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2011 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Extended Cab

Overview
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2011 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Extended Cab Review

By

GMC's Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD heavy-duty pickups don't look much different from the 2010s they replace, yet they're substantially upgraded and improved for 2011, and new top-of-the-line Denali models blend premium luxury and rugged, heavy-duty work truck capabilities. Most of the available investment budget went into all-new frames (much stiffer and stronger fully-boxed, high-strength steel) and suspensions (25 percent higher-load-rated independent front, asymmetrical leaf-spring rear) and the new Duramax turbo diesel V8/Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission powertrain. They boast an impressive array of segment bests, beginning with that new Duramax diesel, which is not only more powerful but also 11 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are a satisfied past or current Sierra HD owner, you will love these much-improved new ones despite their mostly carryover styling. Their performance, capabilities, refinement and fuel efficiency have improved, especially with their new and surprisingly quiet available Duramax turbo diesel V8.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you are a loyal and satisfied Ford or Dodge (now Ram) HD pickup owner, you may not find sufficient reason to switch to a new GMC. The Ram was new for 2010, the F-250/350 for 2011, and both are fully competitive in most areas.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 GMC Sierra HD's Duramax turbo diesel's power, torque, maximum conventional and fifth-wheel tow and payload ratings are best in class. Its fifth-wheel tow capability is 21,700 pounds, it can tow up to a 17,000-pound conventional load with its factory-installed hitch, and the Duramax is fully B20 biodiesel compatible.

Driving the Sierra 3500 HD Extended Cab

Driving Impressions We found towing a 9,500-pound trailer with a 2011 3500HD relatively easy due largely to its new 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8 and Allison transmission powertrain. Its massive (segment-best) 765 pound-feet...

of torque got that hefty rig rolling with ease, and its (segment-best) 397 hard-muscled horses kept it moving surprisingly smoothly and quietly. The ambience inside its nicely-appointed cabin was a pleasant surprise – so quiet at any speed that we could easily chat with passengers in the crew-cab's back seat. Another plus is the highly-effective, engine compression-assisted brakes. New for 2011 is "smart" exhaust braking that progressively restricts the diesel's exhaust, depending on speed and grade, to help slow the rig with added compression braking – especially useful on downhill grades. Other Sierra HDs we have sampled also showed marked improvements in ride, handling, steering and brake feel due mostly to their new, much stiffer frames and redesigned suspensions.

Exhaust braking
This system progressively restricts the diesel's exhaust – depending on speed and grade – to help slow the rig with added compression braking.

Remote starting
A favorite on any vehicle, this available feature is much appreciated on working trucks that operate in hot and cold weather extremes.

2011 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Extended Cab Details
Interior

The 2011 Sierra HD Work Truck (WT), SLE and SLT interiors are little changed in appearance but more refined in quietness and crafstmanship. A variety of useful compartments provides out-of-sight storage for everything from work gloves to laptops. With mobile WiFi, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, XM Satellite Radio and navigation, plus multiple charge points for multiple devices, these new trucks can be highly capable mobile workplaces. Denali models feature specific brushed-aluminum trim, power-adjustable pedals, a Bose premium surround audio system and 12-way power seats.

Exterior

2011 Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD models sport new a three-bar grille, a full-width chrome steel front bumper and a new louvered, powertrain-badged power-dome hood. A new lineup of 17- (dually), 18- and 20-inch wheel/tire combinations is available. Luxury Denali models are distinguished by a specific four-bar chrome grille with round air inlets, plus body-color bumpers, chrome door handles, chrome accents and polished forged aluminum wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS and Intelligent Brake Assist and six-speed automatic transmission are standard on all models, while StabiliTrak electronic stability control, Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist (but not Hill Descent Control) are standard on single-rear-wheel (non-dualie) models and new "Smart" Exhaust Braking comes with the available Duramax Diesel. Also standard are chrome front and rear bumpers, engine and transmission oil coolers, a driver information center, tilt steering wheel, automatic headlamps and front tow hooks. Standard safety features include front-seat airbags and a new high-strength tubular steel frame crossmember that improves crashworthiness.

