The 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 lineup is broad, diverse and efficient, offering everything from the job-ready Work Truck models to the luxurious Sierra Denali. Powerful Vortec powertrains, backed by fuel-saving, six-speed automatic transmissions, help Sierra models deliver among the industry’s best fuel economy and performance – including up to 22 mpg on the highway for the Sierra XFE and up to 23 mpg on the highway with the segment-exclusive Sierra Hybrid.
Sierra 1500 is available in several trim packages, including Work Truck, SL (crew cab and extended cab), SLE and SLT, along with 2WD and 4WD configurations. The range of body styles and configurations includes:
- Three cab styles – regular, extended and crew cab.
- Three cargo box lengths – 5 foot 8 inches (short), 6 foot 6 inches (standard) and 8 foot (long).
- Five trim levels: Work Truck, SL, SLE, XFE and SLT, all available in 2WD and 4WD (except XFE).
The Sierra XFE incorporates unique aerodynamic enhancements, a 5.3L/six-speed automatic powertrain and other details to deliver its EPA-rated 22 mpg on the highway, while the Sierra Denali fuses performance and unmatched luxury, with specific exterior cues, a well-appointed interior and a powerful 6.2L V-8 engine.
The Sierra Hybrid model delivers a 33-percent improvement in overall fuel economy when compared with non-hybrid models and a 6,100-pound (2,767 kg) trailering capacity. Please see the separate Sierra Hybrid release for complete details and specifications.
New and revised features for 2012 include a chrome, three-bar grille on SLE and SLT models, a hard-drive navigation radio with CD/DVD and USB port, electronic trailer sway control and hill start assist features incorporated with StabiliTrak and a new exterior color: Quicksilver Metallic. There are also a number of equipment and content revisions, including:
- Cruise control is now standard on Work Truck models.
- Spare wheel lock is now standard on all models.
- The Z85 handling/trailering suspension is now included and only available on Work Truck models with the trailering package.
- The Z85 handling/trailering suspension is now standard on SL Crew Cab models.
Similarly, a number of previously optional features are now standard on Sierra Denali, including heated and cooled seats, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel and a rearview camera system.
Sierra Denali details
The Sierra Denali is offered in 2WD and AWD configurations. It is powered by a 6.2L V-8 engine, rated at 403 horsepower (301 kW) and 417 lb.-ft. of torque (565 Nm). The engine is paired with the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission. Complementing drivetrain features include a 9.5-inch rear axle (2WD) or 8.6-inch rear axle (AWD) with 3.42 gears and an automatic locking rear differential. The specially tuned Z60 suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, StabiliTrak, skid plates and recovery hooks are standard. Twenty-inch chrome-finish aluminum wheels are standard. The wheel design is not shared with other Sierra models.
A Denali-specific chrome grille makes the truck instantly recognizable. Additional chrome trim and body-color bumpers further distinguish it. Sierra Denali also offers a unique combination of interior style and luxury, including standard nuance leather-appointed seat and heated and cooled 12-way power-adjustable front seats. A Denali-exclusive leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, which features wood grain-appearance accents and auxiliary controls, is standard.
Denali models feature a unique center console, enhanced interior bright work and detailed, highly finished embossed sill plates. The center console has wood grain-appearance trim that conceals the lid and cupholder pockets, creating a more finished and refined appearance.
Sierra design and exterior features
The Sierra lineup is characterized by a rugged yet refined appearance, with chiseled bodywork complemented by details such as chrome bumpers (Sierra Denali features body-color bumpers). Additional elements, including, flared rear fenders and premium headlamps contribute to Sierra’s refinements, while features such as large, grab-style door handles – which are designed for easy use with work gloves – reinforce the notion that it is a truck first and foremost.
Highlights of Sierra’s standard and available exterior features include:
- Fog lamps are standard on Denali and SLT and available on Work Truck, SLE and XFE.
- Heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors including auto-dimming, integrated signal indicators and curb-tilt feature are standard on Denali and SLT and included on SLE with the available All Terrain package.
- Heated, power-adjustable vertical camper-style outside mirrors are available on SLE, XFE and SLT. Manual-folding camper-style mirrors are available on Work Truck.
- EZ-Lift tailgate (spring-loaded) is standard on Denali and available on Work Truck, SLE, XFE and SLT models.
- Tailgate protection (top-of-tailgate cap) is standard on all models.
- Locking tailgate is standard on Denali and available on Work Truck, SLE, XFE and SLT models.
- A range of 17-inch, 18-inch and 20-inch wheels is offered. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard on WT, SL and SLE. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard on SLT and 20-inch wheels are available on SLE and SLT.
- Twenty-inch wheels with a specific design are standard on Denali.
- Dealer-installed accessory wheels include 20- and 22-inch designs.
- Chrome Essentials package is available on SLE and SLT models. It includes a polished exhaust tip, chrome tubular assist steps, chrome recovery hooks, chrome door handles, chrome mirror caps and chrome-clad aluminum wheels.
- Power Tech package is available on SLE and includes the Vortec 5.3L V-8, heavy-duty locking rear differential, trailering package, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, front fog lamps, EZ-Lift tailgate, 17-inch aluminum wheels, six-way power driver’s seat and more.
- Work Truck Plus package is available on Work Truck extended cab or regular cab models. Content includes 17-inch chrome-styled wheels, chrome grille surround, fog lamps and, on 2WD models, frame-mounted recovery hooks.
- All Terrain package is available on SLE and SLT extended cab/standard box and crew cab models. Content includes 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels and on/off-road tires, Z71 suspension package, fog lamps, body-color outside mirrors and door handles, "All Terrain" identification on the exterior, sill plates and floor mats, Rancho front and rear shocks, specific four-bar grille with chrome surround and “mechanical brushed aluminum” accents on the instrument panel, center console and switch trim plates.
- Exterior color choices include: Onyx Black, Midnight Blue Metallic (late availability), Mocha Steel Metallic (late availability), Stealth Grey Metallic, Steel Grey Metallic (late availability), Summit White, Fire Red, Quicksilver Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic (late availability) and White Diamond Tricoat (select models).
A wide range of dealer-installed accessories is available for Sierra 1500, including tonneau covers, chrome packages, bed liners, utility racks and more.
Sierra interior standard and available features
Sierra features two interiors to meet the diverse needs of customers. The Work Truck, SL and SLE trim levels feature the “pure pickup” interior, while Denali and SLT models feature the luxury-inspired interior similar to GMC’s full-size SUVs.
Work Truck, SL and SLE trim levels feature larger controls and door handles that are easier to use with gloves. A large-capacity, double glove box is part of the instrument panel. Denali and SLT models feature a luxury-inspired interior with a unique instrument panel, door panels, large-capacity center console that offers 20.1 liters of undivided storage and other distinct trim.
A stadium-style rear seat with a 60/40-split design and folding center armrest is standard on crew cab models and available on extended cab models. It can be easily folded up with one hand, without using a release handle, to provide an uninterrupted load floor. Alternatively, either section of the split seat can be stowed independently, allowing room for both cargo and a rear-seat passenger.
Rear access doors open 170 degrees for easy entry to the rear seat/storage area of extended cab models. Power-operated rear side windows lower completely into the 170-degree access doors, providing 100-percent openness on SLE and SLT models.
- Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard on Denali and SLT and available on SLE and XFE; single-zone manual air conditioning is standard on Work Truck, SL, SLE and XFE.
- AM/FM stereo is standard on Work Truck models.
- Range of CD/DVD/MP3-capable audio systems is available on all models.
- Navigation radio with MP3-compatible CD/DVD player and USB port is available on Denali and SLT models.
