If you're searching for a new full-size pickup, you have two basic choices. You can get a light-duty truck, which already offers more than most shoppers need thanks to a huge bed, strong towing capacity, a spacious cabin and a commanding driving position. Or, you can get a full-size heavy-duty truck that offers serious commercial-grade abilities. The 2015 GMC Sierra 2500HD falls into the latter category.
Fully redesigned for the 2015 model year, the Sierra 2500HD offers an impressive set of abilities, ranging from muscular towing capacity to exceptional hauling potential. Compared to last year's model, it also offers a new look, a new interior and some new equipment, meaning the latest Sierra HD boasts a fresh take on the competitive world of the heavy-duty pickup.
What's New for 2015?
For the 2015 model year, the Sierra 2500HD is fully redesigned. It keeps last year's engine but boasts a new look inside and out, several new features and a newly available double cab model with rear-hinged rear doors.
What We Like
Can tow and haul just about anything; muscular engines; very capable on the job site; excellent new cabin
What We Don't
Engines carried over unchanged from last year's truck; no stick shift
Drivers interested in a 2015 Sierra 2500HD can choose between two different engines, both mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard is a 6.0-liter V8 that makes an impressive 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. For drivers interested in towing or hauling larger items, GMC also offers a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 that makes nearly 400 hp and a monstrous 765 lb-ft of torque. Due to the Sierra's size, the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't provide official fuel ratings for the truck, but we expect it will return something in the neighborhood of 15 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 GMC Sierra 2500HD comes in a wide variety of trim levels and body styles. In addition to choosing an engine, drivers can pick between regular and crew cabs, along with the newly available extended cab model. Drivers can also choose from regular or long beds and 2- or 4-wheel drive.
As for trim levels, the Sierra starts with a base model called simply the Sierra ($32,000). It's mainly designed for no-frills use on the job site, and it includes few features beyond an AM/FM stereo, vinyl seating and air conditioning. Base-level Sierra models don't even include keyless entry or power mirrors as standard equipment.
Next up is the Sierra SLE ($36,800), which adds all the creature comforts not found on the base model. Such items include power accessories, tinted glass and alloy wheels, along with GMC's IntelliLink infotainment system, a CD player, satellite radio and OnStar.
Above the SLE is the upscale SLT ($44,000), which offers dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery with heated front seats, a backup camera, larger wheels, an automatic locking rear differential, power folding mirrors, chrome interior and exterior trim and fog lights.
Topping the range is the pricey Sierra Denali ($50,000), which adds luxury-car-like features ranging from cooled seats to a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and a Bose sound system. Denali models also come with a special trim and extra chrome to set them apart from other Sierra models.
In terms of options, the Sierra 2500HD offers quite a few. In addition to the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine, Sierra buyers can also opt for a heavy-duty trailer package, 4-wheel drive, power adjustable pedals and rear park assist. The Sierra also adds new safety equipment for the 2015 model year, ranging from forward-collision alert to a lane-departure warning system that vibrates the driver's seat when the pickup drifts from its lane.
All Sierra 2500HD models boast side-curtain airbags, GM's StabiliTrak electronic traction and stability-control system, a tire-pressure monitor and daytime running lights. Options include a backup camera, a forward-collision alert system, a lane-departure warning system and park assist.
Because it's so new, the Sierra 2500HD has not yet received crash-test ratings from the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Behind the Wheel
If you're used to piloting a full-size pickup truck, you won't find any big surprises when you climb inside the Sierra 2500HD. Sure, the new model is improved over last year's truck thanks to a handsome new cabin and better driving dynamics. But any heavy-duty Sierra is still a full-size truck, and that means you should expect light steering, a high seating position and huge dimensions that don't make the truck very friendly to drive in the city.
With that said, we're especially impressed by one particular aspect of the Sierra: its ride. The pickup manages to cancel out road noise better than any competitors, even when the 6.6-liter turbodiesel engine is working as hard as it possibly can. It also takes bumps with ease, though that trait is hardly unique among similar full-size trucks.
Inside, the Sierra's new dashboard impresses us with a modern look that's rarely seen in the heavy-duty-pickup world, especially with the truck's newly available 7-inch in-dash touchscreen and modern safety features. Climbing into the back, we're in awe of just how much interior room GMC has managed to cram into this truck, though we still wouldn't recommend it for family use or city drivers, given its sheer overall size.
Other Cars to Consider
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD -- The Silverado 2500HD is mechanically identical to the Sierra. Although the Chevy doesn't offer the upscale Denali trim, you might be able to get a better deal on the Silverado than the Sierra. We suggest checking out both models.
RAM 2500HD -- The heavy-duty RAM boasts some unique features, such as self-leveling suspension and a manual transmission. There's also no denying that its 6.7-liter engine is among the best in the business. But the Sierra offers far more equipment than the RAM -- and a newer cabin.
Ford F-250 -- The F-250 may be ready for a redesign, but it still boasts excellent capabilities and some of the best deals currently available in the heavy-duty-pickup market.
Because the Sierra 2500HD is offered in so many trim levels and configurations, it's impossible to recommend one that stands above all others. Instead, we think you should choose the pickup that best suits your needs, whether it's a high-end Denali model for shoppers who want luxury, or a base-level Sierra equipped with the 6.6-liter turbodiesel engine for drivers who want a no-frills work truck that will tirelessly deliver excellent performance on the job site.