Used 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 Extended Cab Review

Edmunds expert review

Why buy more truck than you can use but settle for less than you need? GMC doesn't think that makes sense, so it offers a 2500-series light-duty Sierra to slot between humdrum half-tons and big-bruiser heavy-duties. Ask the Toyota salesperson if the Tundra can do that.

What's new for 2002

GMC's light-duty 2500s get only minor changes for 2002. Base model SLs now come standard with air conditioning, while uplevel SLE and SLT models get standard deep-tinted glass. All Sierras get redesigned badging and extendable sun visors.

Vehicle overview

If you're looking for flexibility, capability and a "professional grade" image, look no further than GMC's 2500 Sierra. Available as either a regular-cab longbed or an extended-cab shortbed in three different trim levels, these versatile trucks provide all the power and comfort you're ever likely to need.

Like the half-ton 1500 series, these trucks share platforms and components with Chevrolet's Silverado, but the Sierra gets some styling and feature enhancements to position GMC as the "professional grade" truck. Looks and special content aside, the biggest draw for GMC's big pickups are their exceptional powertrains, outstanding payload capacity, and unparalleled towing and hauling ability.

Under the hood, all light-duty 2500's get GM's 6.0-liter Vortec V8, good for 300 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. This engine easily out-muscles Ford's 5.4-liter Triton V8 (260hp, 350 lb-ft) and Dodge's 5.9-liter V8 (245hp, 345 lb-ft). The standard transmission is a New Venture 4500 five-speed manual, with a heavy-duty 4L80-E four-speed automatic optional.

Underneath, the Sierra 2500 features an independent front suspension that utilizes torsion bars and gas-pressurized shocks. A solid rear axle with variable-rate leaf springs supports the rear. Standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS provide excellent stopping power with minimal fade. Two-wheel-drive 2500s are rated to tow up to 10,800 pounds, while four-wheel-drive versions max out at 10,300 pounds.

The Sierra comes in three trim levels: SL, SLE and SLT. All models feature air conditioning, a driver message center, dual power outlets, a tilt steering wheel and an AM/FM stereo. SLE models add convenience features like power windows and locks, cruise control, upgraded cloth interior, an AM/FM/CD stereo and remote keyless entry. Loaded SLT models feature leather bucket seats, deep tinted glass, cast aluminum wheels, power heated outside mirrors and the Autotrac transfer case on 4x4 models.

With comfy seats, easy-to-use radio and climate controls, and plenty of the latest features, the inside of the Sierra is as functional as the outside. From industrial-size cupholders to a multi-function vehicle system monitor, it's safe to say, if it doesn't come on a Sierra 2500, it probably doesn't come on any pickup. So whether you're looking for a little extra power when hauling your boat, or your truck is the most important tool you bring to the jobsite, the Sierra 2500 is one well-rounded pickup that's hard to beat.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.