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The 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD is not your typical full-size truck. This massive vehicle is an equally capable tower and hauler, but it also has a remarkably quiet and cavernous cabin for a truck in its class. In addition to the base trim, the SLE and SLT trims are the real workhorses of the line-up, and the line-topping Denali trim offers a good amount of luxury. So, whether you are getting a Sierra 3500HD for work or play, you are bound to enjoy its strength and comfort.
What's New for 2019?
Not a lot has changed on the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD. The 2018 line-up saw a few mid-cycle alterations, such as a redesigned grille for the Denali, an upgraded infotainment system on the base trim, and standard rearview cameras for all trim levels. Expect to see only minor changes this model year.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2019 GMC Sierra 3500 – The Pros
1. The Optional Diesel Engine
From the base trim to the Denali, you can take your pick between the standard 6.0-L V8 engine and its more powerful counterpart, the 6.6-L V8 turbodiesel. Either way, these engines are both able to provide sufficient juice to power the hefty 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD. However, the turbodiesel really stands out and is worth the cost to upgrade. This engine, which is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, is able to generate 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. This gives the Sierra 3500HD superb acceleration speed (going from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds) and towing numbers for its segment.
2. The Hushed Cabin
A lot of full-size trucks have problems with noise seeping into the cabin from the road, wind, and engines. The GMC Sierra 3500HD one-ups quite a few of its competitors with its muted cabin. You will get some wind noise from the large side mirrors, but the engine is not obnoxiously intrusive. Also, there is no noise that comes in from the road, which is quite the feat for the rear wheels on this type of truck.
3. A High-quality Build
Make no mistake, the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD has an excellent build quality, inside and out. The materials used in the construction of the body are strong yet fairly lightweight, making the Sierra more aerodynamic than other full-size trucks. The materials used throughout the cabin are pieced together well, and the Denali trim evokes a sense of luxury with its upgraded trim and chic upholstery. Nothing sounds like it is loose, which is a good sign that this vehicle can handle a lot of wear-and-tear.
4. Strong Braking Capabilities
A strong truck needs strong brakes, and the GMC Sierra 3500HD has them. The Sierra has an average stopping distance for its class when making an emergency stop from 60 mph. However, every time you press down normally on the brakes, they perform as you should expect. This level of consistency inspires driver confidence.
5. Nimble Handling
For being as bulky as it is, the lightweight materials used in its construction help make handling on the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD a lot more agile. When you take a turn at a normal speed, you will not feel any body roll. Even when you take a turn a bit too fast, the amount of body roll you can feel is minimal compared to what you would experience on other trucks in this segment.
6. A Comfortable Ride When Laden
The Sierra 3500HD is meant to carry a heavy burden, so go ahead and load up the bed or hitch up that fifth wheel. The otherwise-stiff suspension can handle the excess weight and smooths out the more you load the truck up. Of course, it is unlikely that most people will be buying the Sierra just for cruising and not its towing and hauling capabilities. The ride comfort will be enjoyable once you get this vehicle laden with a heavy load.
7. Controls are Easy to Use
Many vehicles these days are riddled with confusing technology and controls that take a while to learn. This is not so in the case of the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD. All of the physical knobs and buttons are laid out in an intuitive, user-friendly, easy-to-reach design up front. The touchscreen interface is similarly easy for most people to use and involves a remarkably short learning curve. GMC's MyLink is one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems on the market right now, and smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes accessing your music library or using your phone's navigation app all the more hassle-free.
8. Plenty of Cabin Space
This truck is as much a people hauler as it is a cargo hauler. There is plenty of room in the cabin of the Sierra 3500HD. Up front and in the rear, people of any shape and size can easily find enough space for their heads, shoulders, hips, and legs. There is even leftover space for backpacks, small toolboxes, and briefcases to sit on the floor in front of you.
9. Towing Capabilities
Towing is, of course, one of the biggest selling points for the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD. When properly equipped, the Sierra 3500HD can tow up to 23,100 pounds. This means that you must have the 6.6-L turbodiesel engine on the 2WD Crew Cab DRW with a gooseneck hitch or fifth wheel. Even with different configurations, you can still get a good towing capacity from this truck. The transmission, cruise control, and exhaust braking all work extremely well with this set-up and make towing quite efficient.
10. Hauling Capabilities
Last, but certainly not least, the GMC Sierra 3500HD has strong hauling capabilities. Need to help someone move? Unhitch your trailer and load the bed up with an array of furniture. Yes, even heavy wooden dressers and dining room tables can be hauled in the back of this truck. The payload rating on the Sierra is right in line with the rest of its competition.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2019 GMC Sierra 3500 – The Cons
1. Limited Availability of the Telescoping Steering Wheel
In a time when steering wheels that are both tilting and telescoping are becoming standard issue, it is baffling as to why GMC has left the 3500HD with a standard tilt-only steering wheel. The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, which is something of a creature comfort, has been relegated to the higher trim levels. Having it be available as a standard feature across the line-up would make more sense, as it might encourage more people to buy the Sierra.
2. Limited Visibility
Thick roof pillars limit rear visibility, and the addition of the extremely wide windshields means that the Sierra 3500HD has a high number of blind spots surrounding its body. You will not always know where the corners of the truck are while you are trying to make a turn, even with the large side mirrors aiding your view. It is also important to know that there is no 360-degree surround-view camera available on GMC's vehicles, so you will have to settle for the standard rearview camera instead. Again, it seems like GMC has dropped the ball on standardizing features that come already equipped or even as options on the competition.
3. Lack of Feel From Steering
Unfortunately, the steering on the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD offers little in the way of feeling from the tires. And with a vehicle this big, you bet you will have to put a good amount of effort into steering it since the steering wheel requires several revolutions for cutting a corner. Mind you, the steering wheel does have a nice and natural feel in your hands since it is adequately weighted.
4. Limited Off-roading Capabilities
It might come as a surprise, but the Sierra 3500HD is not a strong off-roader like other trucks in its class. Its bulky size and overly-firm suspension hinder the Sierra's off-roading capabilities even with four-wheel drive equipped. In other words, the Sierra is good for driving through rain and snow and along basic dirt roads but not much else. You will have to stick mostly to paved roadways in this truck.
How it stacks up to the competition:
2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD vs. 2019 Ram 3500
One of the top contenders for the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD is the 2019 Ram 3500. With its optional diesel engine paired with an automatic transmission, the Ram is able to garner plenty of power and send it to the wheels, creating a great acceleration rate and improving the towing capacity. Also, the Ram 3500 has an optional load leveling air suspension system and easy-going ride quality. However, when paired with the manual transmission, the diesel engine doesn't deliver adequate power, so skipping this powertrain pairing is probably a good idea. Additionally, the manual-shift control is awkwardly placed on the column shifter.
2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD vs. 2019 Ford F-350 Super Duty
Another major rival for the Sierra 3500HD is the 2019 Ford F-350 Super Duty. This truck has a lot of expensive options and packages, but picking the right ones can get you a powerful performance. The F-350 also has a strong V8 diesel engine option, and the towing and payload capacities are some of the strongest in this class. It, too, has a user-friendly infotainment system with easy-to-understand controls.
The 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD might not be the best off-roader in its class, but it has a lot to offer in terms of a powerful performance on paved road surfaces. Load this full-sized truck up with a hefty payload or a fifth wheel, and the ride quality becomes rather enjoyable. And feel free to load up on passengers since they will all have enough space to sit comfortably.
• Why buy a 2018 GMC Sierra 3500? w/ pros vs cons