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2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD Review

With the completely redesigned GMC heavy-duty trucks only months away, the 2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD is unchanged. In their hearts, HD trucks are first and foremost work trucks. But the Sierra HD trucks are also designed to haul families to work and play. They straddle that line between sweat and swagger. The 2500HD provides a comfy ride, high-end cabin (particularly in Denali trim) and impressive towing. It has it all.

Among its key, non-GM competitors, the Ram HD trucks beat the GMC HD trucks to the punch in terms of a redesign. Ram extensively upgraded those trucks for 2019. So, you might want to do some cross shopping. But GMC HD trucks remain an excellent choice. And the Denali grade is a real step up in luxury.

What’s New for 2019?

The Sierra 2500HD returns unchanged. See the 2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Can tow and haul just about anything
  • Muscular engines
  • User-friendly technology
  • Multiple towing cameras
  • Classy Denali model

What We Don’t

  • Technically lower maximum tow capacity than Ford or Ram trucks
  • Telescoping steering wheel only standard on upper trims

How Much?


Fuel Economy

Drivers interested in a 2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD can choose between two different engines, both mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard is a 6.0-liter V8 that produces a capable enough 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the optional 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 that pumps out 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. Towing capacities aren’t significantly higher with the diesel, but believe us, all that extra torque makes a serious difference.

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 for combined city and highway driving.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 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 cab, extended cab and crew cab. Drivers can also choose from regular or long beds and 2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. There are base Sierra, SLE, SLT and Denali trim levels. Prices include the factory delivery charge.

As for trim levels, the Sierra starts with a base model simply called the Sierra ($40,495) that actually comes pretty well-equipped. Standard features include 17-in steel wheels, xenon headlights, LED running/accent lights, power locks, manual windows, cruise control, a front bench seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a backup camera, a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack and a 6-speaker sound system. Also standard is a 7-in IntelliLink touchscreen that brings with it Bluetooth and Pandora. You have a choice of cloth or vinyl upholstery.

Available in option packages for the base Sierra are heated power outboard mirrors, remote keyless entry, a remote locking tailgate, a 110-volt power outlet, cargo-box lighting and trailering equipment.

Next up is the Sierra SLE ($46,795), which adds alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, full power accessories, keyless entry and a remote-locking tailgate, power windows, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a CD player, HD radio and an 8-in touchscreen.

Above the SLE is the upscale SLT ($51,995), which adds 18-in wheels, power-folding mirrors, heated 8-way power front seats, driver memory settings, power-adjustable pedals, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

To the SLT, you can add the All-Terrain HD package. Available only as a crew cab, it adds all-terrain tires, an off-road suspension, underbody protection, side steps, a spray-on bedliner, body-colored bumper trim, parking sensors and a heated steering wheel. The All-Terrain X HD package builds on that with special blacked-out trim, 18-in black wheels, upgraded off-road tires, power-folding tow mirrors and a sport bar over the bed that includes LED lights.

Then there is the popular, range-topping Sierra Denali trim ($58,095). It adds unique styling elements plus 20-in wheels, a spray-on bedliner, side steps, a power-sliding rear window, parking sensors, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, wireless smartphone charging and a Bose sound system.

In terms of options, the Sierra 2500HD offers quite a few, including upper trim level features as options on lower trims. In addition to the Duramax turbodiesel engine, Sierra buyers can also opt for a heavy-duty trailer package and high-tech safety gadgets that range from a forward-collision alert system 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, a backup camera and daytime running lights. Options include a forward-collision alert system, a lane-departure warning system, parking sensors and a variety of cameras intended to help you hitch a trailer and keep it in your lane.

In federal government crash-test ratings, all Sierra 2500HD cab styles received 4-star overall and front crash-test ratings, along with a 5-star side rating.

Behind the Wheel

If you’re accustomed to piloting a full-size pickup truck, you won’t find any big surprises when you climb inside the 2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD. Expect light steering, a high seating position and huge dimensions that don’t make the truck very friendly to driving in the city. With that said, we’re especially impressed by one particular aspect of the Sierra: its ride. Although it’s still not as smooth as the Ram and its coil-spring rear suspension, it doesn’t punish you over bumps or jostle you about as past heavy-duty trucks would. This is even the case when the bed and hitch are unused.

When it comes to engines, the new 6.6-liter turbodiesel is your best choice if you have serious towing and hauling needs — and isn’t that a given in the heavy-duty segment? Its mammoth 910 lb-ft of torque will pull, pull and keep on pulling no matter what you throw at it. It also benefits from a smart 6-speed transmission, extra cooling for extreme situations and a standard exhaust brake that takes stress off the brakes. When towing, we also appreciate the multiple cameras that help you hitch up a trailer as well as help keep an eye on its sides once underway.

Inside, the Sierra’s cabin design is a little more functional than its competitors, especially when comparing the popular, range-topping Denali trim to other high-dollar heavy-duty trucks. To some, that should actually be a good thing. We certainly appreciate its no-nonsense functionality, especially in terms of its user-friendly IntelliLink touchscreen controls. Climbing into the back, you will find an abundant room for the family, and there are plenty of creature comforts available to keep everyone comfortable and entertained.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 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.

2019 Ram 2500 — The totally redesigned heavy-duty Ram offers a HEMI V8, as well as a Cummins turbodiesel. The interior is among the best in the big-truck segment.

2019 Ford F-250 — The F-250 Super Duty remains a top choice in this segment with powerful engines and top-tier towing capacity.

Autotrader’s Advice

We suspect anyone seriously considering the 2019 GMC Sierra 2500 HD rather than its more affordable Chevy cousin wants a little more — and is willing to pay for it. In that spirit, we suggest swinging for the fences with the Sierra in Denali trim armed with the Duramax diesel. Not only will it give you bragging rights to one of the segment’s highest diesel horsepower ratings, but you’ll impress the daylights out of the gang at the country club. Find a GMC Sierra 2500HD for sale

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