2015 Sierra 3500HD New Car Test Drive
The GMC Sierra HD rolls into the 2015 model year looking like a new truck: The 2015 GMC Sierra HD gets new sheetmetal, a new cab, and interior and infotainment systems that debuted on the light-duty 2014 Sierra 1500. A Sierra Double Cab with four conventional doors replaces last year's extended cab, and all are roomier. What's underneath isn't necessarily new, but evolutionary updating or proven components.
GMC Sierra HD heavy-duty pickups are well suited to real-world use and abuse. They can haul tons of brick and cement and tow the concrete pump, then turn around to be used for a night on the town or grocery shopping while the fifth-wheel's left in camp or the horses are in the corral. If your hauling is lighter and happens once or twice a year or you tow a bass boat or ski boat, then the 1500-series may be better suited. If your load is heavy, however, or you do a lot of towing, the Sierra HD is the ticket, especially with the diesel engine. We found it towed a 5000-pound trailer load like it wasn't there and a 15,000-pound trailer with ease.
The luxurious Denali model is available in both 2500 and 3500 models. The 2015 GMC Sierra HD Denali comes standard with heated and cooled front seats, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel and a reconfigurable instrument panel, among other things. Denali is GM's response to Ford's King Ranch or Platinum and Ram's Lariat Longhorn. And Denali gives the GM HD owner a unique choice Chevrolet doesn't offer.
The 2015 GMC Sierra HD is built on the same chassis as the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and shares all sheetmetal with it. Different hood trim, lights, grille, wheels, ruby red badges and red cabin illumination highlights (rather than aqua) distinguish the GMC from the Chevrolet.
For 2015, Sierra HD adds more standard equipment, like a locking tailgate, cruise control integrated diesel exhaust braking, electronic stability control and trailer sway control across the line. Updated infotainment systems will be available fall 2014 to turn your truck into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Additionally, Sierra HD carries GMC's Pro Grade Protection that covers scheduled maintenance (including diesel exhaust fluid, oil changes and tire rotations) for 2 years or 24,000 miles.
As with all heavy-duty pickup lines, the 2015 Sierra HD offers plenty of configurations with three cab styles, two bed sizes, single or dual-rear wheels and 2WD or 4WD. A 6.0-liter gasoline V8 is standard, rated at 360 horsepower for all pickup bodies. Power ratings aren't as high as the competition's gasoline engines. It's also offered to run on CNG, dropping power ratings to 301 hp and 333 lb-ft.
The 6.6-liter turbodiesel with 765 pound-feet of torque (more than twice the gas engine's) is competitive with Ford's Super Duty at 400 hp and 800 lb-ft and Ram's 350-385 hp and 660-850 lb-ft. GM and Ford use 6-speed automatics in their trucks; Ram offers a choice of 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual.
For the entry price you get a functional pickup with load-carrying ability, but for big towing expect to pay much more. Options can add up quickly, with the diesel engine ($7195) and its required transmission upgrade ($1200) among the most expensive, but the tow rating improves in some cases by almost five tons.
The trick in buying the right GMC Sierra HD is to give fair consideration and choose wisely. Compute the permutations among three cabs, two weight classes, two beds, two engine/transmission combinations, two drive systems and four trim levels, and then sort out options that cover everything from a diesel radiator cover to rear park assist, and you can see why prices can more than double from the baseline.
The 2015 GMC Sierra HD offers three cabs, two beds, five wheelbases, rear or four-wheel drive and four trim levels. The Vortec 6.0-liter V8 and 6-speed automatic comes standard, the Duramax diesel with a stronger Allison 6-speed automatic is optional ($8,395) on almost all of them. Regular Cabs and most 3500 are long bed (8-foot) only, 2500 four-doors are standard (6.5-foot) or long bed; Crew Cab 3500 offers standard bed or long bed. From the least expensive version, each step up in cab size costs $3000-$5000, a long bed about $200 more than a 6-foot, 6-inch version, while four-wheel drive is approximately $3,000.
Sierra HD WT models are work trucks with vinyl upholstery, rubberized floor covering, black door handles and mirrors, steel wheels and floor-shift for 4WD. They come with air conditioning, AM/FM stereo, 2 USB ports and MP3 jack, EZ lift/lower locking tailgate, cruise control, driver information center, 40/20/40 manual-recline front seats, rear bench seat, tilt wheel, chrome grille and bumpers, tow hooks, intermittent wipers, and dual dash power outlets. The WT Crew Cab has a 60/40-split rear bench seat. Options on WT include cloth upholstery, stereo upgrades (XM, Pandora, SD slot, Bluetooth streaming and voice recognition), OnStar Directions & Connections (six months service trial), 18-inch wheels, camper mirrors, locking differential, trailering equipment, integrated trailer brake controller and deep-tint glass.
Sierra HD SLE versions improve with cloth 40/20/40 split bench seat with storage beneath, carpeting (though the WT floor is available), split-fold rear seat, 8-inch IntelliLink touchscreen with gesture recognition, OnStar with six months' service, cruise control, aluminum wheels, power heated mirrors/windows/door locks, visor vanity mirror/lights and electric-shift for 4WD. SLE options include heated buckets seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, navigation and backup camera, power sliding rear window, power heated camper mirrors, 20-inch wheels for single-rear wheel trucks, locking differential and Z71 off-road package.
Sierra HD SLT upgrades with leather, 10-way power heated front seats and two-person driver memory, dual-zone climate control, fog lamps, paint-matched trim, power folding mirrors w/signals, 18-inch polished forged aluminum wheels, locking differential, trailer equipment and integrated trailer brake controller. SLT-level upgrades include navigation and rearview camera, Bose audio system, rear-seat entertainment, moonroof, power sliding rear window, power heated camper mirrors, and 20-inch wheels.
Sierra HD Denali models get a unique grille, instrument panel, interior and exterior detailing, body-color bumpers, polished forged aluminum wheels, and EZ-Lift locking tailgate. Inside, Denali adds heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, IntelliLink navigation, 5 USB ports, SD slot, power adjustable pedals, driver memory system, tilt/telescope leather wheel with audio controls, 110-VAC outlet, rear camera, front/rear park assist, fog lamps, locking differential, trailering equipment, trailer brake controller, LED box lighting, chrome side, power defrosted sliding rear window and Bose audio system. Options include the diesel engine, moonroof, driver alert system (forward collision and lane departure warnings), polished aluminum wheels on duallys, and rear-seat entertainment.
Options include spray-on bedliner, bed covers, roof marker lamps, chrome tow hooks, larger or dual alternators, side steps, power heated camper mirrors, LED box lighting, block heater, snow-plow prep for 4WD, high-idle switch, radiator cover and camper/fifth-wheel wiring.
Safety features include frontal airbags, front-side airbags and front side-curtain airbags (on 2500), front seat belt pretensioners, six months OnStar Directions & Connections, electronic stability with trailer sway control and tire-pressure monitors on 2500. Safety related options include front-side airbags and front side-curtain airbags (3500), forward collision alert, lane departure warning, park sensors, backup camera and integrated trailer brake controller.