The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2015 GMC Sierra Denali SD 2500 4WD Crew Review By John Heilig

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By John Heilig

Reviewed Model: 2015 GMC Sierra Denali SD 2500 4WD Crew
Engine: 6.6-liter Duramax Diesel V8
Horsepower/Torque: 397 hp @ 3,000 rpm/765 lb.-ft. @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 153.7 in.
Length x Width x Height: 239.5 x 80.5 x 78.2 in.
Tires: LT260/60R20
Cargo: 2,793 lbs. payload, 13,000 lbs. towing capacity
Economy: 12.3 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 36.0 gal.
Curb Weight: 7,095 lbs.
Sticker: $63,835 (includes $1,095 destination. $10,500 options)

The Bottom Line: The GMC Sierra 2500 is a huge truck with a diesel engine that makes it seem like a semi to the uninitiated. It’s hard riding on less-than-perfect roads, but fine on bigger/better roads. Sadly, it isn’t very maneuverable in tight spaces.

For 2015, the GMC Sierra Super Duty is blessed with new exterior styling that leaves no question what its purpose it. And let’s be honest, its purpose is work, hard work. A secondary purpose is towing a camper on weekends, but during the week, it works.

First impressions are always important, and the first impression of the Sierra SD is its grille, which is huge with projection headlamps. I am nearly six feet tall, and it had trouble resting my arm on the hood when it was parked.

At the back end, there is an easy lift and lower tailgate that made life much easier when we took bags of leaves and grass clippings to the compost center. Also, there’s a step cut into the rear bumper that makes accessing the cargo bed much easier.

Covering the bed in our tester was a folding cover that moved out of the way when you had to reach stuff that had slid forward over the sprayed on bedliner.

Adding to the “semi” feeling is a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine that isn’t overly humungous in the horsepower department, but carries 765 lb.-ft. of torque and a low 1,600 rpm that pretty much guarantees you can tow or haul anything. Peak horsepower (397) kicks in at 3,000 rpm, so we spent a lot of time just idling along at low engine speeds, again like a big truck. On the downside, the diesel engine is always noisy. It sounds like a truck.

The 6-speed automatic transmission has a column-mounted shifter. The manual mode is a plus-minus rocker switch on the shifter itself. I found this to be less-than-convenient for fast shifts.

The engine and transmission are an $8,845 option. Other options are 20-inch polished aluminum wheels ($850), dual alternators ($295), off-road suspension package ($255), 20-inch tires ($200) and power mirrors ($55).

Assist handles on both the A- and B-pillars make entry and exit easier. There are also four above-the-door assist handles.

While I like them and use them whenever I’m in a car so equipped, back-up cameras are usually a luxury, at last where I live. I still remember how to look over my shoulder to see where I am. In the Sierra SD, however, the back-up camera is a necessity, because there is no other way you can get an idea of where the back of the truck is. It would be nice to have a front-up camera, too, because the front bumper is equally invisible from the driver’s seat.

The exterior rearview mirrors are double duty. The upper portion is what appears to be an 8”x10” flat standard mirror. Below these is a rectangular convex mirror that gives you a broader view of what may be in your blind spot. The big ones are power adjustable but the smaller ones must be adjusted manually. They do a good job of checking what’s around you and also assist in backing up.

Front seats feel flat, but they have some side support. They are heated and cooled. There’s a huge center console/arm rest between the seats. Three adults can sit comfortably in the rear. The outside rear seats are actually more comfortable than the front seats.

For a dedicated car person like myself, the GMC Sierra Super Duty is a bit much. I can see its value, though, as a hard-working truck with a lot of utility. It’s also pretty decent if you want to wash it after work and head for the theatre.

2014 The Auto Page