2024 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, GMC, Test Drives

Americans love trucks and within the segment of full-size trucks there remains to be a lot of competition and manufacturers recognize the competitiveness. In their quest to give everyone what they want in a truck and more, there seems to be extra efforts to make pickup trucks more versatile so they may better serve as the vehicle that can do everything, especially considering how expensive trucks have become.

GMC has long been known to bring us a Denali line of trucks that fit into a mold of being a little more luxurious than its Chevrolet counterparts or the base versions of the Sierra pickup. In some ways, people think of the GMC Sierra Denali trucks to be the Cadillac of pickup trucks, and they wouldn’t be entirely wrong. This week, I spent some quality time in thinking of just that, how my new GMC Sierra 1500 Denali pickup truck was essentially the Cadillac of pickups.

Performance and Driving Character

The GMC 1500 Sierra was redesigned for the 2019 model year, and since then, I’ve had many trim levels to play with and give you my impressions. For the 2024 model year, not much as changed in the welcoming full-size pickup truck that has a luxurious edge over many in its proven abilities and V8 drivetrain. Essentially, the GMC 1500 Sierra Denali is best suited to be a singular vehicle in the garage of many Americans. With a proven 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, there’s plenty of performance wrapped up in the somewhat refined truck package.

On the road the GMC 1500 Sierra Denali is most of what I remember of years past in it being more compliant and smoother than ever before. There’s still the inherent body jiggles going over rough road imperfections but the unwanted movements are kept to a minimum. The adaptive dampers do a good job to help soak up bumps as you roll over them with the large 22-inch polished aluminum wheels wrapped in all-season Bridgestone Alenza rubber.

Acceleration is strong and confident, getting up to 60 mph in about 5.6 seconds as the 10-speed automatic transmission smoothly fires off shifts. As a relatively large truck, the Sierra 1500 Denali still feels like its size and doesn’t attempt to play any tricks to deceive you, which is why you have a trick 360-degree camera system that can be brought up at any time for ease of parking and maneuvering in tight spaces. The braking feel is somewhat soft until you really dig into the brake pedal, something that may be a little offsetting to some. However, braking can be strong and confident-inspiring after getting used to how the truck performs with or without towing a load. Speaking of towing, the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali can tow up to 8,900 pounds (13,000 pounds with max trailering package) and haul a payload of around 1,870 pounds. With the nearly countless trim levels and configurations, there remains to be something for everyone with varying payload and tow ratings throughout, mostly dependent on the engine choice (4 engine choices).

Fuel Economy

General Motors’ lineup of 1500 full-size trucks has been impressive for their fuel efficiency in recent years, and the GMC Sierra 1500 proves to be no different in that, in some configurations, you can get respectable fuel economy numbers. My loaded-up Sierra 1500 Denali matches and sometimes bests the EPA estimates of 15 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. On a few rural highways traveling at a steady 60 mph I saw an average of about 21.4 mpg, which is pretty good for such a truck. I could sometimes tell when the cylinder deactivation kicked in using only 4-cylinders to keep a steady pace and save on fuel. Otherwise, the 24-gallon fuel tank gets up a range of up to 456 miles on the highway if you match the 19 mpg figure.

Interior and Technology

There’s a welcomed simplistic functionality in the GMC 1500 Sierra Denali with a decently laid out interior. The seating positions provide plentiful space and comfort with heated and ventilated front leather seats and heated rear outboard seats. The latest infotainment system fed through a large 13.4-inch touchscreen is user-friendly and nicely integrates wireless (and USB-connected) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with having an actively cooled wireless smartphone charging pad.

There are many luxury aspects of the Sierra 1500 Denali’s interior, which include many soft-touch surfaces and accented stitching throughout, in addition to a large 15-inch color head-up display. The latest SuperCruise semi-autonomous driving system proves again to be one of the best on the market, allowing me to travel on system-mapped highways completely hands-free.

On the utility side of things, GMC includes the MultiPro tailgate proving to be useful for its versatility and six positions for easier access to the truck bed or different work surfaces.


The GMC Sierra 1500 Denali includes a bevy of advanced safety features, such as blind-spot monitors, forward collision warning with emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, custom trailer profiles with trick items like a trailer tire pressure monitoring system, and adaptive cruise control.


GMC Denali trucks come with a hefty price tag. My Sierra 1500 Denali test vehicle, priced at $87,385, is quite an investment. However, in today’s landscape of inflation the pricing may not be far from competitors considering the truck’s capabilities, advanced tech, and useful equipment packed into this comfortable and luxurious pickup truck. If you opt for a lower trim level, you can get a well-equipped Sierra 1500 SLT Crew Cab for around $59,000, which includes some desirable features and the less powerful (355 hp/385 lb-ft torque) 5.3-liter V8 engine, or the SLE trim with a decent 310-horsepower/430 lb-ft of torque 2.7-liter turbo 4-cylinder starting at $53,495 before any fees or options.


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