Full 2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the GMC Sierra 3500HD is no longer available in an extended cab body style.
General Motors touts GMC as its dedicated truck-only division. But even if you don't have your finger on the pulse of the auto industry, you probably know that GMCs are platform mates to various Chevrolets. Specifically, the 2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD is a near twin to the Silverado 3500HD and, as such, shares the same strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately for truck consumers, there's a lot more of the former than the latter, making the Sierra 3500HD a serious slugger in a game of heavy hitters.
The Sierra is a comfortable truck that boasts strong performance, confident handling and impressive hauling and towing capabilities. Underway, it's not the loud, stiff-riding brute you might expect if you haven't driven a heavy-duty pickup in years. Rather, this workhorse provides a fairly smooth and quiet ride. And drivers will likely appreciate its precise steering, which provides arrow-straight tracking on the freeway.
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-350 Super Duty matches the GMC in just about every regard, while the updated 2014 Ram 3500 has an edge thanks to its more powerful V8 and 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 3500HD earns our praise for its compliant suspension, smooth powertrains and strong overall performance.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD is offered in regular cab and crew cab body styles. Buyers can choose between single-rear-wheel (SRW) and dual-rear-wheel (DRW) configurations. The regular cab is only available with a long bed (8 feet), while the crew cabs can also be had in a standard bed length (6.5 feet), but only with the SRW configuration. 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 18-inch steel wheels (17s for DRW models), 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, heated mirrors, 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, an automatic locking rear differential, a heavy-duty trailering package (with integrated trailer brake controller), dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, remote start, heated front seats, leather upholstery, eight-way power front bucket seats (with power lumbar), 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, ventilated front seats 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 bedliner, a stationary tool box, a sunroof, a power-sliding rear window, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system and a rearview camera. There's also an 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 3500HD is a 6.0-liter gasoline V8 engine that produces 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission.
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 3500HD Sierra Denali with the diesel-powered engine and standard rear axle went from zero to 60 mph in a swift 7.5 seconds.
Rear-wheel drive is standard for all models, with four-wheel drive optional.
Properly equipped, a 2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD can haul up to 7,222 pounds of payload. It can tow up to 18,000 pounds with its standard ball hitch and pull 23,100 pounds with a fifth-wheel connection.
The 2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD 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 3500HD Denali with the single rear axle came to a stop from 60 mph in 147 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 to the competition on most passenger space dimensions.
When stacked up against the heavy-duty trucks from Ford and Ram, the 2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD stands out for its smooth ride and confident steering response. We also like the authoritative yet soft-spoken acceleration provided by the diesel V8. Performance on mountain roads is quite responsive, as the transmission offers well-timed shifts and the diesel exhaust brake helps maintain a steady ride down steep grades.