- Bose premium speaker system with subwoofer mounted in the center console is standard on Denali and SLT and available on SLE and XFE.
- Rear-seat entertainment system is available on Denali and SLT crew cab and includes rear-seat DVD player with LCD display, remote control and two sets of wireless headphones.
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio is standard on SL, SLE, XFE, SLT and Denali models and available on Work Truck.
- SiriusXM NavTraffic feature is available on SLE, XFE, SLT and Denali.
- Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity is standard on Denali and SLT models and available on Work Truck, SL and SLE models.
- Driver Information Center is standard on all models.
- Power-adjustable pedals are standard on Denali and available on SLE, XFE and SLT models.
- Two auxiliary 12-volt power outlets are standard on all models and mounted on the instrument panel.
- Remote vehicle starter system is standard on Denali and SLT and available on SLE and XFE models.
- Vinyl seat trim and rubberized floor covering is standard on Work Truck models. Cloth seat trim is available on Work Truck and standard on SL.
- Premium cloth seat trim is standard on SLE and XFE models.
- Leather-appointed front seat trim is standard and SLT and available on SLE and XFE models.
- Leather-appointed heated and cooled front seats are standard on Denali and available on SLT.
- Front 40/20/40-split front bench seat is standard on Work Truck models and SL models.
- Front bucket seats with 10-way power driver and passenger seat adjusters are standard on SLT models. Front bucket seats with six-way power adjusters are available on SLE and XFE models.
- Front bucket seats with 12-way power driver and passenger seat adjusters are standard on Denali.
- Rear 60/40-split folding bench seat is standard on crew cab models.
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on SLE, XFE and SLT models and available on Work Truck and SL.
- Heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on Denali.
- Steering wheel audio controls are standard on Denali and SLT and available on Work Truck, SL, SLE and XFE models.
- Power-operated sunroof is available on Denali and SLT extended cab and crew cab models. The sunroof retracts above the roof on the extended cab and inside the roof on crew cab models.
- Power-operated rear sliding window is available on SLE, XFE, SLT and Denali models.
- Interior trim colors include: Ebony, Very Dark Cashmere/Light Cashmere, Very Dark Cashmere/Light Cashmere, Dark Titanium/Light Titanium and Dark Titanium.
Sierra models are powered by an efficient lineup of engines, led by Vortec small-block V-8s. Advanced technologies, such as Active Fuel Management (AFM) and variable valve timing (VVT), optimize performance and efficiency. Three FlexFuel engines are available – and partnered with fuel-saving AFM – giving customers the choice of powering their truck with E85 ethanol, gasoline or a combination of both fuels. Sierra 1500’s engine offerings include:
- 4.3L V-6 (LU3), rated at 195 hp (145 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (351Nm).
- 4.8L V-8 (L20), E85-capable with iron block; rated at 302 hp (225 kW) and 305 lb.-ft. of torque (412 Nm).
- 5.3L FlexFuel V-8 (LMG), E85-capable with iron block and Active Fuel Management, rated at 315 hp (235 kW) and 335 lb.-ft. of torque (452 Nm).
- 5.3L FlexFuel V-8 (LC9), E85-capable with aluminum block and Active Fuel Management, rated at 315 hp (235 kW) and 335 lb.-ft. of torque (452 Nm).
- 6.2L V-8 (L9H), with E85 FlexFuel capability, an aluminum block and variable valve timing, rated at 403 hp (300 kW) and 417 lb.-ft. of torque (565 Nm). This engine is available in crew cab and extended cab models and is standard on Sierra Denali.
- The variable valve timing system on Sierra’s V-8 engines allows linear delivery of torque, with near-peak levels over a broad rpm range, and high specific output (horsepower per liter of displacement). It also helps reduce exhaust emissions. Because it manages valve overlap at optimum levels, it eliminates the need for an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system.
