2012 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Crew Cab SLE
2012 GMC Sierra 1500 4×4 Crew Cab SLE. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid 4×4

Manufacturer’s web site
General Motors Canada

Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

Photo Gallery:
2012 GMC Sierra

In Canada, the number one selling vehicle is a full size pickup truck: the Ford F-150, which, to the end of April, 2012, had sales of 31,669. It was followed on the top twenty list by the Ram pickup with sales of 21,737. Next on the list would be a compact car, the Honda Civic, at 20,288 units, unless you count the sales of the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups as one. While the more popular GMC outsold the Chevrolet 13,218 to 11,050, combined the GM corporate twins beat Dodge and are the second most popular vehicle in Canada with 24,268 sales in the first four months of the year.

Except for exterior bodywork and interior trim, the Sierra and Silverado are essentially the same.

Keeping the GM pickups at or near the top of customer popularity is important to the bottom line for General Motors (and Ford and Ram). Selling pickup trucks is intensely competitive, but it is also immensely profitable. If sales drop, so do the fortunes of the company.

And so far in 2011, GM’s full size pickup sales are declining, while its competitors are moving ahead. Ram sales are up 19.7 percent so far this year, while sales of the Ford F-Series have moved ahead 6.7 percent. Sales of the GMC Sierra are down 0.2 percent, while Silverado sales have declined 5.0 percent.

The explanation may simply be that the GM twins are overdue for a major update, the current generation having been launched for the 2007 model year. Both Ford and Dodge (at the time) gave their pickups a major overhaul in 2009 and Ram (now liberated from its Dodge nameplate) will introduce a new full-size pickup for the 2013 model year. Knowing that there is a new truck coming soon, loyal buyers will try to wait it out, while others will go elsewhere.

On the positive side, with a new truck waiting in the wings, current models are often discounted. Currently, GM is offering $6,000 to $7,500 in cash credits to help move its current inventory out the door. (Careful though, check the competition; a review of online pricing for this article showed Ford offering a $12,422 discount, while Ram offered $9,750 on some models.) Offers and amounts could vary by region.

New for 2012

2012 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Crew Cab SLE
2012 GMC Sierra 1500 4×4 Crew Cab SLE. Click image to enlarge

To keep the current Sierra competitive, the truck received some additional standard and optional equipment for the 2012 model year, including electronic trailer sway control and hill start assist as part of the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control program. Also standard on all Sierras is cruise control, something base model work truck owners will appreciate. At the other end of the buying spectrum, heated and cooled seats, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel and a rear-view camera system are now standard on the top of the line Sierra Denali. Heated and cooled seats are also available on SLT models. SLE and SLT models receive a new chrome three-bar grille.

The Sierra Lineup

The GMC Sierra 1500 (and Chevrolet Silverado 1500) is available as the WT (Work Truck), SLE, SLT and as a Hybrid, and is offered in regular, extended and crew cab models, with short box (1,760 mm/69.3 in.), standard box (2,003 mm/78.9 in.) and long box (2,483 mm/97.7 in.), and in two- or four-wheel drive. The top-of-the-line Denali is Crew Cab only with 6.2L V8 and full-time all-wheel drive.

Cab size and box length depends on wheelbase and there are four to work with: Regular Cab models ride on a 3,023 mm (119 in.) wheelbase with standard box, 3,378 mm (133 in.) with long box; Extended Cab models with a standard box have a 3,645 mm (143.5 in.) wheelbase, 4,000 mm (157.5 in.) with a long box.

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