Sierra 3500HD

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2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD Overview

Based on the Chevrolet Silverado platform, the Sierra 3500HD is GMC’s one-ton workhorse pickup, but unlike the Chevrolet, it offers drivers the unique ability to do serious work in cutting-edge comfort. It is available in four different trims, but the most expensive and luxurious Denali model remains the most popular, and a fully done up example will rival an imported luxury car on the inside. That said, monumental towing and hauling capability are guaranteed with any version of the 3500. The Sierra range got a redesign for the 2017 model year, so changes for 2018 are limited to a rearview camera and 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen across the range, with Denali models getting a new grille.

The standard engine in the 3500HD is a 6.0-liter V-8 that makes 360hp and 380 lb-ft of torque mated to a 6-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. The more popular choice, however, will be the turbodiesel Duramax V-8 that was added for 2017. A 6.6-liter unit, it makes a staggering 445hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. The 3500HD can also be had as a duelie with four rear wheels for those doing serious hauling. Paired with a 6-speed Allison automatic transmission, the diesel version has a rated payload of almost 7,200 pounds and can tow up to 23,300 pounds, which is a far greater weight than most ordinary folks will ever pull. Rear-drive is standard in the 3500HD, while four-wheel drive is an option.

Motorists who want to get the most out of the engine at work can engage the tow/haul mode to keep the truck in a lower gear so the engine stays in the powerband. The EPA doesn’t rate big trucks like this, and consumers should expect fuel economy to reflect the truck’s size and weight. Suspension is typical of a large truck, with front struts and rear leaf springs, making the ride a bit rougher than smaller trucks but still comfortable.

Where the Chevrolet Silverado caters more to bare work trucks by offering sparse interiors and commercial fleet orders, the Sierra boasts an interior that ranges from comfortable to lavish. Base models come with Bluetooth, cloth upholstery and a 7.0-inch infotainment screen. The SLE gets keyless entry, a 4.2-inch display screen on the instrument cluster, a remote locking tailgate, and an extra inch on the infotainment screen. The SLT model gets leather seats, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 110-volt power outlet. The Denali model, the most expensive but also the most popular model in the lineup, pampers occupants like a luxury car. It comes with heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless device charging, navigation, and Bose audio.

Buyers can choose from regular, double, or crew cab body styles for the 3500Hd in either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive configuration. All Sierra 3500HDs feature the eight-foot bed, but the crew cab model also offers the option of six-and-a-half-foot lengths.

All Sierra models now come with a rearview camera as standard, but buyers have to opt for the range-topping Denali to get forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and front/rear parking assist. Other notable features include OnStar and GM’s Teen Driver Alert system, which allows the owner to set certain parameters for other drivers, such as stereo settings and maximum speed.

The Sierra 3500HD fills a unique roll by giving buyers huge levels of towing capability combined with uncommon luxury, as reflected by the comparative price. For those who want maximum power couched in maximum comfort, the Sierra 3500HD is a top choice.


Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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