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2019 GMC 1071 Sierra 2500HD 31267 399079
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Introduction

Redesigned for the 2019 model year, like its Chevrolet Silverado close cousin, GMC’s Sierra has lost weight while growing a bit, expanding interior space. Without attempting to be Number One in towing capacity and the like, this full-size pickup stresses smart, easy-to-use modern technology.

New features include a MultiPro six-way, two-piece tailgate. Standard on SLT, AT4 and Denali Sierras, it can swing and fold in two sections for easier loading. A newly optional carbon-fiber cargo bed is said to be tougher and lighter than some competitors provide. New options also include a rear camera mirror and a multi-color head-up display.

Sierras come in regular-cab, extended-cab, and crew-cab configurations. Regular-cab trucks have a 126.5-inch wheelbase. Extended- and crew-cab models ride a 147.4-inch wheelbase. GMC claims the longer-wheelbase version provides nearly 3 additional inches of back-seat legroom. Crew cabs have been the most popular Sierra body style.

GMC offers six Sierra trim levels: base, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali.

Eventually, GMC plans to offer the 2019 Sierra with a broad range of powertrains, including a new turbo four-cylinder, a gasoline V6, and a turbodiesel inline six-cylinder. Initially, however, only Sierras with gasoline V8s have been available. The 5.3-liter V8 develops 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, driving an 8-speed automatic transmission.

For greater muscle, an optional 6.2-liter V8 generates 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet, mating with a 10-speed automatic. The 4.3-liter V6 makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque, working with a 6-speed automatic transmission. GMC’s 2.7-liter turbo six generates 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive available.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested a 2019 Sierra. NHTSA gave the 2018 model five-star ratings overall and for frontal and side impacts.

Sierras can get such features as a rearview-mirror camera, but cutting-edge active-safety technology is limited to top models. Blind-spot monitoring costs extra on every model except Denali. Forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, a prominent safety feature, is optional only on SLT, AT4, and Denali, bundled with adaptive cruise control and active lane control.

The camera mirror offers a clear view to the rear, but with rapidly-moving images. A multiple-viewtrailer camera also is available. The MultiPro tailgate drops down with damped assist like a normal tailgate, but its center section can fold to create a standing-height desk or a wide step.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $1,495 destination charge.

Double Cab with 147-inch wheelbase:

Base V6 ($33,500 with 2WD, $36,800 with 4WD) contains the 4.3-liter V6 engine, 6-speed automatic, power locks and windows, air conditioning, 17-inch wheels, Bluetooth, and 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Base work trucks have vinyl flooring, a front bench seat, and cloth upholstery.

SLE ($37,800 with 2WD, $41,100 with 4WD) substitutes a 2.7-liter turbo four with 8-speed automatic, heated power mirrors, remote keyless entry, and lift-assisted tailgate. Powertrain options include a 5.3-liter V8 or a 3.0-liter turbodiesel with 10-speed automatic.

Elevation ($40,300 with 2WD, $43,600 with 4WD) includes the 2.7-liter turbo, off-road appearance elements, body-color trim, and 20-inch wheels. A 5.3-liter V8 or turbodiesel engine may be substituted. An optional X31 Off Road Package for 4WD adds a locking rear differential, hill-descent control, skid plates, and two-speed transfer case.

SLT V8 ($44,300 with 2WD, $47,600 with 4WD) gets the 5.3-liter V8, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, a high-definition rearview camera, satellite radio, power front seats, leather upholstery, LED headlights, and six-way tailgate.

4WD AT4 V8 ($50,800) comes with 5.3-liter V8 and four-wheel drive, adding an off-road suspension with 2-inch lift, two-speed transfer case, skid plates, locking rear differential, Rancho shocks, 18-inch wheels with, hill-descent control, and two-tone leather. A 6.2-liter V8 or turbodiesel may be substituted.

 

Crew Cab with 147- or 157-inch wheelbase:

147″ V6 ($35,900 with 2WD, $39,200 with 4WD) has V6 engine and four conventional doors.

157″ V6 ($36,200 with 2WD, $39,500 with 4WD) rides longer wheelbase.

147″ SLE ($40,200 with 2WD, $43,500 with 4WD) is similar in content to Double Cab SLE.

