When you’ve been building heavy-duty trucks for more than 111 years, you must be doing something right. With the introduction of its new 2015 Sierra HD lineup, GMC is clearly building on its storied legacy in the field, at work and on the road.
Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD models – including Sierra Denali HD – feature bold, new styling and all-new, better-connected interiors. They are also offered with the Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel engine all Allison 1000 six-speed transmission powertrain combination – a proven combination with more than 1.5 million sold since its introduction in 2000.
“Sierra HD trucks are engineered without compromise to deliver not only the capability today’s heavy-duty truck customers demand, but the quality and refinement that inspire confidence with every task,” said Tony DiSalle, vice president of GMC Marketing. “We’ve been doing this for more than a century and nobody knows trucks like GMC.”
Trim levels include a Sierra base model, as well as SLE, SLT and Denali. The distinctive Sierra Denali HD, which accounts for more than one-third of Sierra HD crew cab sales, is offered exclusively as a crew cab, matching do-it-all capability with an exclusive package of design and upscale interior amenities.
The Sierra HDs’ new styling and an all-new, more comfortable and technology-infused interior are carried forward from the 2014 Sierra 1500, including new double cab and revised crew cab body styles. Larger rear doors on each, along with new seat designs, enable easier entry and exit from the rear seat and two inches of additional legroom on crew cabs.
The new interior is also designed to help drivers and passengers whether they’re on the job or on a weekend getaway, with easier-to-reach, more intuitively located controls, more storage compartments, more plug-ins for electronic devices and next-generation GMC IntelliLink – with an eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen.
For 2015, OnStar with 4G LTE enables greater connectivity than ever before, along with available built-in Wi-Fi hot-spot, but this feature probably won’t be available until September.
“Forget the notion that heavy-duty trucks are basic trucks with a trailer hitch,” said DiSalle. “The 2015 Sierra HD trucks can haul the heaviest load with unmatched comfort and technology that make the job easier.”
Jeff Groomes, general sales manager at Joe Ball GMC in Glenshaw, said that his customers like the new lineup’s added luxury.
“They’ve been especially impressed with the double-door design, which is more solid than earlier models, and the availability of an eight-foot bed,” he said.
Regular, double cab and crew cab models are offered across the lineup. 2500HD and 3500HD regular cab models are matched with an eight-foot box, while 2500HD double cab and crew cab models are available with six-foot, six-inch or eight-foot boxes. Sierra 3500HD double cab is offered exclusively with the eight-foot box, while 3500HD crew cabs are available with both six-foot, six-inch or eight-foot boxes. Dual-rear-wheel configurations are also available on 3500HD.
Gas and Duramax diesel powertrains are offered across the lineup, including an expanded bi-fuel option that allows the gas engine to run on compressed natural gas. The Duramax has been developed to operate for at least 200,000 miles on a rough-duty cycle without the need for a major overhaul.
The powertrains contribute to the new Sierra HDs’ greater payload and towing ratings than previous models, which include a 7,374 payload capacity and a conventional trailer rating of 19,600 pounds. The maximum fifth-wheel/gooseneck trailering rating increases trailering capability to 23,200 pounds.
The 2015 Sierra HD lineup benefits from interior upgrades found on the 2014 Sierra 1500. Premium materials, greater attention to detail and purposeful technologies define the passenger space. Sierra HD’s seats use dual-density foam designed to stay comfortable over long hours and continue to look great after years of use. Leather-appointed and cloth seating are offered. Sierra’s new high-wear cloth is designed to last longer and resist staining.
Available IntelliLink connectivity uses a customizable eight-inch color touch screen with an intuitive layout and easy-to-read icons that control audio features, a Pandora app, Bluetooth phone features and available navigation with all-new map displays. Many of the system’s features can be controlled by Natural Language Voice Recognition, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
A rear-vision camera system is standard on SLE, SLT and Denali trims, providing a view of items behind the vehicle. It can also assist with lining up in front of a trailer.
All Sierra HD models feature fully boxed frame assemblies, including up to 18 different assemblies that accommodate more than 150 possible vehicle configurations across the lineup.
StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard on all single-rear-wheel models and – new for 2015 – 3500HD dual-rear-wheel models. It incorporates trailer sway control and hill start assist. Additionally, available cruise control, auto grade braking, and diesel exhaust brake features help the vehicle maintain a set speed up and down grades, even when towing a heavy trailer.
With the diesel exhaust brake feature, the turbocharger is used to smoothly and quietly create additional backpressure in the engine to help slow the vehicle. The combination of the exhaust brake and the automatic transmission downshifts helps the driver maintain the desired speed, even on the steep grades found around Pittsburgh.