I had the 2011 GMC Sierra Denali 2500 4X4 truck this week, and I have been eager to take a hard look at it. Outwardly, the truck is just beautiful, but that is not a surprise. GMC has always made a pretty truck, and with the Dodge-inspired “in your face” grill, you can’t help but notice this beast.
This re-designed truck has an impressive list of changes that make the truck a real contender with people that tow. This generation of the 6.6 liter Duramax turbo diesel now produces 397 horses and is coupled with a 6-speed Allison automatic transmission, which has upped the highway fuel economy.
Many occasional towers worry about a harsh ride when you get up to a ¾ or one-ton truck and GM has done a nice job of making ride quality much better than I remember from previous generations.
My Crew Cab test vehicle came in black with black leather interior and 20” polished aluminum wheels, always a striking combination. Chrome tubular running boards serve as useful as well as attractive, and for those who are horizontally challenged, these are a must.
Other nice options include a rear backup camera, heated and cooled seats, and a power sliding rear window. All power equipment comes standard on the Denali model, as does a Bose stereo system, dual-zone air conditioning, keyless entry, automatic headlights, remote starting system, locking tailgate, and the list just goes forever.
I closely watched the fuel economy of this truck because I have really raved about the 2011 F250 I drove and the great fuel economy it got. This GMC got me 15 in mixed driving, and I was able to get to 20-miles per gallon on the highway, at 65 miles per hour for an extended drive. That is pretty far off from the Ford, but much improved from previous generations of the GM diesels.
This truck is really nice, and it is priced right in line with its competition from the Blue Oval and the Ram. Overall, it is a very enjoyable heavy-duty truck and deserves a look if you need a truck this size.
What I liked most: Ride quality and handling, and the interior
What I would change if I could: They could tighten the turning radius to make it easier to park.
MSRP as tested: $58,144
Fuel Economy: Not rated by the EPA, but 15 in town, 20 on the road.
GMC 2500 in a few words: MUCH improved from earlier Jimmy, but still a ways to go to match the Ford.