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2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?

Why Buy a 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD?

Should You Buy a 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

The GMC Sierra 3500HD packs a lot of punch. With astounding numbers when it comes to towing, payload, and bed volume, it is easy to see the appeal. At the same time, critics have a few bones to pick with this truck. When considering this vehicle, it is important to weigh the pros against the cons. Also key is comparing it to its many competitors to see if the Sierra 3500HD is the right choice.

What's New for 2020?

GMC has completely redesigned the Sierra 3500HD for 2020. In fact, this truck has very little in common with the outgoing model. Special attention was paid to the handling and ride of the Sierra 3500HD during the redesign. All-new for this year are two powertrain choices, one a gas and one a diesel option.


Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD – The Pros

1. Class-Leading Towing Capacity

Need to tow up to 35,500 pounds? Then the 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD is one of very few options. Properly equipped models have that towing capacity, which is one of the highest in its class. In order to get this monster number, buyers will have to choose a 2WD model, the available diesel engine, a regular cab, and a long box. They will also need a gooseneck hitch.

2. Powerful Diesel Engine Option

One of the biggest headlines for the 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD is definitely the available 6.6L Duramax Turbo Diesel V8. This engine produces a jaw-dropping 445-horsepower on top of 910 lb-ft of torque. Paired with this engine is a new Allison 10-speed automatic transmission. The added gears help to ensure that the 3500HD is operating in an optimal range. Closer gear spacing also means this truck can handle a wide variety of terrain and load conditions with ease.

3. Dual-Path Air Induction System

Consumers who go with the diesel engine option get an exclusive dual-path air induction system. Cool air is drawn in through both the giant front grille and the hood scoop. By cooling down the air induction temperatures, the amount of horsepower produced by this engine is maximized. This is part of the reason the 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD has such impressive towing capabilities.

4. Available Digital Variable Steering Assist

This exciting new feature is able to adjust the power steering level as needed. Drivers will find this feature especially useful when towing heavy trailers. On most trucks, a heavy load can mean putting a great deal of effort into the steering. When the tow/haul switch is activated, static steering effort is reduced by 10%. Another great feature of this type of steering assist is its ability to be speed-adaptive. Drivers may find they want a light steering weight in certain situations, like maneuvering at low speeds, but prefer a heavier feel at high speeds. The digital variable steering assist feature can make adjustments on the fly.

5. Driver Alert Package Available

Available on upper trim levels of the 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD is what is known as the Driver Alert Package. This adds many highly sought-after driver aids, such as rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert featuring side blind zone alert, and front and rear park assist. It also adds perimeter lighting, which can help drivers feel secure when entering or exiting their vehicle after dark.

6. Advanced Multi-Pro Tailgate

All trim levels of the 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD can be equipped with the very advanced and very impressive multi-pro tailgate. This setup essentially incorporates two tailgates into one. Drivers can use it like a traditional tailgate, or they can lower the inner gate in a variety of different ways. Different combinations allow drivers to use the gate as a step, bed extender, and much more. This tailgate is standard on the SLT, AT4, and Denali trim levels, while optional on the base and SLE models.

7. 15-Camera System Option

Drivers have the option of adding the Technology package to their 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD. By doing so, they get an industry-leading fifteen different camera views for their truck. One of the most beneficial views is the bed camera. This is useful for making sure that everything is where it should be when cruising down the road. Also added by this package is a rear camera mirror, which shows the images from the rearview camera. This is useful when towing something tall would normally obstruct the view. Other angles include ones that show the hitch, inside the trailer, and a handy rear top-down view.

8. Available SEL Packages

Drivers who do not want to go too high up the trim ladder can load up the SEL model of the 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD with one of two comprehensive packages. The first is known as the Convenience package, and it lives up to its name with things like remote start, dual climate control, keyless open and ignition, and even a heated steering wheel. Drivers who choose the SEL with either a crew or double cab also get LED fog lights, cargo bed LED lighting, and two extra USB ports for the second row. The second option is the Value package. It adds everything found in the Convenience package, plus a spray-on bed liner. These packages allow drivers to get the features they want at a more affordable price.

9. Fully-Loaded Denali Trim Level

Another option available to drivers is to go all the way up to the Denali trim level. It gets great features such as the multi-pro tailgate and digital variable steering assist as part of its standard equipment. This trim level also has an infotainment system that comes with standard navigation and a premium Bose sound system. Both the front and rear outboard seats are heated as well, adding a bit of luxury to this rough-and-tumble truck.

10. X31 Off-Road Package

Drivers who plan on taking their new 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD off-road will want to check out the X31 Off-Road package. It adds many performance-enhancing features, such as skid plates, an off-road suspension, hill descent control, and twin-tube Rancho shocks. Other nice touches include all-terrain tires and a dual exhaust system that works with a two-speed transfer case.


Reasons Not to Buy a 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD – The Cons

1. Gas Engine is Lacking

While drivers have had nothing but great things to say about the diesel engine, the gas option is not as impressive. The 6.6L V8 produces 401-horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque, which may seem like a lot. Due to the size of the 3500HD, however, it can struggle a bit, especially when towing heavier loads. Drivers will likely want to pay the extra to upgrade to the massively impressive diesel option.

2. Brakes Feel a Bit Squishy

A common complaint about the new 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD is that the brakes seem to take a lot of pressure to work. It is important to know that they do, in fact, work, but they may give drivers a bit of a thrill first. Many consumers may simply consider this a quirk of the vehicle and get used to it over time.

3. Subpar Interior Materials

The Sierra is supposed to be the fancier version of the Silverado. That said, this year's model seems to have more plastic than one would expect. Going up in trim levels, however, can easily fix this problem.

4. Flashy Exterior Appearance

This could go in the pro or con column for some people, but the front grille on the 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD is overwhelming. The large size and dizzying amount of chrome will not suit everyone's sense of style. At the same time, this head-turning look may be exactly what some consumers are after.

5. Small Infotainment Screen

The largest touchscreen available for the 2020 Sierra 3500 is 8-inches. This feels a bit small, especially inside the luxury-oriented Denali trim level. Competitors of the Sierra offer larger screens, which may or may not be considered a deal-breaker.

How It Stacks Up to the Competition:

One of the biggest competitors for the 2020 Sierra 3500HD is the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD. It is worth noting that these vehicles are essentially related and are mechanically identical in almost every way. While the Silverado starts out cheaper, it does not offer the advanced multi-function tailgate that the Sierra does. This alone is a big motivator for buyers to choose the Sierra. Another potential choice is the RAM HD. Like the Sierra 3500HD, the RAM has both a gas and diesel engine option. Both of these produce less torque than their respective competitors underneath the hood of the Sierra. Since torque is crucial when it comes to towing and hauling, this is a major factor that should not be overlooked.


The 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD is a good choice for many consumers. It is obvious that GMC listened to consumers and loaded this vehicle with the technological and performance features they wanted. Although there may be a few driving issues to get used to, the vehicle performs well overall. Drivers will not regret getting the new Sierra 3500HD, especially if they opt for a model with the 6.6L diesel V8 powering it.
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