When the job at hand requires more grunt than a standard 1500 pickup truck can manage, those in the know call on the big guns from GMC, namely the 2014 GMC Sierra HD. Available in both 3/4- and 1-ton configurations, the Sierra HD has the muscle and frame strength to tow, haul and push objects that would leave lesser trucks burning up transmissions and dropping driveshafts. Beyond its numerous cab and axle configurations the Sierra HD also includes the Denali trim that brings a touch of sophistication to this working-class pack mule. Similar trucks from Ram and Ford offer roughly the same features and abilities, as well as resale, leaving the choice of getting a GMC purely up to buyer perception and preference.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you need to haul big payloads exceeding 10,000 pounds or conventionally tow up to 18,000 pounds, the 2014 GMC Sierra HD has you covered. The Denali trim should hold special appeal for those who use their work truck as a daily driver.
You May Not Like This Car If...
While the Sierra HD is powerful, it's not the king of the hill. The Ram 3500's 30,000-pound max towing capacity is off the charts, and its styling both inside and out is more modern than the Sierra HD.
For 2014, the gasoline-powered GMC Sierra gets a new standard 4.10 rear axle. The previous 3.73 axle remains optional. Also new are an available spray-in bedliner and the expansion of the bi-fuel gas/CNG 6.0-liter V8 to the 2500 model line.
Driving the Sierra 3500 HD Regular Cab
With its powerful 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 hard at work under the massive hood, we discovered our 2014 GMC Sierra 2500 HD had no trouble at all towing a 10,000-pound...
... trailer. A viable option to the gas V8, the turbodiesel churns out a healthy 397 horsepower and an even more astonishing 765 lb-ft of torque. For those taking notes, that's more horsepower but less torque than the Ram HD and less horsepower but more torque than Ford's Powerstroke diesel. As the towing and payload wars heat up, Ford's F-450 and Ram's 3500 currently take top marks for max towing, yet the Sierra beats the Ram in the area of conventional towing and payload. In our extensive testing of the complete Sierra lineup in rear-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive iterations, we found all the trucks exhibited a firm yet comfortable ride, acceptable steering feedback and excellent stopping power.
EXHAUST BRAKING A feature we really came to love is the diesel powertrain's "smart" exhaust braking. The system works by progressively restricting exhaust output, which in turn helps slow the truck via engine-compression braking.
BI-FUEL SYSTEM Offering a cleaner-burning alternative to gasoline, the bi-fuel CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) engine offers the ability to power the 2014 GMC Sierra HD with a readily abundant domestic resource. The lofty $11,000 premium might turn some away, but with CNG running under $2 a gallon, the savings over the long haul might prove fruitful.
2014 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Regular Cab Details
The 2014 GMC Sierra HD Work Truck (WT), SLE and SLT interiors are designed to function seamlessly with a wide range of conventional truck duties. But despite the cabin's utilitarian intent, most trims come nicely appointed with adequate materials' quality and fit and finish. While it lacks the bounty of storage bins and compartments found in the Ram and Ford HD trucks, the 2014 GMC Sierra HD nevertheless has a number of useful storage ideas for everything from laptops to the errant tool. On the luxury front, Denali variants feature a distinctive brushed-aluminum trim, leather upholstery and soft-touch materials on the upper dash.
The imposing look of the Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD trucks is set off with a massive 3-bar chrome grille flanked by the nameplate's signature stacked headlights. For better engine cooling, the raised power-dome hood incorporates a functional set of louvers. The upscale Denali trim is distinguished by its color-keyed bumpers, 4-bar grille with chrome mesh inserts, and matching lower grille design. If you are on the fence between a half-ton and a 3/4-ton truck, it's worth noting that the load-in height (distance from the ground to the top of the cargo bed floor) is over five inches taller with the HD version.
GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD models are available in regular-cab, extended-cab and crew-cab body styles as well as four trim levels: Work Truck, SLE, SLT or Denali. SLE models include a CD player, air conditioning, power windows and driver's seat adjustment, while SLT trims feature heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity and fog lights. Top-level Denali versions include ventilated and 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a Bose premium audio system and power-retractable side mirrors. Occupant safety consists of six airbags, a full complement of electronic stability systems and OnStar emergency/concierge services.
Given the Sierra's limited rear visibility, the optional rearview camera tops our list of recommended add-ons. Also on the menu is a feature-laden convenience package comprising power-adjustable pedals, rear sonar proximity sensors designed to help guide you into tight park spots with audible warnings, and a slam-proof EZ-lift and lower tailgate (SLT only). Seeing as the available touch-screen navigation unit is a bit long in the tooth, technophiles who want the latest and greatest in multimedia will be better off with the F-250's optional MyFord Touch infotainment system.
Under the Hood
Every 2014 GMC Sierra HD features a standard 6.0-liter Vortec V8 with cam-in-block variable valve timing (VVT), which provides more power at high rpm and better fuel efficiency. For jobs requiring a significant amount of power there's the recently overhauled Duramax turbodiesel that produces an earth-moving 765 lb-ft of torque. As a bonus, the Duramax powerplant is compatible with B20 biodiesel. Like most of today's clean diesels, nitrous-oxide emissions are reduced by means of a Selective Catalyst Reduction after-treatment system, which uses urea-based Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) as a cleaning agent. While the DEF tank needs a refill every 5,000 miles, urea-based solution or AdBlue, as it's known, is available at most major auto parts retailers.
6.0-liter Vortec V8 360 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm 380 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
In base Work Truck form, the 2014 GMC Sierra 2500 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $31,000, with the 3500 series tacking an additional $1,500 to the bottom line. The 2500 and 3500 Denali trims come in at around $48,000 and top out close to $65,000. Adding 4-wheel drive to the mix will set you back an extra $3,000. The Ford Super Duty and Ram HD each share a similar price range with the 2014 Sierra HD. To get a better idea of what others in your area are paying for the GMC Sierra HD, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. Like its heavy-duty challengers, the 2014 Sierra HD is expected to maintain average 5-year residual values.
"Bought new in 2004, 2007 and 2013. Love this truck. Fuel rail went out in 2004 model at 80K but dealer R&R'd at no charge and paid for rental truck and hotel. Traded 2004 for new 2007. The 2007 developed cooling problems at 150K. Traded 2007 for new 2013. The 2013 has 60K to date with no problems. I would buy another in a heartbeat but the prices have shot through the roof."
"This Sierra rides better than my cars. It's been great for hauling things back & forth to NY, I am working there on a temporary basis. It fits my lifestyle well for canoeing, Kayaking, biking, hauling my zero turn lawnmower and the occasional home project. It's been great in the snow in upstate NY. Never had any issues starting it. Completely dependable. I'd never be without a full size truck again. I owned an S10 prior and had 240,000 miles in the inline 4 when I bought the Sierra. I figured if that GM 4 banger could last that long I'd get a full size and it should do better. I did consider the Toyota Tacoma and am glad I bought the Sierra, that bed size has been very handy. I'll never go back to a small truck again. My next truck is going to be a Sierra."