Full 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the GMC Sierra 2500HD lineup drops the extended cab body style.
GMC is the dedicated truck division of General Motors. However, it's fairly common knowledge that its vehicles are platform twins to various Chevys, typically differing mainly in styling and sharing the same strengths and weaknesses. For the 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD, that's a good thing, as it means that there are plenty of plusses and not many minuses.
Related to the Chevy Silverado 2500HD, the Sierra 2500HD neatly splits the difference between the 1500 light-duty pickup and the 3500HD ultra-heavy-duty workhorse (which can be had in a dual-rear-wheel configuration). Those considering the Sierra 2500HD have plenty of variety as far as powertrains and options go. Whether you want a basic, utilitarian work truck or a plush, six-passenger tow vehicle for your luxury RV or horse trailer, there's a rig for your needs here. Indeed, with a maximum towing capacity approaching 18,000 pounds, this Sierra should be able to handle most tasks with ease.
One other interesting aspect about the Sierra 2500HD is its option to use either traditional gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG) to power its 6.0-liter V8 engine. Given America's increasing natural gas production, this engine option is perhaps even more compelling this year. But this flexibility comes at a cost beyond the considerable price of this option. That's because the natural gas tank is mounted in the bed, using up about as much space as a large cross-bed tool box and thus reducing payload capacity.
Choosing among the mainstays in the heavy-duty pickup truck segment can be tough, but in a good way. They are all solid choices and probably all have quite a bit more capability than you'll ever likely need. The 2014 Ford F-250 Super Duty matches the GMC in just about every regard, while the updated 2014 Ram 2500 has an edge thanks to its more powerful V8 and a new, smoother-riding rear suspension. Both have newer interior technology features as well. But you really can't go wrong here, and the 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD earns our praise for its compliant suspension, smooth powertrains and strong overall performance.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD is offered in regular cab and crew cab body styles. The regular cab is only available with a long bed (8 feet), while crew cabs can be had with either a standard-length 6.5-foot bed or the 8-foot bed. Trim levels start at the base Work Truck and climb to the SLE, SLT and range-topping Denali. The SLT and Denali are only available on the crew cab.
The Work Truck trim level includes 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, a trip computer, rubber floor coverings, a 40/20/40-split front bench with fold-down center armrest, vinyl upholstery, a tilt steering wheel and either a four-speaker AM/FM stereo (regular cab) or a six-speaker unit (crew cab).
Stepping up to the SLE adds alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, keyless entry, full power accessories, carpeted floor coverings, cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, driver-side lumbar adjustments, OnStar, satellite radio and a CD player. Many of the SLE features are available on the Work Truck as options.
The SLT trim level is only offered on crew cab body styles and augments the SLE's features list by adding 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a locking rear differential, a heavy-duty trailering package (with an integrated trailer brake controller), heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way power front bucket seats (with power lumbar), driver memory settings, a front center console, Bluetooth and an upgraded Bose stereo system with a USB port. Some of these features are available as options for the SLE.
On top of the SLT features, the Denali will get you a four-bar chrome grille, chrome exterior accents, rear parking sensors, the EZ-lift tailgate, skid plates, power-adjustable pedals, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and brushed metallic interior trim. Many of these features are available on lower trim levels as options.
Additional options are dependent on trim level and include 20-inch wheels, different axle ratios, a protective bedliner, a stationary tool box, a sunroof, a power-sliding rear window, a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system and a rearview camera. Four-wheel-drive models can add the Off-Road Suspension package (Z71) that includes skid plates, specially tuned shock absorbers and a different front stabilizer bar.
Powertrains and Performance
The standard power plant for the 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD is a 6.0-liter V8 engine that produces 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission. There is also a bi-fuel option for this engine, allowing the truck to run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). When operating with CNG, power output drops to 301 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque.
An optional turbocharged 6.6-liter diesel V8 is the engine of choice for those who plan on towing or hauling on a regular basis. It produces 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a beefier six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. In Edmunds performance testing, a Sierra 2500HD with this engine accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a truly quick 7 seconds.
Rear-wheel drive is standard for all models, with four-wheel drive optional.
Properly equipped, a 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD can haul up to 3,670 pounds of payload (4,212 pounds when equipped with a special high-payload Performance package). It can tow up to 13,000 pounds with its standard ball hitch and 17,800 pounds with a fifth-wheel connection.
The 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD features antilock disc brakes, stability control, hill-start control and trailer sway control as standard. Front side and side curtain airbags are available as an option. Power-adjustable pedals and rear parking sensors are standard on the Denali (optional on others), and a rearview camera is available for all models. OnStar subscriptions include automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 2500HD Denali came to a stop from 60 mph in 144 feet, which is a long distance, but typical for a heavy-duty truck.
Interior Design and Special Features
As expected, the Work Truck has the most utilitarian interior of the lineup with vinyl seats, rubber floor covering and very little in the way of creature comforts. The SLE offers a more inviting cabin with cloth seats and carpeting, but both models come standard with a three-person front bench that requires a more trucklike dash. Opting for the bucket seats adds a fancier dash as well as a center console with storage. The SLT and Denali are the classiest of the bunch.
The front seats are quite comfortable, though some drivers might find the driving position a bit awkward because of the tilt-only steering wheel (it's too close to the dash) and gas and brake pedals that are far apart in order to accommodate work boots. We're also not particularly fond of the small and finicky buttons on the higher trims' center stack.
The crew cab features a fold-up rear seat that allows some taller items to be carried within the cabin. It also provides decent room for those seated in back, although it still falls short on most passenger space dimensions when compared with the competition.
The 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD manages to provide a comfortable ride along with its strong work capacity, thanks to its stiff frame and a suspension that can not only handle higher loads but also smooth out rough roads. When towing a trailer, the strong diesel engine helps accelerate this big truck with authority. When descending a grade, the exhaust brake also works with well-timed downshifts from the transmission to help out with vehicle stability.