2014 GMC Sierra Denali

By Tom Crosby

General Motors points out the GMC brand has been around for 111 years so they know how to build pickup trucks.

For 2014 the GMC Sierra Denali, which is a twin under the skin of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, provides a more luxury-laden cabin, muscular towing chops, improved fuel mileage and next-generation Interlink connectivity.

Although they have brand-specific exterior styling differences, Sierra and Silverado are buff-looking pickups with artfully placed chrome accents and each can be equipped with a trio of engines, safety packages, long and short truck beds, all or two wheel drive, and various cab configurations. If you know what you want, you can get it.

Our test drive Sierra Denali 1500 four-wheel drive crew cab had the $1,995 engine upgrade from the standard 5.3-liter V8 Ecotec3 to the more powerful 6.2-liter V8 Ecotec3. A recommended $450 Driver Alert Package adding lane departure warning and forward collision alert, a $995 sunroof and $230 trailer brake control combined to push the final price tag to $54,730.

Price shopping is a key customization for pickup truck buyers. Off-roaders and towing drivers will like Sierra’s skid plate, locking rear differential, hill start assist with stability control and trailer anti-sway control.

Our 6.2-liter engine upped towing power to nearly six tons and accelerated takeoff to 60 mph in roughly six seconds – enough to make a sedan driver blink.

Riding on 20-inch chrome wheels and all-season tires, the suspension-system was truck worthy and the ride pleasant and smooth, with typical truck bounce over shopping mall speed bumps.

Electric power steering, the optional safety features, and excellent visibility created confidence on the highway. Ecotec engines get excellent gas mileage. All GM vehicles can use E85 gasoline, which boosts horsepower by 33 in the Sierra, but reduces miles per gallon, even with the active cylinder deactivation when not needed.

Rugged on the road, the Sierra turns plush inside the cabin, with excellent fit and finish exemplified by tight stitching on front heated/cooled leather seats, rear camera, steering wheel audio controls for the BOSE system, Bluetooth, reachable control knobs and five USB ports.

The 8-inch customizable dashboard screen uses Intellilink for information and entertainment and navigation detail is excellent. Remote start is an addictive plus but a key is needed to get underway; no chip in the key fob.

LIKES: Power, interior space/comfort, looks, quiet, fit/finish
BOTTOM LINE: Improved competitor in highly competitive pickup truck market


  • Base price w/destination fee $51,060
  • Curb weight 5,345 lbs. w/trailering package
  • Wheelbase 143.5 inches
  • Length 229.5 inches
  • Width 80 inches
  • Engine specs 5.3-liter, V-8, Ecotec3, direct injection
  • Horsepower 355-hp at 5,600 rpm (gas), 380-hp at 5,600 (E-85)
  • Torque 383 lbs.-ft. at 4,100 rpm (gas), 416 lbs.-ft. at 4,100 rpm (E-85)
  • Transmission 6-speed Hydra-Matic (automatic)
  • EPA Rating 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy
  • Range 26-gallon tank, premium recommended only
  • Performance 0-60 in just over 6 seconds