2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD

2021 MODEL
$37,100 - $46,200
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7.7

Overall Rating

INDIGO

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: November 9, 2020

Adarsh Sharma's image
Adarsh Sharma

Automotive Journalist


While heavy-duty pick-up trucks focus heavily on towing prowess and being a thorough workhorse, the GMC Sierra 3500HD tries to hit the sweet spot. It is a pick-up truck that can keep your family seated comfortably in its cabin while you haul around big loads. Its Denali trim offers the most upmarket interior in the line-up along with quite a striking look. However, in this review, we shall focus on the 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab which is available only in two trims. The 2021 model of this pick-up truck offers many improvements over its predecessor and promises to be even better value for money this time. Starting at a price of about $36,800, the GMC Sierra 3500HD is capable of producing 445 horsepower and a pounding 910 lb-ft of torque with its 6.6L turbo-diesel V8 engine.

See detailed review »

Pros

Quite a looker in the heavy-duty pick-up truck segment

Comfortable ride

All the latest tech on offer 

Feature loaded

Cons

Not the best off the road

Prices rise quickly with options

Offers fewer active safety features than rivals

What's New?

Better trailer-assistance features offered now

Multipro tailgate is now standard with the SLE trim level 

New paint colors introduced


Pictures

exterior
interior

Ratings

Features

9.0

Engine And Performance

9.9

Fuel Economy

6.0

Interior

8.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

7.0

Final Verdict

8.2

7.7

OVERALL RATING

Similar Cars

2021 RAM 3500
2021 RAM 3500

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7.1/10
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

MSRP: $35,000 - $44,795

8.1/10
2021 Ford F-350 SuperDuty
2021 Ford F-350 SuperDuty

MSRP: $35,220 - $45,790

8.2/10

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Base

Base

power
401 hp @ 5200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
TBD

$37,100 - $41,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. SRW (6.6L 8cyl 6A) Starting at $37,100 MSRP TBD 401 hp @ 5200 rpm, 6.6 L, V-8, Regular unleaded
6-speed Automatic w/overdrive TBD 3
2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. DRW (6.6L 8cyl 6A) Starting at $38,300 MSRP TBD 401 hp @ 5200 rpm, 6.6 L, V-8, Regular unleaded
6-speed Automatic w/overdrive TBD 3
2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. SRW LB 4WD (6.6L 8Cyl 6A) Starting at $39,900 MSRP TBD 401 hp @ 5200 rpm, 6.6 L, V-8, Regular unleaded
6-speed Automatic w/overdrive TBD 3
2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. LB DRW 4WD (6.6L 8Cyl 6A) Starting at $41,100 MSRP TBD 401 hp @ 5200 rpm, 6.6 L, V-8, Regular unleaded
6-speed Automatic w/overdrive TBD 3

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD SLE

SLE

power
401 hp @ 5200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
TBD

$42,200 - $46,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SLE 2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. SRW (6.6L 8cyl 6A) Starting at $42,200 MSRP TBD 401 hp @ 5200 rpm, 6.6 L, V-8, Regular unleaded
6-speed Automatic w/overdrive TBD 3
SLE 2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. DRW (6.6L 8cyl 6A) Starting at $43,400 MSRP TBD 401 hp @ 5200 rpm, 6.6 L, V-8, Regular unleaded
6-speed Automatic w/overdrive TBD 3
SLE 2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. SRW4WD (6.6L 8cyl 6A) Starting at $45,000 MSRP TBD 401 hp @ 5200 rpm, 6.6 L, V-8, Regular unleaded
6-speed Automatic w/overdrive TBD 3
SLE 2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. DRW 4WD (6.6L 8cyl 6A) Starting at $46,200 MSRP TBD 401 hp @ 5200 rpm, 6.6 L, V-8, Regular unleaded
6-speed Automatic w/overdrive TBD 3

Expert Review

7.7

Overall Rating


The 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab comes in two trims and two engine options. There are many other optional packages available to enhance your experience. The Sierra shares the platform with its corporate sibling, the Chevy Silverado, and offers an independent front suspension which none of its rivals offer. Capable of towing upto 35,500 pounds, the Sierra 3500HD goes up against the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD, Dodge Ram 3500, and the Ford F-350. But with the improvements offered with its 2021 model, does it offer a better package than its rivals? Let’s find out.


