of OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car (if properly equipped), and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which runs monthly checks of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more, and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends diagnostic report directly to a preferred dealer simplify service scheduling.
The Sierra’s trio of EcoTec3 engines – a 4.3L V-6, 5.3L V-8 and 6.2L V-8 – is designed to balance confident performance with efficiency. Each features direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions:
The 4.3L V-6 is SAE-certified at 285 horsepower (212 kW) and 305 lb.-ft. of torque (413 Nm) – the most torque of any standard V-6.
The 5.3L V-8 is SAE-certified at 355 horsepower (250 kW) and 383 lb.-ft. of torque (519 Nm). With EPA-estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg highway (2WD), it offers the best fuel economy of any V-8 pickup, and beats the fuel economy estimates of the Ford EcoBoost V-6.
The 6.2L V-8 is the most power engine offered in any light-duty pickup truck, with SAE-certified 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 460 lb-ft of torque (623 Nm). It is available with SLT and Denali, and matched with the 8L90 eight-speed transmission.
At the heart of the EcoTec3 engine family is an advanced combustion system that maximizes the potential of the direct fuel injection system, cylinder deactivation, continuously variable valve timing and other technologies. The ability to more precisely control combustion also enables the engines to run with a higher compression ratio – 11.0:1 for the versions with regular fuel recommended. Higher compression is one of the best ways to simultaneously boost power and efficiency.
In the U.S. and Canada, the 4.3L and 5.3L engines are matched with the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, while the 6.2L is matched with the all-new 8L90 eight-speed automatic.
The GM-developed Hydra-Matic 8L90 is roughly the same size and weight as the 6L80 six-speed automatic. Its 7.0 overall gear ratio spread is wider than GM’s six-speed automatic transmissions. That provides a numerically higher first gear ratio, helping drivers start off more confidently with a heavy load or when trailering. The 8L90 also enables numerically lower rear axle ratios, which reduce engine rpm on the highway.
Confident driving experience
The Sierra 1500 was engineered to deliver great capability with great refinement, with a quiet, controlled ride, great steering and braking feel – attributes that provide driving confidence when using the truck’s capability to its fullest.
A fully boxed frame with the main rails and major cross members formed from high-strength steel provides a rigid base for maximum hauling capability, great noise and vibration isolation and excellent crashworthiness. The stiff chassis enables more precise tuning of the front and rear suspensions, for a more responsive feel with smoother performance and less vibration and shake, particularly on harsh terrain.
The 2015 Sierra benefits from a half-inch wider rear track and half-inch wider wheels introduced on the redesigned 2014 models to enhance stability and ride smoothness. The new geometry also contributes to flatter, more confident-feeling cornering whether the truck is empty, loaded or trailering. The wider wheels reduce tire flexing and new-design twin-tube shock absorbers at all corners improve low-speed damping for a smoother, more controlled ride.
All Sierra 1500 models – 2WD and 4WD – feature a coil-over-shock independent front suspension design, with forged aluminum upper control arms and cast-aluminum lower control arms on select models. They are 23 pounds lighter and 10 percent stiffer than comparable steel components.
A Hotchkiss-type axle/rear suspension design delivers the load-sharing strength and flexibility that truck owners have relied on for decades. A lineup of more robust axles is used with two-stage, semi-elliptical multi-leaf springs, complementing the higher-torque powertrains to deliver maximum strength under load.
An 8.6-inch axle with V-6 models offered with a 3.23 ratio in 2WD models and a 3.42 ratio with 4WD
A larger, 9.5-inch axle is used with 5.3L. A 3.08 ratio is standard with the 5.3L and a 3.42 ratio is standard with the 6.2L and optional with the 5.3L
A high-capacity 9.76-inch axle is matched with 6.2L-equipped models and is part of the available Max Trailering Package.
For owners whose work or recreation takes them off road, the Z71 Off Road package that’s part of the All Terrain package mixes aesthetic cues with greater capability, including 46mm monotube Rancho shocks, front tow hooks, a transfer case shield on 4WD models and standard 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. Twenty-inch wheels and all-terrain tires are also available.
Additional standard and available chassis and suspension features:
Hill descent control is engaged by the driver and uses the anti-lock braking system to enable a smooth and controlled descent in rough terrain. It is standard with Z71-equipped All Terrain models and available on other models.
Automatic locking rear differential reacts in milliseconds in low-traction situations to improve safety and confidence on wet, snowy or muddy surfaces. Without driver input of any kind, the rear axle engages when a wheel speed difference of 100 rpm or more is detected between the left and right wheels, providing instant traction for confident driving. During normal driving conditions, the differential functions as a conventional light-bias limited-slip axle. It is standard with the All Terrain and available on other models (included with Max Trailering Package).
