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2011 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Extended Cab

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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 792 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

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

This rig is a highway hog, loves the road

By on Sunday, January 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "priced well, and it will get you down the road."

Cons: "Typical 2500 ride, no sliding rear window"

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

"Moved, changed jobs. Time to sell the Duramax. This rig has only pulled an enclosed car hauler, no 5th wheels. All highway miles. Gets 18-20 MPG on road. Clean, leather, nav. And most accessories. I bought new. Great pickup up truck. This is just another "Bullet Proof" 2011 GMC Duramax, thanks"

12 people out of 19 found this review helpful

I bought this vehicle 45 days ago

By on Sunday, November 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

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

"I bought this truck at a dealership with low mileage ,it runs great and had to bring it back because it sat for a while and the rotors were warped. They fixed the problem and the truck runs and looks great. My Silveroedo had 280 thousand miles on it and it was wrecked and still running. I love my 2009 Sierra. I kinda miss the 5.3 motor.My new truck has the 4.8 motor .I miss the low end tourge, but if if you put your foot into it you will get about the same performance.It seems quicker when you punch it,I dont know why but it backs down when quick when you let off of it,I love this truck, I hope I dont blow up the motor trying to make up for the 5.3 It sounds great when you work it. It handles really good for a big heavy truck.It is a nice truck !"

20 people out of 50 found this review helpful

Best vehicle i have ever owned

By on Thursday, November 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very reliable and strong"

Cons: "Emissions system still needs a little reengineerin"

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

"I have a 2013 Denali Crew Cab Dual. In first 85,000 miles, very few problems. Just brake hydro-boost replaced. Otherwise perfect vehicle."

6 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Great truck but has issues

By on Monday, October 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 171,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great for pulling"

Cons: "eats glowplugs"

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

"Love the truck and the power it has but i really don't like how it likes to have glow plugs go out so often. I keep replacing them regularly."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

I have had no problems or warranty issues at all!

By on Sunday, September 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,120

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"My Sierra 1500 has 20 inch wheels and rides very well and is comfortable.I have had no problems or warranty issues just change the oil and rotate the tiresetc.The gas mileage could be better but I like the get up and go effect so I can't complain."

21 people out of 38 found this review helpful

This truck is awsome!!!

By on Wednesday, September 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "depenable"

Cons: "dosen't turn real sharp"

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

"This is one of the best trucks I have ever owned. Almost 100k and is still going strong. I have never had one problem with this truck, I pull a 30 foot fifth wheel (13,000 lbs) and you don't even know is back there."

16 people out of 27 found this review helpful

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