Despite General Motors overall success at the creation of innovative, affordable and (surprisingly) tech-centric offerings across all segments, their respective truck lineups are a mixed bag. Chevy seems to be almost eternally locked in a second-place position, ever cow-towing to the aggressive lead enjoyed by Ford. And while that hardly makes GM deserving of criticism, Chevy’s symbiotic relationship with its corporate stablemate, GMC, creates some curiosity as to the latter’s ranking. Bouncing back-and-forth around fourth and fifth place (at any given point) the clear effort put toward refinement is visible in all GMC offerings. And yet, the lineup, as a whole, always feels a bit lackluster and under-appreciated. But in this time of overhauled design, weight-reduction and the ever-increasing push towards the validation of $100K luxury trucks is it possible that GMC’s Sierra has finally found its time and place to shine? From the base version of the Sierra1500, to well-equipped HD models (complete with Denali badging) the Sierra feels arguably more relevant than ever. In fact, the 2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD just might be one of our favorite trucks of the year. Personal bias aside, let’s take a closer look at our pick, the 2019 Sierra Denali, to see whether you agree or disagree.
Why the Denali? Honestly, if you have to ask that question you’re either predisposed against the line-topping GMC models or well-versed enough that you don’t need the 10,000 foot summary of everything they have to offer. If you count yourself among the latter, kudos to you. But if you’re among the former, we hope this helps you to gain a better understanding of why the Sierra (especially the Denali trim level) elevates GMC’s lineup and challenges any accusations of mediocrity or ease of overlook.
Bold and inspired, the current Sierra design steps outside of expectations thanks to notable accents such as the signature “light blue” lighting elements within the Denali’ headlamps, sculpted grille inserts and polished wheel options ranging from 20-22 inch. Contributing to its bold stance with chiseled styling, such features lend the Sierra a distinctive and iconic identity all its own. Translation: it’s damn good looking.
GMC might be best known for taking the GM design philosophy to its most luxurious conclusions in the Denali trim levels, and the unmatched level of refinement and sophistication is evident in the spacious, driver-centric interior that we see in the current model year.
This is an environment designed around comfort and intuitive usability. Confident, commanding driving position. Ample room, with impeccably comfortable styling. Fine material choices and intuitive control placement all help to make it one of the best options out there. Translation: it’s damn good looking on the inside, too.
Control placement is only as impactful if the technologies themselves are of stand-out quality, and the Sierra Denali doesn’t disappoint. Incorporating a 15-inch heads-up display, the 2019 Sierra presents the first multi-color, head-up display placing important information right in the driver’s line-of-sight, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road.
Factor in the segment-first Rear Camera Mirror, which allows the rearview mirror to act in both a traditional capacity and as a viewing monitor for the rear-facing camera one begins to wonder why such an organic evolution of technology hasn’t happened sooner. This is further accentuated by the birds-eye-view offered by a series of cameras and sensors, allowing for visibility around the vehicle.
Active Safety Features
Today’s vehicles boast a wealth of assistive and active safety features that empower drivers and passengers alike with greater comfort. In the Denali, such features include Front Collision Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist, Lake Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Low-Speed Automatic Forward braking and Rear Park Assist among others. Everything you could possibly ask for in an assuring luxury vehicle.
For those whose truck gets put to task in terms of towing, the Sierra Denali offers a number of driver-assistive features which are designed to simplify all aspects of trailering. This includes:
Hitch Guidance: The Sierra Denali employs a rear vision camera that simplifies maneuvering and lining up with the hitch in the same manner similar technology does for reverse-parking.
Hitch Lighting: with additional lighting integrated into the tailgate, the hitch area can be illuminated, making it an easy place to work (especially when it comes to connections).
Trailering App: Considering the number of things one must keep in mind when towing an object, it becomes easy to miss something. GMC aims to minimize that risk with a comprehensive Trailering App located within the infotainment system. Serving as a procedural checklist, the app also includes testing protocols and sensor alarms intended to make sure that you’ve taken every step necessary to tow safely. Talk about making it easy.
And one of the more noteworthy evolutions comes in the GMC MultiPro Tailgate, and industry first that debuts as part of this next-generation Sierra. Boasting six distinctive functions and positions, the tailgate was designed to do far more than just open and close.
From simple load-stop functionality to greater ease of loading, the Multipro can be configured to serve as both step and seat. And it offers greater control of use, be it in terms of power controls and regulated release/drop.
By no means are we expecting hordes of prospective truck buyers to ‘jump ship’ in the hopes of getting behind the fourth-spot team. That said, if we were to flashback two decades, how many people would be surprised to learn of the success Toyota, Nissan (and even Honda) would have in terms of redistributing market share? It simply comes down to serving up a timely product, and there’s something about the Sierra (as it stands today) that makes us wonder if greater success is on the horizon for GMC trucks.