Heavy-duty pickup trucks are built for work as opposed to pleasure, but the 2021 GMC Sierra 3500 is both a formidable workhorse as well as a luxury ride. The GMC Sierra 3500 enters the new model year with a few significant changes. For example, there is a host of new trailer-assist features, including a new jack-knife alert and a trailer-length indicator that will let the driver know if it is safe to change lanes with a trailer in tow. But the exciting news is that the much-talked-about MultiPro tailgate now comes standard on even the SLE trim level.
The Sierra 3500 boasts a powerful drivetrain and is capable of towing extremely heavy loads as a work truck should. Should you choose the popular Denali trim, you will wind up with a work truck with glamorous looks and upscale features. The 2021 Sierra 3500 stands out quite nicely in a field that is highly competitive. Thanks to its looks, luxury, and ability, the Sierra appeals to a wide range of drivers, with a diverse range of trims that makes finding the perfect Sierra 3500 for your needs easy.
The standard engine for the Sierra is a 6.6-liter gasoline V8 with 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a durable six-speed automatic transmission, and you can choose between rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. There is also an optional diesel engine. The Duramax 6.6-liter V8 generates 445 horsepower and a whopping 910 lb-ft of torque and is paired with an Allison 10-speed automatic transmission. The Sierra 3500 allows you to choose between a standard single rear wheel or the dual-rear-wheel configuration. If you require a work truck with serious power, the hero is the diesel option, which will tow a substantial amount of weight. Surprisingly, the 3500 feels quite agile considering the size of the truck, and the ride is quite comfortable.
Without a doubt, the 3500 is the strongest option in the Sierra lineup, and it can pull as much as 36,000 pounds and carry up to 7,442 pounds. Of course, to achieve that massive towing figure, you will need the diesel engine and dual-rear axle setup. Let’s be quite clear about this; the Sierra 3500 is the largest and strongest GMC truck you can own, and with its new trailering technology for the 2021 year model, it is clearly the number one choice if you desire a serious workhorse.
The base trim Sierra enjoys LED running lights and taillights, and the door handles, exterior mirrors, and belt-line molding are all painted in black. The grille and both front and rear bumpers are chrome, and the bright front grille is definitely the focal point of the Sierra. The base trim comes with the standard tailgate, but it does have the EZ lift system and can be locked down if needed, which is nice. All trims across the board enjoy GMC’s StabiliTrak, which provides you with better traction control and stability.
Even at the base level, the GMC Sierra offers plenty of perks; you get four-way adjustable seats, power windows and locks, and solar-absorbing glass on all windows. Other goodies include a 3.5-inch Driver Information Center and an infotainment system with a standard 7-inch touchscreen and six speakers. The base model even comes with a tire-pressure monitoring system and a rear-vision camera system. For those with teens approaching driving age or who might already be there, GMC includes their Teen Driver technology across all trim levels, which allows parents to set parameters for teen drivers and issues a report card as to how the driver is doing.
Next up is the SLE trim, which comes with all of what you get with the base trim in terms of standard features and options, but a few added goodies. On the exterior, you get 18-inch aluminum wheels with gloss black accents, deep-tinted glass, steel color belt-line moldings, and body-color door handles. On the interior, the SLE trim enjoys a larger touchscreen, infotainment system upgrades, and a bigger driver information display. You can enjoy a leather-wrapped steering wheel at this trim level with wheel-mounted audio system controls.
The SLT trim level adds a couple of goodies like dual-zone climate control, upgraded power seats, and 18-inch wheels with a six-spoke design. At these trim levels, you also get to enjoy the MultiPro tailgate standard, a setup that gives you several functions for easier loading and unloading, plus much more.
If you plan on using your Sierra for recreational purposes, the AT4 trim is a good choice. What most drivers will appreciate about this trim is the Off-Road package that includes upgraded suspension, skid plates, and Hill Descent Control, which are nice additions for those who live for off-road adventures. On the inside, the AT4 trim also offers a top-of-the-line infotainment system with a WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth connectivity, extra USB ports, and other connectivity options. Your passengers in the back seat will even enjoy the same heated seat features the driver enjoys.
The Denali is considered the luxury trim and is only available as the Cab Crew variation with four doors. But while the Sierra 3500 Denali is built with luxury and comfort in mind, it is still a work truck with amazing power and performance. On the outside, you get to enjoy plenty of chrome, especially on the trim and the unique Denali grille.
On the inside, you get several safety and convenience features, including Forward Collision Alert, a Following Distance Indicator, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. The top-tier infotainment system has a navigation system so you can easily reach your destination. You also get to enjoy your favorite music on a Premium Bose Package that includes seven speakers and a subwoofer, and the Home Remote feature allows the driver to have access to home security systems and garage doors.
The base trim level of the 2021 Sierra 3500 can be bought in Crew Cab, Double Cab, and Regular Cab configurations. Both the Regular Cab and Double Cab configurations come with the long bed. Should you choose the Crew Cab, you have the choice between the standard length bed at 6.75 feet or the long bed. Keep in mind that the Regular Cab offers only two doors while the Double Cab offers an additional small door and a backseat area for additional passengers or cargo. If you need more interior space for passengers and gear, you should opt for the Crew Cab, which offers four full-size doors and enough interior space for up to six passengers.
The Sierra 3500 is a big truck without a doubt, and as such, the interior is spacious, and there is plenty of room to spare. Of course, once you start loading it up with the gear and other necessities you need for work, you will be glad to have an abundance of room. And one might expect a truck designed for towing and hauling would have a rather dull and uninspired interior, but just the opposite is true. The Sierra will please drivers who enjoy versatility and luxury along with practicality. Everywhere you look, there are handy cubby storage, soft-touch surfaces throughout, and quality materials.
All Sierra models enjoy a standard touchscreen infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The majority of trim levels have an 8.0-inch touchscreen and several charging ports. If you need built-in navigation, it’s an option you can choose. There is also a smartphone app that can be utilized to control vehicle and trailer functions remotely. Additionally, you can store various trailer profiles and monitor maintenance in the infotainment system.