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2023 GMC Sierra 1500: Choosing the Right Trim


Having benefited from a major midcycle makeover for 2022, the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 returns with a few minor tweaks and enhancements.

Sharing DNA with the Chevy Silverado 1500, the GMC Sierra is a bit more upscale than its bow-tie cousin, making it a little more expensive. The Sierra 1500 competes in the full-size light-duty pickup market with the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan.

As a full-size pickup, Sierra offers a staggering combination of trims, engines, transmissions, cab configurations, and drive wheels. The good news, however, is that you can likely find a Sierra combination ideal for your needs and budget.

GMC separates the Sierra 1500 into eight grades: Pro, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, AT4X, Denali, and Denali Ultimate.

Four engines power the Sierra lineup. They are a turbocharged 4-cylinder, a 5.3-liter V8, a 6.2-liter V8, and a 3.0-liter inline-6 turbodiesel. An 8-speed automatic transmission distributes torque to the wheels for the 4-cylinder. You can mate the 5.3-liter V8 with a 6-, 8-, or 10-speed transmission. The turbodiesel and 6.2-liter V8 come exclusively with the 10-speed automatic.

Most grades come standard with rear-wheel drive (RWD). Standard on the Denali trims and the AT4 and AT4X models is 4-wheel drive (4WD), which is optional on all other trims.

We like the Sierra for its range of powertrain choices, rugged styling, high-end Denali trims, and dedicated off-road versions.

Here’s the breakdown by trim level.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Pro
(starting at $36,400)

Anchoring the Sierra grade lineup, the Pro is the only trim offering all three cab configurations (Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab). Depending on the cab style, it also offers short, standard, and long cargo box lengths. The listed price is for a Sierra 1500 Pro Regular Cab with a standard box.

For power, GMC provides the 310-horsepower 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with auto start/stop. It also generates 430 lb-ft of torque. According to the EPA, it delivers 20 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Four-wheel drive drops that combined number to 18 mpg.

GMC’s idea of a work truck, the Pro, is more about function than amenities. Fairly spartan, the interior features a 40/20/40 bench seat with center armrest storage, vinyl flooring, and a urethane steering wheel. The steering wheel, by the way, offers only a tilt adjustment. Picking the Pro grade deprives you of the 12.3-inch configurable color driver-info display and digital gauge cluster found in all other trims. Instead, you get a 6-gauge cluster with a 3.5-inch monochromatic driver-info display.

Also standard are 17-inch steel wheels, a corner-step rear bumper, a capless fuel filler, auto on/off LED headlights, high-beam assist, and LED taillights. Add to that standard air conditioning and remote keyless entry, plus a push-button start, power door locks, and power windows.

At the center of the infotainment system is a 7-inch touchscreen. Regular Cab models provide a 2-speaker audio system. The speaker count goes to six in Double Cab and Crew Cab models. Two USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, also are standard.

Even the Pro grade comes standard with GMC’s Pro Safety Package. It includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Also included are lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning. Teen Driver, which allows parents to set restrictions for young drivers, also is standard.

Options and Pricing

Full-size trucks always have a list of available options as long as your arm. The Sierra is no exception. GMC offers options including a spray-on bedliner, satellite-radio capability, OnStar capability, and Wi-Fi hot spot capability. The 6-function MultiPro Tailgate is another popular option.

A Convenience Package brings the EZ Lift power lock-and-release tailgate, tinted glass, rear-window defogger, and cruise control. On Double Cab and Crew Cab models, it also includes heated power outboard mirrors.

The Safety Plus Package adds rear-park assist, lane-change alert, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic braking.

Adding the $1,795 destination fee to the Pro’s base price brings the total to $38,195. With no money down, financing for 60 months at 3% interest works out to about $686 per month. See 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Pro models for sale

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Pro includes:

Remote keyless entry – You can unlock and lock the vehicle remotely when in range using the fob.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – These allow your smartphone to interface with your vehicle. Not only can you access the music on your phone, but you can also send messages, receive messages, make calls, and so forth through your vehicle’s media system.