157″ SLE ($40,500 with 2WD, $43,800 with 4WD) rides longer wheelbase.

147″ SLT V8 ($46,700 with 2WD, $50,000 with 4WD) is similar in content to Double Cab SLT.

157″ SLT V8 ($47,000 with 2WD, $50,300 with 4WD) rides longer wheelbase.

147″ AT4 V8 4WD ($53,200) is similar to AT4 Double Cab, with four conventional doors.

147″ Denali V8 ($54,700 with 2WD, $58,000 with 4WD) comes with the 5.3-liter V8, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, trailer camera display, perforated leather upholstery, open-pore wood trim, and Bose audio. Lane-change and blind-zone alerts are standard.

157″ Denali V8 ($55,000 with 2WD, $58,300 with 4WD) rides longer wheelbase.

Walkaround

GMC chose slightly more conservative, straightforward design than Chevrolet’s related Silverado, also redesigned for 2019. Simple lines have few rounded corners, but plenty of straight edges. An oversize chrome grille tapers as it drops between big C-shaped headlights. \

Unpainted gray plastic outlines wheel wells. A slight upward kink behind crew-cab rear windows breaks up the long, straight shoulder line.

Overall, Sierra styling isn’t far removed from that of nearly every full-size pickup. Denalis get huge dollops of chrome, while Elevation trim is body-colored. In its 2019 form, the Sierra body has lost up to 360 pounds.

Interior

Space is bountiful in the Sierra Crew Cab, which promises expansive front-seat space. When fitted with a bench seat, three adults can fit up front. Basic interior design is shared with Chevrolet’s Silverado.

Front bucket seats have flat cushions with low, but firm, bolsters ΓÇô comfortable for long journeys. Headroom has grown, compared to the previous generation. The center console can hold a laptop, and most Sierras offer readily-accessible charge points.

Rear seats are more accommodating than before, with nearly 3 additional inches of legroom. Crew-cab back seats also benefit from wide door openings. Seat bottoms flip up to expand storage space. Abundant sound-deadening keeps the cabin relatively hushed.

A shield-shaped control stack dominates the dashboard. Denali models boast plenty of brightwork, as well as discreet panels of open-pore wood and metallic trim for a high-end aura.

The Sierra’s cargo bed adopted some cutting-edge construction to boost usable space. Depending on configuration, GMC offers a dozen tie-downs, a cast-in step, and LED bed lighting.

Driving Impressions

Curvy roads might prove a bit challenging for this big pickup, but GMC’s Sierra is in its element on straight- pavement. That’s especially true when a potent V8 is burbling away.

Towing capacity is lower than before, though still impressive. A Sierra with the 5.3-liter V8 accelerates strongly, even when the cargo bed is filled. Shifts from GMC’s 8-speed automatic are barely discernible.

Road behavior compares favorably to other full-size pickups. Well-tuned ride and handling qualities strike a better balance than Ford’s F-150, which tends to suffer a bobbling, even bouncy, ride. Even on troublesome road surfaces, a Sierra remains composed and compliant.

Most Sierras come with a familiar suspension setup, using leaf springs at the rear. With 22-inch wheels, a Sierra may get mildly jittery. Denali adaptive shocks are no longer magnetically-controlled, but they exercise more precise control.

Maximum towing capacity is 12,200 pounds in extended-cab 4WD trucks ΓÇô some 300 pounds lower than the previous generation.

All told, the 2019 Sierra amounts to a smart updating of GMC’s classic pickup performance plan. Aided by satisfying steering, an SLT with 5.3-liter V8, standard suspension, and 20-inch wheels can perform nearly any full-size truck task ΓÇô at a price well below the Denali.

Despite making the 2019 Sierra lighter, gas mileage hasn’t changed much ΓÇô and in some cases, declined. A rear-drive Sierra with 5.3-liter V8 and 8-speed automatic is EPA-rated at 17/23 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined. With four-wheel drive, it’s 15/21/17 mpg. A new fuel-conservation system for V8s can shut off gas to as many as six cylinders.

With that same drivetrain, the AT4 edition is EPA-rated at 15/20 mpg City/Highway, or 17 mpg Combined. Substituting the 6.2-liter V8 reduces the estimate slightly, to 15/19/17 mpg.

