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    Quick Drive: 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD


    • The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

    Whenever an automaker introduces a redesigned vehicle, they talk about how new and improved it is. Whether its the all new engine that delivers better performance and fuel economy, or a new suspension that improves ride quality dramatically. But I have always wondered what would a redesigned vehicle look and feel like if they kept some things from the old vehicle. Well it happens to be that General Motors recently did this with the heavy-duty trucks, updating certain aspects while changing others. Lets see how this works out in the 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD.

    Let’s begin with what hasn’t changed. First off is the powertrain found in this truck which happens to be the optional 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel V8 with 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a Allison six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system. While that might fall flat when compared to the likes of Ram’s 6.7L Cummins Inline-Six turbodiesel (385 horsepower and 850 pound-feet of torque) or Ford’s 6.7L V8 turbodiesel, (400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque), the Duramax can more than hold its own. Performance is excellent with the Sierra Denali HD able to get up speed with no signs of struggle. Even when the bed was filled up with brick pavers, the Duramax V8 made it feel like nothing. The Allison six-speed is still one the best transmissions on the marketplace with smart shift logic and smooth shifts, it seemed to know what gear the truck needed to be in. As for average fuel economy, the Sierra Denali 2500 HD averaged 14.3 MPG.

    Also not seeing any big changes is the chassis which was redesigned back in 2011. This includes a fully boxed steel frame, independent front suspension with forged steel upper control arms and cast iron lower control arms; torsion bars, and leaf springs in the rear. Like I wrote in my review on the 2012 model, the ride is somewhat bouncy due to the leaf springs; but overall, it’s ok for most situations. GM has improved road and wind noise in the Denali and its very noticeable. Driving on the freeway, I felt that I was riding in a luxury car due to how quiet it was.

    What has changed is the exterior and interior. Outside, GMC designers have smoothed out the design to make the Sierra Denali a bit more aerodynamic to improve fuel economy. The front gets a new grille and headlights to make it stand out a bit from its Chevrolet brethren. The back gets a new bumper with integrated steps and a spray-in berliner. Overall, the 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD has to be the best looking of GM’s heavy-duty truck lineup as it has some distinctiveness to it.

    Inside is where some of the biggest changes took place. Like the light-duty trucks, the heavy-duty models get a redesigned dashboard with large vents, an eight-inch screen featuring GMC’s Intellink infotainment system, and just better materials all around. The Denali gets a a large multi-configurable digital display in between the the speedometer and tachometer to display key information such as oil and transmission temps. This screen is very readable and a nice touch for the most luxurious truck in GM’s lineup. Seats are supportive and provide excellent comfort. This is the interior that the Sierra Denali HD was deserving of, and its nice to see that it has finally got it.

    General Motors made a very wise decision with their 2015 heavy duty lineup of changing exterior and interior to keep them fresh, while keeping the diesel engine and chassis the same. For the Sierra Denali, these changes help the truck from being a pretend luxury truck, to something that could give a Cadillac a run for its money.

    Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Sierra Denali HD, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2015

    Make: GMC

    Model: Sierra 2500HD

    Trim: Denali

    Engine: 6.6L Duramax Turbodiesel V8

    Driveline: Six-Speed Allison Automatic Transmission, Four-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 397 @ 3000

    Torque @ RPM: 765 @ 1600

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - N\A

    Curb Weight: 7,549 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Flint, Michigan

    Base Price: $53,740.00

    As Tested Price: $64,630.00 (Includes $1,095 Destination Charge, and $1,500 discount for the Duramax Plus Package)

    Options:

    Duramax Plus Package - $8,845.00

    Power Sunroof - $995.00

    20-Inch Forged Polished Aluminum Wheels - $850.00

    Dual Alternator - $295.00

    20-Inch All-Terrain Blackwall Tires - $200.00

    Power Outside Camper Mirrors with Heat and Turn Signals - $55.00

    Cold Climate Package - $55.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Very cool, I love the exterior look and from what I have seen on the GMC web page the interior looks really nice. I think over all one of the best trucks on the road.

     

    Any pictures of the interior of this tester?

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    Awesome Pictures, Love the interior on this bad boy.

     

    I have to say looking at the pictures, the exterior Wheel Wells remind me of the GMC Terradyne.

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      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
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