2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited Denali
If you are a truck guy or women, you already know what GMC Sierra is, and probably you are aware that the current platform is getting old and it will be refreshed soon. In a market where you rival one of the bestseller trucks in North America, it’s not easy to stand out against the competition.
Where 2021 GMC Sierra shines is that it is one of the most understated entries while still looking very sharp from the outside. It may not blanket you with luxury, like some other entries, but it has all the fundamental features you may need from a luxury truck without any gimmicks.
Exterior and Interior
2021 GMC Sierra Limited Denali looks like many other GM products from the front, it has a huge grille and with the Denali trim, it is a chrome piece that makes the truck look more upscale. There are also other chrome parts around the fog lights, and tow hooks.
Sierra’s front end is one of the biggest and tallest, it really feels high when you sit behind the wheel, for some people that makes the truck feel bigger, but thankfully you have a camera that can show what’s going on in front of you, especially if you take your truck to off-road.
The side profile looks like a regular truck, there is nothing really fancy or unique, having a tall hood line makes it look more like a huge crossover. There are three different bed length, Crew Cab option (including Denali trim) comes with two different bed options. Our tester had the short bed (70″), but if you are planning to carry longer stuff, you can also choose the standard bed size (79.5″).
From the rear end, it may look like a typical truck, but the it has one of the most useful gates available. It has 6 different features that you can use it for multiple different purposes, such as load stop, easy access, full-width step, inner gate load stop and inner gate with work surface. Compared to the other trucks, I think this is a winning feature as others can’t get as functional and useful as this one.
Interior design looks very similar to the other high-end GM products. Denali trim comes with additional leather and soft-touch materials for extra premium feeling, but it still can’t change the fact that the interior cabin looks older than the competition. Small infotainment screen is one of the biggest factors that make the interior look older, as almost all rivals went with giant screens.
I like the fact that Sierra’s dashboard is extremely easy to use and utilitarian, all important features have physical buttons and if you are coming from another GM product, you would feel right at home. I was expecting to see less hard touch plastics especially around the infotainment screen, but overall it is a great place to be in.
The seat comfort is good for the front and rear passengers. I found front seat cushion a little bit firm for longer rides, but it has a tons of space and front seat adjustability. As this is a Crew Cab, rear seat accommodation is excellent, you will have no problem carrying 5 large adults. It’s great to have storage compartment inside the rear seats, so it is quite practical in the rear seat area.
Engine and Drivetrain
Current generation Sierra has 4 different engines, and 2 different transmission options in the model lineup. Denali trim, which is also known as the top trim, comes with three different options. It has 5.3L naturally aspirated V8 engine, 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel inline 6 engine, and 6.2L naturally aspirated V8 engine.
I am not sure why GMC offers two V8 engines that have similar power output and displacement, but our tester was the more powerful 6.2L engine that puts out 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. All Denali trims come with 10 speed automatic transmission which is a tried-and true platform.
All engines available with the Denali trim comes with 4-Wheel-Drive standard. As it is not meant for hardcore off-roading, Denali trim does not come with mechanical locking differential. However, it still comes with manually adjustable 4-Wheel Drive settings, including Auto mode that sends power to all wheels, but it primarily sends power to the rear.
Driving Impressions and Features
2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali comes with a leaf spring suspension system in the rear, but it surprisingly feel comfortable. Though the ride quality is impressive, it is still noticeable if you pay attention. Though it comes with multiple driving modes and including off-road mode, the difference is quite minimal.
Though I still don’t understand why GMC offers two different V8s in Sierra Denali, I have to mention that I love GM’s V8 engines. This giant 6.2L V8 engine is no exception, it has tons of torque throughout the rpm range, and it sounds very masculine and considering the market is shifting towards forced induction smaller displacement entries, having an old-school American V8 is a blessing.
Towing capacity is a big race amongst truck manufacturers but the final number varies a lot, based on the engine, transmission and gear ratio. 2021 GMC Sierra has a maximum of 12200 lbs towing capacity, which is not class leading but definitely not the worst. It’s surprising that maximum towing capacity is less than the Chevrolet Silverado, which is a corporate sibling of the Sierra.
However, if you choose the Denali trim with Crew Cab, and short bed, the number decreases quite a bit at 8600 lbs, which is still not the worst but definitely behind the Ford F-150. It has the best payload numbers in its segment though, it is rated at 1484 lbs.
The feature list is too long to mention, but there are features that I especially like and dislike. Like most other GM products, I really enjoyed using the infotainment system, despite its smaller dimensions. The infotainment system is quite responsive, easy to use and it also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay.
I also like the fact that it comes with 15 different cameras, and all have great resolution. You can see around the car pretty much from all angles, and it makes your life so much easier when you park into a tight spot, or just want to see what’s in the bed.
What I did not like is, there are some missing features and lack of refinement compared to the other trucks. For instance, there is no electric powered adjustment for the steering wheel, manual adjustment lever looks very cheap for a truck that costs more than $70,000. Unlike other premium entries, it does not have massaging seats in the front.
Pricing and the Verdict
2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited Denali may not have the best interior, or may not have the best towing capacity. However, it shines when it comes to tailgate functionality, and overall balance as a daily driver and a work truck. I personally think that it is still the best looking truck in this segment with a giant chrome front grille and sharp body lines.
It also offers great value proposition, despite being the top trim. It heavily undercuts its rivals several thousands of dollars if you are looking for something top of the line. 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali starts at $72,613 and with all extras, it can go over $80,000 CAD easily.
Unlike the other entries which you have to pay closer to $100,000 CAD, 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is a great option with no gimmicks. If you are a person that wants to have ridiculous amount of power and off-roading capability in a truck, General Motors should come up with something that can challenge with the F-150 Raptor and RAM TRX.
For more details – please visit www.gmccanada.ca