2019 GMC Sierra Denali pickup: bigger, better and bolder!

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor,

For 2019, the GMC Sierra is now bigger, better and bolder than the previous version. The handsome looking new Sierra comes with a restyle, comprising of: a larger new grille, more chrome trim, defined muscular styling, integrated exhausts, MultiPro tailgate, carbon fibre pickup bed, and a beefier, more substantial look than before. It’s certainly good looking enough to keep up with the best from Ford and Ram, which it beats with more volume than the standard boxes in the Ford F-150 or Ram 1500.

The full-size Sierra now rides on a new platform and receives updated powertrains. The Sierra range offers eight different models from a well-equipped work truck, SLT, new AT4 off-road,   SLE and Elevation models.to the lavishly equipped Denali super–luxury model as tested. Other improvements include a stronger, lighter frame. The truck arrives in regular, double, and crew cab body styles, with optional 4WD throughout. There’s an eight-foot box available on regular cabs, and double cabs. The crew cabs comes with a standard 6’6″ pickup box, or a 5’8″ box.

The Sierra arrives with a choice of either a base 285-hp 4.3 liter V-6 paired with a six-speed, or  a 355 horsepower, 5.3-liter V8, or a 420 horsepower, 6.2-liter V8, with 460 lb-ft of torque. Both V-8s have engine start-stop function to save on fuel that can be deactivated. There is also Dynamic Fuel Management on the 5.3L with the eight-speed transmission which enables the engine to operate on two to eight cylinders, depending on load demand.  Both two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions of the truck can be had with a locking rear differential and low-range gearing on the latter 4WD. With a tow rating of 9,600 lbs (The 6.2 can still trailer up to 12,200 lb), and a payload of just over 2,000 lbs, the Sierra has its working credential in full order.

Major highlights include the new carbon fibre pickup bed option that’s lighter, stronger and will be available in the spring. A highlight of the SLT, Denali, and AT4 models is that they all receive a standard multi-functional tailgate that GM calls the MultiPro Tailgate, a cool, three-part tailgate that can be converted to a taillight-to-taillight-wide step (rated to hold up to 170 kg / 375 lb) into the truck bed. Meanwhile, GMC’s new ProGrade Trailering system combines views in the back-up camera, with dynamic guidance lines on the hitch itself. In-vehicle trailering checklists and systems checks are available on a cab screen inside, or you can even use an app on your phone to remotely check trailer brake lights and turn signals, plus there’s an available auxiliary camera that you can connect to the trailer and shows the back of the trailer on a screen upfront.

Interiors are mildly upgraded, with real wood trim on some models. The big interior cabins feature roomy, comfortable seats, and there is plethora of power, comfort and convenience options depending on what model and option packs you select. Everything from leather trimmed seats to a head up display is available. There is also a 3- inch increase in rear legroom in the cab, along with concealed storage bins in each rear seatback. Available safety features offer lane keep assist system with lane departure warning. Other safety aids include front pedestrian braking and low-speed automatic braking.

On the road the fully loaded new Sierra Denali we tested turns out to be a very comfortable, easy to drive truck with good acceleration and handling. I like the progressive braking action and the very good suspension setup. It’s a big truck, but nice to drive with good visibility all-round. Practicality wise, the bigger deeper bed is a good selling point along with the versatile, ingenious MultiPro Tailgate and corner steps that proved very useful. The ProGrade Trailering system is also a boon, if you tow a boat or trailer. It is one of the better trailer assist system out there in my opinion. The official fuel consumption numbers are 15.3 L/100 km city and 11.2 highway for 4WD versions of the 5.3L V8 Sierra, while the 6.2L V8 gets around 5.5 L/100 km city and 11.9 highway.

To sum up, not a lot to complain about, as so much is right with the new Sierra. A great choice for a full-size tough work truck or a fully-loaded luxury family and trailer hauler. Premium upper range models like the Denali can be expensive, but worth the money. Highly recommended.

2019 GMC Sierra price from base $36,000 to $68,000 (Denali model as tested.) www.gm.ca