The word “work” has more than one definition. In fact, it’s different for every person you meet. Some people drive a sedan to work. Other people need a vehicle that’s not just a reliable ride to work but a partner in the business. In years past, a heavy-duty work truck was something like a street-legal dump truck. These beasts of the worksite lumbered down the main streets of town, always ready to tow, stow, and go, while other lighter-duty pickup trucks cruised by on sport-tuned shocks, blasting cool tunes from their premium audio systems. But this is 2021. GMC Heavy Duty trucks are no longer bastions of the “all work and no play” sentiment.
Instead, they are highly capable, highly functional, and allow drivers access to comfort and convenience with as much ease as their smaller truck stablemates. For those folks who need more out of their vehicle than just a basic commuter, GMC offers the classic Sierra pickup truck in two Heavy Duty models: the Sierra 2500 HD and the Sierra 3500 HD.
Capability and Durability: The 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
The 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD and Sierra 3500 HD take the words “Heavy Duty” to heart. In fact, GMC’s 2021 Heavy Duty trucks have already blown away the competition with class-leading and best-in-class awards when it comes to capability and durability, including Best-In-Class maximum towing, Crew Cab front and rear legroom, and cargo bed volume. Both trucks come in several bed/cab configurations, with corresponding capabilities. The 2021 Sierra 2500 HD is offered with a choice of Regular Cab, Crew Cab, and Double Cab. Drivers have the choice of a rear-wheel or four-wheel drivetrain for all cab selections.
Regular Cabs are available only with an 8-foot long bed, which provides a massive 83.5 cubic feet of space for cargo storage. The wheelbase on this truck measures 141.55 inches, with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) maximum of 26,000 pounds. This model is rated for a conventional trailering maximum of 14,500 pounds and a gooseneck/fifth-wheel max of 18,510 pounds.
Sierra 2500 HD Crew Cab models include a choice of 6-foot 9-inch standard bed, which offers 69.6 cubic feet of cargo space, or the 8-foot long bed. With a higher maximum GCWR of 27,500 pounds, this version of the Sierra 2500 can pull a maximum of 18,500 pounds regardless of hitch type. Its wheelbase is significantly larger, spanning between 158.94 – 172 inches, depending on the bed chosen.
The Sierra 2500 HD Double Cab also offers a choice of standard or long bed. These models have a shorter wheelbase, measuring between 149.4 – 162.48 inches, and a lower GCWR of 26,000, making them more comparable to the Regular Cab in capability. The towing maximum for the fifth wheel and gooseneck hitches is 18,200 pounds, while the conventional hitch is limited to 14,500 pounds.
Capability and Durability: The 2021 GMC Sierra 3500 HD
If you’re looking for Best-In-Class heavy duty towing capacity, the 2021 Sierra 3500 HD is an ideal choice. Regular Cab, Crew Cab, and Double Cab models all offer a choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Those who choose the 8-foot long bed also have the option of a single rear wheel or a dual rear wheel configuration.
Regular Cab is paired to the long bed only, and dual rear wheel models offer the model’s top towing maximum, pulling 36,000 pounds with a fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch. Single rear wheel models aren’t too far behind, pulling up to 32,000 pounds. Meanwhile, the conventional trailering maximum for the Sierra 3500 HD is maxed out at 20,000 pounds.
The Crew Cab version is available with the standard or long box and can pull 20,000 pounds conventional or 31,400 pounds with a fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch. The maximum GCWR for this vehicle is 40,000 pounds. Double Cab Sierra 3500 HD trucks are paired with the long bed only, as well, and share the same towing capability ratings of the Crew Cab versions.
Powering the 2021 GMC Heavy Duty Trucks
Those familiar with the inner workings of heavy duty trucks might naturally assume that the 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD are strictly powered by diesel engines. In fact, drivers have a choice between gasoline or diesel-powered engines. Both options are a 6.6L V8 engine. The gasoline model provides 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque, while the turbodiesel version turns up the power with 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque.
An available Allison 10-speed transmission accompanies the turbodiesel engine, winning yet another award for being the first in its class to provide this option. The turbodiesel also includes a Dual Path Air Induction System, which aids horsepower and trailering by pulling air through the front grille, as well as the hood scoop for cooler induction temperatures for the engine.
More Than Work: Features of the 2021 GMC Heavy Duty Trucks
Both 2021 GMC Heavy Duty trucks are offered in a variety of trims, starting with the Sierra, SLE, moving up to the SLT, the off-road ready AT4, and the top-level Denali. All Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD models include standard trailering mirrors, as well as a side bed step and CornerStep to make pulling things from the cargo bed easier than ever before. LED headlamps, taillamps, and daytime running lamps are also standard, with available LED fog lamps and cargo bed lighting standard on the upper trims.
Storage inside the cabin of GMC’s 2021 HD trucks is no problem, either. Available options include rear seatback storage, as well as a rear folding split-bench seat, a lighted and lockable center console, double glove boxes, and under-seat storage. Meanwhile, the AT4 models are ready for whatever you throw at them with off-road-tuned suspension, Rancho shocks and skid plates, a six-function MultiPro tailgate, and heated and ventilated perforated leather front seats with a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Sierra HD Denali models are the pinnacle of luxury and power, with the ability to carry a payload of up to 6,374 pounds while sporting open-pore ash wood, brushed aluminum, and chrome accents throughout the cabin.
Those who are serious about trailering may opt for the available Class-Leading 15 high-def camera views, including the industry’s first available transparent trailer view. A full suite of trailering mirrors is also available, including power-folding, manual extending LED guidance lamps, convex lower view mirrors, and amber auxiliary clearance lamps. The optional Sierra HD Gooseneck Hitch Package includes a gooseneck and fifth wheel hitch platform, a hitch platform for ball and stamped bed holes, a bed-mounted 7-pin harness, and a bed view camera.
Your Ultimate Coworker: The GMC Heavy Duty
WThe 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 or 3500 HD offers plenty of trims and options that will allow each person who drives one to add all of the custom options and features to make it an invaluable work partner. From selecting a cab and bed configuration to choosing the right engine to maximize the value of your investment, and equipping the truck with all the important accessories and options, the process of building a 2021 GMC heavy duty truck leaves no stone unturned. After all, what’s the point of creating the ideal work partner if it doesn’t work for you?