By Cars.com EditorsOctober 6, 2022
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2024 GMC Sierra HD: Up Close — Cars.com
It seems like every new pickup truck you hear about these days is an electric pickup truck but for a large segment of the buying public, electric pickup trucks just don't work quite well just yet.
These are people who tow significant amounts of weight and tow it decent distances as well and electric pickups, while they're good for some things like going off road in silence or quick jaunts around town if you're just maybe towing your boat into the lake, they're pretty good for that. But if you really do need to do serious trucky things, I'm talking big weight, big trailers, really going offroad in some difficult conditions, you really do need a heavy duty pickup truck and there are no electric versions of those just yet, but that's okay. GMC has just updated the new 2024 Sierra HD for the people who really do need to use their trucks for trucky things. Now, what have they changed? Well, come with us, we'll take you through the new '24 Sierra HD and see where GMC has made some improvements. One area that they really didn't need to change much because quite frankly, we think it's an area that they got right on the last big redesign of the full size trucks is the styling. You've got some new headlights, you've got new grills, you've got new bumpers, but the truck overall still looks pretty much like it did and that's okay. One area that you do have something new is, there's a new trim level. This is the new GMC Sierra HD Denali Ultimate. Now, there is an ultimate package that you can add onto the Denali for the 2023 model year, but for '24, the Denali Ultimate becomes its own trim level, topping the range of the pantheon of Sierra HD trucks which consists of the basic pro grade, the SLE, then the SLT. You have a new AT4 which is the offroad truck, but you have the very new AT4X which is the luxurious version of the offroad truck. You have the super popular Denali and now you have at the top, the Denali Ultimate. How do you recognize the Denali Ultimate? Well upfront, you've got what they call Vader dark chrome trim. Now, it's kind of hard to see on this truck in which the body color is actually very similar to that dark chrome, but when you compare it with a normal Denali like this one, you could see the parts that are actually bright chrome and the parts that are dark chrome on the Denali Ultimate. You've got 20 inch machined wheels with gloss black accents and the badging has now changed for the '24 model year, you've got Ultimate up here, you've got 2,500 or 3,500 now down in the front bumper. One area that they didn't need to change much because quite frankly, not a lot was wrong with it was under the hood. The standard engine is still a 6.6 liter gasoline VA, making 401 horsepower and 464 pounds feet of torque. That's unchanged from the '23 model year, but for '24, the six feet automatic transmission is gone, replaced now by the standard Allison 10 speed automatic transmission. Four more forward gears to play with means that it should really improve your towing performance, given that it has shorter spaces between the gears. The optional engine is a turbocharge 6.6 liter Duramax diesel V8 engine and it now makes 470 horsepower and 975 pounds feet of torque, both of which are a bit of a bump from the '23 numbers. The new power trains also come with some improvements to towing capacity. This is a 2,500 single rear wheel model and it is the most popular version of the CRHD and now it can tow 4,000 pounds more than it could before. The tow rating for this particular model is 21,900 pounds. Now, if you want a maximum towing capacity, super ultimate incredible towing rig, you're going to need a 3,500 in a very specific configuration but you can actually tow 36,000 pounds using a gooseneck or fifth wheel trailer which is probably more than you're ever going to need. Maybe, I mean, buyers of these trucks actually do tow those kinds of numbers. Now, there's no new bed technology, there's still no carbon bed available on the HD, but one area that GMC has definitely brought some new technology to the party is in the towing technology. They've added a couple of features to the GMC Pro grade trailering system. You can now add accessory cameras to the trailer and have as many as 14 different camera views all from the dash of your truck. They've added the transparent trailer system for gooseneck and fifth wheel trailers so that you can actually put an accessory camera on the back of your trailer, tie it into the truck system, and you push a button on the dash and you get a view behind you as if the trailer wasn't actually there. That is an extraordinary technology and it works really well in other versions that I've driven. You're driving along and suddenly you push a button, no trailer behind you. You can see vehicles coming up on you. You can see vehicles to the side of you. It helps immensely in creating an ease of towing. The blind spot system now actually extends down the side of the truck and the side of the trailer as well so you actually get a better idea of what's going on around you. All of it is meant to help you tow with more ease and more confidence. Now, the one thing it doesn't do that Ford just announced on the Super Duty is that it's not going to actually detect a hitch ball and back the truck up automatically with you operating just the brake. So in terms of that whole best