When it comes to full sized pickup trucks, we are inundated with the big three: Ram, Ford F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado. But we forget that lost in that lineup is the GMC Sierra. The Sierra always seems to get lumped in with the Silverado, and for good reason, since both the Sierra and Silverado are made by Chevrolet. But, in recent years GMC has done a very good job at carving out its own way in the world. Much like Ryu and Ken from the Street Fighter video game, or bringing it to the automotive world, cars like the Toyota FR-S and Subaru BRZ, or even GM’s own extinct Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice, we have seen essentially the same player dressed up a little differently and be successful.
Specifically we are looking at the 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD. This is a truck that can do it all with power to spare. There are 32 different variations of trim and powertrain you can choose from, so there really is something for everyone. The majority of choices begin with either 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive, short bed, long bed, regular cab, double cab, crew cab and then standard, SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali trim designations. But whatever you choose, you are bound to get a very aesthetically appealing, powerful truck that is just as comfortable cruising down the interstate as it is lugging payloads through work sites.
The big item GM has been advertising, and with good reason, is the trick MultiPro tailgate which has a host of fun features like a built-in audio system for tailgating, a full-sized step as well as two separate load stops built in to keep everything from surf boards to dirt bikes from slipping off and causing any trouble. There is even a bed-view camera if you opt for the high end Denali option. The other options that are new and improved are things like a jack-knife alert, and trailer-length alert that both help you navigate the roads when towing something you might not be accustomed to accounting for in your day-to-day life.
The biggest draw for any full-sized pickup truck is its power, and the Sierra 2500 HD does not disappoint. Standard issue is a potent, tried-and-true overhead valve iron block, aluminum head 6.6-liter V8 that comes packing a serious 401-horsepower at 5,200 rpm and a big-boy 464 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, which is then routed through a six-speed transmission on its way to either just the rear wheels or all four corners depending on your drivetrain choice. If you are more work than leisure, or your idea of leisure is towing a powerboat or horse trailer, then the optional Duramax diesel is the engine for you. This 6.6-liter behemoth V8 brings a stout 445-horsepower at a low 2,800 rpm and an unbelievable 910 pound-feet of torque at a very low 1,600 rpm. That massive power is funneled through a professional Allison 10-speed automatic that always seems to know exactly what gear it needs to be in and never gets caught off guard like some transmissions of yesteryear.
Trucks like the Sierra 2500 HD are about numbers of all kinds. In terms of curb weight, that range of numbers goes from 6,105 pounds for the gas-engined regular cab all the way up to 7,896 pounds for the long-bedded diesel crew cab. GVWR ranges from a flat 10,000 pounds up to 11,350 pounds, while max payload begins at 3,597 pounds and tops out at 3,979 pounds. If trailering is your thing, then you’ll be happy to know that at worst you can tow 14,500 pounds and at best you can haul 18,500 pounds. And while the EPA doesn’t bother with testing giant trucks for mpg, you can expect around 15 mpg combined on average. Of course this can be greatly influenced by how much you are hauling and what sorts of roads you might be hauling them on.
Base price for the Sierra 2500 HD is a more-than-reasonable $36,200 and can climb to nearly double that figure if you go crazy with every option you can check off. But no matter what options you choose, the Sierra 2500 HD is more than just a Silverado copy, because as with cars like the FR-S or BRZ, or even with Street Fighter characters, sometimes one or the other just feels more like ‘you’, and that is a win no matter who, or what you choose.