Any full-size pickup worth its half-tonnage is a master of versatility. With a sizable array of possible trims, body styles, bed lengths, powertrains and features, the 2012 Sierra 1500 puts versatility to work.
Need a frill-free work truck? The 2012 Sierra 1500 has you covered. A fully-loaded luxury people mover? It has you there, too. Truth is, the 1500 is easily configured to meet your needs, no matter how varied they happen to be. From the basic Work Truck (which now includes standard cruise control), through the feature-heavy SLT and Denali, to an advanced fuel-sipping Hybrid, the Sierra covers a lot of ground. Five suspension configurations and five engines – three of which are E85 FlexFuel capable – are offered. No matter how varied the 1500’s model range gets, however, the basic tenets of the pickup remain the same: Smart, aggressive styling, powerful engines and a comfortable, functional interior.
This year’s Sierra blends dramatic, imposing lines with functional exterior features. In Regular, Extended and Crew Cabs – along with short, long and standard boxes – the pickup’s entry-level trim comes standard with everything from 17-inch wheels and closed-box side rails to halogen headlamps and multi-stage rear leafsprings that can take a payload pounding. Progress up the model range (SL, SLE XFE and SLT trims) and you’ll find 18-inch wheels, chrome accents, power-adjustable heated mirrors and a power sunroof while the luxurious Denali adds available 22-inch chrome wheels, the EZ-Lift locking tailgate, foglamps and more. The XFE trim maximizes fuel efficiency (22 mpg highway) by adding a soft tonneau cover, lowered suspension and lightweight aluminum components.
Power comes from a series of available engines, ranging from a 4.3-liter V6 to a 6.2-liter V8, with an electric/gas hybrid thrown in for good measure. Most models feature either the 4.8-liter VVT V8, which delivers 302 hp and 305 lb/ft of torque through a standard four-speed automatic, or one of two 5.3-liter VVT V8s (one iron-block, one aluminum-block) with 315 hp and 335 lb/ft of torque through a six-speed automatic. All deliver exceptional power, and the 5.3-liter engines add efficient FlexFuel capability and Active Fuel Management, a fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology that allows the Sierra to cruise on four-cylinders under light load conditions. Denali trims top the range with the FlexFuel-capable 6.2-liter V8, which makes 403 hp and 417 lb/ft of torque. The Sierra Hybrid utilizes a two-mode hybrid propulsion system consisting of a 6.0-liter Vortec V8, electric motors and a 300-volt battery pack to deliver 332 hp, 367 lb/ft of torque and up to 23 highway mpg.
All models come standard with GMC’s StabiliTrak® Electronic Stability Control System, which now includes standard Electronic Trailer Sway Control and Hill-Start Assist. The fully boxed frame ensures a smooth, precise and surprisingly quiet ride. Four-wheel drive is available, and brings with it a GM-exclusive Eaton automatic locking rear differential. When properly equipped, the 2012 Sierra can tow up to 10,700 pounds (a feat made even easier thanks to the available integrated trailer brake controller).
For such a rugged truck, the spacious cabin is impressively refined and modern, and filled with thoughtful, practical details like larger controls and switches that can be easily manipulated with gloved hands. Extended and Crew Cabs add a comfortable rear folding bench seat (along with available front bucket seats in the Crew Cab). Highlights of the upscale Sierra Denali include standard heated and cooled Nuance leather-appointed front seats, along with a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, newly-standard rearview camera system, Denali-specific 20-inch chrome wheels, power-adjustable pedals, a specially-tuned Z60 suspension, tow hooks and skid plates. Extended Cab Sierra 1500 models have a new, 170-degree rear door, which opens farther and wider than conventional rear doors, allowing for easy cargo storage or personal access.
Across the range – either standard or available depending on model/trim – you’ll find modern interior amenities like a premium Bose® speaker system, a range of CD/DVD/MP3 audio systems, remote start, Bluetooth® hands-free communication, a touchscreen navigation system with USB port, a rearview camera and much more. SiriusXM Satellite Radio (standard in all but Work Truck models), along with real time XM NavTraffic™ are also available, as is Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist. Standard OnStar® integrates everything from roadside assistance and emergency response to remote door unlock, hands-free calling and vehicle diagnostics. Every Sierra gets what GM calls 360 degrees of protection, which includes a specially reinforced frame along with front, side and side-curtain airbags, along with a five-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty.
Easily configurable and impressively resourceful, the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 brings a full serving of versatility to the full-size pickup segment. And despite everything it offers, its most meaningful feature is the one thing it doesn’t have: A big price tag. The newest Sierra features a starting MSRP of just $21,235.