9.0/10
Features

9.9/10
Engine and Performance

6.0/10
Fuel Economy

8.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

7.0/10
Safety

8.2/10
Final Verdict


2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Features

9.0/10

While the GMC Sierra 3500HD is offered in a lot of trims, its Regular Cab version is offered in only the base and the SLE trim with its 3 passenger capacity. The two trims are Sierra Base and the SLE trim which come with two different engine options. The base engine can be updated to a 6.6L turbo-diesel V8 Duramax engine for about $9,890 extra. The base trim offers all the basic features along with some optional features while the SLE offers a better features list with better optional packages as well. 

Model Name

Sierra

SLE

MSRP (RWD)

$36,800

$41,200

MSRP (AWD)

$38,495

$43,595

Features

17-inch steel wheels

Power door locks

 

Locking rear differential

Rear privacy glass

 

Xenon headlights

Keyless entry

 

Cruise control

Backup camera

 

Tilt only steering wheel

Leather-wrapped steering

 

Forward Collision Alert

8.0-inch touchscreen

 

6 airbags

Autotrac 2-speed transfer case with push button controls

 

120-volt box-mounted power outlet

Following Distance Indicator

 

4.2" diagonal color Driver Information Center

HD Rear Vision Camera

 

GMC Infotainment System with color touchscreen

Hill Descent Control

The SLE trim offers many more features like the rearview camera along with many driver-assisted features. Along with that you also get Leather-wrapped steering and an 8.0-inch touchscreen to enhance the appeal of the cabin.

The SLE trim offers many more features like the rearview camera along with many driver-assisted features. Along with that also get Leather-wrapped steering and an 8.0-inch touchscreen to enhance the appeal of the cabin.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

With the backing of its parent company, General Motors, GMC offers similar warranty packages on its vehicle. Being a subsidiary of General Motors it also scores high on reliability as it gets tried and tested engines from its parent company. GMC also tries to offer better after-sales service to its customers in order to stay ahead of its main rivals.

Reliability and ownership costs

The GMC Sierra 3500HD has been in the market for quite some time now and has been rated by the leading car survey agency, J.D Power. It has received a total score of 85 out of 100 in its consumer verified ownership survey. This is quite a good score for a pick-up truck and is right up there with its main rivals. J.D. Power’s forecast of depreciation has also rated it quite high which means that reselling your used GMC Sierra will not come with a lot of depreciation. 

Category

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Total

Tax Credit

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0

Insurance

$1,255

$1,299

$1,344

$1,391

$1,440

$6,729

Maintenance

$451

$747

$714

$2,822

$1,229

$5,963

Repairs

$0

$0

$135

$322

$472

$929

Taxes & Fees

$4,522

$695

$530

$282

$282

$6,311

Financing

$3,201

$2,574

$1,906

$1,192

$431

$9,304

Depreciation

$7,446

$3,058

$2,892

$3,395

$3,213

$20,004

Fuel

$2,770

$2,853

$2,938

$3,026

$3,117

$14,704

Real Cost to Own

$19,645

$11,226

$10,459

$12,430

$10,184

$63,944

As can be seen from the ownership data, the GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab is not a very high-maintenance pick-up truck. The availability of only two trims limits its ownership cost as the more luxurious ones like the Denali are not on sale with the Regular Cab version. Nevertheless, the trims do offer optional features that can drive up the ownership cost quite quickly. The cost mentioned above is over the earlier model of the Sierra over a period of 5 years with an average running of 15,000 miles.

