• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Quick Drive: 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 1500


    • What Does It Mean To Be Denali?

    The idea of the luxury pickup has only come into spotlight during the last decade thanks to GMC. In the early-oughts, the truck manufacturer introduced the Sierra C3 which offered a number of luxury appointments never really seen on a truck - leather, premium audio system, power everything, new wheels, and a more potent V8. The C3 and the Denali which took its place a couple years later became big sellers and created a market for luxury pickups. Now most of truck players offer two luxury variants - one for those who dream of being a cowboy and one for those believe in up-town luxury. So how has the father of the luxury pickup compare to the new competitors? I spent a week in the Sierra 1500 Denali to find out.

     

    Compared to the standard Sierra 1500, the Denali gets minor changes such as a mesh grille insert, chrome trim pieces, Denali badges, and 20-inch aluminum wheels. These small changes make the Denali quite the standout in the Sierra lineup. It looks more at home at an upscale restaurant than a work site. The interior is somewhat lacking though for a luxury pickup. Yes, there are swaths of leather for the seats and dash, along with nicer looking plastic wood trim and Bose sound system. But compared to the likes of the Ford F-150 Platinum and Ram 1500 Laramie Limited which boast better leather and trim choces, the Denali just feels like a pretender. Tech-wise, the 1500 Denali gets the large screen from the heavy duty trucks to provide trip, infotainment, navigation, and powertrain information. There’s also GMC’s Intellilink infotainment system which seems to be getting worse everytime I use it. Case in point was the constant crashing of my iPod Classic and the disappearance of the map when using the navigation system.

     

    Like other Sierras, the Denali has a choice of engines. Base is the 5.3L V8, while optional is the 6.2L V8. I had the latter engine which produced 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with a new eight-speed automatic. As I wrote in my Escalade review, the engine has power available throughout the rev range and sounds more like a Corvette. That pretty much carries over to Sierra Denali except for one key item. The 6.2 feels slightly more potent in the truck thanks to a lower curb weight. If you are not careful with the accelerator you will cause the rear wheels to chirp. The eight-speed automatic kept the truck going with smooth shifts and a noticeable improvement in fuel economy. My average for the week in the Sierra Denali was 16 MPG. Not bad considering the EPA ratings of 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined.

     

    One item that surprised me when driving the Sierra Denali was how bouncy the ride was when compared to the last Sierra 1500 I drove. Despite the truck featuring GM’s Magnaride shocks, the Sierra 1500 Denali was bouncy and choppy thanks to the 20-inch wheels. If you have a load in the bed, the choppy ride goes away. Also expect a fair amount of wind and road noise due to the large tires and boxy shape.

     

    While the current-generation GMC Sierra Denali 1500 is a step forward from its predecessor, it falls way behind the competition in terms of luxuries and ride. The 6.2L V8 and eight-speed combination do claw back some good points. But I think its time for GMC to step back and figure out what Denali means to the Sierra.

     

    Disclaimer: GMC Provided the Sierra Denali 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: GMC
    Model: Sierra 1500
    Trim: Denali 4X4
    Engine: 6.2L EcoTec3 V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5600
    Torque @ RPM: 460 @ 4100
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17
    Curb Weight: 5,434 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Silao, GJ Mexico
    Base Price: $52,155
    As Tested Price: $57,820 (Includes $1,195 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    6.2L V8 EcoTec3 - $2,495
    Power Sunroof - $995.00
    Driver Alert Package - $450.00
    20" Polished Aluminum Wheels - $300.00
    Trailer Brake Controller - $230.00

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    I love the looks of the GMCs, especially in Denali trim, at least for being a truck.  I don't get to drive those competitors so much, so it's a little disappointing to see how it stacks up there.  I thought the GMC was pretty nice, but without that frame of reference I was clearly not realizing what I was missing out on.  Clearly GM needs to work a little on the infotainment systems.  Though I don't think it's the majority of buyers' experiences (at least I haven't heard any complaints form my own customers), clearly it is effecting enough people that something isn't quite right and needs to be fixed.  On the plus side, hey, there's available 4G LTE wifi, right?

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I own a Laramie Longhorn, so I can say with a fair bit of confidence that the Denali's interior can't measure up to it. The leather in the seats and open-pore wood trim are amazing, and on models with the eight-speed the aluminum shifter knob's knurled surface and real aluminum make it feel like a million bucks. The touchscreen and nav are also really good, but the nav itself does tend to send you down backroads an awful lot out in the prairies. Also, some of the plastic is a bit hard and not convincing as aluminum trim.

