THE 2013 GMC SIERRA 1500 CREW CAB REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: What’s New?
I had planned to write a review of the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab that expounded upon its new features and fresh visage. After all, I figured, the Sierra has been without a CTRL+ALT+DELETE since 2008. In automotive years, that makes it older than my grandpa. Surely the Sierra 1500 pickup has been refreshed by now, I thought.
Two new exterior colors are available, so rest easy, you cosmopolitan artisans of the working world. Engine braking is also standard on the two big V8s in normal driving mode. Hmm…what else?
Looks like this might be a short review.
So here I sit, wondering that if nothing substantial about the GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab has changed in a year, then why am I getting paid to write about it? That is when the realization hit me: The GMC Sierra may not have changed much, but the pickup truck world has. New features and changing demands mean that the Sierra, though it may appear the same, is not the truck it once was. Gone are the award-winning years of 2007 and 2008. Today, with a refreshed F-150 and reinvigorated Ram 1500 en route to dealerships, the Sierra 1500 cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
A Blast from the Past
When the current generation of the GMC Sierra 1500 arrived many moons ago, it was a blockbuster hit. Today, the Sierra has the same powertrains but they warrant different descriptions. The base 4.8-liter V8 is underpowered and inefficient when matched to the bumbling four-speed automatic gearbox. The middle-child, a 5.3-liter V8, remains a laudable powertrain, although it cannot compare to the F-150’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V8. A 6.2-liter V8 behemoth does business with 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque, which is larger than largest of the Ram 1500. The two biggest V8s have superior fuel economy than the class average and are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with a Tow/Haul mode. All three engines are E85-capable.
But Can It Tow?
Properly equipped, a Sierra 1500 Crew Cab can tow up to 10,600 pounds. The Crew Cab with the 4.8-liter V8 and the 3.23 rear axle, one of four available rear axles, has the ignominious distinction of towing the least: 4,700 pounds. Maximum payload for the 5-foot-8-inch bed is 1,937 pounds with a RWD 6.2-liter V8 configuration.
Looks Like a Truck, Drives Like a Truck
Since its 2007 debut, the Sierra has basked in praise for its smooth ride and balanced handling. Some excessively exuberant pundits have gone so far as to pronounce the ride quality “car-like” and “communicative,” which just goes to show that some given an inch will take a mile. With the proper suspension – the Sierra has five of them – the ride is amenable for a three-ton pickup, but it is not car-like. SLE and SLT models are eligible for a Z71 off-road suspension or an NHT enhanced trailering system. Speed is a product of engine choice. Acceleration with the Vortec 6.2-liter V8 is blazing, but the base mill is quite sedate. One notable complaint about is the truck is the turning circle, which is wider than one and one-third tennis courts.
Safety Note: The 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 has yet to be crash tested, but as its structure and features remain the same as last year, its four star rating from the NHTSA should stay put.
It’s Just Bauhaus Design, Folks!
The General proudly bills the Spartan interior of the Sierra as “pure pickup.” Is this a slimy marketing ploy to turn monotony into money, something akin to Dr. Suess’s thneed? It depends. Recreational truck users may be disappointed by the meager interior. Though comfortable and spacious, complete with rear seats that fold into an almost flat load floor, the interior has too much plastic to satiate urbanites. However, the legible instrument panel, solid construction, and cleanable materials are points in the Sierra’s favor for laborers. Base models look dull, but the SLT trim is restyled with metallic and wood accents and a refreshed dashboard. Standard and optional features are similar to rival pickups.
I’ll be back with that “new features” review next year.
4.8-liter V8: 302 horsepower @5,600 rpm/305 lb-ft of torque @4,600 rpm
four-speed automatic transmission
13/18 mpg (RWD)
14/19 mpg (4WD)
5.3-liter V8: 315 horsepower @5,200 rpm/335 lb-ft of torque @4,000 rpm
six-speed automatic transmission
15/21 mpg (RWD/4WD)
6.2-liter V8: 403 horsepower @5,700 rpm/417 lb-ft of torque @4,400 rpm
six-speed automatic transmission
13/18 mpg (RWD)
12/18 mpg (4WD)
-Price: (Base) $30,645
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