Quadrasteer four-wheel steering on light-duty, full-size Sierra pickups is new for the 2002 model year. This is the first such installation on a conventional truck. A General Motors spokesman said that a full-size Sierra with Quadrasteer has the turning radius of a subcompact Saturn sedan.
Quadrasteer is currently standard only on the Sierra Denali. Formerly called the C3, the Denali is a performance-oriented, extended-cab model with a 325-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 engine, permanent all-wheel drive, a specially tuned suspension and a unique, black, machine-textured grille.
Equipment packages have been revised for easier ordering, and two new Sierra Professional models have been developed. Intended for contractors and tradespeople, the Professional models are available in two- and four-wheel-drive 1500 Series extended-cab, short-bed configurations. Their interiors feature a full-length, custom-designed console with a front storage compartment and a unique rear under-seat storage container. The console can be converted to provide hanging file folder storage. Sierra Professional pickups have a full chrome grille, wheel flares and special 16-inch, cast-aluminum wheels.
Redesigned for 1999, along with the closely related Chevrolet Silverado, GMCs full-size pickup line gained a heavy-duty version of the four-door Crew Cab body style for 2001. With that change, the three-quarter-ton 2500 and one-ton 3500 Sierra HD pickups listed separately in this Buying Guide shared basic styling with the half-ton 1500 and light-duty, three-quarter-ton 2500 series. In light-duty form, the Crew Cab body style is available only in the 1500 HD Crew Cab model, which comes in SLE or SLT trims.
Chevrolet does not offer an equivalent to GMCs Sierra Denali. Light-duty Sierras compete against Fords F-150 pickups and can have a 4.3-liter V-6 or a choice of V-8 engines.
Sierras differ from Silverados mainly at the front, which is dominated by a bolder grille and a prominent red GMC badge. For 2002, a bolder Sierra badge has been installed on the rear liftgate.
Regular-cab and Club Cab (extended-cab) models come with either a 6.5- or an 8-foot cargo bed. Models with the short bed can be equipped with an optional flared rear fender called Sportside whereas Wideside models have a slab-sided cargo bed. Five wheelbases are available, which range from 119 to 157.5 inches.
Club Cab models have two front doors and a pair of narrow back doors that open toward the rear and cant be opened unless the front doors are open. Crew Cab pickups have four conventional doors that open toward the front.
GMC claims that its Sierra Club Cab pickups have more passenger space than extended cabs offered by Dodge, Ford and Toyota. Regular-cab models come with either a three-place bench seat or a pair of buckets. The Club Cab adds a three-place rear bench that is reclined 18 degrees, making it more comfortable than most rear seats in extended-cab pickups, which tend to be defiantly upright. Sierra 1500 HD Crew Cab pickups seat six occupants. The modern, convenient dashboard design puts major controls in easy reach of the driver.
Under the Hood
The Sierras powertrain choices are the same as those available for the Chevrolet Silverado. However, the Sierra Denali uses a 325-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 engine. Regular-cab 1500 models have a standard 200-hp, 4.3-liter V-6. Two V-8s are optional on 1500 models: a 4.8-liter that makes 270 hp and a 5.3-liter rated at 285 hp. The 5.3-liter V-8 is standard on Sierra 2500 models, and a 300-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 is optional. A five-speed-manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional.
All Sierra models are available with 4WD, which comes in two forms. Insta-Trac is an on-demand system that allows shifting in and out of 4WD High on the move through a floor-mounted transfer case. Autotrac is an automatically engaging system that sends all of the power to the rear wheels on smooth, dry pavement; on slippery surfaces, it transfers power to the front wheels as needed. Traction control is optional for 2WD models.
The Sierra 1500 HD Crew Cab pickup can haul a 3,139-pound payload or trailers weighing up to 10,300 pounds. For other models, payloads range from 1,490 to 3,605 pounds. Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard.
Quadrasteer is utterly amazing. Even when driving straight down an expressway, the difference between a regular Sierra and one equipped with Quadrasteer is easily noticeable and it becomes even more evident when towing a trailer. Lane changes that produce plenty of wobbling when Quadrasteer is switched off can be made without a murmur when its turned back on. In twisting maneuvers, the tight turning circle of a Quadrasteer-equipped Sierra is virtually unbelievable.
In nearly all other respects, the Sierra drives and feels almost exactly like the Chevrolet Silverado, both of which serve as worthy rivals to the full-size pickups from Ford and Dodge.