That's why driving GMC's Sierra Denali 2500HD Duramax Diesel is such a blast (even the name is big)...because you are the king of the road, bigger than most other people out there. You have an immense amount of power at your disposal and with the way the Allison 6.6 liter Turbo Diesel engine sounds you are making a statement that you are not afraid to use it! I already have fallen in love with the GMC pickup, but with the addition of the diesel and the heavier suspension GMC steals the ball away from the RAM...the question is can they finish?
You know this thing is different from the moment you see it. The big grille with GMC billboarded in the center that is unique to the HD along with muscular wheel wells give the truck a macho look. GMC makes sure the Denali sits up high with a whopping 9.75 inches of ground clearance. A length of 239.5" and a width of 80.5" means that the Denali is a massive block of metal that is the centerpiece of just about any parking lot or construction site. It is huge!
Not only is the ground clearance good for hunting in the hills but it has to be something you are thinking about if you are loading this truck up with tools and heading off to the drilling or off the road building site for the day. With that height you can load it up and not worry about ripping out an oil pan.
In cabin luxury is something That GMC does to perfection. Materials are top grade, there are more USB ports and outlets than a computer science class, the heated and cooled seats are comfortable and adjust every which way and there are compartments and cupholders galore. One of the best features I thought was the ability to mount my IPad on the center console in a readable position. It was easy to see it if I needed to refer to it while I was stopped and didn't bounce all over the place when I hit a bump.
The interior also offered plenty of door opening room both front and rear and the back seat was big enough to grab a lunchtime nap in on a nice summer day. Another nice touch was led lights in the bed of the Denali making it much easier to see things under the bed cover day or night. A welcome feature if you make deliveries with the truck and have the boxes covered up by the folding bed cover.
One of the things I did while I had the GMC in my possession was to stop at a few construction sites and diners and ask people what they thought about the GMC. This truck was ogled more than a good looking woman whistling a country song. The bed lights, ground clearance, pulling power and compartments and ports in the interior impressed all of the laborers that I came in contact with.
You might imagine that the Allison engine and tranny moved the Sierra Denali along quite quickly and once up to speed the transmission kicked the engine to a low heartbeat cutting down on noise and fuel consumption.
Another big thing was towing capacity...13,000 pounds with a hitch and another 2793 in the bed as payload means the Denali will carry all the heavy equipment, drill bits etc. up that hill we have been talking about. A lot of these guys now carry around trailers with tools, special equipment etc during the week and boats, etc on the weekend. They need oomph and the GMC with the Duramax Allison Diesel gives it to them plain and simple. With 397 horsepower and 765 lb/ft of torque the Denali will bring the mountain wherever it has to go without strain and the diesel exhaust brake and auto grade braking will help stop the truck when you have that mountain pushing at your back. Although I did not tow a load, the Denali empty, handled quite nicely on the highway and on those West Virginia back roads I use to test these vehicles. Empty, the leaf spring rear did hop around a bit but it never had an out of contact feeling to the rear.
All of this power and class doesn’t come cheap. Sticker price on the 2015 Sierra Denali 2500HD 4WD Crew Cab that I tested was $63,835, a little over 10k over the base price of $53,740. The test truck had the Duramax Plus Package including 20”wheels and tires, off road suspension and dual alternators. It was tricked out for heavy duty work. Fuel mileage figures from GM indicate 18.5 mpg…real world testing had the Duramax in the area of 16. The Sierra also comes with a full suite of safety equipment including lane departure warning that shakes the driver seat, forward collision alert, rear view camera, stability and traction control and front and side and seat mounted air bags. The Sierra Denali gets a Five Star safety rating from the Federal Government.
I made a lot of friends the week I had the HD. Anytime I stopped at a drilling site, a diner or a construction site guys would come over, look inside, open the tail gate, the rear doors and want to know more. They want a truck that they can be comfortable spending 10 hours a day in, that can become their office, the place where they eat lunch, listen to the ball game, do their business and then clean up and take their kids to the lake on the weekend. The GMC is kind of like Western Pennsylvania workers…it works hard, is ready to give you everything it has and is not worried about staying overtime until the job is done. It may not be better than the Ram it may not be less. It certainly gives the Dodge a run up the court.