2020 GMC Sierra AT4 ・ Photo by GMC
You know what they say about the “best-laid plans”: They are often knocked silly by circumstances beyond human control. And that is just what has happened to the GMC Sierra for 2022. This was the year in which GMC had planned to do a mid-cycle change of substantial proportions on its Sierra full-size truck. But that was before the pandemic-induced microchip shortage and the more general supply-chain issues forced a change in those plans. While GMC still plans for a revamped Sierra, as thesis written, it is selling the GMC Sierra 1500 Limited. The Limited designation is important, because it signifies the model is designed to fill the gap as production of the refreshed Sierra ramps up. Essentially, the 2022 Sierra 1500 Limited is a carryon version of the 2021 Sierra. But there are a few notable differences. One big one is the base Sierra 1500 trim is now called Pro. Other minor equipment changes distinguish the 2022 Sierra 1500 Limited as well. The Sierra remains the slightly upscale alternative to the almost-identical Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup.
In exterior styling, the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited has strong similarities to the 2021 Sierra 1500. Both are handsome trucks with a dominant grille featuring bold GMC lettering. Efforts have been made to distinguish the Sierra 1500 from the Chevy Silverado and to further its “Professional Grade” image. In addition to a markedly different front end, the Sierra also differentiates with wheel designs. The base Pro model has silver-painted steel wheels, but as one goes up the trim ladder, the wheels get progressively larger and more dramatic in appearance. The Sierra 1500 Limited offers more cargo bed volume than any competitor, LED headlamps with signature C-shape, and the now-famous GMC MultiPro tailgate, which is now standard on SLE and Elevation trims. The Elevation is one of the most strikingly styled of the Sierra 1500 Limiteds. It features a monochrome exterior with gloss-black grille and body color grille surround, vertical recovery hooks, LED cargo bed lighting, and 20-inch gloss black wheels. The available X31 Off-Road package includes integrated dual exhaust and all-terrain tires.
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If you are looking for a work vehicle, work-and-leisure combination, or a full-on luxury pickup for towing around your big-boy toys, the GMC Sierra Limited has a powertrain that’ll get the job done. It offers four engine choices — three gasoline engines and a fuel-thrifty turbodiesel. The base engine is a 310 horsepower 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that delivers 348 lb-ft of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 has long been a GMC stalwart. It is teamed with either an 8-speed or a 10-speed automatic transmission. A beefy 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 with cylinder deactivation is available on the luxury Denali and the AT4 off-road trim. It’s backed by a 10-speed automatic. An interesting alternative is the 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder turbodiesel that develops 277-horsepower and 460 lb-ft of peak torque. It includes a diesel exhaust brake system for added efficiency.
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The GMC Sierra 1500 Limited is a large vehicle with big capabilities that extend to major league levels of towing and hauling. That said, the truck is remarkably nimble for its size and length. Much of the credit there goes to its suspension, electric power steering, and electronic stability control with traction control. An off-road-oriented suspension with a 2-inch lift is standard on the AT4 as are hill descent control and LT275/65R18C Mud-Terrain Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. The Sierra 1500 Limited offers a two-speed AutoTrac transfer case with an active automatic four-wheel-drive setting that provides transparent shifting between two- and four-wheel drive, depending on road conditions. The truck’s Traction Select System adjusts the transmission shift points, throttle mapping, and electronic stability control to optimize performance in the moment. The view from the broad driver’s seat is commanding as if you are on the bridge of a ship. Even unladen on-road ride quality is good, although some freeway pavement types didn’t mix well with the 4x4 suspension of our Denali test vehicle. The Ram 1500 might outdo the Sierra 1500 Limited in on-highway comfort. As a tow vehicle the Sierra 1500 Limited offers a dazzling variety of camera views.
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The GMC Sierra 1500 Limited has a well-designed interior, but if you care to wait, the interior will be significantly revamped when the heavily refreshed 2022 GMC Sierra goes on sale. The new one won’t have the Sierra Limited name. These days, full-size pickup trucks are among the roomiest and most comfortable five- and six- passenger vehicles you can buy. And the 2022 Sierra Limited certainly lives up to that. Most Sierra 1500 Limiteds have a 40/20/40 front bench seat that can seat three in a bow to Old School motoring. Bucket seats are an option in most trims and standard in the high-zoot Denali. The rear area in the Sierra 1500 Limited’s crew cab version has a wide and deep rear bench that can fold out of the way to add lockable storage space. The Sierra 1500 Limited has a quiet interior with well-placed controls that are easy to operate. The interiors in low- and mid-level trims are attractive and well-finished, but the top-of-the-line Denali is in a different class. Its luxurious cabin features perforated leather seating surfaces, open-pore real ash wood trim, and a Bose premium sound system.