Warranty

The GMC backs up your new Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab with a no-deductible Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty for upto 3 years or 36,000 miles. The entire vehicle is warranted for repairs, including parts and labor, to correct any defect in materials or workmanship. The pick-up truck also offers a fully transferable, no-deductible, 5-year/60,000-mile† Powertrain Limited Warranty. The models equipped with a 6.6L Duramax Turbo Diesel Engine are covered for 5-years/100,000 miles.

Criteria

Period

Limited warranty

3 years/ 36,000 miles; whichever is earlier

Powertrain warranty

5 years/60,000 miles; whichever is earlier

24-hour roadside assistance

5 years/ 60,000 miles; 

You can opt for an Extended Limited Warranty at the time of your purchase from GMC which shall cover your standard engine option for upto 5 years or 60,000 miles. GMC Extended Limited Warranty has no deductible and the entire vehicle is warranted for repairs, including parts and labor. Both the warranties on offer are very typical of the segment with rivals offering an identical package.

Miles per dollar

The 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD offers an approximate combine MPG of 14 and with the fuel cost being $3.40 per gallon., the Sierra 3500HD gets miles per dollar or MPD of about $3.11. This is on par with its rivals and among the best in its segment.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Buying Advice

The GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab is offered only in two trims. Thus we strongly recommend on gett the upper trim i.e. the SLE trim. It not only offer better features and tech on offer, it is also a better value for money option. The trim also gets many optional features from upper trims in the Sierra line-up which are not available with the Regular Cab version of the pick-up truck.

How about a used GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab?

Buying a used GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab is a wise option if you want to save some buck on the purchase price. If the customer has opted for an extended warranty you get an added advantage of being covered under warranty even on your used purchase. We would recommend you to go as far as the 2018 model as GMC updated the Sierra in that year and added many new features.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Engine and Performance

9.9/10

The 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab offers two engine options that have been carried over from the previous model. The base engine option is a 6.6-liter V8 engine that is capable of producing 401 Hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. It can tow up to a maximum of 14,500 Lbs and comes with a rear-wheel-drive setup as standard. The second and the more powerful engine option is the 6.6-liter Duramax V8 engine which generates 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. As can be seen, GMC has focused more on the pulling power with double the amount of torque with its Duramax engine. It can pull up to 35,500 pounds and should be the choice of the workaholics. It is also offered with a rear-wheel-drive configuration as standard and you can upgrade to an all-wheel-drive setup by paying extra. The former engine option comes with a 6-Speed Automatic Transmission as standard while the Duramax gets the 10-Speed Allison Automatic Transmission as standard and 10-Speed Allison Automatic Transmission with integrated Power Take Off as an option.

Models

GMC Sierra 3500 HD

Chevy Silverado 3500 HD

Dodge Ram 3500

Ford F-350

MSRP

$35,500

$35,000

$33,500

$33,750

Engine

6.0L V8 SFI

6.0L V8 SFI

5.7L V8 HEMI VVT

6.2L 2-Valve SOHC EFI NA V8

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

Drivetrain

RWD

RWD

RWD

RWD

Power

360 hp

360 hp

383 hp

385 hp

Torque

380 lb-ft

380 lb-ft

400 lb-ft

430 lb-ft

The 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab is an all-rounder when it comes to performance. Its Duramax engine offers excellent pulling power and can easily take care of any task you throw at it. Other rivals offer similar performance with the Ford F-350 getting an option of the most powerful engine in this comparison.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab Acceleration And Braking Performance

The 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab weighs almost a ton but when it comes to going 0-60 mph, it does not disappoint. Coupled with a 6 or a 10-speed transmission, it offers strong straight-line performance, especially with the Duramax engine. The extra torque enables it to haul its weight at a fast pace. However, when it comes to top speed, the Sierra has the lowest top speed among its competitors.

In terms of braking, the pick-up truck offers confident and firm braking even under emergency conditions. The 2021 model offers no upgrade when it comes to braking, but the pick-up truck gets capable of braking prowess along with many other additional braking features like the hill descent control.

