2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD Review

Pros & Cons

  • Class-leading horsepower and hauling capacity, roomy interior.
  • Unproven engines and drivetrains, cheap interior materials.
List Price Estimate
$3,040 - $6,142

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Edmunds' Expert Review

GMC makes a pretty good pick-'em-up, if powerful engines are your thing. But it has a ways to go to match the Ford F-250 Super Duty when it comes to the quality of the materials and rugged good looks.

Vehicle overview

Debuting last year with an all-new design, the Sierra 2500HD is one tough truck built to handle the most severe on-the-job duties. Although it does share some engine and drivetrain components with the standard 2500, this heavy-duty model features additional hardware that allows it to boast some of the highest tow ratings of any truck on the market.

GMC prides itself on being called "Professional Grade," so stout drivetrains are a must. The base engine on the 2500HD is a 6.0-liter Vortec V8 rated at 300 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, easily out-muscling Ford's 5.4-liter Triton V8 (260hp, 350 lb-ft) and Dodge's 5.9-liter V8 (245hp, 345 lb-ft). If that's not enough grunt under the hood, the Sierra offers two even more powerful options: an 8.1-liter Vortec V8 or the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel. The Vortec 8100 boasts an impressive 340 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque, higher numbers than even its competitor's V10s can muster. The Duramax diesel also generates impressive power with 300 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque.

All that power won't do much unless there's a sturdy transmission behind it to put it to the ground. All 6.0-liter-equipped 2500s come with the New Venture 4500 five-speed manual as standard equipment, while the 4L80-E four-speed automatic is optional. All Sierras equipped with either the Vortec 8100 or Duramax turbodiesel come standard with a ZF six-speed manual featuring fully synchronized gears, synthetic gear oil and an ultra-low first gear for smooth slow-speed maneuvering. Optional on the big engines is an Allison 1000 five-speed overdrive automatic. This transmission is electronically controlled for precisely timed shifts and will automatically downshift on grades to provide engine braking. It's also the first automatic transmission to feature Power Take-Off (PTO) capability, delivering up to 250 lb-ft of continuous torque to worksite equipment.

Supporting all this heavy-duty hardware is a fully independent torsion bar suspension in front and a semi-floating solid axle in the rear with two-stage leaf springs. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and GM's Hydro-Boost brake proportioning system are standard on all models. Standard tires are E-load range 245/75R16s mounted on eight-lug steel wheels. Maximum towing capacity for 6.0-liter-equipped Sierras is 10,500 pounds while Vortec 8100 and Duramax diesel-equipped models can tow up to 12,000 pounds on a standard trailer.

All Sierras are available in three different trim levels: SL, SLE and SLT. SL trim trucks come standard with a 40/20/40 split bench seat, air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, 17 function driver message center and deep tinted glass. Mid-grade SLE models add power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, an AM/FM/CD stereo, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Top-of-the-line SLTs come with power heated leather seats, the OnStar communications system, a self-dimming rearview mirror with a built-in compass and power heated exterior mirrors. With big, comfortable seats and a solid ergonomic design, all Sierras sport roomy cabins with plenty of head, leg and hip room. Extended cab models have a surprising amount of space for rear-seat passengers and clamshell rear doors on both sides for easy access.

While we don't think the evolutionary styling of GM's heavy-duty pickups connotes the brute appeal of a Ford Super Duty or the big-nosed 3500-series Dodge, we do know that they will beat them when it comes to good ol' pullin' and haulin.' Regardless of what configuration you choose, GMC's 2500HD will provide all the power and capability you'll ever need along with a comfortable interior and a smooth ride.

2002 Highlights

Fully redesigned last year, the Sierra 2500HD gets only minor updates for 2002. Air conditioning is now standard on all trim levels along with extendable sunshade visors and redesigned exterior badging.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2500HD 4x4 6.0L
I really love this truck. I call it "big truck". I don't like the gas mileage, aprox 13 mpg but what could I expect. It definilety has the pulling power, and the acceleration that I would want. I drove a couple of F-250's and I just didn't like the ride quality as much as I do this truck. I'm very happy with this truck
Good truck
4dr Crew Cab SLE 4WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A)
I've owned this older Duramax SLT 4x4 truck for over a year now and it has been pretty good. The only issues I've had with this truck that are not operator caused are I had a few bearings go out in the belt pullies, alternator bit the dust and the Hydroboost had to be replaced. All of these I was able to do myself with minimal effort. There were some other things that needed repair but those were not the truck's fault. It IS an older truck. Everything else seems to be fine. The engine is strong and the Allison tranny works great. I'm overall happy with the truck. I just wish the cab was a bit more polished. I bought the truck to pull and it does it well. Follow up review. The truck is still chugging along just fine. I had a rear drive shaft seal where it goes into the diff, go bad. Also, I forgot to change my fuel filter which caused the truck to perform a bit poorly however, after looking over the forums and remembering I needed to change it, the truck now drives good. Other than that, it hasn't changed. Things are good. 191k miles. Follow up review. I sold the truck a year ago. A few months before that I had to replace the ball joints which cost me over $1000. Ouch! I then noticed it started to blow some black smoke when shifting down while towing the trailer. I read many forums stating that blowing the smoke was normal and some said it was abnormal. The exhaust system is stock as far as I know. The truck seemed to run fine and was as strong as ever. I became a bit worried about having to replace the injectors. This, along with the possible need for a steering box replacement and a few other nickel dime things caused me to make the decision to sell it and put the possible "fix it" money towards a new (to me) truck. I think it was about 195k on the miles.
What a TRUCK!
Huck BB62,06/04/2002
If you haven't driven a new GM heavy duty, you're in for a shock. The thing is super quiet inside. I've got the upgraded interior and it's very very plush. The 6.0 is a forceful engine and delivers in spades. It is a very capable truck off road and on long trips, it's real pleasure. A long inspection of the underside and underhood of this truck reveals a ton of thoughtful engineering and plain old brawn. Not ONE factory assembly error has been found on my truck. If it got stolen tomorrow, I'll be back down to the same dealer to get one just like it.
great performance
I just recently purchased a 2002 GMC 2500hd Duramax diesel. It is a very dependable truck. It will pull any trailer that I need it to pull and if it doesn’t, a power chip can always be added for increase in horsepower and torque. This year and newer comes with the either a 6-speed or the automatic Allison transmission, both are great for pulling or just for driving, depending on what the owner mainly does with it. Without a chip this truck can get up to 18mph which is pretty good for a ¾ ton truck. Along with performing good this truck is also roomy with either the extended cab 4 door or the full 4 door versions. Another good thing about a diesel is that if they are taken care of they can ru

Features & Specs

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More about the 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD

Used 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD Overview

The Used 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD is offered in the following submodels: Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab, Sierra 2500HD Regular Cab, Sierra 2500HD Extended Cab. Available styles include 4dr Crew Cab SL 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SL 4WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab SL 4WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SL 2WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab SL 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SL 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab 2WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab SLE 4WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab SLE 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab SL 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SLE 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Extended Cab SL 2WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 2dr Regular Cab SL 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SLE 4WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SLE 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 2dr Regular Cab 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SLE 2WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab 2WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), 2dr Regular Cab SL 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab SLE 4WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab SLE 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 5M), 4dr Extended Cab SLE 2WD LB (6.0L 8cyl 4A), and 4dr Extended Cab SLE 2WD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A).

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Should I lease or buy a 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out GMC Sierra 2500HD lease specials