    However, there's more to life than dashboard fondling, and having seen what the 6.2/8-speed can do in an Escalade I'll admit to being a bit envious. My Hemi is adequate, but no more than that at this stage. As for the ride, it looks like GM decided to ditch the automotive style AWD in favor of a more truckish setting for the underpinnings. It makes sense, but again I'm left wondering why no airbag springs, like the Longhorn. Nice review overall, thanks for posting it.

    Edited by El Kabong
    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I tested the GMC Sierra Denali Crew Cab back in 2010 and found it to ride great.... they must have stiffened up the suspension a lot. 

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

      Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor




  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Intrepidation
      Intrepidation
      (31 years old)
    2. WCCPSGM
      WCCPSGM
      (45 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Mazda is already known for building vehicles that are fun to drive and is garnering one for their distinctive designs. One area that Mazda might not get a lot of credit is the constant improvements they make to their lineup. Take for example the Mazda6 sedan. Since its launch back in 2013 as a 2014 model, Mazda has been updating the 6 with new improvements and features to make it better. For example, when we drove the 2016 Mazda6 back in 2015, it featured new dashboard and infotainment system that made it more pleasant to be in. For 2017, Mazda has introduced two big changes for 6 - one dealing with handling and the other dealing with overall refinement.
      First up is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control. This system monitors steering and throttle input (along with a few other things according to the brand), and when it deems necessary, will reduce engine power to shift weight to the front. This is said to improve overall handling in a corner. Here’s the thing, I really can’t tell if this system makes the 2017 Mazda6 a better handler than the previous 6 I drove back in 2015. The model shows the sharp handling characteristics that has made it one of the best driving models in the class with little body roll and steering that feels direct.  I would need to drive both a 2016 and 2017 Mazda6 back to back to see if there is a difference. The other improvement for the 2017 Mazda6 will be noticed by anyone going for a ride; a quieter interior. Mazda has added a bit more sound insulation for the 6 and it makes for a more pleasant driving experience. There isn’t as much wind whistle as there was in previous 6s I have driven. You still do get a fair amount of tire noise, but that’s more due to the 19-inch wheels fitted on the Grand Touring. The 19-inch wheels also make the ride slightly rough with various bumps being transmitted clearly to the backsides of you and your passengers. Mazda hasn’t messed with anything else for the 2017 6 and that’s mostly a good thing. It still retains the striking good looks of the outside, especially in this bronze color seen here.  The Mazda6’s interior is towards the top of the class with a modern design, high-quality materials, and an easy to understand control layout. The leather seats offer the right amount of comfort for long trips. Those sitting in the back will have no complaints in terms of head and legroom. Under the hood is a 2.5L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. Sport and Touring models get the option of either a six-speed manual or automatic, while the Grand Touring makes due with only the automatic. The engine is a spritely performer with strong acceleration and having the power ready to go when needed. The six-speed is quick when it comes to downshifts. But the transmission does stumble when it comes to upshifts as it is slow to respond when you need that punch of power. At least the automatic transmission does feature paddles on the steering wheel to allow for some manual control to solve this. The continuous updates Mazda makes to the vehicles should be applauded as it helps keep them competitive in light of tougher competition. The 2017 Mazda6 is a key example of this. You might not be able to detect one of the changes made, but the other one us quite noticeable and makes the 6 that much better. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 6, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Mazda
      Model: 6
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700
      Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/35/30
      Curb Weight: 3,305 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan
      Base Price: $30,695
      As Tested Price: $34,530 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      GT Premium Package - $2,500.00
      Machine Gray Metallic - $300.00
      Door Sill Trim Plates - $125.00
      Cargo Mat - $75.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Mazda is already known for building vehicles that are fun to drive and is garnering one for their distinctive designs. One area that Mazda might not get a lot of credit is the constant improvements they make to their lineup. Take for example the Mazda6 sedan. Since its launch back in 2013 as a 2014 model, Mazda has been updating the 6 with new improvements and features to make it better. For example, when we drove the 2016 Mazda6 back in 2015, it featured new dashboard and infotainment system that made it more pleasant to be in. For 2017, Mazda has introduced two big changes for 6 - one dealing with handling and the other dealing with overall refinement.
