The 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Delivers Shocking Acceptable Real-World Fuel Economy

The GMC Sierra 1500 might not be the most popular pickup, but it has enough brawn to get most jobs done. GMC also offers it in heavy-duty variants: the GMC Sierra 2500 HD and 3500 HD.

The former was just reviewed by CNET, and testers found that it has a surprisingly useful quality.

What critics liked about the GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4

Under the hood, the GMC Sierra 2500 HD has a 6.6-liter V8 capable of 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which allows it to be a little faster around town. For drivers who want a little more power, there’s a diesel engine with 441 hp and a ten-speed automatic transmission.

CNET was especially impressed with the Sierra 2500’s fuel economy. During real-world driving, their Sierra 2500 averaged 14 mpg combined city/highway, which is impressive considering the Sierra 2500’s weight. While it’s predictably slow, the Sierra 2500 has plenty of towing power to make up for it.

Its towing capacity is 14,500 pounds with the hitch and 16,620 pounds using a gooseneck trailer. In its 82-inch cargo box, it can also haul up to 3,232 pounds. It also comes with telescopic towing mirrors that allow drivers to keep a watchful eye on their trailers.

Trailering technology is plentiful for this truck. The optional MultiPro tailgate has six different settings for securing loads of all kinds inside the truck bed. It also comes with an automatic parking brake, so drivers won’t have to worry about the truck rolling while attaching a trailer. 

 The “see-through” camera system also allows drivers to see obstacles directly behind the Sierra 2500 HD, even with a trailer attached. The truck also has hill start and descent control, which is useful for towing trailers uphill. You can even take the Sierra 2500 off-road with confidence thanks to its standard recovery hooks and locking rear differential. 

The truck had several disappointing features

The GMC Sierra 2500’s ride quality is definitely a mixed bag. It suffers from clumsy handling thanks to its wide dimensions and heavy steering wheel. CNET also says that it feels wider than other heavy-duty trucks, and it’s certainly more difficult to park.

The ride is also stiff and downright jittery with an empty truck bed. It doesn’t help that the seats are flat and unsupportive, even with a highly-adjustable driver’s seat. Because the truck rides so high off the ground, it’s a hassle even for taller drivers to lift themselves into the cabin.

On the plus side, passengers have more than enough legroom and surprisingly upscale options like heated seats. Vinyl upholstery is standard, which is easier to clean.

However, in terms of interior quality in heavy-duty trucks, CNET says the GMC Sierra 2500 is the worst. The control knobs feel too flimsy and pretty much the entire dashboard is composed of hard plastic. The center touchscreen also looks too tiny and the display colors look washed out according to the review.

Is the GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4 worth the money?

RELATED: The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Ranked Last On Consumer Reports But Just Got More Expensive

The 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4 retails for $68,160 with destination fees. CNET thinks that’s a little overpriced, but not bad considering all the available trailering technology and its high towing capacity. The above-average fuel economy is also a nice perk.

However, the 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD is not the most well-rounded heavy-duty truck you can buy. If you want something with a nicer interior, the Ram 2500 is definitely superior in that regard. The Chevy Silverado HD models have higher towing capacities, smoother rides, and plenty of technology to make heavy work easier.

For most heavy-duty truck shoppers factors like fuel economy probably aren’t at the top of their list; however, it is nice to know this massive truck won’t totally break the bank at the pump.