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BIG & Beautiful

GMC debuts a new Sierra heavy-duty pickup for 2015.

General Motors has been selling trucks for more than 110 years, and their best seller is the Sierra pickup with more than 150 possible configurations for customization.


The Sierra Denali 2500 HD has a lot of muscle and a considerable amount of luxury amenities and good looks. General Motors photo

For 2015, the heavy-duty (HD) versions–the 2500 and 3500–were restyled and upgraded inside and out. More comfort features were added while retaining the truck’s competitive ruggedness and towing power.

Our test drive was the top-of-the-line Sierra Denali 2500 HD four-wheel drive crew cab with the shorter 6.6-foot truck bed. The Sierra is powered by an optional Duramax 6.6-liter, cast-iron, turbo-charged diesel engine and paired with a six-speed Allison® transmission.

This truck is designed to operate under a rough-duty cycle for 200,000 miles without a major overhaul, aided greatly by 765 pounds of torque at low rpms. Buyers can expect the Sierra 2500 HD to hold a high resale value, even after towing up to 17,100 pounds with a fifth-wheel hitch.

An Exhaust Brake System reduces brake wear by controlling speed when descending a hill. Behind the wheel, power is ample, the ride properly truck-cushioned by a torsion bar front suspension and a two-stage leaf spring in the rear.

Safety options included warnings for blind spots, collisions, and lane departures, which helps when driving a 20-foot-long, 3.5-ton truck. With other options, including 20-inch all-terrain blackwall tires, the final price tag was $64,575 after a $1,500 discount.

While pricey, the workhorse-nature of Sierra 2500 HD was nicely offset with the upscale interior, with its white contrasting stitching, aluminum trim, comfortable leather seats, and versatile eight-inch screen and dashboard controls.

Twin instrument gauges are 3-D with a colored informational screen between. The navigation screen, using Interlink and its natural voice feature, was responsive with amply timed turning warnings. Knick-knack spaces and plug-ins are plentiful, and available music apps, like Pandora, use a clear-sounding Bose® audio system.

Outside, a bigger honeycomb grille, body-color bumpers, and power-dome hood identify it as a muscular 2015 model. Rear bumper steps provide easy access to the lined truck bed, which includes four metal loops that can be inserted on the sides for needed tie-downs. Ground clearance overall is 8.4 inches and step-in is 26 inches with a 17-inch high running board.

Likes: Mileage, ride, interior comfort, versatility, and handling

Dislikes: Price tag

Bottom Line: Large, powerful pickup with nice inside luxury.

Tom Crosby is a contributor from Charlotte, N.C.

November/December 2014 Issue

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