5.25.2014

Meet TireKicker's Most Expensive Pickup Truck (So Far): The 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Double Cab SLT


Front 3/4 view of 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
The 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD.
An odd thing about living in Arizona that is also probably quite common in places like Texas, Montana and Wyoming:  Heavy Duty pickup trucks are used like passenger cars.  People take them to the mall, to the grocery store.  You will even occasionally see them at a nice restaurant or cultural event, causing no small amount of fear and trepidation for the valet parking people.

These are really trucks that are made for things a normal full-size half-ton pickup cannot accomplish, such as towing very large house or horse trailers.  They are really not meant for urban commuting.  Yet, people do.



Rear 3/4 view of 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD.

The 2015 GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD Double Cab SLT is one of those trucks.  It is also, by five dollars, the most expensive truck ever tested here at TireKicker.  The previous record-holder was the Ram 3500 Laramie Crew Cab we tested last August, a one-ton hauler, compared to the three-quarter ton capability of this Sierra.

I am happy to report I did not have any of the issues Michael had with the Ram, but I did not try to put this in a Taco Bell drive-thru. Not having a horse trailer to haul, it is really impossible to say how well this truck performs its intended purpose, but even given its fish-out-of-water nature in an urban setting, it is relatively easy to drive, exceptionally comfortable and you certainly feel safe.  It is significantly less easy to get into and out of and to park.

A regular-cab long-box 2500 HD two-wheel drive in base trim is $32,660.  This is not that truck. The starting price for the test vehicle was $46.705.  That includes standard deep-tinted glass, rear wheelhouse liners, a power-adjustable heated outside mirror with turn signal, projector LED headlamps, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, fog lamps, chrome bumpers, bed rail protectors, moveable tie-downs, LED lighting in the cargo box, a heated, leather-appointed 40/20/40 split bench seat up front, memory adjustment for the driver, a 60/40 folding bench seat in the reat, remote start, a theft-deterrent system, power windows, power lockes, a rear-window defroster, color-keyed carpet, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, lighted visors, a soft stitched dashboard top, power-adjustable pedals---perhaps the greatest invention in automobiles---a color driver information display, steering wheel audio controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear-vision camera, an 8-inch diagonal color touchscreeen audio system with GM's Intellilnk app suite, and a single-slot CD player plus SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth and USB ports.

Interior view of 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD interior.

A fully-equipped truck? Yes. But there's always the option list.  And most of it---$14,725 of it, to be exact---found its way onto ours.

$7,195 of that was for the Duramax 6.6-liter V8 Turbo Diesel engine.  In this class of vehicle, the EPA doesn't do its usual estimated mileage.  However, if you take GMC's estimated highway cruising range of 680 miles and divide that by the fuel capacity of 36 gallons, that works out to 18.8 miles per gallon highway.  Perhaps.  We got 13.4 in a mix of city streets and urban freeways.

Filling the tank at $4.50 a gallon for diesel would be a $162 proposition.  And, if you have not driven a diesel in the last decade, you may not know about Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). It is used to help meet emission standards diesel engines otherwise would not meet. A full reservior of DEF should, according to the owner's manual, last 5,000 miles. Warning messages should show up on the driver information center at 1,000 miles and then again at 300 miles, counting down from there. If you drive it all the way to empty, you will get a warning, and eventually the car will limit its own speed, first to 55 miles per hour, then to 4 miles per hour, until at least 3.5 gallons of DEF is added.  But our tester started the 300-mile countdown with just over 1,500 miles on the odometer, instead of 4,700.

2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD DEF Warning shows 281 miles left
DEF warning on 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 HD.

And it counted down much more quickly than we were adding miles.





Fortunately, $20 plus tax worth of DEF purchased at an auto parts store solved the problem.



There is a huge difference between 5,000 and 1,500 miles, though.  There were no signs of leakage, so the possiblities are that the reservoir was not properly filled at the factory, or that DEF usage varies by temperature of the engine---diesel burns cleanest when engine operating temperatures are highest--and that short trips around town like we, and presumably the other automotive journalists who've had this vehicle in its short life, simply caused the truck to use more DEF than it would have if it had been driven mostly on long, highway-speed trips.

The rest of the option list included $1,200 for an Allison 6-speed automatic transmission, $850 for an upgrade to 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, $845 for the Driver Alert Package which includes front and rear parking assist, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and a safety alert seat---it vibrates along with the warning chimes and lights.

There was also $750 for tubular chrome assist steps, $650 to upgrade the heated front seats to heated and cooled, $500 for an upgraded Bose audio system, $495 to include a touch-screen navigation component, $475 for a spray-in bedliner, $405 for an off-road suspension package, $325 to trade the split bench seat for leather-appointed bucket seats, $295 for a dual alternator, $200 for all-terrain blackwall tires, $200 for switch high idle, $150 for the SLT Preferred Package, which adds a heated steering wheel, $100 for a tilt/telescope steering column, $55 for power outside camper mirrors with heat and turn signals and $35 for camper/trailer wiring provisions.

The as-tested price with $1,095 destination charge:  $62,525. As heavy-duty pickups go, this is a masterful one.  But it is much better suited to Shelby, Montana than Scottsdale, Arizona, and certainly to Laramie, Wyoming than Los Angeles, California.

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