The 2012 GMC Sierra 3500HD earned PickupTruck.com's top spot, garnishing title of Best Overall Truck after this year's Heavy Duty Hurt Locker test. The test compared similarly equipped heavy-duty models from GMC, RAM Trucks, and Ford. The test was conducted over 2,200 miles of terrain between Denver, Colo. and Laughlin, Nev. between July 11th-18th.
The GMC Sierra 3500HD offers a 6.0-liter gasoline V8 that produces 322 horsepower. The Ford F-350 comes with a 6.2-liter V8 producing 316 HP, and the RAM 3500 was the only model tested that featured an inline-6 diesel engine, producing 350 HP. All models feature standard four-wheel drive, and four-wheel antilock disc brakes.
The Sierra yielded the best-in-class results for towing; including both conventional ball-and-hitch and fifth wheel towing. GMC's engineers revamped the pickup box sills, rear springs, u-bolts, and box mounts. The result was a heavy-duty pickup truck capable of towing up to 23,000 pounds. The 2011 model, by comparison, was capable of towing only 21,700 pounds. Comparatively, both the RAM Trucks 3500 and Ford F-350 are capable of towing 22,700 pounds when pulling a fifth wheel.
The dually model Sierra also received best-in-class payload. The regular cab Sierra 3500 HD features a 7,215-payload capacity. The Ford F-350 was almost identical, offering 7,110 pounds maximum payload capacity. RAM's 3500 model came in last again, offering a mere 5,190 pounds maximum payload capacity.
The dually model's updated trailer hitch increases conventional towing from 17,000 pounds to 18,000 pounds. The Ford F-350 is a close second, capable of pulling 17,500 pounds via conventional towing. RAM Trucks came in last in conventional towing; the 3500 model is only capable of 12,050 pounds of conventional towing.