GMC Sierra 1500

Learn more about the GMC Sierra 1500 truck

The Good

The 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 offers classic styling, a broad range of engine, cab size, cargo bay and suspension configurations, and an ergonomic, classy interior. It also features some of the highest towing capacities in its class and handles better than many of its competitors.

The Bad

Body construction is somewhat suspect. The standard four-speed automatic transmission feels dated and a little sluggish.

The Bottom Line

Comparable to the Chevy Silverado, the GMC Sierra 1500 is an excellent option if you are looking for a strong and dutiful truck that offers a little more luxury than most other vehicles in its class.


The price of a GMC Sierra 1500 truck depends on numerous factors, including which engine, transmission, suspension and cab size you want. The base model is the 4x2 Regular Cab Work Truck, and the highest-priced model is the 4x4 Denali Crew Cab.

MSRP: $22,995 to $48,610

Average paid: $22,357 to $47,298


Acceleration and power

Like the Chevy Silverado, the base engine in the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 is a 4.3 L V6 that offers a maximum of 195 horsepower. You can upgrade to several different V8 engines, including 4.8, 5.3, 6.0 and 6.2 L sizes; the 6.2 L V8 kicks in with 402 horsepower, which dramatically improves the truck’s acceleration and power performance. It is also possible to upgrade to two specialized V8 engines, including a high-performing Duramax 6.6 L turbo diesel V8 that brings 379 horsepower and an incredible 765 lb/ft of torque that generates a towing capacity of 18,000 pounds.

Handling and braking

GMC Sierra 1500 reviews have offered favorable comments about the vehicle’s handling, which is widely considered to be better than that seen in Ford and Dodge full-size pickup trucks. You also enjoy your choice of several suspensions, the finest of which is available in the Denali trim packages. If you get a high-end suspension, you’ll find that this truck rides more like a luxury SUV than a heavy-duty pickup. All-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are standard on all models.



In regular cab configurations, there is standard seating for three passengers; extended cabs and crew cabs boost the total seating capacity to five people by adding a pair of fold-away forward-facing rear seats. All models feature a 40/20/40 manually reclining split front bench seat with driver and passenger head restraints and a retractable center armrest with a built-in storage bin. Vinyl seat trim is standard with all models; on the whole, the interior of the vehicle is well-appointed and refined, bordering on luxurious.


Given the sheer number of trim packages, standard features vary widely from vehicle to vehicle. The standard interior features common to all models include a driver information center, air conditioning, cruise control, analog instrumentation, two 12-volt auxiliary power outlets, coat hooks and a rubberized vinyl floor cover. An AM/FM scan-and-seek stereo is the default entertainment package.

Cargo space

The GMC Sierra 1500 is available with various cargo bay sizes, but the dimensions of the standard cargo area are as follows:

  • Length at floor: 78.7 inches
  • Width at top: 61.5 inches
  • Width at floor: 62.4 inches
  • Width at wheel housings: 50.6 inches
  • Height: 21.0 inches

This creates a total of 60.7 cubic feet of cargo volume capacity.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 five stars for its overall side impact safety. A four-star rating was awarded for overall crash resistance, rollover resistance and frontal barrier crash safety. Standard safety features common to all models include a tire pressure monitoring system, stability control, traction control, hill ignition assistance and trailer sway control. Frontal, head curtain side impact and seat-mounted side impact airbags are standard on all models. You can also order ultrasonic rear parking assistance with a rear-view camera, if you want the added assurance.

The basic warranty covers you for three years or 36,000 miles. Gas engine drivetrain warranties are good for five years or 100,000 miles.


Compared to the 2011 GMC Sierra 1500, the 2012 models are altered only in the standard features and equipment offered with the various trim packages. The given specifications are for the base model; variations in performance specs with optional equipment are discussed in the appropriate sections below.

  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic with overdrive (6-speed transmission available)
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive (all-wheel drive available)
  • Engine Type: Gasoline V6
  • Engine Size: 4.3 L
  • Horsepower: 195 @ 4600 rpm
  • Torque: 260 lb/ft @ 2800 rpm
  • MPG, City: 15 MPG
  • MPG, Highway: 20 MPG
  • Payload: 1,940 pounds
  • Towing Capacity: 9,100 pounds
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