Can a New 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 5.3L V8 Handle a 4,600 Mile Road Trip? (Owner Review)

What is it like to purchase a new truck? We sent out a call to all of you to send in images and stories about your new truck purchasing process. This is also part of our latest “Dude I Love or Hate My Ride” video series.

Here are the images and the story from Richard D. All images and the story below are from Richard. You could send us your submissions to

“On or about December 6, 2018 I picked up my new truck from DeMontrond GMC in North Houston, TX. Drive out price, after discounts and no trade in, was $50,400 w/TT&L. I then spent the better part of the first 4 days pairing new phones, updating and adding OnStar, and figuring out the magic combination to match the My GMC app, the Android Auto app, and OnStar with the vehicle onboard electronics and computer. Much more complicated than it appeared originally, but my wife (the tech wiz) finally worked us through the “Matrix.” Next we added a bed cover by “UNDERCOVER”. It is a hard trifold ($995+ Installation), and proved to be exactly the right choice for our needs. We also got a simple $99 rubber/vinyl floor mat to cover the bed floor, and all was good. We filled the truck bed to the brim with gifts, luggage, cold weather gear, and a couple of pieces of furniture for our daughter in Idaho Falls. There had to be close to 600/750 pounds in the bed of the truck. We next filled the extra spaces under the rear seats and behind the rear seat back cushions with emergency medical kit, small tool box, tie down bungies, and extra USB and phone/computer cable connections.

We were now ready for our 10 day 7 state 4650+/- mile round trip from The Woodlands, TX (25 miles north of Houston) to Idaho Falls, Idaho to visit our daughter, her husband, and our 3 year old grandson. We left at 4 AM on Wednesday, December 12 and drove from The Woodlands, TX all the way through to Bernalillo, NM (just north of Albuquerque, NM). That was approximately 875/900+/- miles the first day. We arrived in Bernalillo around 6:00 PM Mountain Time, thus approximately 15 hours including two rather lengthy stops (one for lunch in Lubbock, TX and the second in Ft Sumner, NM to stroll through the “Billy the Kid” Museum). The truck drove fine and Android Auto (truck had no navigation) got us everywhere just like the route we plugged in. We used Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas, to find a great room at the Santa Anna Indian Casino and Resort in Bernalillo. The GMC truck averaged about 19.6/19.7 with a fully loaded bed for the first leg of the trip. I was more than pleased!

After a good rest, we woke the next morning and took a side trip over to Santa Fe, NM, approximately 200 miles round trip. We then struck out north and west from Bernalillo towards Durango, Colorado via highway 550 North. After a short delay in Durango, we still had some daylight so we decided to take a chance to slip through the mountain passes before late night and beat some predicted snow. The first pass was just outside the Purgatory Ski Area, and it was 10,700 feet at a pretty sharp incline rate (about 28 miles in length from 6000 feet to the summit and back down). There was some past snow remaining on parts of the road as we got over 7000 feet, and toward the summit the sun slipped behind the mountains, and it was quickly getting pretty dark at about 5:00 to 5:30 PM Mountain Time. So far, so good!

We stopped for a short pit stop in Silverton, Colorado just between the two peaks exactly as the night sky caught up with us. We weren’t aware of the second summit until the store clerk informed us. I said, “Well I’m sure it can’t be any tougher than the one we just left.” The store clerk just smirked and said, “Well this one is higher (11,000+ feet), and a lot curvier and steeper on the down side.” Great, and in the pitch dark also!!! Short version is the GMC didn’t miss a lick, never lost traction on much icier roads, and held the downgrade perfectly. I promptly named it “Battle Wagon” after that harrowing up and downhill roller coaster ride of only about 25+/- miles total. We shortly arrived at a great hidden gym of a town called Ouray, Colorado on the other side of the mountain from Telluride. It was picturesque, and truly a welcomed site after the prior less than relaxing double summit ride. Total for the second day: 200 miles to and around Santa Fe and back, and 268 miles to Ouray = approximately 468

Day three was relatively uneventful from Ouray, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah. Distance was approximately 380+/- miles, leaving a running total from The Woodlands, TX to Salt Lake City of approximately 1548 miles plus the 200 mile side venture to Santa Fe, or approximately 1748 total, thus far. We picked up our two 230/280 lbs. adult sons at SLC airport on Saturday after some sightseeing, and left for our final leg from Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls, Idaho. We didn’t get started to Idaho until around 8:30/9:00 PM that evening, thus it was plenty dark on a rather desolate small 2/4 lane highway. The LED headlights on the Sierra were great! I am 70 years young, and my eyes aren’t what they used to be, but there is plenty of light from those tremendous front beams.  Also, the speed limit was 80 most of the way, and we trucked on at about 5 MPH over the limit just about all the way. Roads were mostly clear until we reached about 50 miles south of Idaho Falls, but the truck did fine. That eight speed transmission, coupled with the 5.3 liter 355 HP engine, is a dream combination. The SLT had plenty of power in the steep mountains, and extremely good fuel mileage to boot. When we were full with 3 large passengers and one normal size female and a pickup bed loaded, the Sierra was consistently getting 21.6 MPG when it was going 78 MPH to 85 MPH. How good is that???

Three short days after arriving in Idaho Falls, I was unexpectedly called back to Texas for business reasons, thus having to leave my family and drive right back through the mountains of the West Rockies when snow was predicted, immanently. I decided to dodge as many mountains as possible and took I75 South all the way from Salt Lake City and then across the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff the first day/night. The second day I left Flag Staff and drove straight south through Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona all the way through New Mexico into Fort Stockton, Texas. The last leg was straight on I10 from Ft. Stockton into Houston and The Woodlands, TX. Total for the 3 day trip back was substantially longer at 2050+/- miles.

The Sierra was great all the way. I had to put 1.5 quarts of oil in it on the second leg coming back, as I got an oil warning message. I felt that was normal considering how hard I had pushed it on the entire trip. The total mileage was approximately 4,650 miles by the time I had gotten back. Average fuel economy was a whopping 19.8 MPG for the entire trip. Great truck even without all the bells and whistles! The dealership and the salesman, Gary West, were all great and very professional.”