Our Truck Report Part 2: Gunning it with General Motors
April 13, 2012 by Robert Koci
Two makes from General Motors, the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra, make up its line of full-size pickup trucks. Both are nearly identical mechanically, with trim levels and options varying slightly between the two, so we’ve focused on just the GMC versions here.
The 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 lineup is wide-ranging, offering everything from job-ready Work Truck models to a luxurious Sierra Denali. The full line has six-speed automatic transmissions. General Motors also boasts the only hybrid pickup on the market, which is rated at 8.4 L/100 km on the highway, yet it still offers a 6,100-lb. trailering capacity.
The Sierra 1500 is available in several trim packages in crew cab and extended cab configurations, along with 2WD and 4WD setups. The range of body styles and configurations includes three cab styles – regular, extended and crew cab; three cargo box lengths – 5 ft. 8 in. (short), 6 ft. 6 in. (standard) and 8 ft. (long); and five trim levels—Work Truck, SL, SLE, XFE and SLT, all available in 2WD and 4WD (except the XFE).
The Sierra XFE incorporates unique aerodynamic enhancements, a 5.3-litreV8 and other details to deliver an estimated fuel consumption rating of 9.1 L/100 km highway.
New and revised features from GMC for 2012 include a chrome, three-bar grille on SLE and SLT models, electronic trailer sway control and hill start assist features, and a new exterior colour—Quicksilver Metallic. Also, a number of popular features offered on the Work Truck trim level are now standard, including cruise control and a spare tire lock.
Work Truck and SLE trim levels feature larger controls and door handles than other models. They are easier to use with gloves. A stadium-style rear seat with a 60/40-split design and folding centre armrest is standard on crew cab models and available on extended cab models. It can be easily folded to provide an uninterrupted load floor. Alternatively, either section of the split seat can be stowed independently, allowing room for both cargo and a rear-seat passenger.
Several different engines can be ordered to power Sierra models, including three FlexFuel engines with the choice using E85 ethanol, gasoline or a combination of both. The engines include a 4.3-litre V6 rated at 195 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque; a 4.8-litre V8, E85-capable, rated at 302 hp and 305 lb.-ft. of torque; a 5.3-litre FlexFuel V8, E85-capable, rated at 315 hp and 335 lb.-ft. of torque; and a 6.2-litre V8 with E85 FlexFuel capability, rated at 403 hp and 417 lb.-ft. of torque.
The pickup also is offered with five suspension systems, each tailored to suit specific driving requirements, from a smooth ride to enhanced off-road capability to maximum towing capacity.
Also available is the Heavy Duty lineup. There are 10 Sierra 2500HD models, eight 3500HD models and six Sierra Denali HD models. Among them are regular cab, extended cab and crew cab body styles offered in 2WD and 4WD, as well as single- and dual-rear-wheel configurations – all available with either a standard gas V8 or a 6.6-litre turbo-diesel. In the HD lineup, hitch-trailering capacity ranges up to 18,000 lb., with towing capability up to 23,000 lb. Maximum payload is up to 7,215 lb.
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