Review- 2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD: All New In All The Right Places

Big trucks and Americans – they go together like McDonalds and fries right? Well until recently, they certainly did! With the crash of the economy, the rise of gasoline prices and many people selling their recreational toys, a lot has changed.

Not as many people are buying big trucks to haul big toys around while still using them for daily driving. The overall cost is just too much.

Where does that leave us? People that really need them are buying more and more of the big trucks we see on the road. Construction workers, contractors, mechanics, and the list goes on. These are the people that rely on their trucks day in and day out, through the heat and the cold. They need the truck to get the job done.

GMC recently launched their all-new 2011 Sierra 2500HD to compete with the refreshed competition. Looking at the truck, you might not notice that it is all-new. The money was spent where it should be (for a truck), mainly on the powertrain and the frame/suspension.

The sheet metal itself is essentially the same. The main changes to the exterior consist of a larger grille up and air inlets up front for better cooling. Luckily for GMC, the Sierra wasn’t a bad looking truck to begin with.

The interior is also essentially unchanged. With a functional design, the interior is terrific for its larger buttons and gauges. It makes the truck a great work truck for people that are wearing gloves.

Plenty of storage cubbies are strewn about the cabin and the seats are firm and supportive, though a little flat on the bottoms. Like the last generation heavy duties and the current Silverados, the interior has quite a bit of hard plastic. I am glad they decided to spend the money elsewhere though instead of gussying up the cabin.

The frame of a truck along with the powertrain and suspension are, in my opinion, the three most important aspects. GMC agrees and that is where the focus was laser pinpointed. A new fully boxed frame sits beneath the sheet metal. The front suspension is independent (unlike Ford and Dodge’s heavy duties), while the rear has wider leaf springs. The ride is fairly impressive, even when unloaded.

The truck I was in was equipped with GM’s 6.0 liter gasoline V-8. It pushes out 397 horsepower and 400 pound feet to the rear (or all four) wheels, through a one choice six-speed transmission. I was impressed with the transmission programming, as it wasn’t jumping at the chance to upshift every second.

Instead, it did its best to stay in the meat of the power band almost all the time. The programming clearly is focused more on towing rather then absolutely maximizing fuel mileage, which for this type of vehicle is terrific!

I take full responsibility as I messed up – I planned poorly for having this truck. Being so swamped with Fireball Run planning, the ball was dropped on making arrangements for some awesome towing. I assure you when I have another large truck (that’ll be soon), it will not happen again.

Is the new GMC Sierra 2500HD the king of the super duty hill? Well, I honestly can’t answer that. It is without a doubt a highly capable, heavy duty hauler though.

It is refined and powerful.  However, the competition has all upped their games and I have not had the opportunity to drive all of them. I will say this – if you are buying a new heavy duty truck, you would be making a mistake to at least not take a look at the new GMC Sierra 2500HD.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

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3 Responses to “Review- 2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD: All New In All The Right Places”

  1. Greg #

    Good review, I agree with your comments. In July I purchased a 2011 GMC Sierra HD with Duramax. This is one awsome truck. I have owned 3 past models of GMC Sierra with Duramax, and this one is by far the best. The changes in the Duramax are great. This truck is very quick from a start. I pull a 32′ 5th wheel and was impressed with the new exhaust brake. The 4 wheel disk brakes are also larger on the 2011 model. A we cant forget a important part… It was built in Flint, Michigan USA. Great Job GM.

    10/21/2010 at 7:55 pm Reply
  2. AlexB #

    Great photos Joel!

    10/29/2010 at 9:59 pm Reply

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