- GM’s Active Fuel Management technology increases fuel economy approximately six percent under the federal government’s required testing procedure and potentially more in certain real-world driving conditions. AFM temporarily deactivates four of the engine’s cylinders under light load conditions and seamlessly reactivates them when full power is required. The transition takes less than 20 milliseconds and is virtually indiscernible.
Sierra chassis and suspension
Built on GM’s full-size truck platform, the Sierra incorporates features such as a fully boxed frame – with a hydroformed front section – coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. It also has wide front and rear tracks that enhance stability and driving confidence through a more secure road feel.
Sierra is offered with five suspension systems, each tailored to suit specific driving requirements:
- Z83 – Delivers a solid, smooth ride with monotube front shocks and twin-tube rear shocks
- Z85 – Designed for enhanced handling and trailer towing, with monotube front and rear shocks
- Z71 – Delivers enhanced off-road capability; features specific monotube front and rear shocks
- Z60 – Designed for maximum street performance and offered with 20-inch wheels, as well as monotube front and rear shocks
- NHT – Designed for maximum towing capacity; it includes monotube rear shocks, 17-inch wheels and off-road tires, and high-capacity rear springs.
Additional chassis and suspension details include:
- A coil-over-shock front suspension delivers linear handling characteristics on all road surfaces.
- A rack-and-pinion steering system provides precise control and strong on-center feel.
- A Hotchkiss-type rear suspension provides superior isolation and ride with a splayed arrangement for the shock absorbers.
- Four-channel ABS is standard on all models and is linked to the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system to help mitigate the occurrence of rollover events.
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is standard on all models and now includes electronic trailer sway control and hill start assist.
- Wide front and rear tracks – 68.1 inches (1,732 mm) front/67 inches (1,702 mm) rear – enhance handling and vehicle stability for a more confident road feel.
- A stiff frame reduces vibrations transmitted to the passenger cabin, while the strength and accuracy of the fully boxed frame also enable precise mounting and tuning of chassis and suspension components.
- Autotrac electronic transfer case is standard on SLE and SLT with 4WD.
- An automatic locking rear differential is standard on XFE, SLT and Denali models and available on Work Truck, SL and SLE models.
- Integrated trailer brake controller is available on all models (except when equipped with the 4.3L engine).
- The Z71 suspension is available on SLE and SLT models. Content includes high-pressure, gas-charged monotube shocks, on/off-road tires, off-road jounce bumpers, front recovery hooks (2WD models), a skid plate and high-capacity air cleaner.
- The NHT enhanced trailering package is available on SLE and SLT extended cab and crew cab models. Content includes the 6.2L V-8 engine, heavy-duty automatic locking rear differential, Z85 suspension, 9.5-inch rear axle, 3.73 axle ratio, 17-inch aluminum wheels and on/off-road tires and four-wheel disc brakes.
- Sierra safety and crash-avoidance features
- Standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for all seating rows.
- Standard seat-mounted side-impact air bags for driver and right-front passenger provide thorax and pelvic protection.
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control system helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both.
- Available rearview camera system (standard on Denali) is designed to provide the driver with a view of people or objects in the rearward path of the vehicle.
- Ultrasonic rear parking assist is standard on Denali.
- Standard high-capacity brake system with four-channel ABS featuring smooth, quiet operation, longer pad life and more resistance to brake pulsation.
- Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly.
- Tire pressure monitoring system, standard on all models (excludes the spare tire)
- Standard remote keyless entry (RKE) system provides a second function for the red panic button. Drivers can use it to locate their vehicle without sounding the panic alarm.
- Strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants.
OnStar is standard on all Sierra models except Work Truck, where it is optional. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.
- OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada.
- Six months of complimentary OnStar Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for easier route guidance when available. The feature is easy to use because all directions are sent to the car by an advisor, without the need to stop. Turn-by-Turn can be cost-effective, since map updates and aftermarket navigation systems are not needed.
- Stolen Vehicle Assistance helps police track the vehicle.