2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

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March 7, 2019

Buying tip

With a new model already announced, now is the time to get a serious deal on a well-equipped 2019 GMC Sierra HD.

The 2019 GMC Sierra is set to be replaced, but the outgoing truck is a sleek, stylish powerhouse.

The 2019 GMC Sierra is a tailored suit over a denim shirt. Based on the Chevrolet Silverado HD, the Sierra HD similarly comes in 2500 and heavier-duty 3500 flavors but with more emphasis on style and features. Top-tier Denali models are as close as you can get to a Cadillac pickup, and with a powerful gas or diesel V-8, there’s not much the Sierra HD can’t do. We give it 6.3 out of 10 overall, a strong rating for a model that’s set to be replaced for 2020. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2019, the Sierra HD adds an additional paint color ahead of a redesign.

Though now a generation old, the Sierra HD is one of the classiest-looking heavy duty trucks, with just the right amount of boxy styling, chrome trim, and LED accents to look more business than casual. Inside, the cabin emphasizes function over form, but for a utility-oriented vehicle, that’s just fine by us.

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Power is supplied by your choice of V-8: either a 360-horsepower, gas-fed 6.0-liter beast or a massive 6.6-liter turbodiesel with 910 pound-feet of torque. The latter can tow up to 23,100 pounds in top spec, and with 6,000 pounds of maximum payload capacity, the Sierra HD is toward the top of its segment in capability.

Offered in rear- or four-wheel drive, regular, extended, and crew cab, and with either an 8-foot or 6.5-foot bed you can have a Sierra HD in almost any configuration, including with a dual rear axle. Trims run the gamut from humble work truck to downright luxury vehicle, and ascend from base through SLE, SLT, culminating with the chrome-laden Denali. With every option, a Sierra Denali is more costly than some high-end luxury cars, although it’s nearly as plush inside.

As they aren’t considered “light duty” vehicles, heavy-duty pickup trucks are not required to disclose fuel economy information and they’re not crash tested.

 
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2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD

Styling

The 2019 GMC Sierra HD is business casual: a denim shirt under a tailored suit.

The 2019 GMC Sierra HD is more conservatively styled than other heavy-duty trucks, and that’s not a bad thing. We give it 6 out of 10 for style… and chrome. So much chrome. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Though the current Sierra HD has a replacement for 2020, we prefer the sedated style of the current model, which takes the Silverado’s blue-collar appeal and classes it up a bit. Squared-off wheel arches, headlights, and a big grille echo the smaller Sierra 1500, and it translates well to a bigger truck.

Inside, however, the cabin is almost too sedated, but we appreciate the commitment to function over form. A 7.0-inch touchscreen takes center stage, but every relevant button, switch, or dial is within arm’s reach.

Denali models turn up the chrome and leather to 11, and while it looks impressive, feel is a different story. Still, coupled with the amount of features you can get on this truck, it might as well have a Cadillac badge up front.

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2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD

Performance

The 2019 GMC Sierra boasts big V-8 power that makes it one of the most capable vehicles on the road.

The 2019 GMC Sierra HD uses old-school power to offer impressive capability, even among strong heavy-duty competition. We give it 5 out of 10. Its pair of V-8s can haul with the best of them, but there’s no masking its heft. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Sierra HDs come standard with rear-wheel-drive or with optional four-wheel drive, and either a gas-powered or diesel V-8 for motivation.

The standard engine is a 6.0-liter V-8 with 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. In its lowest spec, this engine can tow more than 13,000 pounds and haul 3,500 pounds of payload in the bed.

The big dog engine option is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8, which makes 445 hp and a whopping 910 lb-ft of torque. Naturally, this engine increases the Sierra HD’s capacity, as 3500 models can tow up to 23,100 pounds with a gooseneck or fifth wheel hitch (which would require a commercial driver’s licnese) and haul 6,112 pounds in the bed.

A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines, though the diesel version gets a specially-engineered version to handle all of that torque.

The Sierra HD uses a front strut and rear leaf spring suspension setup that’s better for towing than comfort, so it’s not quite as plush to ride in as competitors like the Ram HD series. But if you’re buying a heavy-duty pickup, you’re not buying it for comfort, are you?

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2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 GMC Sierra HD is quiet, comfortable, spacious, and capable: the perfect recipe for a heavy-duty pickup.

Heavy-duty pickups often sacrifice comfort in the name of capability, but the 2019 GMC Sierra HD proves you can have your cake and eat it too. We give it 7 out of 10 for comfort and quality. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

In terms of configurations, you can have a Sierra HD any which way. The big GMC comes in regular, extended, and crew cab with either an 8-foot or 6.5-foot bed and two- or four-wheel drive. Those who expect their truck to do double duty—hauling and family transporting—should opt for the spacious crew cab. With optional features like 4G LTE wi-fi, the Sierra HD is a veritable office or living room on wheels.

All versions of the Sierra HD are comfortable, but the top-tier Denali adds fine leather, acres of chrome, and wood trim as well as comfort features like heated and ventilated seats up front. Though the suspension is less comfortable than other competitors, the Sierra HD is an excellent long-haul cruiser, and even with the diesel engine equipped, it’s pleasantly quiet inside.

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2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD

Safety

Full crash test results are not yet available, but those that do exist are not promising for the 2019 GMC Sierra HD.

The 2019 GMC Sierra HD hasn’t been crash tested by all agencies, and therefore we’re unable to give it a score in this category. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

However, those tests that do exist aren’t particularly comforting, and no active safety features are available other than warning sensors.

While untested by the IIHS, the federal government gave the Sierra HD models four stars overall, with only three stars in frontal and rollover crash tests.

The top-tier Denali model adds forward collision, blind spot, and lane departure warning as well as and rear-seat reminders, but these features are extra on SLE and SLT trucks and unavailable on the base model. OnStar does come standard with emergency service notification in the event of an accident, however.

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2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD

Features

The 2019 GMC Sierra HD comes well-equipped as standard, but most buyers will shell out for top trim models.

Though its humble pickup roots signal a down-market interior, the 2019 GMC Sierra HD impresses even in base form.

We rate it at 7 out of 10, with points for its good infotainment and seemingly endless customizability. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All models come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, power features, and cloth upholstery. SLE models add keyless entry, a 4.2-inch gauge cluster display, remote locking tailgate, and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen. Stepping up to the SLT adds leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch wheels, remote starting, and the option for the All Terrain X HD off-road package, which beefs up the suspension and other components for adventures beyond the pavement.

Denali models are veritable luxury vehicles, with standard heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery throughout, a heated steering wheel, 20-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch driver information display, wireless phone charging, Bose audio, front and rear parking assist, satellite navigation, and passive safety features like forward collision, lane departure, and blind spot warnings.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is one of our favorites and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard as well as the option for an excellent 4G LTE wi-fi system.

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2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD

Fuel Economy

Heavy-duty pickups are not rated for fuel economy, so we’re unable to give the 2019 GMC Sierra HD a score here.

Fuel efficiency for heavy-duty pickups slot somewhere between “who cares?” and “what’s that?” for most owners, and apparently for the EPA as well. As such, we’re unable to give the 2019 GMC Sierra HD a score for fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

However, as trucks become more popular, heavy-duty pickups are increasingly subject to family duty instead of hauling, so fuel economy is an important consideration. We’ve seen about 19 mpg on a 500-mile highway drive across Wyoming in a Sierra 2500 HD in the past, so take that as you will.

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$38,200
MSRP based on 2WD Double Cab 158.1"
 
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6.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy N/A
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