Auto on-off LED headlights – Photosensors detect a reduction in daylight, which automatically engages the headlights and taillights. The system shuts off the lights when an appropriate amount of daylight returns.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE
(starting at $47,700)

The SLE’s standard propulsion is the turbo 4-cylinder you find in the Pro. You may instead opt for the 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 that also makes 383 lb-ft of torque. You may mate that V8 to a 6-, 8-, or 10-speed automatic transmission. With the 6-speed, the combined mileage is 16 mpg. Picking the 8- or 10-speed transmissions raises that number by 2 mpg. Choosing 4WD has no impact on mileage with the 6- and 10-speed transmissions. With the 8-speed transmission, the combined number is 17 mpg.

You may also equip the SLE with the 277-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel, producing up to 460 lb-ft of torque. With RWD, the EPA combined fuel economy rating is 26 mpg. With 4WD, it drops to a still good 23 mpg.

The SLE builds on the Pro trim level with cruise control, the 12.3-inch configurable color driver-info display and digital gauge cluster, and a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. Heated front seats and an upgraded heated steering wheel (with tilt and telescope) also make the grade. Heated outboard mirrors and the MultiPro Tailgate with EZ Lift are also standard.

Wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, satellite-radio capability, a rear-window electric defogger, and remote start are all standard. Also included are proximity keyless entry, carpeted flooring, OnStar, and Wi-Fi hot spot capability. Two 120-volt power outlets (one inside and one outside), two more USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 13.4-inch touchscreen also are standard.

Again, GMC offers a wide array of options and packages. Among the stand-alone options are a spray-on bedliner, trailer blind-spot monitoring, and a high-capacity suspension.

The Preferred Package adds a HomeLink transceiver, rear power sliding window, a trailer brake controller, Hitch Guidance with Hitch View, and adaptive cruise control.

Increasing the safety features, the Safety Plus Package gains you rear cross-traffic braking, rear pedestrian alert, trailer camera provisions, trailer blind-spot monitoring, and a surround-view camera.

Adding the destination fee to the SLE’s base price equals $49,495. Financing for 60 months at 3% interest with no money down works out to a monthly payment of about $889. See 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE models for sale

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE includes:

Proximity keyless entry – If the key fob is on your person, the doors automatically unlock when you approach.

Digital gauge cluster – This 12.3-inch configurable color display includes gauge readings and driver information.

MultiPro Tailgate – Providing loads of flexibility, this tailgate opens to a variety of positions, increasing the cargo box’s functionality.

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation
(starting at $49,300)

An appearance package for the SLE, the Elevation provides a gloss-black grille, 20-inch black wheels, and monochromatic exterior accents.

It also features LED fog lights and a high-capacity suspension.

Adding the destination fee to the Elevation’s base price totals $51,095. At 3% interest, financing for 60 months with no money down works out to approximately $918 monthly. See 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation models for sale

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT
(starting at $53,200)

The SLT is where GMC significantly improves the driver and passenger experience. Available only with Crew Cab, the SLT has the 5.3-liter V8 as standard equipment. However, you may pick the 3.0-liter turbodiesel. The SLT is also the first trim where the 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 is an option, but it requires 4WD. Its estimated EPA combined mileage is 17 mpg.

The SLT adds to the SLE feature set an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and driver memory for the seat and outboard mirrors. Also included are LED fog lights, heated power outboard mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming, and rain-sensing wipers.

Many of the SLE options and packages are available for the SLT. However, SLT adds a 7-speaker Bose audio system to the list. The SLT Convenience Package gains bucket seats, a center console, ventilated front seats, and a power-adjustable steering wheel.

To add adaptive cruise control, a power sliding rear window, a HomeLink transceiver, and heated second-row seats, grab the Preferred Package.

