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Truck sales is one of the most versatile and competitive parts of the automotive industry. There are a lot of companies trying to prove that their trucks are the best for various reasons. However, it's hard for any company to beat the style and rugged capability of the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500. This truck has been designed with a myriad of options to help drivers find exactly the right truck for everything they need and more.
Available in six different trims, with five different available engines, three different cab types, and three bed lengths, the choices involved in building your perfect 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 may seem daunting. But fear not: GMC has made the decisions clear, with each option designed to do a specific job in its very own manner. Every brand new Sierra is going to be reliable, durable, hard-working, and fun to drive. Choosing the right options to make your dream Sierra 1500 come to life is going to be easier - and more fun - than you might think.
The idea of having to choose between five different engines may cause even the most seasoned driver to take a deep breath and brace for possible choice paralysis, but GMC has assigned the lower trims their own engine to take some of the guesswork out of the process. The base Sierra trim includes a 4.3L V6 engine with direct high-pressure fuel injection and Active Fuel Management for extra fuel economy and efficiency. This engine provides a noteworthy 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque while consuming a reasonable 16 miles per gallon on city streets and 21 miles per gallon on the highway.
The SLE and Elevation trims are equipped with a 2.7L Turbo engine, which steams ahead with its 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. Despite its prowess, this engine sips at fuel, getting 20 miles per gallon city and 23 miles per gallon highway. The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT, AT4, and Denali trims include a standard 5.3L EcoTec V8 engine that takes its work seriously, with 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Depending on the transmission selected, this engine provides 15-17 miles per gallon in the city and 21-23 highway miles per gallon.
There are two very impressive engine options available for those who are looking for a little more. SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali drivers can take advantage of a Duramax 3.0L Turbo-Diesel that grinds out 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. This engine has the most impressive fuel rating, with 23 miles per gallon city and 30 miles per gallon highway.
Optional on the SLT, AT4, and Denali models only, the 6.2L EcoTec 3 V8 engine is a four-wheel drive only special, providing 420 horsepower and 460 lb/ft of torque. Its direct high-pressure fuel injection system is accompanied by GMC’s Dynamic Fuel Management technology. This engine is the best for power but the worst for fuel economy; however, it still gets an excellent 16 miles per gallon in the city and 20 miles per gallon on the highway.
Towing capacity for the trims above the base Sierra varies, as this number is dependent on factors such as engine choice, cab/box configuration, hitch type, and axle ratio. However, each trim and configuration has a towing range that can help drivers make the best decision for a work partner. Double Cab models have the ability to tow between 9,000 and 11,300 pounds. SLE, Elevation, and SLT Crew Cabs can tow between 7,400 and 11,800 pounds. AT4 models can tow between 8,800 and 11,800 pounds, and the Denali can pull 8,500 to 9,500 pounds. Payload maximums for all models range from 1,500 to 2,250 pounds, again depending on several additional factors.
The engineers and designers at GMC knew that drivers need a lot of different things from their trucks. Some need more room for passengers, while others need to be able to navigate safely down muddy off-road paths. At the same time, GMC knows that not all drivers need all the things, and they’ve planned their 2021 Sierra 1500 lineup accordingly.
The available trims include the base Sierra, the SLE, the Elevation, the SLT, the off-road ready AT4, and the luxury top trim, the Denali. The Sierra trim is offered as a regular three-person cab with a long box. This gives it 89.1 cubic feet of cargo room, with a payload maximum of up to 2,250 pounds. When properly equipped, this configuration can tow up to 9,900 pounds, making it a worthy work partner.
The SLE and Elevation trims can come as a five-passenger Crew Cab or a six-passenger Double Cab. The Crew Cab versions offer an option of short or standard box. Short boxes offer 62.9 cubic feet of cargo space, while standard provides 71.7 cubic feet of room for all the necessities. Double Cab models come with the standard box only. SLT, AT4, and Denali drivers are offered Crew Cab models with a choice of a short or standard box, as well.
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 lineup is designed to be practical and comfortable, which means including as many features as is practical and offering plenty of options for total customization. The base Sierra starts things out with standard work truck type features, such as manual window and door locks. Still, GMC throws in some convenience extras, such as a 7-inch infotainment display screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, and LED headlights.
The SLE trim takes a big technology jump with power adjustable driver’s seats, keyless entry, cruise control, and comfort features like plush passenger seating, automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The MultiPro tailgate, which provides six functions to assist in working, measuring, loading, unloading, and more, is an available option starting with the SLE trim, as well. Moving up to the Elevation trim brings bigger 20-inch wheels, LED bed and fog lights, remote start, and an available X31 off-road package that adds all-terrain tires and a dual exhaust to the mix.
The SLT is where the Sierra 1500 starts edging from “utility” to “luxury.” The driver and front passenger seats are heated, with premium leather-trimmed bucket seats available as an option. Drivers can choose to add “ventilated” to the front seat description, and the rear outboard passenger seats can be heated, as well. Drivers can also choose to add under seat and seatback storage to protect valuable equipment, laptops, and other devices, or smaller personal items that don’t need to jostle around the cabin.
The AT4 is specifically designed for off-road duty, and its features reflect its job. Off-road suspension and Rancho shock absorbers are standard, along with hill descent control and skid plates. The AT4 also has a factory-standard 2-inch lift vertical red recovery hooks. For those who want to hit the trail immediately after the paperwork is signed, consider the AT4 CarbonPro Edition, which includes a carbon-fiber composite bed along with the MultiPro tailgate and Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires.
The trim-topping Denali has plenty to offer for those who plan to spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Adaptive Ride Control is offered on the Denali, with sensors that can help smooth out the ride by tracking the road and the vehicle. The standard Automatic Locking Rear Differential also helps with traction control on slick roads, giving drivers more comfort and confidence wherever they may travel. The Denali includes a comprehensive list of safety features, like blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, as well as creature comforts like a leather interior and a premium Bose sound system. The Denali also has a CarbonPro Edition available, which adds the carbon fiber composite bed with MultiPro tailgate, a Kicker audio system, 15-inch head-up display, rear camera mirror, and enormous 22-inch wheels.