GMC Sierra HD
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Overall

Now that “regular” Sierra models are all-new for 2014, the HD version will certainly catch up in a year or so.

Drivetrain

Base 360-horsepower 6.0-liter gasoline V8 can be run on compressed natural gas, but the power falls off; optional 6.6-liter turbo-diesel spools out 765 pound-feet of torque; six-speed transmissions all around.

All the attention currently being lauded on the all-new GMC Sierra 1500 doesn’t mean the Heavy Duty side is any less special. Sure, maybe the exterior design isn’t quite as up-to-date given that its last visual tweaks date back to 2011, but the Sierra HD is still quite imposing, especially in full-on Denali guise. Surprisingly or not, the Denali (named for an Alaskan wilderness park) offers upscale-inclined truckers a wide range of pampering features, all attached to a 2500- (three-quarter-ton) and 3500- (one-ton) heavy-duty pickup. These trucks are easy to spot with their unique four-bar grille design with round air inlets, polished forged-aluminum wheels, chrome exterior and interior trim, power-adjustable pedals, Bose premium surround-sound audio system and 12-way power seats. For more dress-up cachet, an optional heated steering wheel and heated-and-cooled leather-appointed seating can be added to the package. The Denali-badged trucks, as well as the rest of the Sierra HD lineup in regular-, extended- and fourd-door crew-cab styles, can be had with the 360-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 or extra-cost 6.6-liter turbo-diesel (preferred by the vast majority of Sierra HD purchasers) that kicks out 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet torque. Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions. The HD can pull up to 18,000 pounds using a trailer hitch, or 23,000 pounds with a bed-mounted fifth wheel. For added work capability, the HD’s front suspension combined with its extra-stout ladder frame allows for a 6,000-pound front-axle weight rating, which is enough so that the optional snow-plow accessory package can be added to all HD trucks equipped with four-wheel-drive. At the opposite end, the leaf-spring setup provides a maximum gross rear-axle weight rating of 6,200 pounds for 2500-series trucks and up to 9,375 pounds for 3500-series trucks. Along with the HD’s serious towing and hauling capacities, the standard 36-gallon-capacity fuel tank means that turbo-diesel versions have a 680-mile cruising range. The 6.0-liter V8 can be optioned with a compressed-natural-gas fuel system for 2014, although you lose 59 horsepower in the process. As is the case with all GMC pickups, the level of content, body and powertrain customization is practically limitless, guided only by your specific needs and budget.

Base price (incl. destination): $32,100

Type: Heavy-duty three-quarter/one-ton pickup

Base engine (hp): 6.0-liter OHV V8 (360, 301 CNG)

Optional engine (hp): 6.6-liter OHV V8, turbo-diesel (397)

Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel-drive

Transmissions: Six-speed automatic

MPG (city/hwy): n/a

Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags (2500 series only); anti-lock brakes; stability control (except dualie models)

Weight (lb.): 5,400