2015 GMC Sierra 3500 HD wins Heavy Duty Challenge

(August 19, 2014) CHICAGO — The 2015 GMC Sierra 3500 HD won the overall title in the 2014 Ultimate Heavy Duty Challenge 1-ton diesel category following testing by truck experts from Cars.com, PickupTrucks.com and Mrtruck.com, Cars.com said today.

Comprehensive testing pitted the Sierra HD against its two competitors, the Ford F350, equipped with its updated-for-2015-model-year Powerstroke diesel engine, and the Ram 3500, equipped with its Cummins diesel powertrain.

PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams said he enjoyed the comfort of the Sierra HD and its comprehensive strengths.

“Our judges hugely appreciated the all-new interior and infotainment interface and 8-inch navigation screen,” Williams said. “In the end, the GMC was the best all-around player of our competitors.” 

Evaluators said the Sierra HD excelled in vehicle control while towing. The integration of the diesel exhaust brake, standard with every Sierra HD equipped with the 6.6L Duramax Diesel engine, with the truck’s grade braking and cruise control, was engineered to provide a stress-free experience for drivers hauling heavy loads over long distances.

In testing for the Ultimate Heavy Duty Challenge, the Sierra HD required zero brake pedal depressions during a 7.2-mile descent from the Eisenhower Pass in Colorado, which included up to 7 percent grades. Neither competitor matched that performance.

Additionally, the Sierra HD won several other measured tests, including 0-60 mph time on the Milan, (Mich.) drag strip, 60-0 braking distance at Milford, (Mich.) Proving Ground, and fuel economy while trailering in Michigan.

“We’ve always believed we’ve had the best heavy duty truck on the market,” said Sierra Marketing Manager Stuart Pierce. “This validation from PickupTrucks.com, a leader in covering the pickup industry, is gratifying for the entire team that designed, engineered, and now sells this capable and refined truck. We look forward to building on this accomplishment as we move forward.”

Every 2015 Sierra HD comes with Pro Grade Protection, which, in addition to a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, includes two years or 24,000 miles – whichever comes first – of standard scheduled maintenance. This includes any needed replenishment of diesel exhaust fluid.

Second Place: 2014 Ram 3500 HD Cummins

The Ram 3500 was the most expensive of our test vehicles, tipping the scales at just less than $70,000, coming to us in full Laramie Limited dress with rich leather and stunning dash, gauge and console accents. The Ram won four of our competitive events, but those did not include any best acceleration times.

A surprise, the Ram won the empty fuel economy testing conducted in Michigan with a winning around-town average of 16.31 mpg. The other three events it won were all brake tests; two with the trailer, stopping from 60 mph (one with trailer brakes, one without) and the downhill exhaust brake testing we did at Davis Dam.

Third Place: 2015 Ford F-350 Power Stroke

It's difficult not to be impressed with the changes Ford has made to the 2015 Ford Power Stroke engine. The new turbo adds cooling, a bigger torque converter, software remapping and unique injectors, which combine to give this truck impressive off-the-line and midrange towing power without sacrificing overall fuel economy.

Having the biggest torque and horsepower numbers clearly is important in this category, and Ford made the investment to get the king-of-the-hill 440 horsepower and 860 pounds-feet of torque. And it paid off in several of our tests.

The Power Stroke dominated our acceleration and hill-climb tests, winning just about every zero-to-60-mph and quarter-mile run we set up. It even did incredibly well in our biggest exhaust brake tests, scoring light-years ahead of where they were the last time we tested a one-ton Ford Super Duty turbo-diesel.