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The Sierra 1500 Limited has an array of infotainment systems that outperform those in many luxury SUVs. The Sierra 1500 Limited Pro has a 7-inch color touchscreen. An 8-inch color touchscreen is standard on the mid-level SLE and Elevation trims. The Denali has an 8-inch display system with integrated navigation. All of the infotainment offerings have Bluetooth that enables audio streaming from two separate devices. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard as well. Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto are available on upper-level trims. The Sierra 1500 Limited’s base audio system has six speakers. A premium Bose audio system with seven speakers including a subwoofer is standard on the Denali and available on Elevation, SLT, and AT4 trims. As good as it is, the infotainment system is expected to get an upgrade in the 2022 GMC Sierra that will succeed the 2022 Sierra Limited.
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The 2022 Sierra 1500 Limited offers a variety of driver-assist and electronic safety features. Most are included in upper trim levels or in optional packages. Adaptive cruise control is available on SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali. Following distance indicator, blindspot monitor, forward collision alert, and front pedestrian detection are available as options on some of the Sierra 1500 Limited trims as well. Front and rear parking assist is available on Sierra Limited Pro, SLE, Elevation, SLT, and AT4 and standard on Denali. The GM Safety Alert Seat uses driver seat vibration pulses to help drivers identify the direction of potential crashes. It’s available on SLT and AT4 trims and standard on Denali. A 15-inch head-up display, surround-vision system, and rear camera mirror are other available features. The optional camera system offers up to 15 different views. It’s a boon to those who tow. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Sierra 1500 Limited a 4-star overall rating in its 5-Star Safety Rating program, its second-highest honor.
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Fuel economy in the full-size pickup truck segment varies based on the vehicle configuration, bed length, cab style, and powertrain. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a rear-drive Sierra 1500 Limited with the 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine will offer 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway, impressive for a full-size truck with its capabilities. A Sierra 1500 Limited with the venerable 5.3-liter V8 engine delivers an estimated 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway. The 6.2-liter V8 available in the four-wheel-drive Sierra 1500 Limited AT4 and the Denali is expected to deliver 15 mpg in city driving and 19 mpg on the highway. For all-around fuel economy, the turbodiesel is an excellent choice, although it is premium-priced. The EPA says it is good for 23 mpg in city driving and 30 on the highway. In comparison, the rear-drive Ford F-150 with the base 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 is rated at 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway. A V8-powered Ford F-150 is rated at 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway. The similar Ram 1500 with its 5.7-liter V8 is EPA-rated to deliver 18 mpg in city driving and 23 mpg on the highway.
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The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited is an excellent choice for towing and hauling. Depending upon engine and configuration, the 2022 Sierra 1500 Limited is rated to tow more than 11,000 pounds. Maximum towing is 11,300 pounds. Sierras with the 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine are rated to tow more than 9,000 pounds. For Sierra models fitted with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel, the top towing capacity is 9,300 pounds. A base Sierra 1500 Limited Pro has a better tow rating than the base Ford F-150 and the RAM 1500 Tradesman. Across the board, the Sierra Limited will hold its own with its competitors. In most configurations the vehicle’s maximum payload is over 2,000 pounds. It’s top rating of 2,180 pounds is achieved with the 5.3-liter V8 engine. The GMC Sierra pioneered the Multi-Pro tailgate that can be configured a number of ways. It’s now available on the Chevrolet Silverado as well.
The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited is available in six trims: Pro, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali. Both rear-drive and four-wheel drive are widely available, though the off-road-oriented AT4 is only available with four-wheel drive. The GMC Sierra 1500 Limited Pro is a renamed version of the least-expensive base model. It includes a turbocharged 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, and LED headlights and taillights. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. The GMC Sierra 1500 Limited Elevation offers trailer hitch, trailering package, locking rear differential, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, 10-way power driver seat including power lumbar, and heated driver and front passenger seats. The top of the line Denali has 8-inch infotainment system with navigation, 7-speaker Bose premium audio system, wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, 8-inch driver information center, and wireless device charging. Many buyers will opt for the mid-level SLE and SLT trims.
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As we said at the outset, the 2022 Sierra 1500 Limited was created as an interim vehicle while an even better Sierra is on the way. As this is being written, GMC dealers are keying on sales of the Limiteds because the renewed models are yet to arrive. If you’re shopping GMC this year, make certain of the Sierra designation you’re considering. Some will be Sierra Limiteds and later arrivals will be Sierras. Many Limited models offer good value. The trucks are well-styled with easy to use infotainment systems that are feature-filled. Although some competitive models offer larger screen sizes, the availability of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a plus. A relative few electronic driver assists are standard equipment. If those aids are important to you make certain the vehicle you purchase has what you need. Prices range from about $33,000 for the Pro work truck to nearly $60,000 for the Denali. Choosing carefully, you can get a 2022 GMC Sierra Limited for an attractive price.
Photo by General Motors