2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate

Ford, Ram, GMC, Chevrolet. These are the big dogs among full-size pickups. Although the 2023 GMC Sierra isn’t the class leader when it comes to performance, towing and hauling, it does everything you want a pick-up to do. It’s available with several engines, cab styles and bed sizes so you can get the truck that meets your needs, and has a roomy and modern cabin and lots of standard and available features and tech.

Base Price: $80,500
As Tested: $82,855
Horsepower: 420
Mileage: 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway/17 mpg combined

The Sierra was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year, refreshed for 2022, and gets some tweaks for 2023 including a new package on the AT4X trim that ups off-road capabilities.

The 2023 Sierra comes in eight trims: Pro, SLE, Elevation, SLT, Denali, AT4, AT4X and Denali Ultimate. Starting prices range from $38,195 to $82,295.

The Sierra is available as a single cab, double cab or four-door crew cab. The regular cab has room for three. The double cab and crew cab can fit five or six, depending on whether you get bucket seats or bench seating in the front row. Three available bed sizes are 5.8, 6.6 and 8.2 feet. Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is available on the lower trims and standard on the upper trims.

There are four different engines and two different transmissions. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.7-liter that produces 310 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed transmission. Two V8s are available. The 5.3-liter makes 355 horses and 383 pound-feet. The 6.2-liter cranks out 420 hp and 460 pound-feet. And then there’s a new six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that makes 305 horsepower and 495 pound-feet. The V8s and diesel are paired with a 10-speed automatic.

The Sierra is easy to drive for a full-size pickup. My tester has the larger V8. Acceleration is brisk from a stop, and there’s plenty of power for merging and passing. The 10-speed shifts smoothly and accurately. Steering and braking are responsive. There’s some body roll when cornering and the ride can get bumpy over rough roads. Visibility can be challenging due to the large hood and thick side pillars. The available surround-view camera helps. Overall, the Sierra handles well which is important since many use their pickups as daily drivers.

Fuel economy is decent for a half-ton pickup. EPA ratings for my tester are 15 mpg city and 19 mpg highway with a combined rating of 17. I got 17 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The diesel engine gets the best mileage with the rear-wheel-drive model rated at 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway/26 combined.

When properly equipped, the Sierra can tow as much as 13,200 pounds and carry a payload of up to 2240 pounds, depending on the trim and engine.

The MultiPro tailgate is handy with its six configurations including a standing workstation and step entry/exit mode to make it easy to get up in the bed. Optional bed features include an in-bed audio system, 120-volt household-style plug, and LED lighting.

The interior can range from basic to posh, although it’s not as ritzy as the Ram. Seats are comfortable and supportive even on long drives. Materials on my top-of-the-line Denali Ultimate trim are top notch including leather upholstery and wood trim. The cavernous crew cab provides plenty of room for taller adults, even in the second row. Controls are logically laid out and include lots of physical buttons and knobs.

Standard features include remote keyless entry, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system (two speakers in regular cab models), Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and USB port.

Available features include proximity keyless entry, remote start, surround view camera system, head-up display, rear camera mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, console-mounted safe, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, massaging front seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, infotainment system with 13.4-inch touchscreen, seven-speaker Bose audio system, 12-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, Google Maps integration, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless device charging, additional USB ports, Wi-Fi hot spot, power sunroof, interior 120-volt household-style power outlet, and a universal garage door opener.

Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear-seat reminder, and Teen Driver which lets you set limits on speed and audio volume for your young drivers.

Available driver assistance technologies include lane change alert, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, Super Cruise partially autonomous driving system, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and safety alert seat.

The infotainment system is user-friendly and looks great. My tester has the 13.4-inch high-res touchscreen. The system responds quickly to touch and voice commands. The voice recognition system works particularly well and you can use it for common commands such as adjusting climate settings or changing the radio station.

The good:

Four different engine choices

Available with several different cab and bed sizes

Decent fuel economy for the class

Roomy and comfortable cabin

User-friendly infotainment system

Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The not-so-good:

Ride can be bumpy on rougher roads

Not as luxurious as the Ram

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $80,500. Pacific Blue Metallic paint is $495. Carbo fiber composite bed is $115. There’s a $50 discount for not being equipped with a steering column lock. Destination charge is $1,795 bringing the grand total to $82,855.

Bottom line:

Although it’s not the class leader when it comes to towing and hauling and luxurious features, the 2023 Sierra 1500 is a well-rounded entry among full-size, half-ton pickups. And there are many ways to configure it with several cab and bed sizes and four different engine choices so you can get the truck you want.