2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD

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Updated: September 9, 2019

2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD

The 2019 GMC Sierra 2500 HD is the brand’s full-size, heavy-duty pickup truck. It’s reached the end of its latest generation, and soon will be replaced by a new model. 

Closely related to Chevrolet’s Silverado HD, the Sierra 2500HD still functions as a sleek and stylish workhorse. While well-dressed and packed with features (especially in top Denali trim), the 2500HD stands ready for demanding action. In addition to the 3/4-ton 2500 series, the Sierra HD can be obtained in heavier-duty 3500 form.

Nothing of consequence has changed for the 2019 model year, apart from dropping the Regular Cab version. A redesigned heavy-duty Sierra is ready to debut as a 2020 model.

Like rival truckmakers, GMC offers plenty of choices: extended (Double Cab) or Crew Cab body; standard (6.5-foot) or long (8-foot) cargo bed; rear- or four-wheel drive. A quartet of trims stretches from humble work truck to unabashed luxury vehicle. Specifically, the Sierra 2500HD comes in base, SLE, SLT, and chrome-bedecked Denali form. The posh Denali comes only in Crew Cab form. A regular-cab version, lacking a back seat, is no longer offered.

Two big, powerful V-8 engines can power the Sierra 2500HD: one gasoline, and one a turbodiesel. The 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 develops 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, while the 6.6-liter turbodiesel whips up 445 horsepower and a walloping 910 pound-feet.

Depending upon engine and configuration, a Sierra 2500HD can tow at least 13,000 pounds. Peak payload capacity can top 3,000 pounds.

Both engines mate with a 6-speed automatic transmission, but the turbodiesel gets a specially-engineered version, capable of accepting a torrent of torque.

The NHTSA gave the Sierra 2500HD a three-star rating for frontal impact, as well as four stars overall and for side-impact. No heavy-duty Sierra has been crash-tested by the IIHS.

Sierra 2500HD Denali trucks get forward-collision warnings, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings, along with a rear-seat reminder. These features are optional on SLE and SLT trim, but unavailable for the base model.

Available only in Crew Cab form, top-rung Denali models are almost the equivalent of a Cadillac-brand pickup. When loaded with options, a Denali can cost more than some high-end luxury cars.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $1,495 destination charge. Prices are for gasoline engine models. Crew Cab trucks can substitute the diesel V-8.

4WD Double Cab ($40,900) comes only with four-wheel drive, on a 144.2-inch wheelbase with standard-length bed. Included are a rearview camera, 7-inch infotainment screen, six-speaker audio, locking tailgate, front bench seat, vinyl mats, HID headlights, and 17-inch steel wheels. The extended-cab body has back seat, but only two full-size doors.

Double Cab Long Bed ($38,200 with rear-drive, $41,100 with four-wheel drive) rides on a 158.1-inch wheelbase.

SLE 4WD Double Cab ($46,800) comes only with four-wheel drive, on a 144.2-inch wheelbase with the standard bed. The SLE trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, under-seat storage, a remote locking tailgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and keyless entry.

The SLE Double Cab Long Bed ($43,600 with RWD, $46,900 with 4WD) rides on a 158.1-inch wheelbase.

 

Crew Cab ($39,000 with RWD, $41,900 with 4WD) has the standard bed, on a 153.7-inch wheelbase. The Crew Cab body has four full-size doors.

Crew Cab Long Bed ($39,200 with RWD, $42,100 with 4WD) rides on a 167.7-inch wheelbase.

SLE Crew Cab ($45,300 with RWD, $48,600 with 4WD) has a 153.7-inch wheelbase and a standard bed, with SLE trim.

SLE Crew Cab Long Bed ($45,500 with RWD, $48,800 with 4WD) rides on a 167.7-inch wheelbase.

SLT Crew Cab 153.7″ ($50,500 with RWD, $53,600 with 4WD) has a 153.7-inch wheelbase and a standard bed. The SLT trim adds leather upholstery, heated front seats and power mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, and remote start.

