2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD SLE Review – Got Trailer?

Expert Reviews GMC

Build Quality

There’s no questioning the quality improvements made across the board with all GM products, and the 2011 Sierra is no exception. In addition to the boxed frame which allows the Sierra to have much tighter panel gaps, the interior is made with high quality fabrics and plastics. The dashboard features textured black plastic that’s light years beyond the low-grade plastics used in old GMC trucks. And despite the buckboard ride which can shake the cab like a temblor, not a rattle or squeak can be heard from inside. On the freeway, the cabin is exceptionally quiet, especially for a full size pickup. You might get bucked around on a rough road, but at least it’s done in a serene manner.

2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD interior


More welcoming and luxurious interiors in full-size work trucks are not just a feature limited to GMC. Ford and Dodge also are on the same level when it comes to well-appointed cabins resembling a car more than a work truck. Although our truck was not the Denali line, and lacked luxo-features like leather seats and navigation, for what we’d use a truck like this for, it was perfectly outfitted. The instrument cluster is tastefully done, with six circular gauges reminiscent of early 1980′s GMC designs. Simple, clean and efficient are what we like with interiors, and GMC hit all three perfectly.

2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD 2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD

The cloth seats are supportive and comfortable, and in our regular cab bench seat model, the middle seat features not only a monstrous console, but also a handy, hidden locking console underneath. The center console also features three cupholders, and with two more cupholders in each door panel, the grand total comes to seven for a maximum of three passengers; evidence that America’s obsession with over-hydrating is still alive and well.

2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD interior

Headroom in the Sierra won’t be a problem for anyone. And we do mean anyone. Even a six-footer with an abnormally tall torso still has nearly two feet of headroom, enough for two 10-gallon hats stacked on top of one another; or one 10 gallon hat with an obnoxiously long eagle’s feather. Hand it to GM – they know their target market quite well.

Our tester also offered technology like Bluetooth®, OnStar®, XM® Satellite Radio and USB port for mobile devices.

2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD


Nothing really notable here. The exterior of all 2011 Sierras are unchanged from the 2010 model. Yes, everything on this truck is big. From the 8 foot bed to the 2 foot wide foldable side mirrors to the gargantuan muffler and 3.5 inch exhaust to the wheel wells that make the stock 255 tires look like a spare from a Hyundai. You could probably throw a set of 315s on and not have to lift the truck a single inch.

Although some reviewers think the plastic VORTEC-badged hood scoop looks chintzy and cheap, we actually thought it livened up the design on an otherwise ordinary and forgettable exterior.

2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD


Maybe it’s just us, but does $38,500 for a standard cab 4×4 pickup truck with a pretty basic interior seem like a lot of cash? Granted, it can tow a small village, but so can a slightly used diesel for nearly 40 percent less. The 2011 Sierra comes in a ridiculous number of available permutations -3 cabs, 2 weight classes, 2 bed sizes, 2 engine/tranny combos, 2 drive systems and 4 trim levels – WT, SLE, SLT Denali. We won’t even get into the available options list. It reads longer than War and Peace and offers everything from snow plow package to a heated steering wheel.

Equally ridiculous is the price range on the Sierra, starting at a base of $28,000 and running north of $60,000 for a fully-optioned diesel Denali. $60,000. For a pickup. At least for us it’s hard to justify the value, but for some people who want both a work and luxury vehicle wrapped into one, it might make more sense.

Who Should Buy It?

On this one, the question can be more easily and succinctly answered by asking “who shouldn’t buy it?” Anyone who needs a pickup but doesn’t haul at least a ton in payload or tow at least 5,000 pounds on a regular basis should not buy this truck. It’s simply too much machine. Remember, GMC is “Professional Grade”. Are you?

2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD


With every new model that GM releases, the company pulls itself from the doldrums of product mediocrity. The GMC Sierra HD is further proof that General Motors has its act together, and that they are serious about once again becoming America’s premier automotive brand. Although this truck is more machine than most people will ever need, for those who truly need its full capacities, the Sierra HD line does not disappoint, no matter what the configuration.

In the end, we can live with a buckboard ride, after all, it’s a pickup truck; a simple design platform that’s been around for over a century. But what we still have trouble with is the value aspect, because after all, it’s a pickup truck; a simple design platform that’s been around for over a century. Oh that and opening the door for your special lady friend every single time you disembark. It’s nice and romantic for a little while, but it gets old quick.

RATING 5.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.8/B-

GMCOfficial website for GMC trucks and SUVs – www.gmc.com

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  • Combat_Vet says:

    I have a 2009 Sierra SLE/Z71 Crew cab standard box with the 6L gasser and mixed highway and city driving it averages about 9-10mpg. The best fuel economy I’ve pulled out of her during the 2 years ownership has been 12mpg, but still more mixed driving.

    There is enough HP and torque there to pull anything you have and then some. I have a 20′ tandem trailer and it can pull it like it’s not even there.

    The diesel engine is more expensive, so is fuel and all of the maintenance that diesel’s require.

  • francois says:

    Agreed on the review. It looks really well built and with a nice interior. But it is expensive and it is gas engine.

    How much does mpg and towing capacity suffer because of the gas engine? Is the diesel cheaper or more expensive?

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