2023 GMC Sierra 2500HD is Seriously Capable

During our week with the Sierra 2500HD, we hauled stuff, drove it as a daily, and even made a road trip with the family.

In the world of three-quarter-ton pickups (aka “the 2500s”), “big” and “bulky” are barely adequate words to describe these trucks. The 2023 Sierra 2500HD is heavy-duty, for sure, but it’s also extremely imposing and.. well, big. It’s also very capable.

During our week with the 2023 GMC Sierra 2500HD, we drove it as a daily vehicle, hauled some stuff, and took the family on a road trip. All in comfort and style in a truck that, despite its huge size, drives smoothly on the highway. Today’s big heavy-duty pickup trucks are far more comfortable than they were just a few years ago. And we’re happy for that.

This generation of the Sierra 2500HD was introduced in 2020 and has seen only minor changes since. Which is fine as this truck doesn’t need much in the way of upgrading. Especially in its Denali trim, which is how we drove it. The Sierra doesn’t boast the highest towing or hauling capacities or the lowest price point, but it’s got more than enough for those who need it and it’s the most comfortable on the road.

GMC has narrowed cab, bed length, and engine choices down to two options. You can have either a regular cab or a crew cab. No more in-between option. The bed can be either 6.8 feet or 8.1 feet long. The engine will be 6.6-liters, but can be either a gasoline or diesel V8. The transmission matching that will be a six-speed automatic for gas or ten-speed auto for diesel. After those choices, it’s a matter of which trim level you prefer. There are five, but buyers are (by sales figures) really only interested in the mid-level SLT and the top-end Denali. Rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive are available on any Sierra setup. So is a single or dual-wheel axle for the rear.

The engines in the 2023 GMC Sierra 2500HD are both solid runners. The gasoline V8 offers 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed transmission is designed to put in the work with higher gear ratios to maximize the torque. The diesel option, which we drove and would prefer, outputs 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. The ten-speed automatic works to keep the diesel purring in its sweet spot for RPM to maximize both output capability and fuel economy.

With the diesel engine, the Sierra 2500HD drove extremely well as a daily and on our 200-ish-mile road trip as a family. With three teenagers, any vehicle that can accommodate everyone easily and drive confidently to get places is a big bonus. The only real downer to this truck is its size, which makes parking difficult in some spots. But it can be parallel and perpendicular parked in most any space not designated a compact if you’re a good enough driver. And the mirrors aren’t obnoxious to fold out of the way once there.

Hauling stuff is something a truck like this should be good for by rote. The GMC Sierra 2500HD hauled some rocks for us without complaint. It would have been nice if it could have shoveled them up and wheelbarrowed them into place for us as well, but as it was, it took on nearly a ton of stones without even noticing they were there. We weren’t even close to the capacity for this rig. But once you can’t feel your arms any more, it’s probably time to put the shovel down. That’s a lot of rocks.

The towing and hauling capabilities of the 2023 GMC Sierra 2500HD aren’t the best in its class, but they’re nothing to shake a stick at. Towing is rated at up to 19,100 pounds, depending on configuration. Our loaded up Denali model with the diesel engine, shorter bed, and 4×4 was rated at that weight for a gooseneck trailer and 18,500 for a fifth-wheel or conventional pull. Cargo capacity is rated at up to 2,963 pounds, but a bit less than that for each trailer connection type. Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating for our model was 27,500 pounds with a truck curb weight of 8,387 pounds.

For the 2023 GMC Sierra 2500HD, the general consensus for our family and myself as a driver was positive. GMC makes the most upscale trucks on the road and the Sierra HD lineup are the most comfortable to drive when empty or loaded. With or without all of the added gadgets for easier trailering or infotainment.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.