What's New for 2010
For 2010, the GMC Sierra 2500HD gets a more powerful 6.0-liter V8 as well as some minor equipment changes. Highlights of the latter include newly standard air-conditioning for the regular-cab Work Truck and a USB port for the uplevel sound systems.
When it comes to the vehicular workhorses known as heavy-duty pickup trucks, there aren't a whole lot of breeds to choose from. The competition is stiff, and choices are limited to four models. Actually, you can knock that down to three, as two of them are platform mates. The 2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD is one of the latter, as it shares pretty much everything but its sheet metal and grille with its Chevy Silverado 2500 relative.
As with the Silverado, the Sierra 2500HD offers an easy-to-handle demeanor and an inviting, high-quality cabin to go along with its immense hauling and towing capacities.
As far as its non-familial rivals, the Ford F-250 Super Duty is similarly comfortable and capable, but the Sierra still offers a little more work capacity as well as a nicer cabin (especially on the uppermost trims). Meanwhile, the Dodge Ram 2500 Heavy Duty has been redesigned this year, and though it can't quite match the GMC's towing capacity, it boasts the nicest cabin in the segment as well as a quiet ride.
The reality is that the differences among all these tough trucks have grown smaller as the vehicles have gotten better with each passing generation. As such, unless you have undying brand loyalty, your purchase decision will likely be made based on nuances such as how the seats fit you and what features you do and don't need.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD full-size pickup is available in three body styles: regular cab, extended cab and crew cab. Regular cabs only come with a long bed, while the two other cabs can have a standard or long bed. All body styles are offered in base Work Truck and midlevel SLE trims, while the extended and crew cabs can also be had in plush SLT form.
The Work Truck comes with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a trip computer, OnStar, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a tilt steering wheel and a stereo with just an AM/FM radio.
The SLE adds keyless entry, rear tinted windows, chrome wheels, full power accessories, a CD player, cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Some of these features are optional on the Work Truck.
The SLT adds a locking rear differential, a heavy-duty trailering package (with an integrated trailer brake controller), alloy wheels, leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, remote engine start, upgraded interior design with wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, foglamps, 12-way power front bucket seats, heated seats, rear audio controls, Bluetooth and an upgraded audio system (with a USB port, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a Bose speaker system). Some of these features are optional on the SLE.
Other options available on the upper trims include a power-sliding rear window, a sunroof (SLT only), a navigation system with real-time traffic updates, a rearview camera, rear parking assist sensors, power-folding exterior mirrors, power-folding and -extending camper mirrors, a Z71 off-road package (skid plates, off-road suspension, bigger stabilizer bar), the EZ-Lift tailgate, power-adjustable pedals and a rear-seat entertainment system (SLT only).
Powertrains and Performance
The standard engine in the 2010 GMC Sierra 2500 is a 6.0-liter gasoline-fueled V8 making 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Optional is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel Duramax V8 that boasts 365 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque. It gets a different six-speed automatic and is the go-to choice if you require a burly tow vehicle (it also gets better fuel economy). Properly equipped, the 2500HD can tow up to 13,000 pounds.
Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, with four-wheel drive optional. Although the Work Truck 4WD gets a traditional floor-mounted transfer case, the two other trim levels available on the Sierra 4WD get Autotrac, a knob-controlled electric transfer case that features an automatic setting that engages 4WD when wheel slippage is detected.
Antilock disc brakes are standard, while front side and side curtain airbags are not available. Curiously, stability control comes only on standard-bed trucks. A Safety package that includes power-adjustable pedals and rear park assist is optional, as is a rear parking camera.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD features two different interior designs depending on trim level. The Work Truck and the SLE feature a more utilitarian trucklike dash design with an open lower center portion to accommodate the standard three-person front bench (a center console is added with the optional bucket seats). The SLT, however, gets the same upscale design as the Yukon SUV, lending the Sierra's cabin a classier feel with its wood and metallic accents. With either design you get straightforward controls within relatively easy reach. However, the available dual-zone climate control buttons are small and difficult to operate with gloves.
The front seats are quite comfy, but some editors found the pedals placed too far apart and the tilt-only steering wheel located too close to the dash. Space in the crew cab's backseat is very roomy, and most average-size adults should find the extended cab acceptable. We strongly suggest springing for the available rearview camera, which not only makes parking the behemoth 2500 much easier but also reduces the guesswork when hitching up a trailer.
A notable strong point is the Sierra 2500's well-weighted steering that provides the driver with a greater sense of vehicle control. This is a particular benefit on tight country roads. Although a heavy-duty pickup and its taut rear suspension will never offer a Cadillac ride, the 2010 GMC Sierra 2500 is surprisingly comfortable over long distances. Both engines are strong, but if you can swing the price premium, the hefty performance and reasonable fuel economy of the Duramax diesel make it a very tempting choice.