GMC rolled out its 2011 Sierra HD (2500/3500 Series) heavy-duty pickup trucks last week at a news conference at the FCCC booth on the floor of The Work Truck Show, which was held in St. Louis last week by the National Truck Equipment Assn.

While the Sierra HD line now includes an upscale Denali 4WD crew cab version model, aimed at premium buyers, the big news for fleet buyers will be availability of the new GM 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel, which the OEM called the “most powerful diesel engine in the segment.” The engine carries 397 hp and 765 lb.-ft. of torque ratings and is driven through an “enhanced” Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission that, according to GM, was “strengthened to handle the higher torque capability of the new Duramax engine, while also helping improve fuel economy and provide seamless assistance with a new exhaust brake system.”

While the Sierra Denali HD is distinguished by its four-bar Denali grille, the other new HD models are identified by new three-bar grilles and powertrain-badged louvered hoods-- along with a revised, full-width chrome steel front bumper and a new family of 17-, 18- and 20-in wheel options.

Under their sheetmetal, the new Sierra HD trucks offer such key features as:

  • Increased towing capability (20,000 lbs) and payload (6,335 lbs) “supported by all-new fully-boxed, high-strength-steel frames and strong suspensions for maximum capability and exceptional ride characteristics”
  • Five of the 12 3500HD models offer a payload capability greater than 6,000 lbs
  • Thirteen of the 22 2500HD models offer a payload capability greater than 3,100 lbs
  • Duramax diesel that delivers “segment-best power, up to 11% greater highway fuel economy and up to 63% lower emissions” and “offers quicker acceleration”
  • Duramax is B20 biodiesel-compatible
  • Larger gas tank and fuel economy improvements allow up to 680 miles operating range with the Duramax engine
  • GCWR increased to 27,500 lbs
  • GVWR increased up to 17% to 13,000 lbs
  • Front axle weight rating increased by up to 25% to 6,000 lbs
  • Snowplow capability for all 4WD cab configurations
  • All-new “smart” exhaust brake feature provides greater control on grades and reduced brake pad wear
  • An array of control features, including trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake control, hill start assist, automatic grade braking, intelligent brake assist and larger brakes
  • “Purposeful technology,” including available mobile WiFi, USB connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar 9.0 and navigation

“You can see by the ratings numbers that the Sierra HD lineup is more capable, but the trucks are also better performers in the intangible qualities that bond owners with their trucks,” said Rick Spina, vehicle line executive. “They accelerate quicker – especially when fully loaded – stop more confidently and deliver a smooth, quiet driving experience that you have to experience to fully appreciate.”

“GMC has been one of the industry’s strongest truck brands for more than 100 years, and we back the 2011 Sierra HDs with a comprehensive five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that provides the best coverage in America,” said Lisa Hutchinson, GMC product marketing director. “From the segment-best diesel power to the segment-best warranty, these trucks deliver strength and peace of mind on all fronts.”

For complete information on all GMC Sierra HD models, go to