Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
I love it when a strong, authoritative pickup truck roles into the Automotive Rhythms driveway for a weekly evaluation. Suddenly your entire schedule and demeanor changes to mesh with the newfangled call to duty whether it’s yard work, hauling away fallen trees you chopped up, Home Depot runs to snag fresh work gear and tools, taking the snow blower in finally for maintenance, or rounding up the mountain bikes for a weekend of single tracks with your buddies. Yes, I did most of that with our 2018 Dark Slate Metallic GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab. Plus my daughters love when I escort them to school in a big, bad 4-wheeler.
What I appreciate most about today’s light duty pickup trucks are their ability to make owners feel comfortable behind the wheel as if they are riding in luxury SUVs. Whether heading to work or Sunday service you could easily put on a suit and feel perfectly suited in a ½-ton. With added comfort and connectivity features such as Apple CarPlay, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, Sirius/XM, a 7-speaker Bose audio system, OnStar Telematics with navigation and automatic crash response, and sporty, leather bucket seats with power controls the workhorse was always my number one choice to drive out of our auto fleet since it provided what seems like an endless amount of amenities. Moreover, the GMC full-size pickup features a wireless charge pad atop the center console within the storage tray. It reenergizes one PMA- or Qi-compatible mobile device. Of course the girls were fighting over this particular charge type for reasons unknown since there are dual USB ports and a 110-volt AC plug up front. In reality I was receiving the best of both worlds being that the Sierra resembles its Yukon Denali cousin in presentation and featured content.
With a base price of $55,755 my loaner tallied up to $64,345 and was blessed with the $7,450 Denali Ultimate Package that turns the collegiate Division 1 footballer into an NFL first rounder. For starters, 22” aluminum wheels with premium paint and chrome inserts are added with aggressive 285/45R22 Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires and the 355-horsepower 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine is replaced by a commanding 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine which pumps out 420-horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque @ 4100 rpm. Gross vehicle weight rating is 7,200 pounds and max trailering is 9,300 pounds but requires 2WD. Expect 15 city mpg and 20 hwy mpg for your journeys. Additionally, the Denali Ultimate Package includes a sunroof, trailer brake controller, chrome tow hooks, and Tri-Mode Power Steps, my least favorite option being that the retracting mechanism is loud and harshly pulses. I also appreciate the aesthetics of stationary running boards or tubes.
On the road the 6.2L and 8-speed automatic transmission pairing was energetic and fluid. With GM’s touted Magnetic Ride Control — an electronically controlled damping system that continuously monitors and adapts to road conditions — the drive was always smooth and balanced except when I went off-road for some rough riding to put the auto locking rear differential to work. Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist are also at your disposal if needed. The Sierra was stable on the go, even when loaded with five passengers and equipment stationed in the cargo bed which was adorned with a spray-on bedliner, lights, and various tie downs. The bumper is embedded with CornerSteps for easy access “up and over” the remote locking and EZ Lift and Lower Tailgate. The hitch played a minor role for attaching our Thule T2 Pro XT platform bike rack when it was time to visit the mountain bike trails of Schaeffer Farms in Gaithersburg, MD. To go along with the truck’s brawn the body is as chiseled as linebackers in uniform. The massive Denali chrome grille sets the tone for the power dome hood and flaring wheel wells to highlight the Sierra’s aggressive profile. A polished exhaust tip, capless fuel fill, collapsible mirrors with chrome caps, IntelliBeam LED headlights, LED taillamps, chrome handles, and chrome body-side moldings round out the rest of the 2018 GMC Sierra Denali 1500’s exterior features.
Back inside the comforting cabin I continued to enjoy the drive with every mile. Running the girls and their teammates back and forth to sports and activities was never a hassle in the capacious crew cab. The heated, leather, multifunction steering wheel housed the controls I needed for quick access to systems, and the GMC infotainment system with an 8” color touchscreen kept me occupied with music from XM and from my iPhone when I let Apple CarPlay take precedent. Of course the rear vision camera was a gem for reversing the truck but when it rained the lens would blur out. Unfortunately for me it rained quite a bit that week. In the front of the cabin there is a copious amount of storage everywhere for everything from your wallet to handbags. Large dials and switches for operating functions such at the power-adjustable pedals are nice touches as is the power sliding rear window.
The Detroit born 2018 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab is a special truck for special individuals and incessantly inserts its unique spin within a market segment that is constantly craving for more.