Models

GMC Sierra 3500 HD

Chevy Silverado 3500 HD

Dodge Ram 3500

Ford F-350

0-60 MPH

6.7 sec

6.7 sec

6.3 sec

8.2sec

Quarter mile

15.3

15.3 sec

15.1 sec

16.8 sec

Top-Speed

96 MPH

92 MPH

120 MPH

89 MPH

60-0 MPH

NA

NA

NA

N

As it is evident from the spec-sheet, the Ram 3500HD is the fastest pick-up truck when it comes to going from 0-60 mph. It is followed by the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD and GMC Sierra 3500HD which stack in identical numbers due to being based on the same platform and getting the same engine. The Ford F-350 comes at last with its base engine option.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab Ride and Handling

The newer model of the GMC Sierra 3500HD offers better ride and keeps its passengers comfortable even while under-taking long-distance journeys. It infact offers better ride than most of its competitors and is a bit more softly sprung for the added comfort. However, if you do opt for the 22-inch wheel, the ride can get a bit harsh. The adaptive suspension does help the ride ease out a bit but this option is not yet available with the Regular Cab. 

In terms of the handling, the GMC Sierra scores high due to its independent front suspension which no other rival offers. The steering provides a good amount of feedback and you always feel connected with the road. While it remains light under city limits, the steering wheel gains a good amount of heft over at highway speeds. It does feel vague at high speeds to a bit of an extent but still remains more agile than most of its rivals.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Fuel Economy

6.0/10

Unfortunately, the EPA does not require fuel economy estimates for full-size trucks like the 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD. Thus much of the data depends on independent or individual mileage tests. Under our tests we were able to attain a combined MPG of 14 under mixed driving conditions. This is not the best in the segment but is quite good considering the Sierra weighs almost a ton. 

Model

GMC Sierra 3500 HD

Chevy Silverado 3500 HD

Dodge Ram 3500

Ford F-350

MPG(City)

12

11

14

11

MPG(Highway)

18

18

18

18

MPG (Combined)

14

13

16

13

Fuel Capacity

36 gallons

36 gallons

32 gallons

34 gallons

Range (City/Highway/Combined)

408/612/476 miles

396/648/468 miles

448/576/512 miles

396/648/468 miles

Even though the data is neither official nor measured by EPA, the individual tests show that the RAM 3500 offers the best in class fuel efficiency. The Ford F-350 on the other hand gets the lowest fuel efficiency figure along with the Silverado. However, all the pick-up trucks in this comparison are closely specced when it comes to fuel economy.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Interior

8.0/10

Even though the 2021 model of the GMC Sierra 3500HD does not offer much of an upgrade over its predecessor, it offers a spacious and user-friendly cabin. The Regular Cab has space only for 3 passengers and thus does not really entertain many people on the inside. The dashboard offers a rugged look and looks huge by all proportions. You can opt for features such as a heated steering wheel, heated-and-cooled front seats, and wireless charging which add a touch of sophistication. However, where Sierra’s interior lacks is in terms of fit and finish as well as the quality of materials used. It is not bad by any means but some rivals do offer better and more premium materials. 

The seats offer an excellent room and provide quite a commanding view of the road up ahead. Seats offer excellent back support as well as under-thigh support and will not make you tired even if you undertake a long-distance journey. Along with good space, the cabin also offers many storage spaces and the 120-volt outlet makes it easy to work on the go.

Model

GMC Sierra 3500 HD

Chevy Silverado 3500 HD

Dodge Ram 3500

Ford F-350

Passenger capacity

3

3

3

3

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

43.11/66.06/44.53

42.8/64.8/45.2

41.0/66.0/41.0

40.8/66.7/43.9

Capacity (cu.ft)

69.50 

71.4

N/A

52.1

When it comes to the cargo capacity the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD edges pas the Sierra by a sight margin. Even though both the pick-up trucks are based n the same platform, the Silverado manages to get better cargo volume. The Ford F-350 on the other hand offers the least amount of cargo area which makes it a bit impractical in terms of being a workhorse.

