It’s not just you: pickups are getting fancier. Customization has become an increasingly important factor in the segment as of late, with more and more drivers opting to invest in higher trim levels in an attempt to set their ride apart from the crowd. The data backs up the trend, with Edmunds estimating that the typical driver adds over $10,000 in upgrades to the base price of their vehicle, up from $6,500 in 2013. That’s a 53% increase in just 10 years, proving how vital these add-ons and trim packages have become to the average driver. These extras don’t just improve the overall driving experience, they can also be a major selling point when it comes time to trade in your pickup for a new model.
So how do some popular full-size trucks stack up when it comes to customization? The 2024 GMC Sierra 1500 serves as a perfect example, with GMC making it easier than ever for drivers to build the full-size pickup of their dreams. With eight trims, four engines, four bed lengths, three automatic transmissions, three cab styles, and two drivetrains to choose from, finding a Sierra 1500 model that meets your needs, style, and budget has never been simpler. From the no-nonsense Sierra 1500 Pro to exciting off-road trims like the AT4 and AT4X, and posh luxury models like the Denali and Denali Ultimate, the Sierra 1500 is one of the most versatile full-size pickups on the market today. Let’s take a look at each trim level and see what the 2024 model has to offer.
The GMC Sierra 1500 Pro
As the 2024 base model, the GMC Sierra 1500 Pro offers a well-rounded package that’s sure to tick all those pickup boxes without breaking the bank. Competitively priced at less than $40,000, the Pro represents some real value in the full-size market where prices have been steadily rising in recent years. The Pro is one of the Sierra 1500’s most customizable options when it comes to bed length and passenger capacity, with three cab styles and four beds to choose from. The interior might not be quite as luxe as the rest of the lineup, but for those seeking a reliable work truck that won’t hurt their bottom line, the Pro is a great option.
With the pickup’s 40/20/40 bench seat with center armrest storage, urethane steering wheel, six-gauge cluster, and a 3.5-inch monochromatic driver information display, the Sierra 1500 Pro might not turn many heads. But these features do exactly what GMC intended: keep the model’s price down with a thrifty approach that makes the Pro trim a great fleet vehicle. Powered by a 2.7L Turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, the Pro trim has one more money-saving trick up its sleeve: the pickup gets around 20 MPG combined fuel efficiency with rear-wheel drive (RWD), making it impressively economical for a full-size model.
The GMC Sierra 1500 SLE
Opting for the SLE trim brings a host of new options, including an available 5.3L V8 engine with 355 hp, a six-, eight- or ten-speed automatic transmission, and more. Drivers seeking the Sierra 1500 in its most fuel-efficient form can also upgrade to GMC’s 3.0L turbo-diesel, which not only ups the torque to an impressive 460 lb-ft but also brings an EPA-estimated combined fuel rating of 26 MPG.
When it comes to technology, the SLE elevates the Sierra 1500 with a 12.3-inch configurable driver information display and digital gauge cluster, a massive 13.4-inch touchscreen Infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, as well as satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The trim also brings the heat, so to speak, with a heated driver’s seat, steering wheel, and outboard mirrors, making frigid early-morning commutes a little easier to bear.
The SLE’s most novel addition might be GMC’s MultiPro tailgate, a seven-function tailgate that can improve access to the bed, extend the truck’s capacity, serve as an on-the-go work surface, and even provides the tunes for your next beach party or family picnic. The MultiPro tailgate includes a full-width step rated for 375 pounds and two load stops of varying heights. It also has a MultiPro Audio System by KICKER, a 100-watt exterior audio system that’s integrated directly into the tailgate’s inner panel.
The GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation
In terms of specs, the Elevation’s stats are quite similar to the SLE model. They’re much the same truck from a hardware perspective, though the Elevation makes some important upgrades in the looks department. The appearance package lends the 2024 Sierra 1500 a more mature, dramatic look, replacing the pickup’s silver grille with a new gloss-black version, adding monochrome exterior accents, and gracing the model with striking 20-inch black wheels. The Elevation also sees the addition of LED fog lights, as well as a high-capacity suspension that makes a few key upgrades to overall ride comfort and handling.
The GMC Sierra 1500 SLT
If you ask me, the SLT is where the 2024 Sierra 1500 starts to come into its own. First off, there’s the option to add the 420-hp 6.2L V8 engine, which significantly ups the pickup’s power over the base 5.3L V8. Drivers will have to spring for four-wheel drive (4WD) if they want to unlock that sort of power, but it’s a worthwhile add-on in my book, especially for anyone considering some light off-road use. The SLT also sees some key upgrades on the comfort and tech side, with GMC throwing in a 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat, rain-sensing wipers, and, for those who enjoy blasting some tunes behind the wheel, a seven-speaker Bose audio system.
The trim’s auto-dimming rearview mirror serves an important safety function: protecting the driver’s night vision with the ability to reduce glare from bright trailing headlights. The rest of the SLT’s upgrades come in the form of optional equipment packages. Want a cozier cabin? The SLT Convenience Package adds ventilated front seats, bucket seats, a center console, and a power-adjustable steering wheel. The Preferred Package ups the luxury factor with a power-sliding rear window, heated second-row seats, adaptive cruise control, and a HomeLink receiver that can be used to control almost any RF-connected device including garage doors and security gates, smart thermostats, home lighting systems, and more.
The GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
The AT4 trim gives the Sierra a chance to showcase its off-road chops, allowing drivers to explore their local trails while still delivering the reliable everyday performance that’s made the pickup such a success story. Powered by the ultra-efficient 3.0L turbo-diesel, drivers won’t have to worry about running out of gas in the middle of an off-road session. Those in the market for a little more raw power can also upgrade to the 6.2L V8 engine, but it’s the AT4’s long list of heavy-duty off-road equipment that has me excited about this model.
It all starts with the AT4’s AutoTrac two-speed transfer case and automatic locking rear differential, although the skid plates, off-road tires, recovery hooks, and engine block heater don’t hurt its case either. The sporty off-road pickup also makes a few vital improvements when it comes to the battery and air filter, which are both upgraded for the rigors of off-road use. Of course, any off-road model is only as good as its suspension, which is why it’s good to see GMC go back to the drawing board to create an off-road-tuned suspension complete with monotube shocks. GMC’s Hill Descent Control technology and a two-inch factory lift round out the AT4’s off-road components, but that’s not all there is to love about this version of the Sierra 1500. The model also features bucket seats, a Bose audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, and wireless phone charging to make it as comfortable as it is capable.
The GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
The Denali is the first of the Sierra’s two luxury models, though both off-road trims deserve some recognition as well in that department. Offered standard with the 5.8L V8 engine, power is never an afterthought when it comes to the Denali, but it’s only a small part of its appeal. The trim includes a surround-view camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, wireless phone charger, and dual exhaust, as well as numerous advanced safety features found on lower trims like Rear Pedestrian Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Braking, and Trailer Blind-Spot Monitoring.
So what new features does the Denali bring to the table? 20-inch alloy wheels, for one, as well as 10-way power-adjustable front seats with perforated leather. The model’s real highlight would have to be the adaptive suspension complete with independent coil-over shocks, twin-tube shock absorbers in the front, and variable-rate, two-stage multi-leaf springs paired with twin-tube shocks in the back. This setup easily makes the Sierra 1500 Denali one of the most comfortable full-size pickups around.
If you’re in the mood for a few more bells and whistles, then adding the Technology Package introduces a digital rearview camera mirror, 15-inch head-up display, bed-view camera, and adaptive cruise control to the mix. Those looking to set their Sierra Denali apart from the rest of the driving public can opt for the Denali Reserve Package. This option includes a power sunroof, power-deployed side steps, and attention-grabbing 22-inch polished aluminum wheels.
The GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X
The AT4X represents one of the most exciting additions to the Sierra 1500 lineup in recent memory. Hitting the market in 2022, the trim is GMC’s love letter to all things off-road with the brand creating one of the most capable, rugged full-size trucks on the market. It’s everything there is to love about the AT4, turned up to 11. The AT4’s standard 3.0L turbo-diesel is replaced by a 6.2L V8 that delivers 420 horsepower along with 460 lb-ft of torque.
GMC has also decked out the AT4X with a 170-amp alternator, trailer tire pressure monitor, and electronic-locking front and rear differentials, as well as an external engine oil cooler. Usually reserved for semi-trucks and high-end sports cars, an engine oil cooler goes a long way towards preventing a vehicle from overheating under extreme conditions, like towing a trailer or spending a long day navigating steep off-road terrain. The AT4’s monotube shocks get swapped out for Multimatic DSSV dampers, which are largely seen as the gold standard in the off-road world.
Like the AT4, the AT4X features GMC’s Hitch Guidance with Hitch View, which makes attaching a trailer as easy as referring to your Infotainment display. The Hitch Guidance system provides a guiding line when moving in reverse, letting drivers line up their hitch mount with their trailer’s ball mount in no time flat. Plus, the Hitch View camera angle provides a close-up, top-down view of the connection.
The GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate
The formula for the Sierra Denali Ultimate is pretty simple: take the incredible Denali and improve on it to create the most luxurious model in the lineup. Standard features on this beauty include a power sunroof, a 12-speaker Bose Premium sound system, and a head-up display. You’ll also find 22-inch wheels and GMC MultiPro Power steps to make getting into and out of the Denali Ultimate a lot easier.
Aside from these incredible luxury features, drivers can also enjoy one of the most advanced autonomous driving systems currently on the market: Super Cruise. With the ability to traverse over 400,000 miles of road across the U.S. and Canada hands-free, Super Cruise is an alluring peek at the future of personal transportation. With plenty of built-in safety features, the Level 2 semi-autonomous driving system is ideal for anyone looking to take a little stress out of their daily commute, allowing drivers to sit back, relax, and let the Sierra 1500 mind the road.
Incredible Options From Start to Finish
In an industry where customization is key, the 2024 Sierra 1500 is a clear front-runner in the full-size pickup segment. From reliable work trucks like the Sierra 1500 Pro to burly off-road models like the AT4 and luxury options like the Denali and Denali Ultimate, there’s a Sierra 1500 trim out there for every driver. The truck’s appeal doesn’t end with the eight trims since GMC gives drivers a wealth of bed lengths, engines, transmissions, and cab styles to choose from. Add in the optional equipment packages plus the choice of RWD or 4WD and you’ve got one of the most adaptable pickups on the market today. This approach has led to great success for the Sierra 1500, which has steadily climbed through the full-size pickup rankings to become one of the best-selling trucks in the segment. With more than 240,000 units moved in 2022 alone, the GMC Sierra is well on its way to giving the established segment leaders a run for their money.