      First up is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control. This system monitors steering and throttle input (along with a few other things according to the brand), and when it deems necessary, will reduce engine power to shift weight to the front. This is said to improve overall handling in a corner. Here’s the thing, I really can’t tell if this system makes the 2017 Mazda6 a better handler than the previous 6 I drove back in 2015. The model shows the sharp handling characteristics that has made it one of the best driving models in the class with little body roll and steering that feels direct.  I would need to drive both a 2016 and 2017 Mazda6 back to back to see if there is a difference. The other improvement for the 2017 Mazda6 will be noticed by anyone going for a ride; a quieter interior. Mazda has added a bit more sound insulation for the 6 and it makes for a more pleasant driving experience. There isn’t as much wind whistle as there was in previous 6s I have driven. You still do get a fair amount of tire noise, but that’s more due to the 19-inch wheels fitted on the Grand Touring. The 19-inch wheels also make the ride slightly rough with various bumps being transmitted clearly to the backsides of you and your passengers. Mazda hasn’t messed with anything else for the 2017 6 and that’s mostly a good thing. It still retains the striking good looks of the outside, especially in this bronze color seen here.  The Mazda6’s interior is towards the top of the class with a modern design, high-quality materials, and an easy to understand control layout. The leather seats offer the right amount of comfort for long trips. Those sitting in the back will have no complaints in terms of head and legroom. Under the hood is a 2.5L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. Sport and Touring models get the option of either a six-speed manual or automatic, while the Grand Touring makes due with only the automatic. The engine is a spritely performer with strong acceleration and having the power ready to go when needed. The six-speed is quick when it comes to downshifts. But the transmission does stumble when it comes to upshifts as it is slow to respond when you need that punch of power. At least the automatic transmission does feature paddles on the steering wheel to allow for some manual control to solve this. The continuous updates Mazda makes to the vehicles should be applauded as it helps keep them competitive in light of tougher competition. The 2017 Mazda6 is a key example of this. You might not be able to detect one of the changes made, but the other one us quite noticeable and makes the 6 that much better. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 6, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Mazda
      Model: 6
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700
      Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/35/30
      Curb Weight: 3,305 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan
      Base Price: $30,695
      As Tested Price: $34,530 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      GT Premium Package - $2,500.00
      Machine Gray Metallic - $300.00
      Door Sill Trim Plates - $125.00
      Cargo Mat - $75.00
    • By William Maley
      In a not surprising move, President Donald Trump announced today that his administration will reopen a review into the 2025 fuel economy standards set by the EPA before the end of President Barack Obama's term. 
      “We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again. There is no more beautiful sight than an American-made car,” said Trump at an event in the former Willow Run bomber factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan - soon to become a testing ground for autonomous vehicles.
      "These standards are costly for automakers and the American people. We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic. This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
      In the closing days of President Obama's second term, the EPA announced that it would keep the strict standards that will require automakers to raise their fleetwide fuel economy average to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Automakers cried foul, saying the upcoming standards are costly and out of touch with the current market (i.e. low gas prices and people gobbling up crossovers, pickups, and SUVs). 
      It is expected that the 54.5 mpg average will drop, but no one is sure how much it would drop.
      Reaction to this announcement has been mixed. Automakers and lobby groups approve of this move as it allows them to focus on building vehicles people want, instead of being pushed into building vehicles that will not sell.
      "The Trump Administration has created an opportunity for decision-makers to reach a thoughtful and coordinated outcome predicated on the best and most current data," said Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of the AutoAlliance, an industry lobby group that represents a number of automakers including Ford and GM.
      Other groups are not so pleased with this move.
      "Today's announcement of backtracking on vehicle standards for model years 2022-2025 puts at risk tens of billions of dollars of fuel savings for consumers and big reductions in tailpipe emissions," said Therese Langer, transportation program director for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, in a statement.
      "Any delay in settling efficiency standards introduces uncertainty that will disrupt manufacturers' product planning. What is certain is that technological stagnation is not a recipe for continuing the remarkable success our domestic manufacturers have achieved in recent years."
      Democratic U.S. Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts tells Reuters this move could actually hurt consumers.
      "Filling up their cars and trucks is the energy bill Americans pay most often, but President Trump's roll-back of fuel economy emissions standards means families will end up paying more at the pump," said Markey
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters, Roadshow

      View full article
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)