The battle of the mega-movers just got a whole lot hotter

GMC has revealed the new 2020 Sierra HD, following hot on the heels of the 2019 Ram 2500 HD that dropped at the Detroit Auto Show last week. Big torque, a big stance, and endless capability are the norms here, but how do these two shape up?

The 2020 GMC Sierra HD Is Loaded For The Long Haul

The 2019 Ram 2500 HD Just Got Some Serious Competition In the Form of the 2020 GMC Sierra HD
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As we all know, trucks like the 2020 GMC Sierra HD are built to do work, and as such, this latest diesel-driven workhorse is billed as the most capable heavy-duty truck to ever carry a GMC badge.

Backing that claim is a host of innovative digital technology that allows the 2020 GMC Sierra HD to tow and haul even better than the numbers would let on.

For example, GMC is offering the ProGrade Trailering system, which comes with an astounding 15 different camera views, as well as a “transparent trailer view” that allows the driver to see behind whatever he or she is hauling.

The 2019 Ram 2500 HD Just Got Some Serious Competition In the Form of the 2020 GMC Sierra HD
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There’s also an optional smart trailer feature that will fully sync with compatible trailers, allowing you to test the lights, run an electrical diagnostic, view the trailer’s tire pressure and tire temperature, issue maintenance reminders, and run through a departure checklist.

Additional details include a Rear Camera Mirror, plus an automatic park brake to keep the truck stationary when hitching, a hill hold feature, an integrated trailer brake, trailer sway control, and automatic grade braking with diesel exhaust braking.

The 2019 Ram 2500 HD Just Got Some Serious Competition In the Form of the 2020 GMC Sierra HD
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To help run it all, GMC is offering an optional 15-inch heads-up display.

Outside of the digital bits, there’s also added analog functionality with a six-function tailgate, and a lower lift-in height compared to the previous model.

The 2019 Ram 2500 HD Just Got Some Serious Competition In the Form of the 2020 GMC Sierra HD
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Under the hood, the 2020 GMC Sierra HD runs a 6.6-liter Duramax turbo diesel powerplant, which whips out 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. Helping it achieve those numbers is an improved intake design and a large hood scoop.

Routing the power towards the pavement is a new Allison 10-speed automatic transmission, which is a first for the HD pickup segment, and should prove to enhance the Sierra’s overall efficiency.

As for specs, GMC claims the Sierra HD can tow “well in excess” of 30,000 pounds. We’re still waiting on exact figures, but we expect them to be competitive with similar products from Ram.

Those who enjoy the rough stuff can get improved off-roading chops with the Sierra AT4 Heavy Duty edition, which comes equipped with new shocks, skid plates, and an Eaton locking rear differential, plus a dedicated off-roading mode. There are 18-inch wheel as standard on this bad boy, complete with all-terrain rubber, while 20-inch wheels are optional equipment.

The 2019 Ram 2500 HD Just Got Some Serious Competition In the Form of the 2020 GMC Sierra HD
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In terms of exterior goodies, the 2020 GMC Sierra HD comes with new LED headlights up front, as well as a bigger grille. Step into the cabin, and you’ll find more space for cargo and passengers, with the the best-in-class front headroom and legroom to boot (the current model offers 45.3 inches for front legroom). The longer wheelbase undoubtedly helps with this. Leather upholstery, open-pore wood panels, and aluminum trim keep it feeling fancy.

The 2020 GMC Sierra HD goes on sale later in 2019, with pricing announced at a later date. For reference, the current GMC Sierra 2500 HD starts at $38,200.

Ram Wants A Word…

2019 Ram Heavy Duty Looks Menacing, Pumps out 1,000 Pound-Feet!
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Obviously, we expect a good amount of additional information on the GMC before it goes on sale later this year, but for now, we can check out the competition from Ram.

Take a peek behind the grille, and you’ll find an updated 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel making an impressive 1,000 pound-feet of torque, besting the Sierra HD’s 910 pound-feet. Ram, however, still uses a six-speed automatic for the transmission duties.

Complementing the tremendous torque, the Ram comes with an updated body and chassis, the former of which cuts 143 pounds from the curb weight compared to the previous model.

2019 Ram Heavy Duty Looks Menacing, Pumps out 1,000 Pound-Feet!
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Properly equipped, the Ram 3500 can pull an impressive 35,100 pounds and deliver a payload of 6,570 pounds.

The Ram HD also gets an optional rear air suspension, which helps greatly with loading and unloading. Inside the cabin is a 5.0-inch infotainment screen as standard, while an 8.4-inch unit and 12.0-inch unit are optional.

For those looking for more, Ram is offering this model in six unique trim levels.

How Do They Line Up?

The 2019 Ram 2500 HD Just Got Some Serious Competition In the Form of the 2020 GMC Sierra HD
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2019 Ram Heavy Duty Looks Menacing, Pumps out 1,000 Pound-Feet!
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First impressions give the technology advantage to the GMC, although the Ram might HD might have the extra goodness under the hood, at least in terms of raw numbers.

We’ll undoubtedly do a full comparison at a later date.

For now, what do you think of the new 2020 GMC Sierra HD? Let us know in the comments section below.

