Avg. Price Paid:$11,001 - $26,328
Original MSRP: $19,375 - $47,675
MPG: 15 City / 20 Hwy
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2009 GMC Sierra 1500 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 was new.


Despite having very good power and handling and numerous engine and suspension options, the 2009 GMC Sierra falls toward the middle of the class for its performance.

  • "Sufficient power and surprising ride comfort are two hallmarks of the 2009 GMC Sierra 1500." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "GM's new baby matched the Nissan (full-size Titan) in steering precision, transitional grace and engine smoothness. Indeed, both on the road and on the course, the GM trucks garnered unanimous praise." --  Car and Driver
  • "Though not at the top of the class in terms of steering, and hampered by a slightly larger turning circle than most other trucks, the 2009 GMC Sierra is still a very comfortable and easy truck to drive." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

When referring to the Sierra 1500's power, reviewers unanimously agree that the Sierra is a success. All this praise can be accredited to the GMC Sierra 1500's wide variety of engines, all of which were found to provide sufficient power. The base-engine is a Vortec 4.3-liter V6, which makes 195 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque. The next engine level is a Vortec 4.8 liter V8, which generates 295 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque.

 The next powerplant upgrade is the buyer's choice of a selection of three different 5.3- liter V8s, all of which produce 315 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque. two of the three are available as either an iron or aluminum block; the iron block allows for great towing and hauling capacities because it can withstand the greater heat associated with extreme use. For the environmentally conscience driver, GMC offers a FlexFuel version of the 5.3-liter V8, which can run full-time on E85. At the top end of the 1500's engine options is the Vortec 6.2-liter V8 (only available on the Crew Cab or Extended Cab), which makes 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque.

  • "Acceleration is more than adequate at all speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Acceleration is certainly acceptable with either the 4.8- or 5.3-liter V8. The optional 6.0-liter V8 can get the truck to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, while the Sierra Denali is quicker still." -- Edmunds
  • "Acceleration is good, meaning that the GMC Sierra 1500 has no problems entering freeways or changing lanes." --Washington Post
  • "The 4.3-liter V6 and 4.8-liter V8 should be more than adequate in work truck applications." Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Test drivers seem generally pleased with the 2009 GMC Sierra 1500's handling abilities. However, one should not seek a car-like ride from the Sierra. The great majority of reviewers have found that the vehicle handles like a truck; yet, is not as stiff as previous generations. Though this is an improvement, it is in no way comparable to a sedan. Different suspension options are available, and each is tuned for different performance strengths. The Z60 is tuned for best street performance, while the Z71 has a specialized suspension for off-roading. The smoothest ride is offered by the Z83 suspension. The Z85 and NHT suspensions offer enhanced towing capabilities.

  • "Riding on a fully-boxed frame for more chassis stiffness, with coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, the big pickup truck is surprisingly nimble and easy to maneuver" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The new rack and pinion steering enhanced our confidence on the back roads where handling was better than we would expect from such a heavy truck." --MarketWatch
  • "With an unladen cargo bed the Sierra's ride quality is fairly stiff, but the suspension does a good job soaking up large imperfections in the road. Reasonably precise steering response gives the driver much appreciated confidence when driving at highway speeds." -- Cars.com
  • "One of the trucks we drove had its bed loaded with heavy cargo and the brakes were good enough that nothing dramatic happened when we had to make a hard and fast stop." --New Car Test Drive


Review Last Updated: 7/17/09

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