in class trailering technology, I'm gonna have to call this a tie with the new Ford Super Duty, at least until we've tested both. So the exterior styling has been updated but hasn't changed much and the power trains have been updated but haven't changed much and the capabilities of the truck have been updated but haven't changed much. So really what has changed much for '24? This has, the interior. It is all new for 2024 and it rectifies a problem that we have really dinged General Motors for pretty hard since they did the redesign of the pickup trucks a couple of years ago and that they updated the interior but it didn't feel all that updated. It felt still pretty much like the old vehicle did in terms of its material quality and its design and some of the questionable layout choices. All of that is wiped away with this, the '24 interior because this interior is identical to the light duty versions of the GMC Sierra, the 1500 and that's a very good thing. In here in the Denali Ultimate version, it gets all of the luxury treatments. There's leather pretty much everywhere, grab handles, steering wheel, full seats, front and rear, center console, even the lower half of the instrument panel is now wrapped in leather. That wood is real wood and it's actually etched with the topography of Mount Denali, just in case you need to reference a map while you're, I guess, traversing the mountain. The headliner is microsuede, as are the pillars, both the A pillars and the B pillars. So it's a really, really nice interior. It's comfortable, it's well designed, it's well thought out, it looks great. And there's also a lot of technology that's been brought into here as well. You have a lot of digital screens in here. You have a 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster that's available on some trims, you also have an optional 13.4 inch landscape format touchscreen as well. Now the whole thing is running the new Google built-in operating system which the jury is still a little bit out on. We've had some issues in getting this to actually work in pretty much any automaker's vehicles that we've tried it in, so I think that may be still ironing out some of the glitches in Google's operating system, but it looks fantastic. It does work rather quickly. It is big and clear and easy to use but they haven't gone completely touchscreen, there are still hard buttons on a number of components and the climate control also has great big easy to use controls as well. The difference between the heavy duty and the light duty is right here, column shifter for the heavy duties, not a console shifter and that's enabled them to open this area up a little bit and actually offer an accessory panel for Upfitters. So if you've got things like a snow plow that you wanna operate? That can snap in pretty much right here. There's also a 15 inch heads up display that's available on some models. So you've got a lot of different digital screens to look at but they're reconfigurable, they're easy to use, they're bright, they're high up enough that you're not taking your eyes off the road too much. All in all, this is such a dramatic improvement for General Motors interiors that it kinda wipes away all the bad memories of what they did during the last go round. If you want one of these Denali Ultimate trim levels which GMC says are probably going to make up a significant portion of the number of CR HDs that it sells, well, you can have an interior in any color you want as long as it's brown. Technically it's called Alpine Umber and it really does look good, especially with all of the custom stitching and the embossed topography that we're seeing here. And the one thing that you're gonna have plenty of in any HD truck is room. The thing is just cavernous, plenty of room for five or I bet you, you know what? You could probably even fit four people back here for a total of six, even though there's really only five seat belts. But the one thing about the Denali Ultimate is that sometimes you'll see luxurious appointments drop off from the front seat to the back seat, not so in here. From the laser etched grills of the 12 speaker Bose sound system to the leathered coverings on all the seats and all of the stitching, it's just as nice in the back seat as it is in the front seat and that's rare. If you're just looking for a regular Denali instead of the Denali Ultimate, they've made some changes to that too for 2024. The biggest changes obviously come in the styling up front where you've got the same kind of design changes. You've got a new grill, you've got new headlights, you've got new bumpers, but for the regular Denali, you get the bright chrome work instead of the dark Vader chrome that you have on the Denali Ultimate. You also have some new 18 inch machine aluminum wheels which definitely give it that super chunky look on this dual rear wheel model. They certainly do look the business, don't they? We don't have pricing yet for the new '24 Sierra HD, that's actually going to come closer to the trucks on sale date which GMC says is going to be the first quarter of 2023. Not all versions of the Sierra HD will be arriving in the first quarter, however, the AT4X which is the new more luxurious version of the AT4 off road trim is not going to come until later in the year. Now when we have pricing and when we've had our test drive and when we have more information to bring you about the new 2024 GMC Sierra HD, you'll find everything at cars.com.