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2011 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Extended Cab

Overview
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2011 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Extended Cab Review

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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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2011 GMC Sierra 3500 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 763 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

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

my second GMC Sierra - have really liked both

By on Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "reliable, good looking,"

Cons: "Maintenance and repairs are expensive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have enjoyed this truck thoroughly. It is my second GMC Sierra 1500 SLT model. They have both exceeded my expectations and have proved to be reliable. Repairs are expensive, but I've had few. My previous truck is still going strong with 200,000 on it. My son now has that one and is still getting good service out of it."

4 people out of 11 found this review helpful

A Towing Beast

By on Monday, March 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "strong, reliable, great road manners, good on fuel"

Cons: "20" rims limit tire choices greatly, price tag"

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

"This is my 8th pickup truck and the most reliable and powerful owned to date. Being a Denali tells you it has all the bells and whistles for creature comforts but it is the Duramax engine coupled with the Allison Transmission that sets this truck apart. I pull a flatbed equipment trailer and a dump trailer that worked the 6.0 liter 2500HD very hard. The 2500HD Denali with the Duramax laughs at the load and does it all quietly and with a smooth precision that surprised me even after three years."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

09 Sierra is rock solid even after 110000 mi

By on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Solid, no flex rattlefree ride, fully-boxed frame"

Cons: "minor paint peel on roof"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The 09 Sierra is the best made and least-recalled truck in this series. The only item that went bad was the power steering cooler behind the front grille, replaced under warranty, nothing else broke of note."

5 people out of 15 found this review helpful

very nice and reliable truck

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "This is a solid truck, does what it is supposed to"

Cons: "The center console could be better"

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

"I've driven this truck since it was new. I have had no minor or major maintenance issues whatsoever. I have changed the cooling to the green stuff and did change out the spark plugs at 80,000 because I wanted to change them, not because the truck had any performance issues. Mine has the 6L engine and we pull a 28' trailer on vacations and it does this task very well. It is comfortable to drive long distances in even with 4 adults putting the rear centeris too cosey, but we do it anyway."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

very dependable

By on Thursday, February 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "mpg and dependable"

Cons: "ground clearance"

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

"The only thing that I have ever had to do is oil changes. Even the wipers are original love this truck. I have taken this out west, pulled my camper, hauled wood, and I have the worst driveway on earth yet 0 issues."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

excellent value

By on Sunday, February 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

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
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "above average ride comfort, nice towing vehicle"

Cons: "gas milage, not an extendable steering wheel"

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

"overall excellent vehicle for multiple use, a little problem parking in typical shopping centers parking lots"

22 people out of 44 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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