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Used 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali Crew Cab Review

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali Crew Cab.


Edmunds Summary Review of the 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali Crew Cab

What’s new

  • All trims get standard rearview camera
  • Base trims get upgraded infotainment system
  • Denali models feature a new grille design
  • Part of the third Sierra generation introduced in 2014

Pros & Cons

  • Prodigious torque from optional diesel engine
  • Quiet cabin for a workhorse truck, even when diesel-equipped
  • Solid build quality and high-end feel
  • Some versions don't offer telescoping steering column
  • Thick roof pillars create large blind spots


Which Sierra 3500HD does Edmunds recommend?

The SLT splits the difference between the two more work-focused lower trims and the decadent Denali trim. It offers leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, and an assortment of standard and optional features and packages, such as specialized suspension components. And when equipped with the optional 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 engine, there's not much the Sierra 3500HD can't tow.

Full Edmunds Review: 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD Crew Cab

What’s new

For 2018, the GMC Sierra 3500HD gets a standard rearview camera. Base models get an upgraded infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and voice controls for audio and phone. Denali models feature a new grille design.

Vehicle overview

All heavy-duty trucks are built to handle rigorous towing and hauling needs, especially for professionals in construction and agriculture trades. But they also come in handy for intrepid trailer-travelers and those with a fondness for destroyer-class watercraft. The 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD, however, adds another layer of comfort and luxury to all these utility tasks, and it does so with rugged exterior design and cabin comforts that you're more likely to find in high-end SUVs. If you want to bask in comfort while breaking a sweat, this is the truck.

Available with two powerful engines and in several cab configurations, the 3500HD can be tailored to fit your priorities, whether interior space, cargo room or maximum towing capacity. The optional diesel engine generates 910 pound-feet of torque — about a third of what a 60-ton Abrams tank engine produces — so there's not much beyond its capabilities before entering the realm of commercial freight hauling.

Ford and Ram also make robust, luxury-trimmed pickups for extreme towing duties, but you'll likely find the 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD just as appealing.

2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD models

The 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD heavy-duty pickup truck is available in four trim levels and three cab sizes: regular cab, double cab and crew cab. All are available with two- or four-wheel drive and in either single rear-wheel (SRW) or dual rear-wheel (DRW, or dually) configuration. All 3500 Sierras come with a long bed (8 feet 1 inch) except the crew cab, which in single rear-wheel form offers a choice of long bed or shorter standard bed (6 feet 6 inches).

For buyers interested in a basic heavy-duty truck, the base Sierra comes standard with a 6.0-liter V8 engine (360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet), a six-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch steel wheels, an automatic locking rear differential, xenon headlights, air conditioning, a choice of cloth or vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench with a fold-down center armrest, power door locks, manual crank windows, cruise control and a tilt-only steering wheel.

Also standard are a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, a USB port, a four- (regular cab) or six-speaker sound system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

From the base Sierra on up, you also have your choice of engine. A turbocharged 6.6-liter diesel V8 (445 hp and 910 lb-ft) is available, also paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Many options are available for the base Sierra. Highlights include a remote locking tailgate, LED bed lighting, a 110-volt power outlet, satellite radio, and OnStar services with 4G LTE Wi-Fi.

For a slightly less bare-bones experience, the SLE offers an 8-inch touchscreen, 18-inch alloy wheels (single-rear-wheel models only), tinted rear windows, a remote-locking EZ-Lift tailgate, remote keyless entry, carpeted floor, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, full power accessories, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a CD player, satellite and HD radio, and most of the base Sierra's options.

Further up the ladder is our recommendation, the SLT. Building on the SLE's equipment, the SLT adds foglights, power-folding mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats, driver-seat memory settings, power-adjustable pedals, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote ignition, and a 110-volt household-style power outlet.

For a luxurious take on your hard-working truck, go with the Denali. It adds a spray-in bedliner, a power-sliding rear window with defogger, front and rear parking sensors, a navigation system, wireless phone charging, a Bose audio system, an upgraded driver information display, upgraded interior trim, ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Many of the standard features on upper trims can be added at lower trim levels in grouped packages. Other optional highlights depend on trim level and include different axle ratios, a bed storage box, tonneau covers, trailering mirrors, a sunroof,  a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailering prep package, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a Driver Alert package, which includes front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and a safety-alert driver's seat.

Only available on the SLT is the All Terrain HD package, which includes 18-inch wheels, the Z71 off-road suspension, skid plates, front-and-rear parking sensors and a heated steering wheel. A separate Suspension package (available on the SLE and the SLT) offers hill descent control, skid plates, specially tuned shock absorbers and unique styling treatments.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD (6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 | 6-speed automatic | 4WD). The Silverado and Sierra are mechanical twins, although the GMC features more upscale interior quality and appointments. Our observations still apply.

Driving

The optional 6.6-liter turbodiesel is an impressive engine that gives the 3500HD big towing numbers and impressive acceleration. Steering and braking are less impressive, but objectively this truck performs well by most standards that matter to truck buyers.

Comfort

Overall comfort isn't the Sierra 3500's strong suit. Trucks in this size range aren't exactly bastions of comfort, but this one is particularly rough on the senses with a combo of stiff seats, lots of wind noise and a rigid suspension. A big payload, however, settles things down a lot.

Interior

The interior is likable and user-friendly. Hop in and you'll operate almost all the controls without busting out the manual. It has a no-nonsense vibe, but that's not necessarily a bad thing in this segment.

Utility

By most standards, the 3500HD certainly is utilitarian. It can tow and haul massive loads, and it has abundant interior storage. However, offerings from Ford and Ram outclass it by pretty much every measurement and in the arms race that is towing capacity, it falls behind by a few tons.

Technology

Using the MyLink interface is pretty simple, but we had several usability issues with our test vehicle. The finicky voice controls and subpar device integration made for a frustrating user experience.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD in Virginia is:

$71.58 per month*
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