The race to make the most ridiculous heavy duty do-it-all pickup truck continues, and GMC’s expanded its luxurious Denali Ultimate line to its largest pickup truck.
With a heavily upgraded interior, neat towing tricks, and 975 lb-ft of torque it’s not hard to see why the 2024 GMC Sierra 2500HD is the highest-rated heavy-duty pickup at The Car Connection with a TCC Rating of 7.0 out of 10.
After running errands around town in the massive pickup truck, and then hooking up some boats to the rear end for some towing, here are the pros and cons of GMC’s largest, and most luxurious, pickup truck.
Pro: GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali finally gets a luxurious interior
The Denali Ultimate trim has expanded from the Yukon and Sierra 1500 into the 2500HD lineup. This puts some of the nicest leather GM puts in a mass-produced vehicle in its heavy duty pickup truck and slathers the seats and dashboard in leather and wood trim. Those seats are road-trip worthy, but they are notably narrower than the thrones found in the Ford Super Duty and Ram 2500HD. There’s real metal bits inside including stainless steel speaker covers. The 13.4-inch touchscreen and 15.0-inch digital gauge cluster even get their own distinct Denali startup sequence that outlines Mt. Denali. It’s still not as nice as the Ram Limited’s interior, but it’s close.
Con: GMC Sierra 2500HD is obnoxiously large
The GMC Sierra 2500HD is intimidating. The Denali Ultimate tones down the bling with smoked chrome blunting the shiny stuff, but there’s no hiding this truck is massive. The hoodline is level with my shoulder. For reference, I’m 5-foot-10. The design makes the truck look and feel taller and more imposing than the Ford Super Duty. The bed sides are obnoxiously high to provide added volume, and reaching over them to grab something out of the bed is a pipe dream lost in the history books. Admittedly, the truck’s maneuverable given its size, but that doesn’t change the intimidation factor.
Pro: GMC Sierra 2500HD has all the power
While a 6.6-liter V-8 engine rated at 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque is standard, my truck was equipped with the 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 rated at 470 hp and 975 lb-ft of torque. Both engines hook to smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. The torque? It’s laughable, there’s so much. The turbo is quick to spool with a wall of power coming online at about 1,800 rpm. It doesn’t take much movement of the skinny pedal to launch this hulking brick forward with gusto. Hooking a 5,000-pound trailer with a fiberglass fishing boat did nothing to deter forward momentum. The truck brushed it off. It barely required touching the accelerator pedal to pull the boat out of the water at the landing. Towing a 5,000-pound boat with this truck was akin to using a sledgehammer to place a nail into the wall.
Con: GMC Sierra 2500HD can be jittery
These are heavy duty pickups that are designed to tow up to 36,000 pounds or haul up to 6,500 pounds. Expecting this truck to ride like a luxury car is unreasonable despite its $94,835 price. Still, an unladen Ford Super Duty is less jittery and smoother despite having a higher payload 40,000-pound tow rating. Ford’s done a better job at balancing unloaded ride quality with potential capability. The heavy duty Rams ride better as well, but they aren’t the class leaders in terms of towing and payload due to their coil springs in the rear.
Pro and Con: GMC Sierra 2500HD’s MultiPro tailgate
For the longest time I called the latest tailgate wars ridiculous. What happened to a tailgate just being a tailgate? Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or softer, but in the last few years I’ve come around to appreciating the multi-function tailgates. GM’s six-way MultiPro tailgate is a winner overall. It’s a tailgate within a tailgate, allowing the center portion of the tailgate to drop down, enabling a shorter reach into the bed. Another portion can then drop down creating a useful 4-foot-wide step into the bed. My knees and back thank GM for this.
But should you, or… I…forget a hitch and ball are locked into the receiver and then lower the secondary tailgate portion, it’ll make contact with the hitch. Let it just drop and you’ll probably punch a hole in the tailgate with the trailer ball. I forgot the hitch and ball were still in the receiver, but luckily my hand was still on the tailgate. I caught it just as it made contact. No metal damage occurred, but I did scratch the paint. Sorry, GM. Buyer beware. Make sure you tap the correct tailgate release button and remember whether there’s a hitch and ball in the receiver. According to a sticker on the inside of the bed wall, there is a way to electronically lock the secondary tailgate from dropping, but I was unable, despite multiple attempts of following the directions, to get it to lock. Your mileage and abilities may vary.
Pro: GMC Sierra 2500HD has all the camera views for towing
How many camera views is too many? The GMC Sierra 2500HD has 14 different viewing angles thanks to seven cameras. Hooking up a trailer’s never been easier and can be accomplished easily without a helper. Seeing what’s in front of that obnoxiously tall front end isn’t hard thanks to the front-facing camera, and pulling through a gate with 25 feet of trailer, boat, and motor is a breeze. The neatest trick is when the turn signal engages, the truck will then use the corresponding side-view camera to display the side of the truck and trailer on the 13.4-inch touchscreen. This allows the driver to see the trailer as it comes around the corner to ensure the rear tires don’t clip the curb, or worse, ditch. Neat trick, GMC.
Con: GMC Sierra 2500HD won’t line up or back up the trailer for you
Look, if you need a truck to back itself up to a trailer or figure out which way to back up a trailer for you, well, you probably shouldn’t be towing. That’s just the reality because towing is serious business and can be dangerous. But, that doesn’t change the fact that a Ford Super Duty can now back itself up to, and put the ball directly underneath the trailer tongue, at the push of a button. Necessary? Nope. Impressive? Absolutely. Ford’s Super Duty can also make a novice look like a pro at the boat launch with the ability to control the trailer while backing up with just a knob. Turn the knob the way the trailer needs to go and it’ll automatically steer the trailer in that direction. It’s slick for those lacking experience or confidence at the ramp. The GMC Sierra 2500HD requires a driver to actually know how to manage and approach a trailer. I respect that, but beginners might not.
The 2025 GMC Sierra 2500HD is the top-rated heavy-duty pickup on TCC for a reason: It offers the best balance of features, safety technology, capability, and comfort. The Ultimate Denali model takes all that and covers it in soft leather and smoked chrome.
2024 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali Ultimate
Base price: $48,200, including $1,895 destination
Price as tested: $94,835
Powertrain: 470-hp 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8, 10-speed automatic transmission, 4WD
EPA fuel economy: N/A
The pros: All the power, luxurious interior, all the camera views
The cons: Obnoxiously big, Ram’s interior still nicer, Ford’s smarter at tow time, jittery when unladen
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