2015 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali

2015 GMC Sierra 2500 Denali Review

Proof that luxury and trucks do mix.

By: Tim Healey

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: June 26th, 2014

Country music stars, listen up: If you want to sing about trucks - and anecdotal evidence suggests that you do, every single time - then the 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 Denali might just need a starring role in your next video. Provided, of course, that the video is shot well away from any urban environs. Parking this thing ain't easy.

Then again, this truck isn't built for city duty. Few trucks are, of course, but the Denali is really for the rancher who wants luxury while towing something on a long haul, or the contractor who wants to be comfy and cozy while overseeing the job site. It's a brawny truck with an interior that is more gentle than brutal. The idea of a rugged cabin in a rugged truck is gone - the truck stays rugged on the outside, but tender on the inside.

  • On the Road

    Torquey turbodiesels (the 6.6-liter Duramax puts out 765 lb-ft of torque) never harm acceleration (even though the Duramax is more about towing than stop-light drag racing), and such is the case here. The problem is, you need to dig deep into the throttle to get the engine to respond - the throttle setup just isn't very touchy. Once you get deep into the pedal travel, though, the Duramax comes alive with a throaty roar, and it gets the big truck moving swiftly enough for passing or merging.

    Big trucks like this aren't meant to handle well, but the Sierra does what it can. GMC actually got the steering feel right - it's weighted properly, although a tad too much play creeps in. But basic physics dictates that something this large will struggle in corners, and the Sierra sometimes feels like an articulated bus - the front end has finished the turn while the rear is still working.

    Ride is the selling point here. Find a highway and cruise, and the Sierra feels like a tall sedan, provided the pavement is smooth enough. Long-haul truckers, take note: If you need to tow something across vast distances, you'll be well-coddled while doing so. Broken pavement causes plenty of bounciness, and the truck is a little less settled in around-town driving, but it's much more pleasant than you'd think when you see the truck.

  • Exterior

    It looks like a baby semi-truck, and we're good with that. GMC gave the Sierra a big, bold look and added a fancier grille to denote Denali status, but really, it just looks intimidating. Every time we saw it out the office window, we cowered a bit. It's not as weird as the Ford or as (relatively) curvy as the Ram, but it doesn't have to be: Plain but in-your-face works here.

  • Interior

    If you like electronics, the Sierra has you covered. There are five USB ports to go along with several 12-volt and 110-volt outlets and an SD card slot.

    There's also GMC's excellent IntelliLink infotainment system, which is easy to use; real volume and tuning knobs, an easy-to-use driver's info center that has menus controlled by steering-wheel buttons, and plenty of class-appropriate materials.

    Storage space is ample, and it should go without saying that passenger space is, as well. Sure, your passengers might be in another ZIP code, but at least no one will want for legroom or headroom.

  • Final Thoughts

    The Sierra 2500HD Denali only works for a limited audience - those who need the utility of a truck but want the luxury of a sedan - but it works well for that audience. It can go a long range on one tank of fuel, it has outlets aplenty for mobile workers, and GM promises almost 18,000 lbs of towing capacity, depending on configuration.

    Horse owners who need to haul trailers across the plains, construction bosses, and contractors will all like this truck. But for everyone else, it's just too much. Which for GMC, is probably just enough.

  • Specs, Features, & Prices

    Engine: 6.6-liter turbocharged diesel V-8

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive

    Power Output: 397 horsepower / 765 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg): N/A

    Base Price: $53,740

    As-Tested Price: $63,835 (including $1,095 destination charge)

    Available Features: Bluetooth, USB ports, infotainment system, satellite radio, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, hill descent control, lane-departure warning, forward collision alert, safety alert seat, engine block heater.

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