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2010 GMC Sierra HD Performance

This performance review was written when the 2010 GMC Sierra HD was new.

The Sierra HD trucks come in 2500 and 3500 setups, with a 6.0 liter V8 and a 6.6 liter diesel engine available no matter what truck you choose.  Both engines are powerful, but reviewers give the diesel a slight edge.  Most agree that the Sierra offers a good driving experience for a large truck, but the Ford Super Duty trucks can out haul and out tow both the Sierra 2500 and 3500.

  • "For such a massive hunk of steel, it drove surprisingly well, even better than the softer Denali. All that torque made it quick from the start. " -- Car and Driver
  • "Heavy-duty pickups are never going to ride like luxury sedans, but the 2500 is surprisingly quiet and comfortable over long distances. Both engines are strong, but if you can swing the price premium, the brawny performance and decent fuel economy of the Duramax diesel make it a tempting choice." -- Edmunds
  • "Given the number of drivetrain, cab and chassis variations in the GMC lineup, it's difficult to provide one set of observations regarding drivability. However, everything GMC's engineering team did to enhance the driving experience has worked." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power:

Both the Sierra 2500 and 3500 are available with a choice of two engines. The base engine is an iron block and aluminum head 6.0 liter V8 making 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. A 6.6 liter iron block and aluminum head diesel is available.  With 365 horsepower and a monster 660 pound-feet of torque, this engine is a reviewer favorite, though those who tested the V8 said it was adequate for all but the most taxing towing situations.

Because of their weight, the Sierra HD trucks aren't given fuel economy ratings by the EPA.  However, the diesel engine can be expected to get better fuel economy than the V8.  That said, it will still be expensive to fill up. If you're looking for good fuel economy, you won't find it in the heavy duty truck class.  Your best bet for good fuel economy in a pickup is to check out the Chevy Silverado 1500 Hybrid or the GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid. Both have better fuel economy than a conventional truck, but neither comes close to the towing and hauling capabilities of Sierra HD.

  • "Adequate with either V8 and light loads, but turbodiesel gets the nod for towing and heavy hauling thanks to its massive 660 lb-ft of torque." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The diesel was strong and even relatively fuel efficient, returning 16 mpg in two-wheel-drive freeway driving while offering 500-plus miles of range. And such torque-I actually did a burnout in reverse! -- Car and Driver
  • "For sheer day-in, day-out driving pleasure the 6.0-liter gasoline V8 is terrific, offering extraordinary response for a vehicle this large. For truck-oriented capability few things beat power; GMC's standard 6.0-liter Gen IV V8 delivers 360 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque, and a six-speed automatic transmission meshes perfectly with the engine's capability. For many, selecting the diesel is a no-brainer; GM's Duramax turbo-diesel provides plenty of power and is a lot quieter and smoother than diesels of the past." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Despite their size, reviewers say the Sierra HD trucks handle very well. They won't be confused with a sport sedan anytime soon, and parking can be a particular chore, but for the most part, reviewers agree the Sierra HD trucks won't beat you up as you drive to the job site or tow your boat to the lake.

  • "Parking it was an exercise in futility; I learned quickly to take advantage of the vast swaths of empty real estate to the back of the parking lot. But this did nothing to sour me on this bad boy." -- Car and Driver
  • "Surprisingly pleasant, easy to drive except when maneuvering in tight spaces. Hefty size and weight limit cornering speed, as does expected big-truck body lean, but excellent straightline stability. Brakes furnish stable, relatively short stops with fine pedal feel." --Consumer Guide
  • "Distinguishes itself with well-weighted steering that gives the driver a greater sense of vehicle control. " -- Edmunds

Towing and Hauling

Like most heavy-duty trucks, the Sierra HD is built to pull and haul.  GMC designers gave the trucks plenty of ability to haul whatever owners throw at them.  The Sierra 3500 trucks can haul up to 5,309 pounds, depending on configuration, while the 2500 models can handle up to 3,924 pounds.

When it comes to towing, a properly configured Sierra 2500 can tow up to 13,000 pounds.  The Sierra 3500 can tow up to 13,000 as well.  While these capacities should meet the needs of most buyers, the Ford F-250 can tow up to 16,000 pounds; the F-350 can tow an impressive 18,400 pounds.  If you've got a lot of heavy towing and hauling to do, the Ford is probably a better bet.

  • "Smooth, alert automatic transmissions rival those in many cars. Their tow/haul mode adjusts shift points for best performance with heavy loads. GM claims best-in-class towing capacities at up to 13,000 lb with external hitch, 16,700 with in-bed '5th-wheel' hitch. . . . Optional trailer-brake controller is a safety plus for towing." -- Consumer Guide

 

Review Last Updated: 3/10/10

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