SUV/TRUCK REVIEWS

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Redesigned 2019 GMC Sierra Denali is one tricked-out truck Featured

Mar 11, 2019 Hit: 218 Written by 
The GMC Sierra Denali has been fully redesigned for the 2019 model year.
The GMC Sierra Denali has been fully redesigned for the 2019 model year. Photo courtesy of GMC

Trucks dominate the auto industry, and not everyone is looking for a basic work truck. In fact, the trend is moving in the opposite direction, with these vehicles moving farther away from being solely work-focused and instead growing more luxurious in their creature comfort offerings for the whole family, based on customer demand.


The 2019 GMC Sierra has been redesigned for 2019, and attempts to break out of the shadow of its GM cohort the Chevy Silverado. I recently tested out one of the upper trim level Sierra offerings, a 2019 Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab, and I’m back with a full report on how this truck distinguishes itself.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2019 GMC Sierra Denali
  • Price as tested:: $67,735 (Denali starts around $57K, base Sierra starts about $30K)
  • Best feature:: New tailgate features, luxurious design, powerful ride
  • Rating:: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Anyone looking for one of the most capable and innovative trucks available.

LOOKS

So they went ahead and make a tailgate interesting, something most people probably  thought was not possible. The first-ever six-function MultiPro Tailgate on the 2019 Sierra does things you didn’t anticipate it could.

The tailgate has two buttons on it. One button opens the full tailgate, the other only the top portion of it. In both positions, you can also pull up a load-stop to block items from falling out the back of the truck. Also, with the full tailgate down, you can lower a step down from it that allows easier access to climb into the truck bed. The levels of versatility packed into this tailgate are best in segment.

 

Tailgate tricks aside, let’s talk about the looks of this machine. As usual with the high-class Denali models, you get a beautiful exterior design, with a particularly impressive wheel design. The interior is also very classy, offers lots of space and features comfortable leather with attractive wood trim. This is definitely an upgrade from the Silverado, its corporate sibling at GM.

Like most GMC vehicles, the Sierra offers a bold and imposing physical design. That’s one thing the redesign didn’t touch, which is a good thing. The Sierra will not be confused with the Silverado or any other truck.

Inside the vehicle, there are also some Easter eggs hiding, including unique hidden storage areas behind the back seats. You also get heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless open and start, memory settings for driver seat and outside mirrors, real wood and aluminum trim, remote start, and a Bose premium audio system.


Long running boards going the full distance on both sides of the truck provide a helpful boost for entering and exiting the Sierra (and accessing the bed). The corner step in back is also quite helpful. With this redesign you’ll also find more room in the back seat than much of its competition, and both heated seats and drink holders are offered in the rear. Rear seats also fold up for storage space.

For those who are looking to do a lot of hauling, the truck bed capacity is also quite large on the Sierra, and you have a dozen fixed cargo bed tie-downs. Also new for 2019 is the carbon-fiber construction of its cargo bed, and inside the bed is a 120-volt outlet.


The Sierra Denali features LED taillamps, LED front fog lamps, and high-intensity LED headlamps.


HOW’S THE RIDE?

A variety of engines are offered on the 2019 GMC Sierra. My test vehicle included the Denali’s optional 6.2-liter V8, which produced an impressive 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. It is paired with with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Standard on the Denali is a 5.3-liter V8 that offers 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft., paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Upgrading from the standard 5.3-liter V8 to the 6.2-liter V8 will cost you $2.495.

There’s also a diesel engine offered on some versions of the Sierra.

Both 4WD and 2WD versions of the Sierra are sold, but I would recommend going for a 4WD option. In terms of overall drive, the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali drives as good as, or better than, most trucks on the market, though it can be a bit rough at times. The Sierra was also fast and very powerful, due to the 6.2-liter V8 under the hood.

The Sierra Denali can tow up to 12,500 pounds with the proper towing package. Its max payload is 2,250 pounds. (Of note: Moving up to the Sierra 2500HD moves those numbers up to 18,100 and 3,534; The Sierra 3500HD can handle 23,100 pounds and 6,112).

Adaptive damping is offered, and this is one feature that helps it stand out from the Silverado. This suspension control technology will improve vehicle control and your overall ride experience.

The Sierra also offers a Prograde trailering system, trailer brake controller, adaptive ride control, heavy-duty locking rear differential, 2-speed Autotrac transfer case and a traction select system.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

The 2019 Sierra features loads of excellent tech and safety features, as trucks are no longer playing catch-up in this area.

Among the highlights are a helpful heads-up display to keep your eyes on the road and a rearview camera that features multiple angles.

The infotainment system is very well-designed and easy to use, even for those who aren’t tech-savvy. The updated touchscreen display is attractive and user-friendly.  

Voice commands worked very well, with all commands being understood on my first attempt, and there are well-placed audio controls on the back on the steering wheel. The system is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Several USB portals are included, and you get a wireless phone charging pad that is placed up front in an easy-to-access position.

You can also use controls up front to control both the sunroof and the back slider window.

On the Denali, the package you’ll most want to get is the Denali Ultimate Package. For $5,850, you will a bevy of features, including: HD Surround Vision, Rear Camera Mirror, Multi-color Head-up display, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Intellibeam headlamps, Following Distance Indicator, Power Sunroof, GMC Multipro Power Steps, 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, Wheel locks and a Trailer Tire Pressure monitoring system.

The only safety feature I didn’t see on the truck that would have been helpful is Adaptive Cruise Control.


MPG
Official fuel mileage on the 2019 Sierra Denali 4WD that I tested was 15 city/20 highway and 17 combined. Compared to its main truck competition (RAM 1500, Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado), the Sierra’s official numbers are among the best in the business among non-diesel engines.  

However, in my time in the vehicle, my average was lower (just over 13 mpg).

The Sierra comes with a 24-gallon fuel tank.


PRICE
The Sierra Denali has a starting price of $57,400, and my my test vehicle was $67,735 after all options were added.

Base price for the GMC Sierra starts about $30K, so there’s a very ride range on what you can pay for this truck, depending whether you need a basic work truck, a fancy family ride with truck abilities, or something inbetween.

Warranties include a three-year/36K mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, and a five-year/60K powertrain limited warranty.

BOTTOM LINE

The 2019 GMC Sierra features some innovative changes that make it stand out in a competitive truck segment, both from its corporate sibling the Chevy Silverado and entries from Ford, RAM and Toyota.

Beyond the updates the redesign brings, the 2019 Sierra remains one of the most stylish and powerful trucks you can get, and the Denali in particular shines with its elegant design.


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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.  

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com

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