The V6 engine isn’t much thriftier, EPA-rated at 16/21 mpg City/Highway, or 17 mpg Combined. Four-wheel drive lowers that estimate to 15/20/17 mpg.

Summary

In its lightened 2019 form, GMC’s Sierra scores well for utility and equipment, though some new features won’t be available immediately. Performance of V8 models, in particular, demonstrates traditional big-truck energy, though fuel economy falls short. Denali models command big prices, making SLT trim the best bet for many buyers. The new six-way tailgate sets a new bar for flexibility. As the model year rolls on, GMC will have quite a roster of powertrains.

 

Driving impressions by Marty Padgett, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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Introduction

The 2019 GMC Sierra 2500 HD is the brand’s full-size, heavy-duty pickup truck. It’s reached the end of its latest generation, and soon will be replaced by a new model.

Closely related to Chevrolet’s Silverado HD, the Sierra 2500HD still functions as a sleek and stylish workhorse. While well-dressed and packed with features (especially in top Denali trim), the 2500HD stands ready for demanding action. In addition to the 3/4-ton 2500 series, the Sierra HD can be obtained in heavier-duty 3500 form.

Nothing of consequence has changed for the 2019 model year, apart from dropping the Regular Cab version. A redesigned heavy-duty Sierra is ready to debut as a 2020 model.

Like rival truckmakers, GMC offers plenty of choices: extended (Double Cab) or Crew Cab body; standard (6.5-foot) or long (8-foot) cargo bed; rear- or four-wheel drive. A quartet of trims stretches from humble work truck to unabashed luxury vehicle. Specifically, the Sierra 2500HD comes in base, SLE, SLT, and chrome-bedecked Denali form. The posh Denali comes only in Crew Cab form. A regular-cab version, lacking a back seat, is no longer offered.

Two big, powerful V-8 engines can power the Sierra 2500HD: one gasoline, and one a turbodiesel. The 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 develops 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, while the 6.6-liter turbodiesel whips up 445 horsepower and a walloping 910 pound-feet.

Depending upon engine and configuration, a Sierra 2500HD can tow at least 13,000 pounds. Peak payload capacity can top 3,000 pounds.

Both engines mate with a 6-speed automatic transmission, but the turbodiesel gets a specially-engineered version, capable of accepting a torrent of torque.

The NHTSA gave the Sierra 2500HD a three-star rating for frontal impact, as well as four stars overall and for side-impact. No heavy-duty Sierra has been crash-tested by the IIHS.

Sierra 2500HD Denali trucks get forward-collision warnings, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings, along with a rear-seat reminder. These features are optional on SLE and SLT trim, but unavailable for the base model.

Available only in Crew Cab form, top-rung Denali models are almost the equivalent of a Cadillac-brand pickup. When loaded with options, a Denali can cost more than some high-end luxury cars.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $1,495 destination charge. Prices are for gasoline engine models. Crew Cab trucks can substitute the diesel V-8.

4WD Double Cab ($40,900) comes only with four-wheel drive, on a 144.2-inch wheelbase with standard-length bed. Included are a rearview camera, 7-inch infotainment screen, six-speaker audio, locking tailgate, front bench seat, vinyl mats, HID headlights, and 17-inch steel wheels. The extended-cab body has back seat, but only two full-size doors.

Double Cab Long Bed ($38,200 with rear-drive, $41,100 with four-wheel drive) rides on a 158.1-inch wheelbase.

SLE 4WD Double Cab ($46,800) comes only with four-wheel drive, on a 144.2-inch wheelbase with the standard bed. The SLE trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, under-seat storage, a remote locking tailgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and keyless entry.

The SLE Double Cab Long Bed ($43,600 with RWD, $46,900 with 4WD) rides on a 158.1-inch wheelbase.

 

Crew Cab ($39,000 with RWD, $41,900 with 4WD) has the standard bed, on a 153.7-inch wheelbase. The Crew Cab body has four full-size doors.

Crew Cab Long Bed ($39,200 with RWD, $42,100 with 4WD) rides on a 167.7-inch wheelbase.

SLE Crew Cab ($45,300 with RWD, $48,600 with 4WD) has a 153.7-inch wheelbase and a standard bed, with SLE trim.