Further Reading

2019 GMC Sierra Exterior
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The 6.2 and 5.3-liter were updated

Read our full review on the 2019 GMC Sierra.

2019 Ram Heavy Duty Looks Menacing, Pumps out 1,000 Pound-Feet!
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2019 Ram Heavy Duty Looks Menacing, Pumps Out 1,000 Pound-Feet!

DETROIT — Bigger, stronger and smarter, the all-new 2020 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty combines greater trailering capability with technologies designed to provide customers with a world-class towing experience.

“The all-new 2020 Sierra HD is the most capable heavy-duty truck that we’ve ever offered,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC. “For customers who demand a premium, innovative heavy-duty truck that supports their passions, the next-generation Sierra HD can pull like a pro.”

Form and function come together in the new Sierra Heavy Duty, with features that include:

An enhanced ProGrade Trailering system featuring class-leading available 15 camera views, including a segment-first transparent trailer view to virtually see through a trailer in tow.1
An available smart trailer designed to integrate the iN∙Command® control system from ASA Electronics2 provides the ability to monitor and control select functions of compatibly equipped trailers through the myGMC mobile app3.
A segment-exclusive available 15-inch-diagonal head-up display that offers useful trailering information, including vehicle speed, navigation information and an inclinometer display for the road grade.
An available segment-first Rear Camera Mirror.
MultiPro, the world’s first six-function tailgate, allows easier loading, unloading and bed access and is available on all trim levels.
A larger, commanding design that provides more room for cargo and occupants.
Best-in-class Crew Cab front headroom and legroom for the driver and other front-row occupants.
An all-new, segment-first, Allison 10-speed automatic transmission mated to the legendary 6.6L Duramax turbo diesel.
For those looking to take refined capability off-road, GMC fortifies the new AT4 brand with an all-new Sierra AT4 Heavy Duty available for Crew Cab configurations as both a 2500 and 3500 single rear wheel offering.
With more than half of Sierra HD customers choosing Denali, it continues to offer the ultimate expression of professional grade materials and refinement. The all-new model delivers power, intelligence and segment advancements to meet the needs of heavy-duty customers with discerning taste.

ProGrade Trailering Technology
First introduced with the 2019 Sierra light duty, the ProGrade Trailering System leverages technology advancements to offer additional features and functionality for the 2020 Sierra Heavy Duty.

“Trailering is the most important consideration for Sierra Heavy Duty customers, and the new features and technologies in the 2020 Sierra HD make it easier than ever to hitch a trailer and tow it confidently,” said Jaclyn McQuaid, vehicle chief engineer, Heavy Duty Trucks. “We’ve developed this new truck to offer the greatest trailering experience ever offered by GMC.”

An available class-leading 15 unique camera views1, including an industry-first transparent trailer view, help optimize the driver’s view around the truck and compatible trailers to provide added confidence when towing. The revolutionary transparent trailer feature uses the tailgate-mounted camera and an available accessory camera mounted on the rear of the trailer. The resulting display helps the driver to virtually see through the trailer4, a benefit when navigating parking lots, merging into traffic or making tight turns.

Owners of the 2020 Sierra HD will have access to available smart trailer technology designed to allow access to select features of the iN∙Command® control system from ASA Electronics2 through the myGMC mobile app, either on compatible Android and iOS smartphones or on the vehicle’s infotainment system via Apple CarPlay5 or Android Auto6. Similar to the features of a smart home, the iN∙Command® control system acts as the central hub of operations to monitor and control an array of systems in trailers equipped with the next-generation technology. Depending on how a compatibly equipped trailer is configured, owners of the 2020 Sierra HD may be able to turn on the trailer’s air conditioning or water heater, check water and holding tank levels, or monitor fuel levels on trailers equipped with generators — all before arriving at their destination.

The ProGrade Trailering System also includes an in-vehicle Trailering App7 with Trailer Light Test, Trailer Electrical Diagnostics, Trailer Tire Pressure and Temperature Monitoring, Pre- Maintenance Reminders and Departure Checklist. Many of the Trailering app’s functions, including the lighting test and pre-departure checklist, are also available with the myGMC mobile app, a feature that offers great convenience when outside the truck or trailer.

Additional available technologies and hardware to aid trailering include:

Auto Electric Park Brake to automatically apply the parking brake to help maintain truck position when hitching.
All-new Park Grade Hold Assist enhances hill hold by using braking effort at each wheel for an extended period of time.
All-new larger, door-mounted trailering mirrors with a four-bar link providing power extend and retract for the driver and passenger sides.
Integrated trailer brake controller that works with the trailer profile in the Trailering App to recall a specified trailer’s most recent gain setting.
Tow/Haul mode that remains engaged on the next key-on cycle, for up to four hours; includes a reminder the feature is engaged.
Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.
Trailer Sway Control.
Auto Grade Braking and Diesel Exhaust Braking.
Digital Variable Steering Assist that dynamically optimizes power steering according to driving scenarios, including trailering, and enables features like road pull compensation.
Trailering Info Label placed on the driver’s door jamb that clearly calls out the truck’s specific trailering information, including curb weight, GVWR, GCWR, maximum payload, maximum tongue weight and rear GAWR.8
Bigger and bolder
The 2020 Sierra HD has a commanding, powerful design rooted in a new architecture with larger proportions. It is taller and longer, with a more confident stance defined by a bold design that epitomizes GMC’s signature refinement and technologically driven attention to detail.

