GMC Sierra 2500 - 3500 HD

GMC Sierra 2500 - 3500 HD
Initial drives on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona—alongside its blue-collar sibling, the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD—the new Sierra HD is more carlike than any four-ton pickup truck has a right to be. Yes, it’s still a Silverado twin underneath, with carry-over engines and frames, and that was enough for the previous-gen Chevy to grab first place in a heavy-hauling comparison test.

The HD’s interior is largely the same as the Sierra 1500’s, which is slightly better trimmed and more expressive than the Chevy’s. The supportive seats are comfy for long hauls, the controls have good adjustability, and the ergonomics are smartly arranged. The GMC’s dizzying array of options range from heated-and-cooled seats and forward-collision warning to an 8.0-inch touch-screen monitor with navigation. Denali models feature all of that and more, including a secondary 8.0-inch display in the cluster with customizable settings.

Of course, the Sierra’s most noteworthy extra is the 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V-8 ($7195)—still rated at 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque—paired with the superb Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission ($1200). Although a 360-hp, 6.0-liter gas V-8 is still standard (and available with compressed-natural-gas capability for $11,000), our drive time was limited to the diesel engine, which felt as strong as ever. We’ll be testing the new trucks soon on familiar ground, but the most significant take-aways from our stint include the stunning power of the Duramax, even uphill with a 16,000-plus-pound trailer in tow, and the improved integration of the exhaust and transmission brakes on descents.

Prices for 2015 increase slightly with the added equipment, and they’re still aspirational: Most of the mid-level diesel trucks we drove were in the $50,000 range, with Denali 3500 models reaching $65,000. The Ford Super Duty and the Ram Heavy Duty offer similar takes on the upscale workhorse and are sure to counter the GMC’s latest improvements. But until then, the Sierra HD seems to be the new benchmark for heavy-duty sophistication.


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