2019 GMC Sierra Denali quick spin review and rating

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Associate Editor Reese Counts: This truck feels a full generation behind the competition. It’s a half measure that feels more like a mid-cycle refresh than a whole new truck. There are a few high points: the 6.2-liter V8 is great (if thirsty) and the bed is wider than anything else in the class. The tailgate, too, is nifty, though some might write it off as a novelty. I also dig the tech, particularly the infotainment system and heads-up display. Ram might brag about its giant touchscreen, but I think I actually prefer the GMC’s user interface.

The rest can be summed up with a series of shoulder shrugs. The finally looks different than a Silverado, but I wouldn’t call it handsome. The interior is spacious, but I’d knock the design and materials in a $45,000 truck, much less one approaching $70,000. It’s not Toyota Tundra levels of terrible, it’s just plain, cheap, and not nearly as space efficient as the Ram.

It feels like GM’s not even trying to move the needle with this truck. The more time I spend behind the wheel, the less I like it.

Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: I got to spend a lot of seat time in this Sierra , and I came away generally unenthused by GM’s most luxurious truck. We harp a lot about how expensive pickup trucks are these days, and this one’s near $70,000 price tag is just the same. When you step inside a similarly-specced Ram, it feels like it’s worth its price. When I step out of a Silverado and into a more expensive Sierra, I want to feel like it’s money well spent. This Sierra does not.

Beyond the leather seats and a few small pieces of wood trim, it’s hard, black plastic galore. What makes it all the more frustrating is that GM has most of the tech and features it needs (solid infotainment, 360-degree camera, wireless phone charging and the rear camera mirror is genuinely awesome). The presentation just comes off as dated from the start.

It’s a shame, because I have a strange affinity for how this truck looks from the curb. The sharp angles, brash styling and “tough truck” attitude is appealing to me. I like stomping on the gas and letting the 6.2-liter torque monster under the hood loose. But man do you pay the price for using that engine. Over a few hundred miles of driving I ended at a dismal 15 mpg reading on the trip computer — the saddest part of this was knowing these were mostly highway miles. GM’s trick cylinder deactivation technology didn’t translate into noticeable savings for me, but maybe one has to drive it like a Prius to realize those gains. What is one to do when an F-150 pulls up next to you and revs their puny turbo V6, though (read: sarcasm)?

Ride quality: Ram’s got it, GM does not. The most applicable description of the Sierra Denali’s ride would be that it’s average. You won’t go home feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, but neither is it teeth shattering. It’s a truck; don’t expect anything more or less. I actually used the bed of the truck for a truck thing, too. Instead of tying a Christmas tree up onto the roof, I was able to just toss one in the bed. Easiest loading procedure ever, and the Multi-Pro step actually came in handy to get up there and drag it out. Sure, I could’ve hopped up and hopped back down, but lugging a tree out using a step felt much safer.

Still, GM has a lot of catching up to do from an interior standpoint. A lot of people will buy this truck because of who makes it, but go hop in a similarly-priced 2019 Ram 1500 after test driving this. Then decide if you’re going to drop the coin on what doesn’t feel like much more than a normal Silverado.

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