Adding the $1,795 destination fee to the SLT’s base price equals $54,995. With no money down, financing for 60 months at 3% interest works out to about $988 per month. See 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT models for sale

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT includes:

Auto-dimming rearview mirror – Using photosensors, it recognizes bright headlights closing from behind, automatically dimming their reflection.

Heated outboard mirrors – Electrically heated, these mirrors automatically clear away ice, snow, and fog. The driver’s side mirror is also auto-dimming.

Rain-sensing wipers – When the system senses moisture on the windshield, it automatically engages the wipers. The wiper speed adjusts according to the volume of the rain.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
(starting at $64,400)

One of the Sierra’s two dedicated off-road trims, the AT4 comes only with the Crew Cab and 4WD. The listed price is with the short cargo box.

Once you go beyond the SLT, the succeeding Sierra trim levels split into the off-road AT4 and AT4X or the more luxurious Denali and Denali Ultimate trims.

Providing the standard propulsion in the AT4 is the 3.0-liter turbodiesel. You also can opt for the 6.2-liter V8.

Reinforcing the AT4’s off-road creds are the AutoTrac 2-speed transfer case, an automatic locking rear differential, skid plates, off-road tires, a heavy-duty battery, an engine block heater, a dual exhaust system, recovery hooks, and a heavy-duty air filter. Hill-descent control, an off-road suspension, a 2-inch lift kit, and monotube shocks are also standard.

The AT4 isn’t only about extra capability. It adds bucket seats, a center console, the 7-speaker Bose audio system, a spray-on bedliner, heated/ventilated front seats, and heated second-row seats. The features include a power-adjustable steering wheel, wireless phone charging, and Hitch Guidance with Hitch View.

Rear cross-traffic braking, rear pedestrian alert, a surround-view camera, trailer blind-spot monitoring, and a haptic Safety Alert driver’s seat are standard. Front-rear park assist makes the cut, as well.

The AT4 Preferred Package gains you a HomeLink transceiver, a power-sliding rear window, and adaptive cruise control. Adding the AT4 Premium Package includes the features in the Preferred Package plus high-clearance side steps.

To gain the rearview digital camera mirror and a 15-inch head-up display, opt for the Technology Package.

Adding the destination fee to the AT4’s base price brings the total to $66,195. Financing for 60 months at 3% interest with no money down works out to roughly $1,189 per month. See 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 models for sale

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 includes:

Hitch Guidance with Hitch View – When in reverse, a center guiding line on the rearview camera image helps you line up the hitch mount with the trailer’s ball mount. Another camera provides a close-up view of the hitch mount and trailer ball mount.

Hill-descent control – This is essentially cruise control for low-speed downhill driving.

Surround-view camera – It provides a 360-degree bird’s-eye view around the vehicle. This perspective is particularly valuable when parking.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X
(starting at $77,500)

As the Sierra’s ultimate off-roader, the AT4X comes standard with the 6.2-liter V8 and 4WD. Building on the AT4 content, it beefs up its résumé with 18-inch black wheels, a 170-amp alternator, and an external engine oil cooler. A trailer tire-pressure monitor, e-locking front and rear differentials, and Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers expand the standard content list.

GMC sweetens the AT4X deal with the AT4’s Preferred Package and the AT4’s Technology Package. Also included are 16-way power-adjustable front seats with massage, leather seating, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A 12-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system, a bed-view camera, and a power sunroof are also included. Also standard is the MultiPro Tailgate Kicker audio system.

The Cargo Convenience Package adds a console-mounted safe and rear under-seat storage.

Adding the destination fee to the AT4X’s base price totals $79,295. With no money down, financing for 60 months at 3% interest works out to a monthly payment of approximately $1,425. See 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X models for sale

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X includes:

Multimatic DSSV dampers – Providing improved control on rugged terrain, these dampers permit greater wheel articulation.

Head-up display – A projector on the dashboard at the base of the windshield displays essential driver information on the windshield just below the driver’s line of sight. At 15 inches, it’s a large display.

