I still remember my first elementary school crush, mostly because her best friend’s mom drove a GMC Denali SUV. When I climbed into the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali it took me back to 2nd grade memories of seeing my first crush jumping into the leather interior of the white SUV during after school pickups. My little brother must have gone through a similar flashback because the first thing he said when he got in the passenger seat was, “it reminds me of a truck a rich kid would own.”
GMC’s have a soft spot in my heart for a number of reasons, so I was very excited to get behind the wheel of their luxury full-size truck. Within the first hundred yards of moving I felt its robust capability as it’s V8 grunted and pushed the massive truck with ease. A leather wrapped steering wheel that was soft to the touch and lumbar supported seats gave me the impression that if this truck was a person it would be a lumberjack in a three piece suit.
Of all the modern full-size trucks on the market today, I always felt that the GMC Sierra was the better looking of the bunch. The front-end gives the impression that the truck is smiling at you. Its flared fenders gives it a stance that looks like a linebacker putting his shoulders up to look more intimating. While other trucks designers are smoothing out square edges, the 2016 Denali looks like it was designed by someone who was only allowed to use straight lines. It looks stern and distinguished. The spray-on bed liner is a welcomed feature for anyone who wants to carry stuff in their Denali while also protecting the paint job.
Inside the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali, you have a studio sized apartment of space. Each passenger gets their own captain’s chair to enjoy, and you can lay down on the floor for a nap with the amount of leg room in the back seat. I was driving it at night and had a moment of realization of how advanced technology has taken us. I looked around at the array of glowing buttons, digital gauges, and touch screens while this massive machine carried me in total comfort. So often we day dream of what the future will be like with robots, and spaceship looking cars, that we fail to realize that we are already living it. The GMC Sierra Denali is a big truck you quickly feel right at home in.
The 2016 GMC Sierra Denali may look like a drill sergeant on the outside but it has the characteristics of an overprotective mother when it comes to safety. The driver seat buzzes and vibrates whenever the truck thinks you are going to drive into anything near it. A great crash prevention feature, but if you are used to parking in tight spaces, or live in a city with close quarter traffic, one day you’ll find yourself shouting to the truck, “I know! I can see the car right in front of me!”
The only thing I had issues with was the turning signals. A lot of modern cars have orange LED lights on their side view mirrors that flash depending which side they are signaling to turn. The Denali has red colored lights for some reason, which means you will constantly be double checking your blind spot because red usually means; warning, stop, or danger.
This is a GMC Sierra with the Denali package, so it comes standard with touchscreen navigation, satellite radio, Bose audio system, heated steering wheel, back-up camera, and leather interior. The air conditioning seats were a blessing during Texas’ triple digit heatwaves. I was surprised, however, that the rear seats did not have climate control or any real luxury features besides USB ports.
With a price tag of $61,140 I expected more features like in the Yukon XL Denali I had a few weeks ago.
The Denali package means that the Sierra is powered by a 6.2 liter V8 corralling 420 horses under the hood. Even with a weight of nearly 6,000 pounds this pick up has some legs and can reach 60 mph in under 6 seconds! (5.8 To be exact). It’ll growl like a hungry lion when you put your foot down. Don’t be too disappointed when you look down at its 140 mph speedometer and find out its limited top speed of only 99 mph, its for your own safety.
For such a large truck, the Denali moves like cat’s feet and doesn’t feel heavy or clumsy in the turns unless you try to drive it like a sports car. The 8-speed automatic does it job in moving the Denali like cruise ship over calm waters – effortlessly smooth.
I averaged 17 mpg during my week with the Denali, and that’s with a lead-foot.
Burly, is what I would say if I had to describe the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali using just one word. The 2016 GMC Sierra Denali is a great truck. It’s fast, comfortable and looks good. There are a few things that annoyed me but they were things that the truck did with my well-being in mind. This luxury truck is a lumberjack in a business suit. It follows orders, works hard, and at the end of the day it’ll clean up nice and look sharp in the valet parking lot alongside Range Rovers and Porsche Cayennes.