Our friends at PickupTrucks.com have just completed their "HD Hurt Locker" comparison test, in which the GMC Sierra 3500HD, Ford F-350 and Ram 3500 were put through quite a series of tests. PickupTrucks.com editor Mike Levine called it a "grueling showdown among industry heavyweights that included towing 19,000-pound fifth-wheel trailers up and over some of the most demanding grades in the United States."

After seven days of testing, Levine and the rest of the PickupTrucks.com crew found that General Motors' offering, the Sierra HD, was the most capable in this test, outperforming the Ford and Ram trucks.

At 23,000 pounds, the Sierra 3500HD boasts the maximum fifth-wheel towing capacity in the group, as well as the greatest conventional towing capacity at 18,000 pounds. Follow the jump for GM's official statement about the results, and head over to PickupTrucks.com to read the full test.
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GMC Sierra 3500HD Wins Best Overall HD Truck

Beats Ford and Ram in PickupTrucks.com's "HD Hurt Locker" Comparison


DETROIT – The GMC Sierra 3500HD won PickupTrucks.com's "Heavy Duty Hurt Locker "comparison test, a grueling showdown among industry heavyweights that included towing 19,000-pound fifth-wheel trailers up and over some of the most demanding grades in the United States.

"We procured similarly equipped trucks from Ford, Ram and GMC and put them through the paces towing up and down some of the toughest grades in the country covering a total of 2,200 miles," said Mike Levine, editor of PickupTrucks.com. "When we analyzed the data, the GMC Sierra 3500HD simply outperformed the trucks from Ford and Ram."

The results of the comparison conducted July 11-18 between Denver and Laughlin, Nev., reflect improvements to the 2012 Sierra 3500HD that give Sierra best-in-class towing for both conventional and fifth-wheel trailers.

"Customers choose full-size trucks for their capabilities," said Rick Spina, vehicle line executive for fuill-size trucks. "So for 2012, we built on the foundation created in 2011, with engineering changes and additional validation designed to make the most capable heavy-duty pickup even better. Based on PickupTrucks.com's test results, it looks like we got the job done."

For enhanced fifth-wheel towing, engineers strengthened the pickup box sills and other box structures, rear springs, u-bolts, and box mounts, and upgraded the shock tuning. As a result, Sierra 3500HD now has a best-in-class tow rating of 23,000 pounds, up from 21,700 pounds in 2011.

Sierra also will lead the class in dually payload, with a 7,215-lb. payload for the 3500HD regular cab gasoline dually. Updates to the trailer hitch receiver increase conventional towing to 18,000 pounds, up from 17,000 pounds last year Both changes will be on models arriving in dealerships in the fourth quarter.

"We know heavy-duty pickups are one of the most-competitive segments, with some of the most knowledgeable customers there are," said Spina. "So for 2012, we worked on making our trucks even more capable than before."

Other updates for the 2012 Sierra Heavy Duty trucks include a new navigation radio with enhanced display that has a hard drive, eliminating the need for discs with map data.

Sierra continues to offer OnStar, a segment exclusive, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth for phone and USB connectivity.

Sierra delivered its best sales month of the year in July, driven by increased demand for heavy duty models. Retail HD sales were up 29 percent and total HD sales are up 34 percent year to date, and nearly as much in both categories year over year. Retail sales for the full Sierra lineup grew 2 percent year over year, with total sales up 6 percent.


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  • 33 Comments
      72CJ5driver
      • 3 Years Ago
      Reading through the test shows that these trucks are evenly matched and extremely capable. The 0-60 time loaded or unloaded differ by less than 1 second, The braking distance differ by around 20-25 feet (about 1 truck length) The hill climb test differ by less than 4 minutes. The exhaust braking test have bigger variability, but considering that 5 years ago none of these trucks offered that feature, simply having it is good. And the fuel economy spread is 1mpg from best to worst. In reality little more than brand preference and price would lead one truck to sell more than the other. The end result is, if you need to tow a nimitz class aircraft carrier, and dont want to drive a medium duty size truck, you really can go wrong with any of these vehicles. But those prices are nuts! nothing under $55k!
      MechE
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't believe how close these three are to each other, the competitiveness is insane. It all comes down to which brand you prefer. Even if one was a clear winner and the other two had much more significant downfalls, a Ford guy is going to get a Ford and a Dodge guy is going to get a Dodge.
      razrrick13
      • 3 Years Ago
      I kind of get excited when I see a truck like this on the road (as much as an S-Class or a Vette) becuase they are so powerful, huge, and expensive (not to mention that huge pipe stickin out the back for Diesels!)
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      While GMC was the overall winner, I noticed that the Ford had the best overall fuel economy. It also had the best braking on flat terrain, both loaded an unloaded, by a wide margin. As a fleet manager, I would definitely have to take those two qualities into heavy consideration before purchasing.
      tritonstrategies
      • 3 Years Ago
      Didn't GM already do this with Howie Long? Once again, so much for Ford boasting about the most torque.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Dark Gnat
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford and Crysler recently revamped their truck line, meaning GMC/Chevy is the most outdated of the three, yet still bested them. GM's upcoming refresh is rumored to offer diesels and 8-speed trannys, which will widen the gap even more.
        Jazz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dark Gnat
        It will still be built by the pot smoking, drunk UAW thugs.
      Smitty_Smithenson
      • 3 Years Ago
      800 ft-lbs what? The General pwns!
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      The competition was a lot closer than a simple statement of victory led me to believe. Except for the up and downhill haul (a part of which will be on the standardized towing test!) it is very close all around. Go Cummins, they're not afraid to bring a 6 to a V8 fight, and do respectably too.
      Jazz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why would someone buy these. Just get a full blown SEMI truck.
      LoneWolf
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, so much GM hate here......that leads to the conclusion the haters are Ford drivers? ;p
      That Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just for fun they should of tested the Silverdo 3500hd too. In all honesty nobody buys trucks cause one is rated to tow a 1000 pounds more these days, it's all about looks and brand presence and i'm a ford man.
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