Adaptive cruise control – Once you have engaged the system and set the speed, it will maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front, braking and accelerating as needed.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
(starting at $63,800)

Building on the SLT grade, the Denali ups the Sierra’s luxury game. Its standard engine is the 5.3-liter V8. However, you can substitute either the 3.0-liter turbodiesel or the 6.2-liter V8. It comes with the Crew Cab and 4WD.

Because the Denali, like the AT grades, is an offshoot of the SLT trim, it duplicates some of the AT standard features. For example, a surround-view camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, bucket seats, wireless phone charging, and dual exhaust are standard. Also shared with the AT trims are rear pedestrian alert, rear cross-traffic braking, trailer blind-spot monitoring, and a spray-on bedliner.

Denali reverts to the 7-speaker Bose audio system and regular cruise control. It loses the head-up display.

However, Denali gains unique features like a Denali adaptive suspension and perforated leather seats. Also standard are 20-inch alloy wheels and 10-way power-adjustable front seats.

If you want more, the Technology Package includes the digital rearview camera mirror, the 15-inch head-up display, a bed-view camera, and adaptive cruise control.

The Denali Reserve Package includes the Technology Package and adds the power sunroof, power-deployed side steps, and 22-inch polished aluminum wheels.

Adding the $1,795 destination fee to the Denali’s base price equals $68,895. Financing for 60 months at 3% interest with no money down works out to about $1,238 per month. See 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali models for sale

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate
(starting at $80,500)

When nothing but the best will do, it’s the Denali Ultimate. As the name implies, it gathers all the Sierra features and options into one ultimate Crew Cab model with a short box.

You can take your Denali Ultimate with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel, as priced here, or the 6.2-liter V8.

Although the Denali Ultimate builds on the Denali, it packs almost every feature found in the AT4X, including all the goodies listed for the Denali Reserve Package. Notable exceptions are the e-locking front and rear differentials, the 2-inch lift kit, the Multimatic DSSV dampers, and skid plates.

Although the Super Cruise semi-autonomous driver-assistance system is earmarked for the Denali Ultimate, the current microchip shortage has postponed availability until later in the model year.

Adding the destination fee to the Denali Ultimate’s base price totals $82,295. With no money down, financing for 60 months at 3% interest works out to approximately $1,479 per month. See 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate models for sale

FAQ

What is the best 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 trim level?

Pound for pound, the best value is the Sierra 1500 SLE. It’s a solid tradeoff of cost versus content. If you need off-road capability, get the AT4X. Likewise, if money is no object and luxury is high on your priority list, the Denali Ultimate fills the bill.

Which 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 trim level gets the best mpg?

The 2023 GMC Sierra with the best mileage is with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6. The SLE, Elevation, SLT, and Denali with RWD and the turbodiesel deliver 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway/26 mpg combined. With 4WD, the combined number is 24 mpg.

The Sierra 1500 Pro, SLE, and Elevation with the 2.7-liter turbo 4-cylinder and RWD deliver 19 mpg/22 mpg/20 mpg. Adding 4WD scrubs 2 mpg from each number.

Although the fuel-economy numbers vary a bit based on the transmission, the 5.3-liter V8 with the 8-speed automatic transmission and RWD gets 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway/18 mpg combined. There’s a 1 mpg loss across the board with 4WD. Also notable: The 6.2-liter V8 with 4WD posts the same estimated mileage as the 4WD 5.3-liter V8.

Which 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 trim provides the most safety?

Every 2023 Sierra 1500 provides a bundle of safety and driver-aid technologies with GMC’s Pro Safety Package. It includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Also included are lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning. Teen Driver, which allows parents to set restrictions for young drivers, is also standard.

As you move up through the trim level, more standard and optional features appear. These include front/rear park assist, rear cross-traffic braking, rear pedestrian detection, and so forth. In the six crash tests administered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Sierra received the top score of Good in five of them.

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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