The problem with most full-size pickup truck reviews is, they’re almost always focused on capability. We understand why, of course, because most truck buyers are looking for max towing capability and aggressive off-roading prowess. What journalists may not realize is, today’s full-size truck shoppers are also looking for something else: luxury. That’s why we love the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500.
Luxury isn’t usually synonymous with a brawny full-size pickup truck, but what if we told you the pickup body style is highly sought-after by families and luxury buyers alike? As the industry comes off yet another record year of SUV and crossover sales, we’re sensing a little boredom setting in. Could it be that buyers are getting a little tired of SUVs? We think so.
If SUV fatigue is plaguing you, consider a roomy four-door pickup. Not only can you dial in the creature comforts inside the cabin, you get all the utility associated with a pickup, including towing and hauling capability. We’re not talking about stripped-down utility trucks with vinyl seats and hand-crank windows: these are ultra-luxurious vehicles that rival any luxury import.
We’re tipping our hand here, because this review is focused on the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500’s less obvious, but no less desirable, attributes. Specifically, the long list of ultra luxury features and family-friendly amenities are what caught our eye. If you look at pickup trucks through the lens of luxury family-friendly vehicles, you’ll see them in a whole new light. Here are our five favorite features of the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500.
#4 The Denali Trim
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali can be summed up in one word: wow. Fully-loaded, this trim will set you back nearly $75,000, but we can’t think of much that it’s missing. Comfortable in an upscale family room kind of way, the 1500 Denali Crew Cab body style best showcases the Deanli trim.
All that roomy seating is presented in plush jet black perforated leather and surrounded by textured dark walnut and ash wood grain accents. GMC artfully stitches the Denali emblem on the front headrests, which seems like overkill, but we have to admit it has the desired effect of distinguishing this trim from the rest of the pack. 10-way power front heated and ventilated seats are standard – and expected given the price tag.
On the exterior, the 1500 Denali includes standard LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights. The headlights are sculpted in a unique c-shape at the perimeter of the Denali’s curvilinear front grille and do a good job serving the intended purpose of distinguishing it from other trucks. The use of chrome accents is also abundant.
Opt for the Denali CarbonPro Edition and you get a class-exclusive carbon-fiber composite truck bed. The bed is 25 percent lighter than a traditional steel bed, removing around 60 pounds of weight. It’s also tougher, providing more scratch, dent, and corrosion resistance, and it even adds approximately one cubic foot of additional space. The CarbonPro Edition also adds the must-have MultiPro Tailgate, which leads us to our next favorite feature.
#3 The MultiPro Tailgate
This six-function tailgate is more of a tool than a tailgate. Designed to make use of what was historically just an access feature, the MultiPro tailgate elevates functionality to a whole never level. At the heart of its design is a tailgate-within-a-tailgate feature; an inner tailgate that can lift and lower independently of the larger full-width tailgate. Lowering the inner tailgate gets you closer to the bed (7-9 inches, according to GMC), so reaching for cargo requires fewer acrobatics. Embedded in the inner tailgate is a load stop which, when raised, can act as an anchor for longer cargo.
The inner tailgate also functions as a workspace for on-the-job prep or game day tailgating. Add the available 120-volt outlet and power that drill, laptop, or blender for even more utility. The tailgate can also be fully opened in its entirety to reveal a 48-inch wide step that can handle 375 pounds. The step is a why-didn’t-we-think-of-that solution to the ages-old problem of convenient bed access.
If you’re adding the MultiPro Tailgate to your GMC Sierra 1500’s list of features, go ahead and spring for the optional Kicker MultiPro Sound System. You’ll achieve instant King of the Tailgate status, because your bed converts into a mobile concert hall. It’s a 100-watt outdoor (read: durable) audio system with an amplifier and a USB port for charging. The Kicker system is especially attractive because the truck doesn’t have to be running in order for it to work.
Tech abounds in fully-equipped GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, starting with the HD Surround Vision camera system that gives drivers 15 different views of the truck and the environment around it. This is especially handy to take the risk and guesswork out of trailering, but it also helps with maneuverability and safe travel at low speeds. “Surround” is not just a marketing buzzword: you can view the bed, the trailer hook-up, catch a bird’s-eye view from above, and more.
Choose the 15-inch digital Head-Up Display and monitor key vehicle systems via a projected multicolor image displayed low on the windshield. Head-Up Displays are more than just a clever tech feature: they help drivers keep their eyes on the road without losing track of navigation, incoming calls, speed, and other key information. Some of the best tech features available on the GMC Sierra 1500 incorporate convenience and safety and the rear camera mirror is a perfect example. The rear camera mirror converts the rearview mirror into a full-size back-up camera, leaving no room for potential hazards to drift into your space and overall keeping everyone safer.
Trailer towing is rife with potential hazards, so most of the major truck manufacturers have developed smart trailering systems to mitigate for typical issues. GMC is no exception. The ProGrade Trailering System combines with GMC’s In-Vehicle Trailering App, to simplify hook-up and hauling via a whole host of advanced technologies. The system includes a trailer tire pressure/temperature monitor, maintenance reminders, tracking for trailer mileage and fuel economy, as well as a trailer lighting tester and storage for up to five different trailer profiles. The pre-departure checklist helps drivers track safety and settings for a virtually stress-free trailering experience.
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 pulls ahead of the competition in one key area: roominess. Front seat passengers are treated to a better-than-first-class cabin level of spaciousness, at 43.03 inches of head room and 44.53 inches of legroom. Rear seat passengers stay very comfortable too, thanks to a generous 40.12 inches of rear head room and 43.4 inches of legroom. All that space is thanks to GMC’s very well-thought-out use of its 156.98 wheelbase. Choose the standard bed (instead of the smaller short bed) and cargo volume goes from 62.9 cubic feet to 71.70 cubic feet, plenty of space for hauling cargo without giving up passenger seating and comfort. In fact, GMC Sierra 1500 trucks offer more cargo bed volume than the competition.
Thee Sierra Is More Than Just a Truck
With all these benefits, it’s hard to miss the GMC Sierra 1500’s potential for luxury family car status. It’s a different way to look at the pickup truck, which has long been stereotyped as a work rig only. We think the Sierra 1500 – particularly the Denali trim – is at home everywhere, from the job site to the valet line at the trendiest Michelin-rated eatery.