Electric variable-assist power steering is standard on all models. It reduces steering effort at low speeds. Because there is no engine-driven pump, electric power steering also saves fuel and eliminates the maintenance associated with hydraulic power steering.
Four-wheel disc brakes. The large, vented front brake rotors measure 13 inches in diameter and are complemented by 13.6-inch rear rotors. An enhanced brake vacuum pump introduced in 2014 improves braking capability through greater brake system boost, while the brake pedal assembly itself is lighter, for a more uniform, linear feel throughout the entire pedal travel range.
Duralife™ brake rotors that offer up to double the service life. A GM-exclusive process protects against rust that, over time, can lead to steering wheel shudder. It involves super-heating the rotors to more than 1,000 degrees F (560 C) for an entire day in a special oven, where the nitrogen-rich atmosphere promotes nitrogen atoms to bond to the rotors’ surfaces, hardening and strengthening them.
StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is standard on all Sierra 1500 models, working in concert with the new four-wheel-disc brake system and four-channel ABS to provide more precise and controlled ABS stops, greater traction and excellent cornering stability. It also incorporates rollover mitigation technology, which anticipates tip-up conditions – such as fishtailing – on a flat road surface and rapidly applies brake pressure to help reduce the likelihood of a rollover.
Trailer sway control is also standard and works with StabiliTrak to provide an added measure of confidence when towing a trailer. It senses conditions of trailer sway and, without input from the driver, intervenes with braking and/or reduced engine power to bring the trailer under control and keep it on its intended path. The system will use electric trailer brakes when a trailer is plugged into the standard wiring harness.
Integrated trailer brake controller and hill start assist are two more solutions that help owners do their work with greater confidence and less hassle. The trailer brake controller allows the driver to adjust the amount of output available to the electric trailer brake and to manually apply the brakes. With hill start assist, the brakes hold for about 1.5 seconds on grades of 5 percent or greater when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake pedal, preventing rollback for a more confident take-off on hilly roads or terrain – especially with a trailer.
The Max Trailering Package is available on 2WD and 4WD V-8 crew cab and double cab models and includes a 9.76-inch rear axle, heavy-duty rear springs, revised shock tuning for increased control, enhanced cooling and an integrated trailer brake controller. Also included is the G80 locking rear differential, a trailer hitch and bumper-mounted four- and seven-pin connectors.
The 2015 Sierra’s safety systems incorporate technologies designed to protect the driver and passengers before, during and after a collision.
The available Driver Alert package, offered on Sierra Denali, regular cab SLE and double cab/crew cab SLT models, helps drivers avoid crashes with lane departure warning, forward collision alert and the segment-exclusive safety alert seat. Front and rear park assist is also included with the package on SLE and SLT (it is standard on Denali).
Forward collision alert tracks the vehicle ahead using a forward-facing camera and a three-step visual and sound alert, while the safety alert seat, uses directional vibrations to warn of crash treat. Lane departure warning technology alerts the driver when the truck drifts over a lane line when traveling at least 35 mph.
In the event of a crash, standard occupant protection features include:
Three-point safety belts in in all rear seating positions
Front outboard safety belt retractor pretensioners that automatically reduce slack in the shoulder belts, helping to keep occupants upright and reduce forward movement
Energy management system retractors that gradually let out the front outboard pretensioned safety belt to manage occupant energy and limit forces to the occupant in a frontal collision
Six standard air bags and 360-degree sensor system, including:
Dual-stage frontal air bags work with the safety belts and deploy in one or two levels to help reduce injury to the driver and outside front passenger in certain frontal collisions. A Passenger Sensing System helps detect the presence of a properly seated front passenger and determine if the frontal air bag should be allowed to inflate
Head-curtain side-impact air bags with rollover protection deploy from the roof rail area for outboard passengers
Seat-mounted side-impact air bags help protect the chest and pelvic regions of the driver and outside front passenger in a side-impact, absorbing as much crash energy as possible
LATCH system helps customers properly install a child seat using a top tether anchor and two lower anchors located between the seat cushion and seatback.
Additionally, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, trailer sway control and hill-start assist are standard. A rear-vision camera is standard on SLE, SLT and Denali.
2015 GMC SIERRA DENALI 1500 4WD CREW CAB MSRP $52,815
TestDriveNow.com QUICK TAKES as shown with 6.2L V8 ECOTEC3 ENGINE and other options Total Price $58,480