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GMC Sierra Denali is all-new for 2019

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If it seems like the competition in the full-size pickup segment has been especially hot lately, look no further than the GMC/Chevy, Ford and Ram offerings to see what a modern pickup truck not only could be – but must be – in order to command increasing market share year over year.

The 2019 GMC Sierra Denali I recently tested makes me wonder just how much further these huge trucks can be pushed to handle more, deliver more and drive more comfortably, it’s hard to image them getting better, but that’s what I thought five years ago.

Exterior Looks

The GMC Sierra 1500 is available in six trims, including my elite Denali. Multiple bed and cab configurations and four-wheel drive are available on each trim. The Sierra front grille has a huge impact when you see it, which is saying a lot given this pickup’s dimensions (147.4 inches). The 22-inch rims and the rugged cargo bed make it easy to characterize the Denali version as rugged-plus some.

The 2019 GMC Sierra is redesigned from the ground up and it is larger in almost every dimension, including a longer wheelbase. The newly-extended Crew Cab offers about three inches more rear legroom than the previous model, and my Denali tester featured an industry-first MultiPro Tailgate with six functions and positions.

The 2019 Sierra Denali offers more hauling capacity, more small storage bins, a bigger back seat, and an increased towing capacity, now 9,400 to 12,500 pounds, depending upon trim. The EPA gas mileage averages are 15 miles per gallon in city driving and 20 on the freeway.

Powerful

Powered by a 6.2-liter V8 that cranks out 420 horsepower and features a 10-speed automatic transmission that brings it all down to the pavement, the Sierra is bold in looks and performance.

The base price may be $58,000, but my tester featured a $5,800 Ultimate package option and a $2,495 surcharge for the optional 6.2-liter Ecotec 3 V8 engine with its “dynamic fuel management” feature. It allows the truck to operate in multiple cylinder patterns to optimize power and fuel efficiency. With several other single item charges, the total price of my Denali tester came to $67,735.

Denali features

Besides most of the equipment from other trims, the Denali edition also features head-up display, 360-degree view camera system, rear-view camera, carbon fiber bed, and adaptive ride control.

Cabin

Front and rear passengers sit high above the traffic and everyone enjoys plenty of convenient small bins, cup holders, and great sightlines. Heated and cooled front seats, keyless open and start, power heated and folding side mirrors, and front and rear park assist are also impressive features.

The navigation system is intuitive with a large, sometimes “touchy” screen. The driver’s seat vibrates when the backup camera detects a close vehicle. Technology advancements include a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, as well as Bluetooth audio streaming, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

While the cab has plenty of room for five adults, getting in and out can be a little challenging, especially with my upgrade 22-inch rims. The Denali’s side steps really help. GMC’s ProGrade Trailing system features a rear vision camera (great for RVs), auto electronic brake assist, hitch area lighting, and an integrated trailer brake control.

Tailgate

The multi-configurable tailgate and retractable side steps are only available on the GMC, not the Chevy Silverado – this tailgate is a wonder of the pickup world. It solves so many challeneges for getting up and into and down from the bed, as well as making it easy and safer.

The Sierra Denali is a beast on the freeway, but inside the cabin it is quiet and smooth with no wind noise to speak of. I enjoyed my week-long test and the convenient tailgate proved incredibly helpful while moving large items out to DeKalb one day.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication