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2014 GMC Sierra Denali offers all the amenities of a luxury sedan and then some

Sleek, sculpted lines with bumped out fenders give the Sierra a classy look
Sleek, sculpted lines with bumped out fenders give the Sierra a classy look
by Nick Hromiak

Spring is the ideal time to buy a pickup truck for the myriad of home chores it could be used for like hauling bulk mulch, topsoil, pressure treated lumber, new shrubbery or small trees. And if you happen to have a boat, pickups excel at towing because of their higher tow capacities.

Sierra strikes a handsome pose and is a step above the Silverado
by Nick Hromiak

If you look upon half-ton pickups as harsh riding and noisy, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by GMC’s 2014 Sierra Denali 1500 Crew Cab. And it’s handsome to boot.

The Sierra Denali rides as smooth and quietly as your typical family sedan. But it can do what sedans, SUVs and crossovers can’t.

Slip into the top-line Denali’s posh leather interior enhanced with faux wood trim and you’ll think you’re in a luxury sedan. Today’s trucks aren’t what they used to be, and the Sierra Denali exemplifies that.

For starters, an 8-inch color customizable touchscreen displays audio, GPS nav and rearview camera, the latter of which also aids in hitching a trailer. The dash includes digital instrumentation whereas the speedometer displays in both analog and digital modes. This is in addition to a comprehensive 4WD system that has four modes (2WD, Auto, 4-High, 4-Low), and, adjustable pedals (so there’s no excuse for the lady of the family not to drive it).

Then there are the heated/cooled front seats with airflow that can be directed to the top, bottom or both portions of the seats. This is complimented with a heated steering wheel. There are also dual (upper/lower) gloves boxes that can handle the overflow from a huge console box.

GMC outfitted the Denali with the latest high-tech safety features that are mostly found on high-end luxury cars. Items such as front and rear park assist, lane departure warnings, safety seat alert (it vibrates when getting too close to an object fore and aft), hill descent control and frontal collision warning that senses when you’re approaching a vehicle or object at an unusually fast speed. At that point the driver’s seat vibrates and a warning light flashes. The system is so sensitive that it went off when driving past a gushing fire hydrant that was being flushed.

If you’re a family of four, the Sierra’s Crew Cab can seat three abreast in the back seat that folds up against the bulkhead for additional, protective storage of gear, tools or grocery bags.

The cargo bed measures 68 inches long, 61/5 wide and 21.25 deep and has an EZ lift and lower tailgate can be operated with one hand (remember when two hands and some muscle were needed to do both on earlier models?).

While the Sierra can be had with a 4.3L, 285-hp EcoTec V6, a 5.3L, 355-hp EcoTec V8, a 6.2L, 420-hp (460 lb/ft of torque) V8 was in my test truck. It carried EPA mileage estimates of 14 city, 20-highway mpg. When coupled to the standard 6-speed automatic transmission, the Sierra had a tow rating of up to 12,000 pounds, the highest rating it its class according to GMC. And the engine comes with GM’s Active Fuel Management system that cuts out four cylinders during sensible cruise speeds.

While the standard and optional features list is too long to print, rest assured the Sierra Denali Crew Cab is adequately equipped. The base price starts at $49,965 and escalates to $55,185 with delivery and every imaginable feature.

Shod with Rancho monotube shocks, 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires, rear leaf springs and rated with a 7,200-pound GVW rating, the Denali is one good riding truck with robust power.

To check out a Denali, stop by Kelly Car & Truck Center on Lehigh Street in Allentown or Kutztown Auto in Kutztown.