SLT Crew Cab Long Bed ($50,700 with RWD, $53,800 with 4WD) rides on a 167.7-inch wheelbase.

Denali Crew Cab 153.7″ ($56,600 with RWD, $59,800 with 4WD) has a 153.7-inch wheelbase and a standard bed. Denali trim includes heated/cooled front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, 20-inch wheels, 8.0-inch driver information display, wireless smartphone charging, Bose audio, front and rear parking assist, and navigation. Safety features include forward-collision warnings, lane-departure warnings, and blind-spot monitors.

Exterior

Despite more conservative styling than some rival heavy-duty trucks, the GMC Sierra HD pickups focus on appearance even more than their Chevrolet counterparts. All told, the Sierra ranks among the classiest heavy-duty pickups: more businesslike than casual in nature.

Chrome trim is a prominent part of the overall picture, but in an amount that blends effectively with the truck’s boxy profile. LED accent lights complement the look, which manages to come off as comparatively sedate. Squared-off wheel arches and big grille echo GMC’s smaller, light-duty Sierra 1500 series, and they work impressively with the HD’s larger body.

Interior

Emphasizing function over form, as practical trucks should, the cabin might almost be a little too sedate. Interior details serve as reminders of the pickup’s humble heritage, but the Sierra HD is impressively well-equipped at each trim level. Options abound, though, and most buyers tend to lean toward more costly, upper-trim models.

Every version is comfortable inside, but family-focused buyers typically gravitate toward the spacious Crew Cab models with their roomier, full-size back seats. Top-level Denali trim adds fine leather and more abundant chrome, along with wood trim and such comforts as heated and cooled front seats. A safety-alert seat is available for upper trim levels, in a Driver Alert option group that includes lane-departure and forward-collision warnings.

Center-mounted on the dashboard is a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, which operates with ease. Every relevant button, switch, or dial is within arm’s reach of the driver. The 8.0-inch touchscreen installed in upper trim levels is better yet. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability is included, and excellent 4G LTE wi-fi can be added.

Depending on model, a 3.5- inch black/white or 4.2-inch color driver information center is standard. A six-speaker audio system is standard, but upper versions can benefit from an upgraded Bose system.

Standard seating consists of a 40/20/40-split front bench, but upper-trim models substitute cloth-upholstery front bucket seats. Regular and perforated leather seat upholstery can take the place of fabric.

Driving Impressions

GMC’s Sierra HD follows the traditional recipe for heavy-duty pickups: big V-8 engines, producing heaps of torque. All that energy translates to seriously brawny capabilities for hauling and towing.

Among the mostly domestically-built heavy-duty pickup trucks in its category, the Sierra 2500HD ranks near the top. The Sierra HD can tow with the strongest rivals, while its sizable dimensions allow it to look the part of a heavyweight contender.

With so much energy on tap, either engine delivers admirable performance, working effectively with GMC’s 6-speed automatic transmission. Family-minded truckers are likely to be wholly satisfied with acceleration and behavior of the gasoline-engine version. Anyone who frequently tows heavy boats or trailers, or hauls loads that approach rated capacity, will probably be tempted by the 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8. Its 910 pound-feet of forceful torque is tough to overlook.

Even though its leaf-spring rear suspension yields a less-comfortable ride than some competitive pickups, the Sierra HD serves as an excellent long-haul cruiser, whether loaded with people or cargo. Like other full-size models, the 2500HD has road manners that favor straight-line stability over any kind of sporty handling. Even with the diesel engine underhood, too, the cabin remains comfortably quiet.

Heavy-duty pickups are not rated for fuel economy.

Final Word

Because the redesigned 2020 model already has been revealed, buyers of the outgoing generation should be able to find a favorable price on a well-equipped GMC Sierra HD. Heavy-duty Sierras are relatively quiet and comfortable, as well as spacious and highly capable. GMC’s luxury-fitted Denali should satiate just about anyone who savors a wealth of comforts and conveniences.

 

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.