2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD review: Monster truck

Make no mistake, this truck is huge.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Heavy trucks are special tools designed to haul immense loads and haul mountains of things in all kinds of conditions. Like other HD pickups, the general lack of refinement, low fuel efficiency and weighty dynamics of the 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 AT4 make everyday living together a challenge if you don’t need the vast capacity it offers.

I do not like

  • Poor performance
  • Same old interiors
  • Cheeky style

Providing a little extra style and off-road capability, the Sierra 2500 AT4 models feature dark chrome exterior accents, body-colored bumpers and a bold grille design. Standard bright red recovery hooks look great and should be super useful on the trail. Ensuring this truck can take you out into the wild, it comes with Rancho shock absorbers, a lockable rear differential, and standard 18-inch wheels with Michelin off-road tires, though this example rolls on swanky 20-inch wheels.

Bigger isn’t always better

With a double cab body and off-road suspension, this Sierra is huge, about a 21-foot-long short hitch, and that’s just with the standard 82-inch-length bed. Its raised cabin offers high-rise views of surrounding traffic and makes climbing aboard a chore. Barring the giant telescopic towing mirrors, its body is no wider than a GMC Sierra or Chevy Silverado 1500, but this thing appears to take up a lane and a half, a feeling accentuated by its almost comically raised hood that partially obscures forward visibility. and scares pets and small children.

Maneuverability is a challenge with this truck. Parking can be stressful, and I instinctively move around every bend to avoid cutting curbs or scraping other vehicles. The Sierra 2500 isn’t really bigger than Ford’s and Ram’s rival heavy pickups, but it sure feels a size or two bigger.

Helping to make things a little more manageable, GMC offers a range of useful technologies. The available ProGrade Trailering system, for example, provides up to 15 different camera views. This includes a clear transparent towing feature that uses video to make it appear that there is nothing behind the truck. A rearview mirror is also offered, which displays real-time video on a screen mounted under the rearview mirror glass, providing a much wider field of view.

For people who tow regularly, this truck offers a ton of smart features that can make it a lot less stressful. A clever automatic electric parking brake prevents the truck from rolling so little when entering the parking lot, which can make connecting a trailer quite frustrating. Towing mirrors can extend or retract at the push of a button, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control help keep loads safe and secure when traversing mountainous terrain, and tow / haul mode will remain also inserted at the next key cycle so it is not necessary to reactivate it manually. These are all great things, but perhaps Sierra’s smartest feature is actually the simplest.

The 20-inch wheels look downright tiny on this big truck.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

By the numbers

So you always know exactly what is rated for towing or hauling your particular truck, GMC includes a sticker on the door jamb that explains everything, such as vehicle gross weight, maximum payload, conventional towing capacity, curb weight and more. This takes the guesswork out of how much you can safely handle.

By flexing your muscles, this Sierra 2500’s maximum payload is 3,232lbs and it can tow up to 14,500lbs with the hitch. Hook a gooseneck trailer instead and that figure increases to an impressive 16,620 pounds.

Another number of notes: six. That’s how many functions the Sierra MultiPro tailgate offers. This is one of the most innovative features of the pickup that has emerged over the past 20 years. This ingenious setup has what equates to a small gate inside the main tailgate, which allows you to transport goods more safely, easily reach items stored in the bed, and also works as a step for comfortable climbing into the cargo bed. .

The MultiPro tailgate is one of Sierra’s most innovative features.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Modest performance, immodest consumption

The Sierra 2500’s standard 6.6-liter petrol V8 is powerful and quiet, but even with an empty truck bed and no trailer in tow it feels overrated. Despite having direct fuel injection and even variable valve timing, this engine doesn’t seem to perform as well as something with 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque should. It’s not particularly punchy in the city, and merging on the freeway takes longer than expected, the silky and sly six-speed automatic transmission does its best to help bring this rig to speed. I blame the Sierra’s towering body, mammoth frontal area, and action-ready weight of 7,418 pounds for this menacing performance. Drivers who need more ability and confidence (or just want to roll some coal) can get a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel paired with a 10-speed gearbox, even if you pay with your nose for the privilege of burning. oil. This powerplant adds about $ 10,000 to the price of the truck.

Because the Sierra 2500 gross vehicle weight rating is over 8,500 lbs, it is exempt from fuel economy tests. However, when empty, in real-world driving, I averaged around 14 miles per gallon according to the trip computer, which isn’t too terrible for something of this size and weight.

Truck travel is definitely on the solid side, but it’s not so starchy that it crashes into bumps or shatters your spine. The ride is a little harder than I’d like, but this stiffness is needed so that you don’t sit on the bump stops when the bed is full of load. Load this GMC with bricks, gravel, or a string or two of firewood and I bet it would come pretty damn close like a Lexus. The Sierra’s steering is slow and inaccurate, plus it is prone to let the truck wander a bit, but the independent front suspension gives it an edge over competing heavy trucks, which still feature solid front axles.

This interior is dull and gray.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Giant truck, tiny screens

GM’s current generation pickups are not known for their stellar internals. The Silverado and Sierra cabs in both light and heavy form are low-budget deals made of unattractive hard plastic. The seats are flat and many of the secondary controls are of low quality. Ram has a clear advantage in this area, and even Ford’s older trucks are a bit nicer.

The Sierra AT4’s infotainment system with integrated navigation is easy to use and responsive, but is displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen that looks tiny on such a large dashboard. Reducing the experience further, this panel’s viewing angles aren’t great, with colors fading easily.

The $ 7,975 AT4 Premium Package includes a range of services such as Apple CarPlay is Android Auto which both connect wirelessly, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors and automatic high beam. It also offers a clear and crisp head-up display and the GMC safety seat, which vibrates to warn the driver of danger.

The Sierra HD is a heavy duty truck.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The comfort in this truck is mixed. The 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s chair is solid but almost devoid of any reinforcement. He’s cut out for someone many times heavier than me. The rear seat, however, is quite nice, offering warmth to outboard passengers and miles of legroom thanks to the crew cabin bodywork.

Pony up, cowboy

In addition to that Premium AT4 package, this Sierra 2500 also features vibrant Cayenne Red Tintcoat paint, a $ 645 option, plus it comes with the $ 545 gooseneck / fifth wheel prep option. Including $ 1,595 in the destination fees, check out $ 68,160, a high price to be sure, but not entirely unreasonable for the capabilities it offers. This figure is also in line with comparable equipment Ram Power Wagon oa Ford F-250 with the Tremor package.

The 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 is capable and hardworking. It’s a truck I can respect, even if it’s one I don’t love.