I am darn glad that the GMC Sierra Crew Cab 4X4 Short Box showed up when it did and I’m even happier that it came with a drop-in bedliner. Anything after that was gravy! The reason for all the joy was that my son was finally coming to get the rest of his stuff after moving out.
The only drawback to using this Sierra 1500 as a moving truck was the fact that it had a short box. Some of the furniture didn’t fit as well as it could have. Mind you, the Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500 would have the same issues. On the other hand, it wasn’t hard to tie everything down. All we had to do was pop the covers off the corner tie-down hoops and use a few knots that my son hadn’t seen since cubs and scouts.
The back seat came into service for passengers on one trip, and for that it was excellent. The seatback was adjustable for rake and the seat cushion was long enough to provide leg and thigh support. Foot space was very good.
On the second round, I folded the back seat down out of the way and loaded four or five two-cubic-foot boxes in. They stacked up quite well and made the trip to my son’s place without issue.
Up front, heated seats may be available, but they weren’t installed on my cloth-seated tester. That didn’t stop the bucket seat from being very comfortable over a wide range of roads, with the ability to provide good lateral and lumbar support without being restrictive.
One area where the 2012 Sierra 1500 shines is that just about every control is large enough to be worked with gloves on. Someone has finally figured out that controls need to be used even when it is real cold out. Still on the large front, both the tach and speedometer are big enough to be easily seen, even in direct sunlight.
Being able to enjoy all the creature comforts offered was a bit of work. Running boards are optional and the driver’s side does not have an entry assist handle. The only item close enough to provide an assist for that giant leap was the steering wheel.
Once firmly in place, you can drive away in comfort. Front-seat passengers have a much easier time since there is a handle for them to grab onto to get in.
On the road
Suspension upgrades are pretty much a necessity if you go far off pavement. GMC has a couple of different packages that tend to build on each other. Some competitors such as the Toyota Tundra and the Nissan Titan make their heavier-duty suspension packages part of trim packages.
With the Sierra, the basic building block is the Z71 off-road suspension which includes a locking differential, larger diameter monotube shocks and a larger sway bar. If you need more, it is available, but this covers the basics and does a good job of getting engine power to the ground when needed.
The 5.3L V8, which develops 315 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque, got the job done quite nicely and this is where you need to pay attention to the order sheet because there are several engines that can be ordered. In the Crew Cab 4X4 version, a 302-hp 4.8L V8 is standard and a 403-hp 6.2L V8 is also optional.
Driving in town was no big deal because just about everyone knows what trucks are like and that they take up space, so other drivers tend to give you the room you need. Parking is the only issue since many parallel spaces are about the same length as the truck.
Angle spaces seem to be easier to get in and out of, mall spaces are usually long enough, but a bit on the narrow side. Parallel parking requires practice and longer spaces than the average city provides.
GMC positions the SLE trim as a bit upmarket from the entry-level work truck, although it does still have a “truck interior.” To get into the lap of luxury, you have to step up to the SLT or Denali trim levels. My SLE Crew Cab 4X4 tester with the short box starts at $39,935.
Following GMC’s declaration that Sierra is a “Professional Grade Truck,” the option list of individual items for each trim level is long, as is the list of packages available. Adding “packages” is often the best way to get the truck you want, but you do have a choice and you can really tailor the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 for what you want it to do.
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