Optional Equipment

Optional (or unavailable) on base 2WD Work Trucks are cruise control, power locks, windows and mirrors and a rear window defroster. The next-level SLE trim provides those plus remote keyless entry, OnStar, XM Satellite Radio, and a CD player, but not the rear-window defroster. The top-of-the-line SLT trim (available on Extended and Crew Cab models) adds leather, power seats and much more, while Denali models are fully loaded. Option packages are available, and other major options include navigation, a CD changer, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, remote start, premium wheels, a sunroof, a rear backup camera, an integrated trailer brake controller and pelvic/thorax and head-curtain airbags.

Under the Hood

The standard heavy-duty Vortec 6.0-liter gasoline V8 has a cast-iron block, aluminum heads and cam-in-block variable valve timing (VVT), which allows the engine to use late intake valve closing to improve efficiency and achieve an optimal balance of low-rpm torque and free-breathing, high-rpm horsepower. The 2011 Duramax turbo diesel offers significantly more power and torque, 11 percent better fuel efficiency, 30 percent less engine noise, improved strength and durability, new "smart" exhaust braking with the Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission and full B20 biodiesel capability. Its NOx emissions are reduced by some 63 percent via a Selective Catalyst Reduction aftertreatment system that uses urea-based Diesel (Emission) Exhaust Fluid (DEF) in a 5.3-gallon tank that needs to be replenished about every 5,000 miles.

6.0-liter V8
360 horsepower @ 5400 rpm
380 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

6.6-liter diesel V8
397 horsepower @ 3000 rpm
765 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

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Buying this car?

2011 GMC Sierra 3500 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 742 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

the truck has custom wheels and tires and lift

By on Friday, September 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "lift kit , mud tires, heated seats and leather"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"my truck has custom 17" rims and 33" tires with a 5" rough country suspension lift and has heated seats"

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Very reliable, no problems in 75k miles

By on Tuesday, September 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Appears to hold its value"

Cons: "Throttle lag"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"For a baseline pickup, I am very satisfied with its reliability and driveability. The only negative is throttle lag with the 4.3 V-6 engine."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I Love My Truck

By on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "loaded and smooth ride"

Cons: "big truck means plenty of gas"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We purchased this truck in 2007 but it is a 2008 model. When we first saw it we knew we had to have it. The body of the truck was amazing and had everything you can ask for inside. We have enjoyed it with no troubles as of yet. Hope to keep it for a very long time."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

One NICE truck!

By on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Like driving a Lexus"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've owned quite a few vehicles through the years...this has to be the best one ever. You are inside and hear nothing from the outside. Going down the road not a creak or rattle to be heard. And talk about power...I have the Denali with 403 hp...no passing problems here. MPG is not that great, but I have been told by others I seem to have a "lead foot"...."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Love this truck.

By on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Power, comfort, options, rear dvd trip fun, ride"

Cons: "AWD wish it was selectable, no bluetooth"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Clean Denali

"I really enjoy this truck and am very happy to own it. The long trips with 4 people are great with the DVD player for the back seat. It makes the time fly by."

Clean Denali

One of the best pick-ups I have ever owned

By on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great Truck"

Cons: "Speed Limiter"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The GMC Sierra Denali with the 6.2L engine has been a very dependable and fun truck to drive. My family and I have used it on a few long trips, one to the East Coast and another trip to Las Vegas. On a short trip from Vegas to 29 Palms, California the family was sleeping and I buried the pedal. The suspension is so good that no one woke up while I was doing close to 100 MPH. The interior road noise is very little and the cooling system keeps the cab cool even on those hot Houston days. As a Ford person most of my 55 years, this GMC has changed my mind forever. Sorry Ford."

18 people out of 31 found this review helpful

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