SLE Crew Cab Long Bed ($45,500 with RWD, $48,800 with 4WD) rides on a 167.7-inch wheelbase.

SLT Crew Cab 153.7″ ($50,500 with RWD, $53,600 with 4WD) has a 153.7-inch wheelbase and a standard bed. The SLT trim adds leather upholstery, heated front seats and power mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, and remote start.

SLT Crew Cab Long Bed ($50,700 with RWD, $53,800 with 4WD) rides on a 167.7-inch wheelbase.

Denali Crew Cab 153.7″ ($56,600 with RWD, $59,800 with 4WD) has a 153.7-inch wheelbase and a standard bed. Denali trim includes heated/cooled front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, 20-inch wheels, 8.0-inch driver information display, wireless smartphone charging, Bose audio, front and rear parking assist, and navigation. Safety features include forward-collision warnings, lane-departure warnings, and blind-spot monitors.

Walkaround

Despite more conservative styling than some rival heavy-duty trucks, the GMC Sierra HD pickups focus on appearance even more than their Chevrolet counterparts. All told, the Sierra ranks among the classiest heavy-duty pickups: more businesslike than casual in nature.

Chrome trim is a prominent part of the overall picture, but in an amount that blends effectively with the truck’s boxy profile. LED accent lights complement the look, which manages to come off as comparatively sedate. Squared-off wheel arches and big grille echo GMC’s smaller, light-duty Sierra 1500 series, and they work impressively with the HD’s larger body.

Interior

Emphasizing function over form, as practical trucks should, the cabin might almost be a little too sedate. Interior details serve as reminders of the pickup’s humble heritage, but the Sierra HD is impressively well-equipped at each trim level. Options abound, though, and most buyers tend to lean toward more costly, upper-trim models.

Every version is comfortable inside, but family-focused buyers typically gravitate toward the spacious Crew Cab models with their roomier, full-size back seats. Top-level Denali trim adds fine leather and more abundant chrome, along with wood trim and such comforts as heated and cooled front seats. A safety-alert seat is available for upper trim levels, in a Driver Alert option group that includes lane-departure and forward-collision warnings.

Center-mounted on the dashboard is a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, which operates with ease. Every relevant button, switch, or dial is within arm’s reach of the driver. The 8.0-inch touchscreen installed in upper trim levels is better yet. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability is included, and excellent 4G LTE wi-fi can be added.

Depending on model, a 3.5- inch black/white or 4.2-inch color driver information center is standard. A six-speaker audio system is standard, but upper versions can benefit from an upgraded Bose system.

Standard seating consists of a 40/20/40-split front bench, but upper-trim models substitute cloth-upholstery front bucket seats. Regular and perforated leather seat upholstery can take the place of fabric.

Driving Impressions

GMC’s Sierra HD follows the traditional recipe for heavy-duty pickups: big V-8 engines, producing heaps of torque. All that energy translates to seriously brawny capabilities for hauling and towing.

Among the mostly domestically-built heavy-duty pickup trucks in its category, the Sierra 2500HD ranks near the top. The Sierra HD can tow with the strongest rivals, while its sizable dimensions allow it to look the part of a heavyweight contender.

With so much energy on tap, either engine delivers admirable performance, working effectively with GMC’s 6-speed automatic transmission. Family-minded truckers are likely to be wholly satisfied with acceleration and behavior of the gasoline-engine version. Anyone who frequently tows heavy boats or trailers, or hauls loads that approach rated capacity, will probably be tempted by the 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8. Its 910 pound-feet of forceful torque is tough to overlook.

Even though its leaf-spring rear suspension yields a less-comfortable ride than some competitive pickups, the Sierra HD serves as an excellent long-haul cruiser, whether loaded with people or cargo. Like other full-size models, the 2500HD has road manners that favor straight-line stability over any kind of sporty handling. Even with the diesel engine underhood, too, the cabin remains comfortably quiet.

Heavy-duty pickups are not rated for fuel economy.

Summary

Because the redesigned 2020 model already has been revealed, buyers of the outgoing generation should be able to find a favorable price on a well-equipped GMC Sierra HD. Heavy-duty Sierras are relatively quiet and comfortable, as well as spacious and highly capable. GMC’s luxury-fitted Denali should satiate just about anyone who savors a wealth of comforts and conveniences.

 

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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