It’s easy to feel like we’re in a golden age for truck fans, with so many fantastic pickups available, including new models coming just about every year and major upgrades for well-known names. In the midst of trucks like the Ford Maverick and the GMC Hummer EV Pickup hitting the road, you also have things like the upgraded GMC Sierra 2500 HD with better performance and increased luxury and refinement inside. Looking at last year’s 2023 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, it’s easy to argue that it’s good enough and not really needing much in the way of improvements, but it seems GMC’s engineers and designers didn’t see it that way.
Instead, the 2024 Sierra 2500 HD has been upgraded in numerous ways that make it clear they’re doing everything they can to build the best trucks on the road. I’ve come to expect improvements from truck companies as they compete against each other, particularly for their light-duty models and those looking to grab a new segment or new drivers, but with the 2024 updates for the Sierra 2500 HD, it’s clear that GMC is looking to make the experience better for professionals who need a powerful pickup they can count on. Better is always good, so let’s take a look at what they’re doing and how it improves on this truck.
Engineering and Performance
A truck like the GMC Sierra 2500 HD is all about power, and that power derives from the engine (and, sure, other things help out—like the transmission, drive type, engineering of the frame, etcetera). At first glance, it looks like the 2024 model of the Sierra 2500 HD has the same engine options as the 2023 model, but the performance here has been improved. The 6.6L V8 gas engine is much the same as with the 2023 Sierra 2500 HD, but it now comes with a ten-speed Allison transmission rather than last year’s six-speed automatic. But the standout, where most of the improvements can be found, is the updated diesel option…
This is a 6.6L Duramax V8 Turbo-Diesel, which has long been a favorite among truck fans looking for some serious power, but it’s even better than before. This diesel engine is also paired with a ten-speed Allison automatic transmission, and it now delivers 470 hp and 975 lb-ft of torque. Not only is this more power across the entire speed range of this truck, but they’ve specifically boosted low-end torque by up to 25% in order to improve towing power and performance. Some of this comes thanks to an all-new, more efficient turbocharger for the engine, along with new cylinder heads and an all-new combustion system designed for higher flow fuel injection to create a greater performance.
A Variety of Towing Upgrades
This boost to power and performance isn’t simply about bigger numbers or a superior driving experience either, as it comes through—along with advanced technology—to deliver upgraded towing capability. For example, the Sierra 2500 HD with a Crew Cab (there are three different cab sizes available, with Crew as the largest) can haul up to 21,900 lbs behind it, which is best-in-class towing for this kind of setup. What’s more, the 2024 model of the 2500 HD now tops out at 22,500 lbs of maximum towing capacity, which is a 4,000 lb increase over what the 2023 GMC Sierra 2500 HD can do.
As if boosted functionality wasn’t enough, GMC has also developed and kitted out the Sierra 2500 HD with all sorts of advanced towing technology. For example, there’s an industry-first Transparent Trailer View designed for use with fifth wheel and gooseneck towing. This uses a camera mounted on the rear of the truck and a camera on the back of your trailer to create a view behind the trailer, which is displayed for the driver, letting you essentially look through a large trailer and gain clear visibility behind you while towing.
Similarly, there’s an available Trailer Side Blind Zone Alert that extends the range of the standard Side Blind Zone Alert to include blind zones from a trailer being towed. A new GCW Alert can warn the driver when the truck’s weight exceeds its Gross Combined Weight Rating, while the new Adaptive Cruise Control with Trailering takes the additional drag of the trailer and the need for greater braking distance into account. Combining these things with other tech like the Sierra 2500 HD’s 14 available camera views, Hitch Guidance with Hitch View for easier connecting to a trailer, and a Bed View with Bed Hitch Guidance for gooseneck or fifth wheel hookups, creates a simple and safe towing experience.
First-Ever Sierra 2500 HD Denali Ultimate
One of the main reasons people choose a GMC over something else, particularly a Chevy truck that can be functionally identical in most ways, is due to the level of care GMC puts into the design and luxury of their pickups. For years now, the Denali trim has been the high mark against which all other models are judged—but that’s about to change. GMC has recently introduced a new premier level with the Denali Ultimate trim; for the 2024 model year, the Sierra 2500 HD is getting this trim for the first time ever.
On the outside, the Denali Ultimate trim brings a unique grille and GMC badging, along with darkened chrome that GMC refers to as “Vader chrome,” which adds a touch of sophistication without any gaudiness. There’s unique fender badging, exclusive 20-inch Ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels with High Gloss black accents, power assist steps that make it easy to fully utilize everything this truck has to offer, and much more. This is just the exterior; in many ways, the interior is where the Denali Ultimate truly shines…
Inside features full-grain leather upholstery—on both the door panels and seats—plus open-pore Paldao wood details that really bring the interior together. It’s not all looks either, as the Denali Ultimate features 16-way power-adjustable front seats with massage functionality designed to ensure the driver looks forward to every trip. In addition, a 12-speaker Bose Premium sound system with CenterPoint surround technology, a 15-inch multicolor head-up display, and a massive available 13.4-inch tablet-style Infotainment display come together to create something truly impressive while adding comfort and functionality to this powerful work truck.
Making a Statement
It’s clear that GMC means business with this latest version of the Sierra 2500 HD, and they’ve created a truck that’s downright exceptional. Not only is the Denali Ultimate coming to elevate luxury and comfort on the Sierra 2500 HD to the next level, but GMC has also announced that an all-new AT4X off-road-focused trim will be available later this model year. Full details for the AT4X haven’t been revealed yet, but from what I’ve seen on other GMC models, it will take the impressive off-road features of the AT4 trim and elevate them for greater capability to make a truck that can take you anywhere.
I’ve seen a lot of companies try to drum up excitement for a new model year with features that aren’t all too impressive—which is fine, but they often act like a few new exterior colors or eliminating a low trim level should blow our minds. With the changes GMC has made for the 2024 Sierra 2500 HD, on the other hand, we can see an upgraded model year that truly deserves our attention and praise. GMC is doing things right and demonstrating the fact that a powerful, hard-working truck doesn’t need to feel like it’s falling behind its light-duty and midsize counterparts. It’s a great step forward that has me curious to see what else GMC is working on for the years ahead.