Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

May 1, 2013

Denali doesn't back away from a big job

By Len Ingrassia
CNHI News Service

— You would be hard pressed to find a larger truck with the amenities on board the GMC Sierra Denali edition. Its powerful engine, behemoth size and interior styling are impressive.

For 2013, the Sierra is available as a regular cab, extended cab or crew cab in 12 different body styles.

As a work truck, the base model is priced in the low $20s with V6 power. V8 flex fuel engines are available as a 4.8-liter, 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter. All dressed, up the Denali model will set you back north of $50,000.

In lower priced and equipped models, there is plenty of competition from Ford, Dodge and Toyota. They offer newer technology with interior refinements.

Last re-designed six years ago, the Sierra remains a solid choice for carrying or towing just about anything. Whether you are in the building trades, moving yachts from port to port or just want a high perch to peer out on the roadway, the Sierra is up for the task. Towing capacity is 9,400 pounds.

Like any large truck, the Sierra needs a big swath to turn in a circle. Its 47-foot radius is matched by the Ford F150 while the Dodge Ram is close behind with 45 feet needed. The Toyota Tundra turns in the shortest distance at 44–feet.

By comparison, many SUVs and cars need about 37 feet to circle around.

The Tundra offers the most ground clearance at 10 inches followed by the Silverado and Sierra at 9 inches. The Ford F-150 has 8.6 inches of clearance and the Ram 1500 measures in at 7.7 inches.

For all of its girth, the Sierra Denali delivers a quiet and smooth ride with its high performance suspension package and all-wheel-drive transfer case. There is a cost for all of this performance in the way of poor fuel economy. During test week, the Denali averaged about 13 miles per gallon of premium fuel.

If you can get past that, the Sierra Crew Cab will not disappoint for on the road performance and value. Whether traversing interstate traffic or mountain passes, its big V8 engine will power you along in style with comfortable leather seating for five. Denali trim includes Bose sound system, enormous head and legroom in two-row seating for five, heated and cooled seats, rearview camera, heated steering wheel and power adjustable pedals.

Call it a muscle truck too. In the zero to 60 mile per hour sprint, the 2-½ ton truck crosses the line in an impressive 6.6 seconds, faster than many cars on the road.

While some of the competition is technologically ahead of the Sierra, ride, handling and comfort remain strong points in the GMC lineup.

Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at editor@ptd.net