2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Feb 27, 2013
  • New colors: Sonoma Red Metallic and Heritage Blue Metallic
  • Available hard-drive-based navigation radio
  • Trailer sway control and hill-start assist now standard
  • Now available in hybrid
  • Grade-braking capability now standard in normal driving mode, with the available 6-speed automatic transmission and gasoline engine, as well as in Tow/Haul Mode


The Sierra is GMC's basic light-duty, full-size work truck. With the exception of some luxury and styling features that set it apart, it is equivalent to the Chevrolet Silverado. The Sierra and the Silverado have the same base price, but the Sierra price is slightly higher with all options included. The GMC Sierra competes with the Ford F-150, the Ram 1500, and the Toyota Tundra, among others. GMC has been producing work trucks since 1930, employing the Sierra name as a trim level until adopting it as the standard GMC truck badge in 1987. The Sierra 1500 is available with several conventional engines and in a hybrid version.

Exterior Features

In anticipation of an extensive redesign for 2014, the Sierra 1500 is little changed for the 2013 model year. The 1500 is available with a regular, Extended, or Crew Cab. Payload and towing capacities, depending on engine type and additional towing equipment, can go as high as 1,940 lbs. and 14,000 lbs., respectively. An Off-Road Package is also available. The Sierra 1500 is available in five trim levels: Work Truck (WT), SLE, SL, SLT, and XFE. The base trim features a black front bumper and grille, 17-inch steel wheels, tailgate protection, black door handles and chrome rear step bumper. The SLE adds a heavy-duty Handling/Trailering Suspension Package, upgraded chrome grille, body-colored side moldings, upgraded mirrors, and more. The SLT adds a heavy-duty automatic locking rear differential, a heavy-duty cooling package, and much more. The Sierra 1500 is available with rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

Interior Features

The WT trim offers vinyl seats, AM/FM radio, daytime running lamps, manual air conditioner, and cruise control. The SLE trim upgrades to cloth seating and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, adjustable seating, power windows and locks, a stereo with CD player, speakers, driver-side seat adjuster, and more power features. The SLT trim adds an auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, fog lamps, remote vehicle starter system, rear-window defogger, power, and heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators. Interior amenities on the SLT include automatic dual-zone climate control and power and heated leather-appointed front bucket seats.

Optional Features

Many option packages are available at the various trim levels. The WT offers the Preferred and Work Truck Plus packages, which add power features, chrome, fog lamps, and other features. A wide selection of tonneau covers, hard and soft, is also available. Additional options are offered at various trim levels. The SLT offers the Max Trailering Package, the All-Terrain Package, two dealer-installed chrome packages, an integrated trailer brake controller, and much more.

Under the Hood

The Sierra 1500 offers a variety of powertrains, starting with a 4.3-liter, 195 horsepower V-6 engine. The standard is a 302 horsepower 4.8 liter V-8 that produces 305 lb.-ft. of torque. The available Vorte 5.3-liter V-8 engine provides 315 horsepower and 335 lb.-ft. of torque. The premium V-8 engine is a 6.2 liter, 403 horsepower model. All of the V-8 engines can operate on E85.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 are:

  • Vortec 4.3L V-6 MFI engine with 2WD: 15/20 (city/highway)
  • Vortec 4.3L V-6 MFI engine with 4WD: 14/18
  • Vortec 4.8L V-8 MFI engine with 2WD: 14/19
  • Vortec 4.8L V-8 MFI engine with 4WD: 13/18
  • Vortec 5.3L V-8 MFI engine with 2WD or 4WD: 15/21
  • 5.3L V-8 engine in XFE trim: 15/22
  • Vortec 6.2L V-8 MFI engine with 2WD or 4WD: 12/18
  • Silverado Hybrid: 20/23


Standard safety features include driver- and passenger-side air bags, Stabilitrak, tire pressure monitoring, and daytime running lamps. A rear-vision camera is also available.

Safety ratings for the GMC Sierra 1500 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have not been published yet, but the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 with rear-wheel drive received an overall rating of 4 (out of 5) stars: 4 stars for front-impact crash protection, 5 for side-impact crash protection, and 4 for rollover crash protection. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2013 Sierra 1500 received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for frontal-offset protection; an "Acceptable" rating for side-impact crash protection; and a "Marginal" rating for roof crash protection.


A Tow/Haul Mode modifies the automatic transmission shift schedule for heavy-duty pulling and hauling. Auto-grade braking helps control the vehicle on steep downgrades and saves wear on the braking system, and an integrated trailer brake controller is available. OnStar with vehicle diagnostics is standard for a 6-month trial period. OnStar automatically runs hundreds of diagnostic and maintenance checks and sends results via email. A mobile app permits remote start and temperature adjustment, locking and unlocking, and much more through your mobile phone.

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