The new 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Double Cab SLT 2WD with the Duramax turbo diesel power train is one very nice – and seriously capable – heavy duty (HD) pickup truck. We recently spent a week in a Sonoma Red Metallic with Jet Black interior Sierra - taking a 750 mile road trip to a conference of outdoor writers in the Rio Grande Valley at McAllen, Texas.
The Duramax 6.6L V8 Turbo Diesel power plant (397 horsepower and 765 lb.-ft. of torque) was mated to the solid performing Allison 1000 6-speed automatic transmission delivering power to its optional 20-inch polished aluminum wheels through a 3.73 rear axle. Manufacturers are not required to post fuel economy for heavy duty trucks, but we can tell you that we were very pleased with the nearly 18 mpg we achieved on our trip covering mostly highway driving and where we made no attempt to optimize mileage by changing our driving style.
This GMC Sierra 2500 truck with its double cab and 2WD configuration had a tow capacity of 13,000 pounds ball hitch and 17,100 pounds fifth-wheel or gooseneck plus a haul capacity of 2,793 pounds.
Our test truck came with a base MSRP of $43,555 with the standard 6.0L V8 gasoline engine. The optional Duramax/Allison power train included on our test truck added $8,395 to the sticker price with optional 20-inch wheels and all-terrain tires costing another $1,050.
Adding another $5,280 of options made our test truck about as well equipped as we would want including Tubular Chrome Assist Steps, Power Heated Outside Camper Mirrors with Turn Signals, Spray-on Bedliner, Dual 150 Amp Alternators and Driver Alert Package including Front and Rear Parking Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and Safety Alert Seat. Also included were the Bose Audio and GM Intellilink with Navigation System, 8-inch Color Touch Display, Heated and Cooled Full Feature Leather-Appointed Front Bucket Seat and Tilt and Telescoping Steering Column with Heated Steering Wheel.
Completing this Sierra 2500 was the Off-Road Z71 Suspension Package with Underbody Shields, Hill Descent Control, Monotube Rancho Shocks and Z71 Badges.
Our 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Double Cab SLT 2WD with its Duramax Turbo Diesel priced out at $59,375 – including delivery.
So how did this 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD compare to the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD that we drove and reported on just a few weeks back and which one would did we prefer? To answer that we need to talk a bit about the automotive brand loyalty factor.
Brand loyalty is nowhere more evident than in the world of pickup trucks and, in particular, heavy duty pickup trucks. So it is with all due respect to the passionate owners of every brand of heavy duty pickup trucks, that we admit that we are regularly amused at the ongoing ‘brand loyalty’ dialogues we have with owners of the ‘other’ brands whenever we review or report on a particular brand.
We long ago lost count of the times we have heard the comment from a reader that a specific brand has always been the family choice and they would never change to another brand for any reason – ever. This is understandable when the manufacturers are different such as Ford and Ram comparing to a Chevrolet or GMC. But, it gets a more than a bit interesting when the comparison is Chevrolet Silverado to GMC Sierra.
Which is where we find ourselves writing about the GM pair of heavy duty pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra – each with specific individual styling, trim level and amenity differences - but underneath, are the same truck - trim level for trim level.
If these trucks were identically equipped and featured, we would tell you that your personal brand preference would serve you equally well in making your choice.
The new 2015 GMC Sierra HD and Chevrolet Silverado HD trucks - are notably and significantly improved with new styling outside and inside, new spacious and quieter cabins, more comfortable seating, updated instrument, center stack and console modules with easy to reach intuitive controls, more convenient plug-ins and additional storage options.
Additionally they both feature enhanced air flow for more efficient engine operation, integrated cruise control, auto grade braking and diesel smart exhaust braking (diesel power trains), two-tier cargo box loading, the new CornerStep Bumper, EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate, standard cargo box lighting plus available under-rail LED cargo lights.
They also include new and enhanced technologies including standard rearview camera system, GMC Intellilink for personal and business communication plus OnStar 4G LTE with an available Wi-Fi hotspot (later this year) to further enhance connectivity to and from the vehicle.
At the end of the day, both the Silverado and the Sierra HD trucks for 2015 are good choices based on their features, amenities and capabilities. We would add here that we do prefer both with the Duramax/Allison power trains for durability and performance.
In these most recent ride and drives - 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Double Cab SLT 2WD and the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD Crew Cab LTZ 4WD – both with the Duramax/Allison powertrains, we do have a preference based on their respective (and different) configurations.
We usually prefer crew cabs because of their extra room for rear passenger comfort and cargo accommodation. Though the exterior dimensions of both Sierra and Silverado are exactly the same, the Sierra (smaller double cab cabin) has a 9.5-inch shorter wheelbase than the Silverado. We found that the shorter wheelbase gave us a measurably better handling and ride than we experienced in the Silverado crew cab with its bigger cabin. This improved ride and handling (including steering and turning) was better enough that we would likely forgo the extra 6-inches of rear seat legroom in the crew cab.
Our usual preference for a heavy duty and/or off-road capable truck is 4WD over 2WD. Again, based on these back to back test drives of these two trucks (including running the Sierra 2WD vehicle on a moderate off-road test trail near McAllen, Texas), we felt very comfortable that, unless you were doing serious heavy hauling full-time or running regularly in snow and ice, the 2WD would do a very credible job.
Priced at about $2,000 less, our choice in this case, would be to go with the 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Double Cab SLT 2WD.
But then again, depending on which brand your dad or grandfather drove, you might go with the other.