A GMC Gem: The Sierra Denali 1500 Pick-Up

By The Car Family

A luxurious pick-up truck is an oxymoron until you step-up, literally, into GMC’s Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab. You have a leather appointed and spacious interior with enough safety features to be a role model for the national safety commission. Continuing the oxymoron theme the Denali offers you the ability to haul 4×8 sheets of plywood and still get 19 mpg in a truck that is as quiet as an upscale German sedan. Oh, we forgot to mention it can haul nearly five tons while you enjoy the weather with the optional sunroof.

Of course, there is a price for this combination and that is a MSRP of about $50,000 and more with options such as a power trailer brake controller, sunroof, driver-alert package with vibrating seat, forward collision alert, heated and cooled front seats, 20-inch chrome wheels, Bose audio system, 12-way power bucket seats and navigation with IntelliLink connectivity.

Mom’s view: This is a big truck. There is no denying its girth when you pull into a parking space with a little hanging out regardless of how carefully you tuck it in. On the other hand, the steering makes it easy to maneuver and the turn-in is very good. Entry and exiting gets better with practice, and once inside you begin to wonder where the truck went. Everything is classy and there is so much room waiting to be filled with bargains. One thing to be remembered is to never tell anyone you have such a versatile vehicle because every weekend you’ll be in demand to help people move. The easy-to-open-and-close tailgate is a blessing, and even I was able to get into the truck bed thanks to the handy steps built into the rear bumper. This is one well thought out truck and, along with the Dodge Ram, are the best trucks we have ever tested for ride quality, performance, handling and luxury. Indeed, some large periodicals have chosen the GMC/Chevrolet as the best trucks on the market and we can see why.

Dad’s view: The Sierra Denali is a man cave on chrome wheels. The optional 6.2-liter with 420 hp, 460 lb-ft and six-speed automatic makes you feel confident when you feel the need for speed or just want to tug that tree stump out. The ride is smooth, quiet and refined, making it easy to please that special gal on the trip to town. And she certainly won’t complain when you rev up the Bose audio system. The 5000 plus pound Denali is that rare combination of work truck and play truck without the nagging question of gas mileage tugging at your conscience with the possibility of getting nearly 20 mpg thanks to the big V8’s cylinder deactivation which enables it to use four or eight cylinders depending on the conditions. The transition is very smooth and works well with the six-speed automatic transmission. You can haul firewood to your mountain or beach cabin with ease. Don’t have a retreat? The Sierra Denali can carry the building materials to help you build one without breaking a sweat. Winter weather is no problem and putting chains on the GMC is simple, but with the all-wheel drive option it isn’t always necessary.

Young working woman’s view: Texas is the big market for pick-up trucks so we have to wonder how large the parking spaces are at a shopping mall parking lot, given the size of the newer pick-ups. The Sierra Denali is over 19 feet long. For comparison, a large sedan is about three feet shorter. There was an article that claimed a pick-up truck was the most attractive vehicle of all to women. If that is correct, the GMC Sierra Denali Crew Cab is for those who appreciate a bold, brash, and yet comforting truck that is seemingly able to defend your honor by intimidating lane switchers and providing you with a view of the highway not seen this side of a semi-truck’s cabin. Would I want one? No. Could I use one? Most certainly. Would I want to wash one? I believe that is what significant others are for. Overall as good as it gets in the pick-up truck world.

Young working male’s view: This truck is unique. It is like owning a Lexus that can haul five tons. Everywhere you look there are goodies, from 12-way power bucket seats to GMC’s IntelliLink connectivity system. The most difficult thing about the Denali, with its four-wheel drive option, is getting into the rig. There are running boards, but they are tight against the body for clearance reasons and are a bit difficult to use, especially when exiting. The rear seat room is enormous. The leaf-spring rear suspension is the only thing that separates the ride quality from a big sedan, but only when the Denali’s bed is empty. When loaded it rides much smoother. As for cornering, well it stands high, weighs 5000 pounds and its length is just a tad short of the Titanic’s so don’t expect to offset the impact of gravity and centrifugal force when you are challenging a two-land canyon road.

Family conference: This is a large, smooth, wonderfully equipped, work-worthy truck that blurs the line between utility and luxury. Yes, it is expensive but there are some great deals out there. We highly recommend you drive the Denali last. It is going to spoil you.

For more reviews go to Car Family Car Reviews

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3 Responses to “A GMC Gem: The Sierra Denali 1500 Pick-Up”

  1. Zach says:

    How much did GMC pay you for this slightly offensive puff piece?

    • al says:

      Zach, you apparently have never driven this pick-up. The Chevrolet version has won Truck of the Year twice in a row. I have no idea about what is offensive about it. I found it informative.

  2. seenmuch says:

    why no diesel?? Chrysler has a full size 4dr 1500 pickup with diesel power exceeding in real world driving the 27 mpgUS mark. That is 8 mpg better than this thing!