GMC Sierra Denali Test Drive.

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The GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate is the most expensive GMC Sierra you can buy. And GMC reminds you with multiple “Ultimate” badges everywhere, making sure you remember how much you spent on your new truck. And making sure your neighbors and friends are aware that you are not just an average human. That nothing but the best will do. As this GMC truck costs over $ 85,000.

For that amount, you have a lot of choices these days. But none will make such an obnoxious statement. Especially, if, like me, you live in a big city where the sheer size of the vehicle makes it a chore to drive around.

GMC updated their trucks recently and the Sierra’s grille is larger than ever. Although the rest of the design is pretty much what you would expect, and not that different from 10 or even 15 years ago.

Inside, GMC has pulled all the tricks to make sure the huge amount of money you spend is all there. The new interior is excellent, with high-quality materials everywhere. And a huge improvement over the previous versions. The seats alone look quite amazing. Also, the wood and metal finish really look and feel upscale. For the old-fashioned crowd, there are many, many buttons everywhere, as not everything is on the menu.

This is a very impressive interior no matter where you look. As it should be for the price, but I am sure the less expensive versions are also quite impressive.

The rear seat has huge amounts of space, and the seats themselves can be folded up, creating a very nice cargo area behind the front seats if you need it. The seats themselves are generally very comfortable. And the massage feature works pretty well.

The Bose branded 12-speaker sound system is fine but not great. Which was a bit of a disappointment, as my friend Barry White does requires the best sound possible.

And oddly enough, the stalk on the left of the steering wheel feels and sounds very cheap and brittle. Which is odd in such a great and solid interior.

The standard bed in my test drive unit isn’t that long. Which feels and looks even a bit weird on such a giant vehicle. Although a longer bed would also mean an even longer truck. as it is, the Sierra Denali is already hard to drive around and park when living in a city. I cannot imagine trying to live with anything larger around town.

The automatic step is welcome as the Sierra Denali is actually just too high for many shorter people.

The version I was driving comes with GM’s 3.0 Liter Diesel engine. Something I have had the pleasure to experience previously in other GM trucks. And it’s always a great engine. It’s fairly quiet for a diesel, but diesel engines have been quiet for decades now. Its higher pitch sounds are quite different from the usual V8, and fuel economy is of course better, but still not great. It is rated at 23/27MPG. The best I got around town was 17MPG. This is a bit strange since I got well over 20 the last time I drove a Diesel Sierra. But around 30MPG on the freeway is easily achievable.

To me, no matter that, these full-size trucks always drive about the same as they did 10 or 15 years ago. The steering is always very soft and quite vague. Mainly because of the big tires, the suspension seems comfortable at first but you quickly realize it actually doesn’t absorb much and you feel every single bump on the road. These are still pretty rough vehicles to drive around, which is OK for people who really need them to tow or carry tons of stuff around. But really acceptable on a daily basis. They are still far behind the comfort of a large SUV.

Trucks will be trucks, for better or worse. These super expensive machines are basically for people who are used to or love driving trucks. They are an opulent step up from your regular pick-up, but they still never offer a true luxury ride, no matter what the car makers claim. The difference is still quite amazing and obvious.

And of course, with a huge A-pillar and very high and flat hood, visibility is horrendous around town.

These are still vehicles for a very specific use, and in my opinion, do not make great daily drivers. (Although I hear the Ram trucks are much better in that regard.

Conversation 1 comment

  1. Stop complaining about 85k – that’s a mid level Sierra here in Canada . 108K for the ultimate

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