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Heavy Duty Truck Wars Continue

It's fun to see the big-3 ramp up the muscle on trucks you can use for your farm.

The gloves have been off in the heavy duty pickup truck "wars" since Dodge shoe-horned it's first Cummins into its "old-design" pickup in the late 1980s; and the fun hasn't stopped since.

We've covered the most recent antics of Ford and Dodge in this blog in the past, and GM isn't far behind with its newest heavy duty offerings. The Chicago Auto Show saw the launch of the Silverado HD line of 2500 and 3500 class trucks and sibling GMC isn't far behind.

These new GM rigs get bigger front suspension - with a front rating boosted 25%. That added heft enables snowplow use on all four-wheel drive models - a feature that would have been nice just about anywhere last winter.

And the new trucks, which go on sale later this year as 2011 models, get new muscle under the hood with the latest generation Durmax diesel. This 6.6-liter turbo-diesel is rated at 397 horsepower and gets 765 pounds-feet of torque. GM is laying claim to the most powerful diesel in the class. And all of the Big 3 automakers - they make the only HD-class pickups sold in the United States - have pushed the envelop on diesel power for their newest trucks.

The new HD lineup features 12 3500HD models and five of those have a payload bigger than 6,000 pounds. Of the 22 2500HD models, 13 offer a greater than 3,100-pound payload. And towing capacity keeps going up too with top capacity of 20,000 pounds.

Perhaps the most interesting of the GMC Sierra heavy duty pickups is the Sierra Denali HD. That Denali classification, long known as a fully optioned model, gives you a hint of what that may mean in this class of truck. That's the model shown on this page - with its crew cab design.

The Sierra Denali HD is the flagship model of the new GMC HD line. Fully optioned, this workhorse offers buyers plenty of creature comforts wrapped around a capable powertrain.

The Sierra Denali HD comes exclusively on the 2500HD chassis and that crew cab with four-wheel drive is the standard box configuration. Standard engine is the Vortec 6-liter gas V-8 with a six-speed automatic gearbox, but you can option this up to that new Duramax 6.6-liter diesel with the Allison 1000 six-speed transmission.

The Denali gets a different nose than its standard Sierra sibs featuring a four-bar, chrome grille. There are also body color bumpers, chrome door handles, chrome accents and 18- and 20-inch polished forged aluminum wheels. Essentially, this is a go-to-meeting truck that could do the day-to-day chores too.

And the Denali features most of the options you'll have available on other Sierra HD models from trailer sway control to automatic grade braking and larger breaks. Best bet is to watch your local GMC dealer's lot later this summer for the new rigs to arrive, then you can stop by for a visit and more information. Whether you go for the Denali, or the host of new 2500HD and 3500HD trucks available, chances are GM fans will find something they like.

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