How’s the 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab ’s infotainment system?

GMC has now provided every trim with a standard touchscreen infotainment system that offers Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay. The interface is quite user-friendly and offers a load of useful features. The display is an 8-inch screen that looks a tad bit small for a pick-up truck of its size. The additional 120-volt charging outlet offers a lot of convenience while on the go. You get physical buttons that are easy to access and operate. A built-in navigation system is offered but it is not standard. You can upgrade the 6-speaker audio unit to Bose audio system along with SiriusXM satellite radio. GMC also offers a smartphone app that can be used to remotely control trailer functions.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Exterior

8.0/10

The GMC Sierra 3500 HD is undoubtedly one of the most handsome pick-up trucks in its segment. It comes with bold styling along with a contemporary design. However, it still follows the typical boxy design seen with every pick-up truck. The 2021 model offers, a more forward grille and C-shaped taillights for that added aggressive look. All the lights have been updated to LEDs which ender a more premium look to this pick-up truck now. However, there has been an over-use of chrome elements at many places which might not be for everyone’s taste.

Model

GMC Sierra 3500 HD

Chevy Silverado 3500 HD

Dodge Ram 3500

Ford F-350

Curb weight(lbs)

6423

6423

6421

6279

Length(in)

258.4

258.4

259.4

250.0

Width(in)

80.5

80.5

79.4

80.0

Height(in)

77.7

77.7

78.4

78.2

Ground clearance(in)

8.6

8.5

7.3

8.5

Wheelbase(in)

153.7

153.7

149.5

160.0

The GMC and Chevy offer the same physical dimensions as they are based on the same platform. However, they also offer the most road presence in this comparison. The Ford-350 offers a more subtle look but it is the smallest option in terms of physical dimensions. The Dodge Ram 3500 on the other hand takes the second last spot.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Safety

7.0/10

The GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab is not a great pick-up truck when it comes to standard safety options. However, it hasn't been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). You do get many driver-assisatance technology but none of it comes as standard. GMC does have a better camera system that features up to 15 different viewing modes, including a mode that enables the driver to see through an attached trailer.

Some of the highlighted safety features are:

  • Blind Spot And Lane Departure Warnings Accident Avoidance System
  • Automated emergency braking
  • Multi-view camera system
  • Blind-spot monitoring system
  • Automatic headlights
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Traction Control
  • Engine Immobilizer
  • Post-Collision Safety System

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Competition

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab Vs RAM 3500HD

The Ram 3500HD is quite a capable option when it comes to hauling big loads. It offers quite a lot of off-road focused equipment and is arguably the best pick-up truck to go off the road. Even though the towing and hauling capacities of these two trucks are identical, the GMC Sierra 3500HD offers better room on the inside. However, once you factor in the pricing, it is easy to see that the Ram is a more value for money option.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab Vs Ford F-350

The Ford F-350 is the most selling pick-up truck in its segment and it is not hard to see why. It offers a tech laden cabin along with many trailer related features. The new gasoline engine on offer is more fuel efficient and it works in good tandem with the transmission options. It offers the best in class tow and hauling capabilities but comes at a higher price than the Sierra 3500HD. Thus in this case the Sierra offers a more value for your money.

2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD Final Verdict

8.2/10

The GMC Sierra 3500HD Regular Cab is a heavy weight hauler which strikes the best balance between work capabilities and ride quality, It offers quite a spacious cabin with an extensive features list. It also offers good looks which manage to stand out in the segment full of boxy styled machines. However, it is not very good when it comes to off-roading and the cabin can do with better fit and finish with regards to the interior panels. The 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD is for people looking for an all-rounder which offers excellent pulling power along with a comfortable and a fuss-free ownership experience.

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