“We took every opportunity to visually express the strength and capability that lies beneath the surface,” says Matt Noone, director of GMC exterior design. “The elevated hood line, the strong shoulders, the striking front grille — these cues communicate the strength and performance that have been engineered and built into each and every Sierra Heavy Duty.”

The all-new Sierra HD is highlighted by new signature lighting, including prominent “light blades” that deliver LED illumination for the daytime running lamps. LEDs are also used for the headlamps, taillamps, available fog lamps and other illuminative elements, including the available roof marker lights standard on all dual-rear-wheel HDs and all Sierra HD Denalis except where prohibited by law.

Inside, the Sierra HD’s new interior has best-in-class front head- and legroom (maximum), with Crew Cab models. A higher seating position complements the truck’s taller profile to offer a confident view from behind the wheel. Additional optimized ergonomics emphasize easy, intuitive interaction with the vehicle’s available technologies, such as a heavy-duty segment-first head-up display and GMC’s latest touchscreen infotainment systems.9

Denali-exclusive materials — including premium leather-appointed seating, authentic open-pore wood trim and dark-finish aluminum decor — raise the interior’s refinement. The leather appointments have a distinctive, large-pebbled grain with a contrasting stitch pattern that is premium in appearance and touch without sacrificing durability, and the wood trim features an open-pore texture evocative of hand-planed furniture.

Compared to the current model, the new Sierra Heavy Duty has:

A longer wheelbase, a taller, more dominant hood line and taller overall height.
A larger grille and complementing functional hood scoop to feed an advanced cooling system for the Duramax turbo diesel.
Class-leading heavy-duty cargo bed volume10 and 12 corner tie-downs with a new, available 120-volt power outlet.
One-inch-lower bed lift-in height compared to the 2019 Sierra Heavy Duty, providing easier loading and fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailer hitching10.
New, segment-exclusive cargo bed side steps on all box styles, located in front of the rear wheel openings, that complement integrated CornerSteps in the rear bumper to improve access to the cargo area.
World’s first six-function MultiPro tailgate available on all trim levels and standard on SLT, AT4 and Denali.
All-new Sierra AT4 HD: Refined HD Capability Off-Road
The all-new 2020 Sierra Heavy Duty AT4 continues the AT4 brand’s growth with a distinctive off-road identity to complement its robust HD capability. Driven by dark chrome exterior finishes and contemporary detailing, Sierra HD AT4 features front and rear bumpers and a grille surround finished in body color. The bold grille design, with its rugged texture, is finished in black chrome and set off by the AT4’s distinctive red vertical recovery hooks.

The athletic interior also carries AT4-specific darkened trim, including dark-tinted and textured aluminum finishes on the steering wheel, center stack and sill plates, as well as a unique Jet Black interior with Kalahari color accents in the seats and live stitching. Leather-appointed seating, with mini-perforated inserts and embroidered AT4 badging on the headrests, along with all-weather floor liners, is standard delivering durability with uncompromising comfort.

The new Sierra AT4 Heavy Duty’s off-road capabilities are rooted in a unique suspension and supporting technologies that include:

Off-road suspension, Rancho Shocks, skid plates, Eaton locking rear differential.
Eighteen-inch wheels wrapped with Michelin all-terrain tires, with 20-inch wheels available.
Traction Select System with specific Off-Road mode.
Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist.
Segment-exclusive 15-inch diagonal Head-Up Display with Off-Road Inclinometer.
HD Surround Vision1 for low-speed views of vehicle surroundings.
Confident trailering power
GMC’s legendary Duramax turbo diesel and Allison Transmission pairing continues to offer the ultimate in towing confidence.

The proven Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel engine offers high torque, high power, low noise and exceptional durability. For the 2020 Sierra HD, the Duramax offers an SAE-certified 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque. This already powerful engine performs more efficiently thanks to increased cooling capacity delivered in part by improved air induction. A dual-path intake system draws dense, cool air through both the prominent hood scoop and the larger front grille.

The new Sierra HD marks the introduction of an all-new 10-speed Allison automatic transmission — the first-ever offered in the heavy-duty pickup segment. The all-new 10-speed transmission with closer gear spacing allows the engine to operate in an optimal range at all times with varying load and terrain conditions.

The bigger frame, stronger propulsion and smarter technologies are expected to deliver dramatically greater towing capacity than previous models, well in excess of 30,000 pounds. More details regarding an all-new gas engine and trailering capabilities will be announced shortly.

Coming late summer 2019
The 2020 Sierra HD goes on sale later this year in 2500HD and 3500HD dual rear wheel and single rear wheel configurations. Pricing and complete specifications will be announced later.

With a $1.5 billion investment to support the next-generation Heavy Duty truck launch, Flint Assembly in Flint, Michigan, will proudly build the 2020 Sierra Heavy Duty.

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